When it comes to celebrating moms, you can’t beat brunch. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is the most popular brunch day of the year in the United States – and if you hadn’t noticed, it’s already the hottest portmanteau meal in town, with lines on any old Sunday snaking around the block at popular places.
San Diego Mother’s Day brunch options include indulgent spreads at spots like the Hotel Del Coronado, Nine-Ten and AR Valentien. The hitch? You probably should have reservations by now for anywhere that takes them. (Mom-guilt voice: You don’t have reservations yet?) So try your luck at restaurants with a lot of seating or a first-come-first-serve waitlist. A wait just means more time to catch up with your favorite mom, after all.
Or save the brunch date for another weekend altogether because moms, as kids realize when they grow up, are people with a variety of interests and hobbies. Maybe yours even passed a favorite one on to you. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some quintessentially San Diego ways to celebrate Mother’s Day beyond brunch.
Whether the mom you’re celebrating claims the most eye-catching flower bed in the neighborhood or just wishes she had a green thumb, you can take her to see some of the most beautiful blooms in San Diego.
In Carlsbad, Sunday is the last chance of 2022 to check out the famous Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranchwhere you’ll find almost 50 acres of Giant Tecolote ranunculus in vibrant hues. flowerfields.com, purchase tickets in advance; $ 22 adults / $ 10 children
The San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas debuts a new exhibition this weekend. Housed in an 8,000-square-foot glass-enclosed facility, the second-annual “World of Orchids” showcases a dazzling array of orchids, one of the largest and most diverse flowering plant families in the world. The botanic garden also includes 4 miles of tranquil walking paths with gorgeous green scenery. sdbgarden.org, advance tickets strongly recommended; $ 18 adults / $ 10 children
Finally, for a free option, Balboa Park boasts a variety of pretty themed gardens throughout the grounds, easily accessible by walking paths (balboapark.org/explore/gardens). The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, which features 1,600 roses of more than 130 varieties, blooms from March to December but peaks in May.
A love of the outdoors might not be hereditary, but it is definitely fostered by outdoorsy moms. If the mom you’re celebrating is a big fan of Mother Nature, San Diego happens to be a stunning place to spend time outside.
For an easy hike with an awe-inspiring panoramic payoff, head to Torrey Pines Natural State Reserve. The Guy Fleming Trail is fairly level and less than a mile long with two scenic ocean viewpoints. The more challenging Beach Trail leads from the bluffs to a stairway down to Torrey Pines State Beach. Parking fee at the reserve’s lots ranges from $ 15 to $ 25 per car; torreypine.org
Another unforgettable (and Instagrammable) outdoor activity is kayaking in La Jolla. No experience is necessary for the guided tours that take you through the La Jolla Ecological Reserve and along the Seven Sea Caves of La Jolla, which are carved out of a 75-million-year-old sandstone sea cliff. If ocean conditions allow, you’ll get to explore inside one too. Book in advance with lajollakayak.com or other guides online.
Farmers market Mom
Some moms make food their language of love and what better way to celebrate her foodie leanings than a visit to a farmers market.
On Sundays, San Diego offers weekly markets throughout the county including: the Gaslamp Artisan Market (11 am to 4 pm), the Hillcrest Certified Farmers Market (8 am to 2 pm), the La Jolla Open Aire Market (9 am to 1 pm), and the Leucadia Certified Farmers Market (10 am to 2 pm). Sample what’s on offer at the market or gather up all the ingredients you need to take home and show off the cooking skills mom passed on to you. For more markets and address information, visit sandiego.org.
Not exactly a farmers market but in the same vein, Liberty Public Market at Liberty Station showcases goods from regional artisans, including prepared foods, wines, beer, produce, fish, pastas and pastries, as well as arts and crafts. Liberty Station also offers plentiful spots for picnicking so you can enjoy your spoils right away. libertystation.com11 am to 7 pm
Art-loving moms will proudly hang every crayon drawing on the fridge but this Mother’s Day look at some actual masterpieces with her at one of San Diego’s fine art museums.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego’s La Jolla location re-opened last month after a four-year, $ 105-million renovation that doubled its gallery space. Stop by and see the museum’s breathtaking new digs as well as an exhibition of experimental ’60 -era work by Niki de Saint Phalle, the acclaimed French artist who spent her final years living in La Jolla. The collection includes some of the artist’s vibrantly colored large-scale Nana sculptures, an extensive series exploring femininity and motherhood originally inspired by the pregnant wife of an artist friend. mcasd.org$ 25 adults / under 17 free
At Balboa Park, the San Diego Museum of Art has more than 60 impressionist works of art on display, including pieces from boldface names like Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Alfred Sisley. “Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation” is the first time these works have been shown in California and one of only two showcases in the United States. sdmart.org; $ 25 adults / $ 5 for 17 and under
To celebrate moms with a finer palate, forget about sugary bottomless mimosas and explore one or two of San Diego’s many wine and beer tasting rooms.
A classic for a reason, Poway’s Bernardo Winery was founded in 1889, making it the oldest continuously operated winery in the county, despite some ups and downs over the decades. Check the website for tasting options and reservations; the picturesque winery also hosts an annual spring arts and crafts fair this weekend (bernardowinery.com). For a more intimate tasting experience, check out Fallbrook Winery, which offers winery tours with a tasting by advance reservation only ($ 20, fallbrookwinery.com).
San Diego’s beer scene continues to boom – some call it the craft beer capital of America – so options abound, but Little Italy is an ideal place for beer lovers to spend an afternoon, with a Ballast Point Brewing tasting room (ballastpoint.com) as well as BottleCraft (bottlecraft.com), a beer and wine shop with excellent customer service and ample seating for on-site quaffing.
Stephens is a freelance writer.