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Make Sure This Is on Your List When Family Visits This Season!

‘Tis the season for family travel, and we are beyond lucky to call San Diego, a place where many only dream to visit, our home! California conjures up images of brilliant sunshine, pristine beaches and cultural diversity, which is why it’s at the top of the list of the most visited states. Chances are, you’ll have friends or family visiting you this holiday season, and we want you to be prepared to show them a good time in America’s Finest City. In San Diego County, it’s even possible to start your day skiing before finishing it with a session of surfing at sunset! With so many options for families, it can be difficult to narrow down a list of things to do with your out-of-town-guests. But one thing that should be at the top of your list, is to experience California’s great grey whale migration aboard the world famous America!  This San Diego Sightseeing Tour is the perfect blend of excitement, relaxation, education, and adventure that your whole family will love! 


Photo by @dolphindromedom

Every year, thousands of Pacific gray whales make the journey from Alaska down to Mexico to birth calves in their ancestral breeding grounds. The round-trip distance of 12,000 miles makes it the longest regular migration on the planet, and California has a front-row seat to the voyage. If you’re interested in getting up close to the action, you’re in luck because the best time for whale watching in San Diego is coming up!


Sailing aboard the America is the best hands-on experience where you can see whales first hand and learn why we should preserve the oceans, our planet, and all the magnificent animals that call Earth home.




Next Level Sailing operates whale watching tours on the America, which without exaggeration, “is the world’s most famous racing yacht. It is also one of the most beautiful yachts in the world. The reason is simple: The original America put yachting on the map. It is why the most famous trophy in sailing is called The America’s Cup.” The original ship was destroyed during World War II, but this near-perfect replica of the 139 foot yacht spares no prestige.






Good to Know: The team at Next Level Sailing is so confident in their ability to provide the best whale watching in San Diego that they offer the only “no sickness guarantee” in the world! In the off-chance that you do get sick, they will even compensate you with a gift card! Their new location on Shelter Island offers ample FREE parking, so you wont rack up a bunch of extra charges during your voyage. The crew will offer complimentary water, soda, chips, and granola bars, but you are also allowed to bring your own food and beverages (alcohol included! Just no red wine). Comfortable shoes and layers will be your best friend, and don’t forget your sunscreen and binos!

**Also be sure to check their Sunday specials, where most dates offer a free child ticket with Adult ticket purchase (a $48 savings!!).



This is a sponsored post by Next Level Sailing. Although we were paid to share this information, all opinions are our own. 

Fave 5 ~ Week of November 18th

I try very hard not to jump straight from Halloween to Christmas. But this week’s Fave 5 focuses on Christmas events because, if you want to participate in some of San Diego’s more popular holiday events, you’ll need to get your tickets before they are sold out.

Here are five holiday happenings that we’ve loved over the years …

North Pole Limited

Holiday weekends beginning November 29th 

Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum in Campo

I see lots of San Diego families traveling great distances to enjoy a live “Polar Express” experience, and I often wonder if they realize that the super fun North Pole Limited train takes off from nearby Campo throughout the season. This has been a favorite of ours for many years. Arrive before your train departs to stroll through the hobo camp next to the depot to hear tales from railroading’s past.

Visiting with Santa aboard The North Pole Express

Once onboard, Santa’s elves lead guests in singing favorite Christmas carols, they read Polar Express, pass out cookies and hot chocolate and, before you know it, the North Pole Limited has arrived at Santa’s Workshop to pick up Santa and Mrs. Claus. Each guest gets to sit with Santa on the way back to the depot. Don’t forget to come dressed PJs if you’re taking the night train!

Some dates for the North Pole Express are already sold out. For the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit psrm.org/npl/.

Noel Noel

December 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st & 22nd

San Diego Symphony, Downtown

photo credit: San Diego Symphony

The San Diego Symphony’s annual “Noel Noel” holiday concert will put your whole family in a festive mood. The show features some of the season’s favorite songs as well as magical new holiday music that everyone will love. Noel Noel is performed several times over two weekends, and there is a special family daytime concert on December 15th.  Get more information and purchase tickets at SanDiegoSymphony.org.

Mom’s Guide Tip: The famous Donut Bar is just across the street from Copley Symphony Hall and is often open before and after a performance. They serve awesome, mega-sized donuts and amazing craft beers. 😉 



Traditions of Christmas Remixed

December 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 & 22nd

Lincoln Performing Arts Center, 4777 Imperial Ave

Ok so we haven’t seen this version of Traditions of Christmas yet, but we have seen the original and were so sad when it went dark for two years to be “remixed.”  With lots of dancing and singing to favorite holiday songs, the original version of this Christmas musical extravaganza has been seen by over 250,000 patrons. I just know that the new LED scenic designs, lighting, new songs and dance numbers are going to get everyone into the holiday spirit – even the Grinch! For tickets visit CYTSanDiego.org/shows.


Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Select dates now through December 29th

The Old Globe Theater, Balboa Park 

Photo Credit: Old Globe

This is one show we try to do every single year because it is so fun, so happy and imparts a wonderful message about Christmas being a whole lot more than shopping and gifts. Uber talented children and adults in whimsical costume perform day and evening shows throughout the holiday season, including a special sensory-friendly performance on December 14th. For tickets and more information, visit TheOldGlobe.org.

Mom’s Guide tip: Arrive early to take pictures in front of the Christmas tree. There’s a nice snack bar serving hot chocolate and other kid-friendly goodies as well as cocktails and light meals. 


Bethlehem Story

December 5, 6, 7 & 8

Faith Chapel in Spring Valley

Here’s another San Diego favorite that has changed since we last visited. For many years Fatih Chapel’s Bethlehem Story was interactive with visitors walking the streets and bazaars of Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born. Last year the show was changed to a stage performance, and the free tickets were distributed before I could snag 4. If you’re looking for events that really express the reason for the season, Bethlehem Story is a must. As told in the Gospel of Luke, encounter Mary and Joseph as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, witness the announcement of the birth of the Christ child, learn of the great census and visit with citizens of Bethlehem as they experience the extraordinary event that changed the world forever, the birth of the Messiah.

Tickets are FREE. Get yours here.

We know you’re also looking for fun things to do this week, so check out our online calendar to help plan your week  as well  special seasonal activities!

It’s Mallory’s Birthday, and YOU Get the Present

I really, really cannot believe that my baby daughter is SO BIG. Mallory Jane is 14 today, and I’m up early wrapping her presents and making blueberry pancakes to kick-off our celebration.

Mal’s first “big” birthday was the year she turned 3. We took her to Disneyland for lunch with the princesses, and from that moment on Disney became one of our family’s favorite things.

We were back at Disneyland for the Halloween festivities just last month, and Mallory thanked me over and over again for giving her so many special memories there. (yes, teenagers can be thankful and nostalgic about their childhoods!)

While we don’t make it to the theme park often, we do regularly enjoy Disney movies together. So of course, the one thing Mal really wants for her birthday this year is a subscription to Disney+. In honor of my girl and all children who deserve a little magic, fantasy and family movie time, I’m giving away a 12-month Disney+ subscription to one of YOU.

For your chance to win, please leave a comment here with your family’s favorite Disney, PIXAR, MARVEL, Star Wars or National Geographic movie. Have you checked to see if your faves are going to be available on the new streaming service? So far, all of Mallory’s are.

Time truly does go by so fast. I remember this 3rd birthday vividly. Wishing you tons of joy with your children and good luck in our Disney+ giveaway!

Disney+ winner will be selected on Black Friday.

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