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Spending Thanksgiving in San Diego gives the holiday a fresh twist

Although Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends, it can also be a time for travel to places lacking either.

Such is the case for the University of New Mexico football team and the fans who may be following the Lobos to their final game of the season on Black Friday at San Diego State.

There is, of course, plenty to do in California’s southern city, but here are a few things to do before and after the game.

If you’re looking to chow down on some turkey and mashed potatoes before the game, you can check out Hornblower Cruises and Events (

A full-course, traditional Thanksgiving dinner is laid out for passengers and the excursion includes a 2½-hour cruise around San Diego Bay, as well as post-feast dancing.

For a more traditional setting with a few menu tweaks, the Marina Kitchen in the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina is adding some new items to the normal fare, said Sarah Weinberg-Scalo, a spokeswoman with the San Diego Tourism Authority.

“Marina Kitchen is hosting a farm-to-table buffet dinner – think a holiday classic with a modern twist – featuring everything from roasted butternut squash soup to farm- roasted root vegetables with Asian pear, watercress and apple cider to a carving station with herb-roasted, free-range turkey and Cinderella pumpkin risotto,” she said.

When it comes to entertainment, it’s hard to beat the San Diego Jazz Fest ( The tunes will be rolling and the dance floor packed at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center on Thanksgiving evening and all day Nov. 24-26.

For those looking for a little early Christmas spirit, the renowned Old Globe Theatre ( is staging its 20th anniversary of the award-winning “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Edward Watts as the Grinch. Watts appeared in Broadway renditions of “Scandalous” and “Finian’s Rainbow,” as well on national tours of “The Book of Mormon,” “Les Misérables” and “The Little Mermaid.”

“Over the course of two decades, this magical show has become a San Diego institution, introducing young people to the joys of theatre and bringing families together for the heartwarming rush of good cheer that only the live stage can provide,” artistic director Barry Edelstein said. “We are thrilled to have the brilliant Ed Watts take over the title role …This is a special time of year at the Globe, touched with the genius of Dr. Seuss and chock-full of surprise, entertainment, and joy.”

For more culture, the city’s showpiece Balboa Park ( is 1,200 acres of open space.

“My favorite place to visit in San Diego, besides the beach, is Balboa Park,” Weinberg-Scalo said. “Guests can make their own plans to explore the 17 museums in this large urban park, including hiking and biking trails, gardens and a theater complex.”

While the area is home to the famous San Diego Zoo, a plethora of museums present ample opportunities to explore art, history and foreign cultures, not to mention the outstanding beauty of the natural surroundings.

The San Diego Museum of Man ( features everything from monsters to beer history to our relationships with animals and investigating cannibalism. A highlight of the museum is a climb up the California Tower for a 360-degree, bird’s-eye view of the city.

The San Diego Museum of Art ( pays homage to Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings and houses the Edwin Binney III Collection of Indian paintings, and 19th and 20th century American paintings and sculptures.

Fly high at the San Diego Air and Space Museum (, where man’s fascination with flight begins with a model of the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon of 1783 — the first recorded manned flight — and continues right through space technology.

For a timeless stroll, Palm Canyon is 2-acre testament to the palm, with 450 of the majestic trees, including 58 species.