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Discover Downtown San Diego’s New and Trending Spots To Wrap Up 2022

Find San Diego’s best locations for great meals, seasonal events, and memorable nights out

Holiday Market at Petco Park
Image Credits Zama: Photo by Arlene Ibarra; Mister A’s: Photo by Kimberly Motos; To Kill a Mockingbird: Photo by Julieta Cervantes; Santa Story Time Tea: Photo courtesy of the Westgate Hotel; Petco: Photo by Alec Basanec/Petco Park Events

What’s New

Recently opened on a prime stretch of Fifth Avenue real estate, Zama brings Latin American fare and flair amidst art deco-tinged jungle décor that elevates it from restaurant to destination. Featuring a colorful menu that incorporates flavors from Mexico to Peru and an inventive cocktail program (we’re intrigued by the mole-infused, smoky “Don Camillo” mezcal concoction), what’s on order is as sumptuous as the environment in which it’s served. Not to be put in a singular box, a sushi lounge adds an unexpected Asian element to Zama’s already diverse culinary offerings. zamasandiego.com

Zama restaurant

Last month marked the unveiling of a high-profile penthouse renovation in Bankers Hill. Iconic 57-year-old white-linen, Mister A’s, has a new owner (longtime operations manager Ryan Thorsen) and “high-end brasserie” motif following renovations by Mauricio Couturier (Noble Experiment, Camino Riviera, Wolfie’s Carousel). The lobby’s black and white checkered floors and vintage crystal chandeliers make it clear on arrival that a new era is in effect. A switch from deep crimson to the restaurant’s original blue color palette has brightened the dining room while restoring the Blue Room private-event space to its former glory. The latter connects to a brand-new bar outfitted in marble and rich woods, featuring an array of classic cocktails including those of the barrel-aged ilk. Enjoy those tipples from tables backed by arches giving way to a Balboa Park-inspired mural of eucalyptus and jacaranda trees or step out in style to an expanded patio with wrought-iron furnishing and sweeping views of San Diego. asrestaurant.com

What’s Now

It may only be November, but by mid-month the (welcome) deluge of holiday-themed events begins in earnest. The Balboa Theatre makes its entrée into the season when the Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna makes a one-night appearance on November 19, lending the choristers’ trademark pure, beautiful tone to carols and Austrian folk songs guaranteed to get you in the spirit even with five days to go before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. sandiegosymphony.org

There are notable exceptions to the seasonal blitz. Though the curtain doesn’t rise on its six-day run until November 29, you’ll want to buy tickets sooner than later to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the Civic Theatre. Headlined by Tony Award-nominated Richard Thomas as the iconic Atticus Finch in this production based on Harper Lee’s classic novel, it is the first play presented by Broadway San Diego since 2006 and arrives on the heels of — but is certainly not to be overshadowed by — the return of Hamilton, which wraps its San Diego engagement on November 20. broadwaysd.com

Photo of stage production "To Kill A Mockingbird"
To Kill A Mockingbird

What’s Next

Even if we won’t get the sprinkling of snow to complete a quintessential winter-in-the city holiday tableau, Downtown hotels create ample seasonal magic with festivities both classic and whimsical. The elegant Westgate Hotel’s kid-friendly Santa’s Story Time Tea offers a delightful experience that includes stories with Santa and a keepsake teddy bear, while its Winter Wonderland Tea is an adults-only, classic iteration featuring signature drinks, teas, and sweet bites on selected dates through New Year’s Day. westgatehotel.com

Westgate Hotel’s Santa Story Time Tea
Westgate Hotel’s Santa Story Time Tea

On the waterfront, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego’s first ever Over the Top Holiday Lounge Pop-Up experience transforms the hotel’s Top of The Hyatt into a classic wintery cabin to evoke memories of cozy family holiday vacations. It’s the perfect spot to grab a seasonal cocktail and take in spectacular views of San Diego Bay from 40 floors up before settling into a requisite performance of The Nutcracker at the Civic Theatre to properly usher in the holidays. topofthehyatt.com

The thrilling season for the Padres has wrapped, but Petco Park will continue to thrum with energy on select nights in December as the Holiday Market at Petco Park returns for a third year. Shoppers are invited to purchase timed entry tickets to peruse handcrafted goods and seasonal décor while enjoying holiday treats as they take in the dazzlingly decorated Gallagher Square, with live entertainment adding even more festive flourish on select nights. padres.com/holidaymarket


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