Yvonne Howe, 42, school psychologist, and Joseph Hooper, 9
Time to burn: 1 week
“Joseph changes his mind every minute because he’s so young; one year he was into pretzels, so I took him to Pennsylvania to visit a pretzel factory; another he was into planes, so we went to the Smithsonian. Me? I like trying out the local cuisine. I always ask around, ‘Where’s the spot?’”
Go here: San Diego, California
Why now: A crush of new hotels, food trucks, and the city’s current Kidvasion freebies program are making the already family-friendly town even more appealing to parents.
What to do: Skip perpetually mobbed SeaWorld for the just-renovated Museum of Making Music ($5 to $8; 5790 Armada Dr., Carlsbad; 760-438-5996) to learn how instruments are made and test your guitar skills. Or head to the San Diego Air & Space Museum (from $7; 2001 Pan American Plaza; 619-234-8291), one of the seventeen museums in Balboa Park, where the special exhibit “How Things Fly” includes a chance to strap on wings and “fly” in a wind-tunnel simulator. For the weary parent, there are always dinners and meet-and-greets with local brewers at San Diego Beer Week (November 2 through 12; sdbw.org).
Where to stay: The new Hotel Indigo Del Mar (from $149; 710 Camino Del Mar; 858-755-1501) nods to its famous race-track neighbor with charmingly cheesy jockey-themed décor.
What to eat: There are more than 50 food trucks roaming the streets, but the one to seek out is Miho Gastrotruck (mihogastrotruck.com), which uses local ingredients to craft its fig-purée burgers and shrimp piccata flatbread. For a meatier take on thing, try San Diego magazine favorite Carnitas’ Snack Shack (2632 University Ave.; 619-294-7675). Piggy eats include pork poutine, and there’s an expansion of the outdoor patio under way. Barbecue joint Gingham (8384 La Mesa Blvd.; 619-797-1922), meanwhile, hosts monthly events with local craft breweries and movie nights during warm weather.
Buy this: San Diego’s most stylish are obsessed with Tatum Lenahan’s gemstone-encrusted jewelry, including chunky amethyst cuffs and carved coral-stud earrings. Find them at her pop-up shop in La Jolla (4545 La Jolla Village Dr.; 619-997-4096), open through January.
Also consider: Baltimore, Maryland, where you can stay at the historic Admiral Fell Inn (from $180; harbormagic.com/admiralfell) and spend an afternoon at the recently finished National Pinball Museum. The $20 admission includes unlimited play in the 70-plus-game Pinhead Gallery.