Looking for something fun to do on the weekend? Go outside and explore everything San Diego has to offer. Even residents who have lived here their entire life have yet to discover everything in our beautiful city. There are so many unique spots to visit and explore, you will never run out of things to do. If you’re an adventurer, keep reading to find your next mission. If you choose to visit these locations, please be respectful of the areas.
Musical Instrument/Bridge on 25th Street – Golden Hill/Sherman Heights
Lining the railing of the bridge across the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway is a carillon (chromatic bells) that play a song when you play them in sequence. Created by artist Roman de Salvo, you can enjoy this musical instrument by bringing along a pipe, or stick to hit it with. A fun place to bring along kids or music lovers. Play a tune, and then go enjoy one of the delicious spots to eat at in Golden Hill.
Mushroom Caves – Solana Beach
This short hike at Annie’s Hiking Trail offers you scenic secret caves and footsteps carved out of sandstone. Although it is not a strenuous hike, the sandstone canyon is fun spot to explore with friends, family, kids and even your dog. Bring your camera, some water, and an adventurous attitude and you will have a fun time.
Savage Dam – Chula Vista
Originally constructed in 1897 by the Southern California Mo0untain Water Company using a steel and earth fill structure, the original “Otay Dam” burst in 1916 from heavy rains. The dam sent a 40-foot wall of water downstream and destroyed bridges, buildings, watching away tons of wreckage and sediment into the San Diego Bay and even killed 11 Japanese farmers. It was then rebuilt in 1918 as “Savage Dam” (cleverly named) and has been functional since. Although the dam is a restricted area, you can still visit it on the hiking trails nearby to see for yourself, it’s quite the sight!
Smuggler’s Cave – Jacumba
This fun hike offers you a step into history. The Smuggler’s Cave is a known hiding spot for outlaws and immigrants and Native Americans. In 1875, the Campo Stone Store was raided by a bandit who was shot in the shoulder and went to hide out in this Smuggler’s Cave. He was later found dead in the cave. In the early 1900’s, there were Chinese immigrants being smuggled across the Mexican border who were seeking refuge in the cave. Border patrol found out and then kept a close eye on the area. More bandits found refuge in the cave in 1911 when Tuso de la Toba and his gang were running from Mexican and American federals. The gang was caught and a large amount of loot was found hidden in the cave. You can explore this cave after venturing half a mile from the Valley of the Moon trail. Coordinates for the cave location are 32.63490, -116.09223. This area is known for drug smuggling and is crawling with border patrol. Proceed with caution!
Jamul Kiln – Jamul
Having a reputation for being haunted, the Jamul Kiln, also known as the Jamul Cement Works, was built in 1891 and is 130 feet tall, still intact. The kiln was an idea created by Maria Amparo de Ruiz who was married to the American army captain, Henry Barton. Malaria took Barton’s life in 1969, leaving Maria and their two children in ownership of a giant piece of land. Maria tried using the land for farming castor beans and built a water reservoir to irrigate the lands. In the 1880’s she tried to get her foot wet in the cement industry. She built the kiln and then when the German man she hired to train her how to use it never showed up, the kiln became a failed business venture. Explore this old piece of San Diego history by taking a moderate hike through Jamul.