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Our Favorite Places

All summer long the Staff Center will highlight our staff's favorite places from hikes, restaurants to great places to take the family. Do you have a  favorite place? Share it with us!

North San Diego County

Distinction Art Gallery

Distiction Art

A gem of an art gallery featuring Contemporary Realism, Surrealism and Urban art. Distinction converted part of their gallery to ArtHatch, a non profit organization that rents exhibition and studio space to emerging artists and offers a free teen program. 

Submitted by Lisa Carmosino

Spin Records Sign, aisles of records

Spin Records

Located right in the heart of Carlsbad Village, Spin Records will bring you back to what it was like back in the ‘ole days before Spotify and digital music.

Submitted by the Staff Center

Welcome sign, Osprey perched in a tree, Batiquitos Lagoon and trail

Batiquitos Lagoon

One of the few remaining tidal wetlands in Southern California, Batiquitos Lagoon is a great place for bird watching and family-friendly hiking.

Submitted by the Staff Center



Elfin Forest Hiking Trail

Elfin Forest

Beautiful views of the mountains on this trail. It's a challenge but worth it in the end. This is a fun trail to take your family on and get active.

Submitted by Talisha St. John

Marcia and her husband at Moonlight Theater

Moonlight Theater

One of the many things that I love about summer is the variety of options to enjoy live music and outdoor theater. A favorite outdoor venue for musicals and plays is Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista.

Submitted by Marcia Agnew

San Diego Botanical Gardens - trees and 180 degree view

San Diego Botanic Garden

The San Diego Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to explore a variety of plants, see amazing views, and enjoy the SD weather.

Submitted by Rachel Wilson


Sealions and Oceanside harbor sign with Sailboat

Oceanside Harbor

Llittle bit of something for everyone at the Harbor.  Take a selfie with the sealions; cruise out on a whale watching tour; rent a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or small boat, have a beach day or grab some ice cream and coconut shrimp.

Submitted by Ahmbra Austin and Susan O’Connor

Strawberry socks and strawberries with whip cream

Strawberry Shack

The Strawberry Shack is fairly new to town and is your one-stop-shop for all things strawberry! Everything I have tried so far from milk shakes to chocolate-dipped strawberries has been delicious. I even bought a pair of strawberry socks for fun!

Submitteed by Ahmbra Austin

Woods and a hiking trails

Buena Vista Park

A perfect hike for the whole family including your fur babies! There is also a pond and picnic tables for a nice lunch with beautiful views tucked away in the Vista neighborhood!

Submitted by Jillian Dunn


Kids playing at the park

Olympus Park

Need a fun place to let the kids run wild? Check out Encinitas’s newest play area, Olympus Park. There’s plenty to do aside from the playground: a botanical garden, skate park, walking trails, and a zipline!

Submitted by Lesley Rankin Gonzalez



South San Diego County

Flying Kite, Libery Station Sign and Liibery Public Market

Libery Station
Point Loma

Fly a kite, take a walk by the water, watch the planes go by or grab some food. Liberty Station, grounds of a former naval training center, has a bit of something for everyone.

La Jolla Comedy Store

The Comedy Store
La Jolla

In search of a good laugh? Visit the Comedey Store in La Jolla where you can see up and coming comedians and pros that will make your sides hurt.

Bookstar sign, book aisles and neon travel sign

Book Star
Point Loma

The 1939 Point Loma Theater was saved from demolition and turned into one of the most unqiue bookstores in San Diego.

Submitted by Susan O'Connor



New Children's Museum

New Children's Museum
San Diego

This is not your average museum – your younger kids (12 and under) will love this hands-on art and imagination creative experience. From wall and net climbing to painting an old pickup truck and go car racing under a bubble machine, there’s tons to explore, create, and play with.

Submitted by Lesley Rankin Gonzalez


Couple selfie, fire pit overlooking a setting moon on the water

Bali Hai

Point Loma

Bali Hai is a Polynesian restaurant with the best view of downtown San Diego you can find, a patio with a firepit, great food, and famous Mai Tai's! It's a perfect date spot!

Submitted by Ahmbra Austin

Point Loma Seafoods

Point Loma Seafoods

Point Loma

Point Loma Sea Foods is a great fish market and restaurant with a great view of San Diego harbor and downtown from the upper patio. Try the spicy tuna roll!

Submitted by Ahmbra Austin


And Beyond

Van Buren Drive in

Van Buren Drive- In

Summer Nights @ the Van Buren Riverside Drive In Theatre offering kid friendly movies, comfort in your car, bring your own food (In N Out for us) and a delicious snack bar that offers popcorn, carne asada fries and so much more!

Submitted by Vanessa Vincent


Dog watching over Lake Havasu, Selfie of Courtney and Bridge over the lake

Lake Havasu, AZ

Just a quick 4 hour drive east and you'll land in "Arizona's Playground." We love spending our days boating on the river or lounging at the beach with our dogs, Charlie and Duke. Once it cools down, we love to walk through the channel, go fishing, or watch the sunset from the desert.

Submitted by Courntey Tamone