As soon as you can: Head South on the 405 to California’s second largest city. (You might also visit Amtrak.com for special deals for San Diego Chargers home games). One excellent option for lodging is Downtown’s the Sofia Hotel (150 West Broadway). Located near the trendy Gaslamp Quarter, PETCO Park and Old Town, there’s plenty to do within walking distance.
Westin Gaslamp Quarter (910 Broadway Circle) also has good deals, like its “Enjoy a Third Night on Us” promo through Sept. 28. Or for keeping it cheap, check into 500 West Hotel (500 West Broadway), an affordable, European-style, upscale hostel hotel.
10 p.m. If you’re not too tired, stop by the Yard House (1023 Fourth) for beers, plus there’s a dance club that begins after hours.
10 a.m. Try to get to the Zoo (2920 Zoo Drive) early because the lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) take naps in the afternoon. While everything is fascinating to see, pull yourself away long enough to ride the Skyfari®, a brief aerial tour of the park.
1:30 p.m. Drop in at RA Sushi (474 Broadway) for the Crunchy Shrimp Tempura Roll and some Cinnamon Tempura Ice Cream.
3 p.m. Old Town Historic State Park offers a look at adobe and wood buildings that recreate life in the Mexican and early-American periods from 1821 to 1872. While there, hop on an Old Town Trolley Tour®, a fully narrated journey covering 100-plus points of interest, including Seaport Village (go on a SEAL Tour) and Hotel Del Coronado, with on-and-off privileges at each stop.
6 p.m. Dress up for a drool-icious dinner at JRDN (723 Felspar St.) at Tower 23 Hotel on Pacific Beach. Sitting beachside ogling the surfers and beach birds, it’s the food that really deserves your attention. Try the mussels with chorizo, herb butter, Chardonnay and garlic for starters followed by the braised Meyer Ranch short ribs with gnocchi, fava beans and morels.
8 p.m. You’ve got options: A play at Diversionary Theatre (4545 Park Blvd.) or partying ’til the wee hours back in the Gaslamp Quarter at Red Circle (420 E. St.) or Stingaree (454 6th Ave.).
10 a.m. Not only does SeaWorld (500 Sea World Drive) allow you to see animals you only hope you never see while you’re swimming, they also have fantastic 15 to 20 minute shows, where trainers and animals (killer whales, dolphins, etc.) interact and perform.
1 p.m. Walk to PETCO Park (19 Tony Gwynn Way) for a Padres home game (their next home series is Sept. 26-28 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates; visit sandiego.padres.mlb.com for tickets).
6 p.m. Cap your action-packed weekend off with a festive and yum-filled dinner at the Firehouse American Eatery & Lounge (722 Grand Ave.). Sit on the roof deck and stuff your face with BBQ Baby Back Ribs while the DJ spins and catch the sun setting on Pacific Beach.
Street Scene will take place Sept. 19-20. For more information, visit street-scene.com or sandiego.org.