Suffice it to say, it's HOT, especially here in the East County. One benefit of this weather in San Diego though, is it makes it more fun to be outside at night. My husband and I were struck by the urge a few weeks ago to go to an outdoor movie. Unfortunately Garden Cabaret was sold out, but our quest inspired me to put the information for this post together. Here are some options for enjoying this hot summer weather after the sun goes down:
For the seventh year in a row, the San Diego Museum of Art is hosting it's free outdoor summer film festival on four Thursday nights in August - starting August 3. The movies start at 8 PM on the East Lawn of the museum. They are showing some cool vintage flicks, like Some Like it Hot and The Searchers.
If that doesn't work for you, the Garden Cabaret Theater in Mission Hills offers outdoor movies throughout the summer. They have heaters, comfortable seating and snacks. Don't be like us though - make your reservations ahead of time. They don't allow outside food, but Phil's BBQ is just outside the gate.
There are several good outdoor venues around for live theater around town as well. In the North County, you have the Moonlight Theater, which is putting on Sound of Music right now, and has Thoroughly Modern Millie and Dreamgirls in the wings. We saw Into the Woods there a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I think this is the only venue where you can actually picnic during the show. Make sure you bring low folding chairs, they don't allow full-size ones.
East County's own Christian Youth Theater puts on two shows during the summer at the top of Mount Helix. They are currently performing the Sound of Music, and Godspell is coming up in August.
Starlight Theatre in Balboa Park is putting on the Wizard of Oz and Urinetown this summer.
Several communities around the San Diego County area also host free summer concert series. Check the schedule, it's likely there's one near you. Most of these are on weeknights.
Speaking of free concerts, one of my favorite hot weather memories is traveling to Boston on July 5, 1995 - just in time for the second round of the famous 4th of July Boston Pops concert. Apparently they don't still do it on the 5th, but back then, they put on the whole show, including fireworks, a second time around. Schindler's List was a recent hit, and I had chills when the first violin stood up and played the solo. They also had the best fireworks I have ever seen.
Before the concert, my friend Diana and I went to "Bread and Circus" - which is the old East Coast name for Whole Foods, to pick up picnic supplies. I'm not much of a scrapbooker, generally, but I still have the receipt from that picnic. Even back then we were food snobs. We bought half a pound of malted milk balls (still a favorite), organic red grapes, samosas, garlic hummus, some crackers and some terra chips, and a bottle of Poland Spring sparkling water with lime. This was also the summer that Starbucks Frappuccinos were invented, and since my friend's husband worked there we drank a lot of them during that trip. I also ate a lot of Steve's ice cream - "mix-in" ice cream was a new thing back then.
If you don't have a Bread and Circus (or Whole Foods) handy, great places to pick up picnic supplies for your summer outing include the new Bristol Farms Market (where Albertson's used to be in the UTC area) and Saffron chicken. For great picnic sandwiches and baked goods, try Bread & Cie in Hillcrest, Con Pane in Point Loma, or Bread and Market downtown.
If you're up for something a little more exotic, check out the new Mexican grocery store in Southcrest, Northgate Gonzalez. They have an in-store taqueria, panaderia, and butcher shop carrying Mexican cuts of meat. As a bonus, they also sell Coca Cola sweetened with cane sugar instead of corn syrup - rare outside Latin America.
One thing I definitely recommend - save your receipt! Eleven years from now it may bring back some good memories.