Top 11 Things to Do in San Diego This January

Who said the fun has to be over when the holidays are? San Diego knows how to eat, drink, and party with the rest of ’em; so check out our list of the best 11 things to do in San Diego this January and keep those winter blues at bay.

1. SoundON Festival of Modern Music

January 8 – 11
The 2015 soundON Festival of Modern Music showcases the vibrant, exploratory ensemble-in-residence NOISE, presenting cutting edge world premiers by Mark Menzies, Christopher Adler, and festival favorite Juan Campoverde Q, along with works by Sidney Marquez Boquiren and New York composer Eric Wubbels. They will also be celebrating our modern masters with Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, and San Diego’s Chinary Ung. All performances will be held in the Joan & Irwin Music Room at the Athenaeum or the School Studio on Park Blvd. in University Heights.

SEE ALSO: Winter Mini-Concerts Begin at the Athenaeum

2. Poway Winter Festival

January 9 & 10
Experience the magic and charm of winter like never before! Join the city of Poway for Winter Festival on Friday, January 9 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM and Saturday, January 10 from 4:00 to 9:00 PM at Poway Community Park. Feel snow between your fingers while sledding down the snow hill; smell roasting marshmallows as you devour delicious s’mores; skate around the ice rink; and peruse a variety of vendors and their products. The Winter Festival brings to life all of the charm and entertainment of a cold-mountain town – in nearby Poway!

3. Borrego Springs Film Festival

January 15 – 19
In 1920 the pioneering filmmaker and actress, Nell Shipman, launched a new era for Borrego Springs, and things have never been the same! Silent films, comedies, science fiction, war and westerns, and independent and major studios have all found their special place in Borrego Springs. Borrego Springs and the Anza-Borrego desert have provided strange, stark and amazing locations for nearly a century of films and filmmakers. Get away from the city for a weekend to enjoy the festival, and be a part of the next 100 years of filmmaking in Borrego Springs.

4. Whale Watch Weekend & Intertidal Festival

Saturday Jan 17 & Sunday Jan 18
From 10am to 4:30pm both days, head to The Cabrillo National Monument for the 28th annual Whale Watch Weekend and Intertidal Life Festival! Learn about the importance of protecting our oceans while whale watching from one of the most premiere spots in San Diego. The two-day festival will include marine awareness education, whale watching, tide pool exploration, programs on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and interactive storytelling sessions about the tides and sea life for the kids.

5. Kids’ Marathon Mile at Legoland

Saturday January 17, 7:45am
Legoland California is hosting a special, 1-mile fun run for kids of all ages and abilities. Before the doors open to the public, they’re opening for kids and adults to enjoy the sights and sounds of LEGOLAND! Participants can run, walk, skip or stroll, or even be pushed in a stroller or carried on a back as they wind through the park, making their way to an exciting, spectator-filled finish line. Each finisher is presented with a shiny finisher’s medal and treated to a fun post-event party with a DJ, activities, light refreshments and booths. The event concludes at 10 a.m. when Legoland opens; registered participants age 12 & under can enter the park for free and moms and dads can enter for 50% off admission.

6. San Diego Multicultural Festival

Saturday January 17, 11am-5pm
Celebrate the 17th Annual Sheila R. Hardin San Diego Multicultural Festival. The family-friendly festival showcases San Diego’s rich cultural and traditional heritage through live entertainment, food stations, vendors, and more. Activities include a beautiful downtown waterfront park, traditional heritage music and dancing, multi-cultural entertainment on the main stage, global and ethnic markets, local and regional vendors, a children’s area with activities, and multi-cultural storytellers.

7. Carlsbad 2015 Marathon & Half Marathon

Sunday January 18, 6:15am
The Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon is a winter marathon and half marathon unlike any other, from the ideal weather conditions to a spectacular coastal course. The course goes through Carlsbad Village and along the oceanfront Pacific Coast Highway. Runners will enjoy live bands at every mile, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, and thousands of spectators and volunteers lining the course. Each participant gets a technical fabric shirt, goodie bag, finisher’s medal and more. Both races will start and finish at Westfield Plaza Camino Real at 2525 El Camino Real, Carlsbad.

things to do in san diego

8. 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade

Sunday January 18, 2pm
Join us on Harbor Drive on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2PM for the 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. This is one of the largest celebrations of its kind in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States. Our parade is filled with dazzling floats, soulful High School Bands, Drill Teams, Colleges, Fraternities, Churches, Organizations, Peace and Youth groups. This parade is coordinated by the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the oldest African American fraternity in America, founded in 1906.

SEE ALSO: Museum of Man’s California Tower Now Open for Tours!

9. San Diego Restaurant Week

January 18 – 24
It’s almost that time of year again! Treat your tastebuds at San Diego Restaurant Week. From January 18-24, foodies will be able to eat their way through more than 180 participating restaurants throughout San Diego. Leave the cooking to someone else and join over 140,000 diners in the celebration of Restaurant Week and indulge in discounted prix fixe menus including two-course lunches priced at $10, $15, and $20 and three-course dinners are $20, $30, $40, or $50. No tickets are necessary for this event, just make reservations for any of the participating locations, show up, choose from their prix-fixe menu and let your taste buds enjoy!

10. San Diego Black Film Festival

January 29 – February 1
With the motto “Spotlight on African American & African Diaspora Cinema,” the festival is the first and largest black film festival of the year and screens over 100 films each year: Comedy, Drama, Documentaries, Animation, GLBT, Horror, Religious, Foreign/African Diaspora, Shorts, Feature Films and music videos. Their goal is to continue to be a world class film festival and a leader in the area of African American & African Diaspora cinema arts.

11. Monster Jam 2015

Saturday January 31, 7pm-10pm
Monster Jam is at Petco Park in San Diego for the first time ever! For two nights (Jan 17 and the 31), one of the world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour will be featuring some of the biggest names in monster trucks in America’s Finest City. Among the featured trucks this year are Monster Jam Trucks: Grave Digger driven by Carl Van Horn, Dragon driven by Scott Liddycoat, Son-uva Digger driven by Ryan Anderson, Monster Mutt Rottweiler driven by Rod Schmidt, NEA Police driven by Norm Miller, Captain’s Curse driven by Alex Blackwell, and many more!


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Emily Ruchlewicz

Emily Ruchlewicz

News & Feature Writer at
Emily Ruchlewicz is a News and Feature writer at Blue Book Publishers and has written more than 100 La Jolla-related articles. Follow her blogs to stay informed about new businesses, read exclusive interviews with local business owners, and keep up with community events. (

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