California Tower at Balboa Park
California Tower at Balboa Park

Living a few blocks away from Balboa Park makes me extremely grateful to be so close to the park’s many amazing museums. Spending an afternoon visiting museums is educational, entertaining and affordable. And now through the end of October, kids under 12 years of age get free museum admission to all 40 San Diego Museum Council member institutions that celebrate arts, cultural, and science. For the sixth year, thousands of families will be able to take advantage of the Kids Free in October program, with nearly 20,000 kids participating last year. Free admission is available for up to two kids for every adult ticket purchased. To participate, download the Kids Free in October voucher. Check out a full list of participating museums here.

San Diego Air & Space Museum
San Diego Air & Space Museum

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 of my favorite participating museums:

Once you’re ready to give your stroller a break, head to West Coast Tavern in North Park for brunch (and a drink – you’ll probably need one). Some people mistakenly think the restaurant serves something resembling bar food because it has “tavern” in its name, but I’m here to tell you it has fantastic comfort food—and other healthy options, too.

West Coast Tavern
West Coast Tavern

If you want to start with an appetizer on the lighter/healthier side, the coconut chia pudding is fantastic. It’s topped with fresh berries, raspberry jam, granola and toasted coconut. Otherwise, go for the housemade cinnamon roll with cinnamon syrup, cream cheese frosting and bacon bits.

Coconut chia pudding at West Coast Tavern
Coconut chia pudding at West Coast Tavern

For an entree, one of the menu favorites is the shrimp & grits. Having lived in the south for a number of years, I’m especially picky about my cheese grits, and these definitely pass the test. The dish comes with creamy smoked gouda grits, buttered shrimp, breakfast sausage and a sunny-side up egg.

Shrimp & grits
Shrimp & grits

If you’re in the mood for protein, try the loaded wet breakfast burrito that comes with bacon, sausage, pulled pork, scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes, topped with salsa verde, sour cream and cheese (avocado optional). You won’t be able to finish it, but you’ll have fun trying.

Loaded breakfast wet burrito
Loaded breakfast wet burrito

To drink, try one of their spicy bloody Mary’s that comes with a skewer of meat, cheese, olive, pickle, lemon and lime. For something daintier, go with the ladies choice cocktail containing rosé, grapefruit liqueur, lemon, simple syrup and soda water. Cheers to family outings!

Bloody Mary and Ladies Choice cocktail at West Coast Tavern
Bloody Mary and Ladies Choice cocktail at West Coast Tavern
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