Good morning, dear escapists. August is here and the end of summer is near – at least for LAUSD kids and parents, as school starts in less than two weeks.
There’s just enough time to hit the road and pack up some last-minute summer adventures.
In this edition of Escapes, you’ll find some great reasons to visit San Diego now. (Hint: they include houseplants, art, and marine life.)
Have you discovered any travel gems this summer? As always, My inbox is open to all your recommendations.
Reader Karen Axelton shared one of her favorite summer spots: the Eastern Sierra Ice Cream Co. in Independence, California. “We visited them on a road trip last year and the ice cream was so good we’ve planned the trip for this summer to stop there again,” she wrote in an email.
Let’s start our road trip now.
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Visit a houseplant wonderland in Encinitas
Perhaps you are a longtime lover of indoor plants, can’t resist picking up a new peace lily or ponytail palm when you pass a plant shop. Or maybe you’re like me – a wannabe plant mother who didn’t manage to inherit your grandfather’s green thumb.
Either way, don’t miss one of the San Diego Botanic Garden’s newest exhibits, World of Houseplants, a crash course in collecting and caring for houseplants.
The exhibit’s hundreds of plants—air plants, carnivorous plants, wax plants, and more—are displayed in the garden’s Dickinson Family Education Conservatory.
Inspired by the exhibition? On select weekends, visitors can purchase houseplants to take home, as well as potting soil and other plant products. Check the provider’s schedule here.
The exhibition runs until September 5th. Tickets are $18 for adults.
One more thing, for a truly magical experience, consider visiting during one of the Garden’s special ‘Summer Nights’ events, held on August 11th and 25th and September 8th.
Guests have the opportunity to stroll the garden as the sun sets, enjoy music and other entertainment, and purchase snacks such as charcuterie and cheese to eat around the garden fire pits. Book tickets and food in advance in advance.
Pick up art at Liberty Station
Do you have a drab, empty spot on your living room wall that needs a colorful print? You’re in luck: it’s on Saturday and Sunday Art Festival ArtWalk takes over Ingram Plaza at Liberty Station in San Diego.
Paintings, ceramics, jewelry and other artworks by more than 180 artists from the United States and Mexico will be on display and for sale during the event. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the artwork you’ll see at the festival.
Tacos, pizza, ice cream, and other bites can be purchased during the event, and visitors can enjoy beer, wine, and other beverages while perusing the artwork and listening to live music.
Children are welcome too, with child-focused art education programs organized by ArtReach, the Monart School of Art and the San Diego Watercolor Society.
The event is free and takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Can’t make it this weekend? Mark your calendar for Art Walk Karlovy Varywhich will take place on September 24th and 25th.
Explore the murals in Chicano Park
Speaking of art, less than 7 miles away is Chicano Park, the place with about 80 vibrant murals and lots of history.
“When state and local officials extended Interstate 5 through San Diego and built the Coronado Bridge in the 1960s, they divided up the long-established working-class neighborhood of Barrio Logan,” explains Times writer Christopher Reynolds, who included Chicano Park on his list of the 101 best experiences in California. “Then in 1970, when the California Highway Patrol began building an office where a park was expected, the mostly Mexican-American neighborhood rose up, occupied the site for 12 days, and eventually built a 15-acre park.”
Today, this park is said to house the world’s largest group of Chicano murals, surrounded by galleries, restaurants, and other developments. For a preview of the murals and a map of the park, see here.
However, Barrio Logan is no stranger to stressors like rising rents, pollution, and the physical and financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll let you know about Times columnist Jean Guerrero, who grew up southeast of the neighborhood these challenges – as well as their hopes for the future.
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Swim with sharks in La Jolla
Swimming with sharks is at the top of many adrenaline seekers’ bucket list—usually sandwiched between skydiving and running a marathon. The excitement of cage diving takes travelers to far flung places like the Maldives, South Africa, Fiji and beyond.
But did you know that you can swim with sharks — on purpose — along the San Diego County coast?
Thousands of leopard sharks congregate in the shallow waters off La Jolla in summer. According to the Birch Aquarium, snorkeling is a great way to see these animals in their natural habitat.
And since you might be wondering, experts say leopard sharks are virtually harmless to humans.
A handful of water sports operators offer snorkel rentals and tours, allowing travelers to swim in the same waters as leopard sharks. HBK Adventure Tours allows guests to learn the basics of snorkeling at the La Jolla Ecological Reserve. It costs $65 per person; Mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit are included.
Enjoy the sight of leopard sharks swimming, but don’t touch or chase them (obviously, this is a good rule of thumb for wildlife in general).
Are you able or not interested in snorkeling? You can still get a glimpse of the sharks by visiting the Shark Shores outdoor exhibit at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.
📰🎸 Street song
“Summer Renaissance” by Beyoncé. Play it while watching paragliders soar from Torrey Pines.