When people think of California, they usually think of a blissful, 70-something degree beach paradise with good food, trendy nightclubs, lively boardwalks, sea life, shopping and activities galore. In other words, they’re thinking about San Diego. If you’re headed down, don’t miss these classic San Diego spots that will have you feeling like a local!
Snooze AM Eatery: Two words: Bloody Mary. This poppin’ breakfast bar offers some of the most interesting bloodies you’ll find in San Diego, including a delicious yellow tomato bloody and a super spicy classic. Try the French toast sampler if you can’t decide on what to order. You won’t regret it.
Urbane Café: Whether you’re looking for a healthy, refueling lunch or a healthy dinner on the go, Urbane Café is what you need during your San Diego getaway. The menu is complete with gourmet sandwiches and salads, vegetarian and gluten free options and made fresh upon ordering. The line can get pretty wild on the weekends, but it’s worth it!
Lena Craft Mexican: You can’t go to San Diego without tasting some delicious Mexican cuisine. Lena Craft Mexican is based on “eco-gastronomy” and emphasizes sustainability and traceability with all of their dishes, sourcing non-GMO corn and local ingredients in all of their dishes. Try their Cochinita Pibil – it’s a delicious pork shoulder in achiote, oinion escabeche and haberos, topped with plantains and housemade crema.
Photo: Oleg Shpyrko/Flickr Creative Commons.
Stone Brewery: Taste your way through Stone Brewery, one of San Diego’s beer gems you don’t want to miss. For only 3 bucks you get 4, 4-ounce beer samples and a taste of a special release beer! Pair it with a burger from their restaurant and you have a pretty good pregame going.
Kettner Exchange: Located in Little Italy, sip on handcrafted cocktails on a rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the city. Drinks include the Manhattan Exchange (rye, sweet vermouth, carpano bianco and angostura bitters) and the Artichoke Hold (bourbon, maraschino, Cynar and orange bitters. This upscale lounge is a great spot for kicking off your weekend.
Photo by Gary J. Wood/Flickr Creative Commons.
Pacific Beach: PB offers just about everything you want in a beach community: miles of sand and water, a popping boardwalk full of restaurants and bars, bike rentals, sun and surf. You can’t go to San Diego without visiting this lively district.
Coronado Island: Whether you want to wine and dine in a beachfront setting, shop at some seriously cute boutiques or adventure out into the water on a kayak or SeaDoo, Coronado has what you need. The 33-mile island is a little San Diego paradise, and well worth the trip. Getting there, however, you have to pass over a 2.1 mile bridge that descends 80 degrees getting into the city. It’s not for the faint of heart, so don’t look down!
Liberty Public Market: This public market offers the best of San Diego all in one place – fresh and locally sourced produce, food, beer, wine and desserts, pop up shops run by locals, crafts and art vendors and events throughout the year. If you’re in the area, the Liberty Public Market is a spot you cannot miss.
San Diego Zoo: Voted the number 1 zoo in the world, the San Diego Zoo gives you a chance to visit all of your favorite animals. It’s home to over 3,700 different animals and 650 animal species and offers tons of entertainment, from live music to enjoy to animal-inspired events like their Early Morning With Pandas exhibit. It’s also located within the massive Balboa Park, so there’s literally something for everyone.
Photo: SD Food Finds.
The Baked Bear: Located in the lively Pacific Beach, Baked Bear gives the people what they want: handcrafted ice cream hot pressed in a freshly baked, gooey donut. You can also get your ice cream stuffed between two cookies or two waffles, but why would you even do that?
MooTime Creamery: If you’re on or around Coronado Island, you can’t leave until you check out MooTime. They offer dozens of different ice cream/candy combos, but our recommendation is definitely for the Moo Tacos – ice cream filled taco shells topped with nuts and sprinkles.
Side Trip Worth Taking
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve: You’ll feel like you’re in paradise, no matter which hike you choose. The entire reserve offers dramatic, picture-perfect views of San Diego County and the Pacific Ocean and offers a breath of fresh air away from the city life of downtown San Diego. If you want to be an overachiever, wake up early to see a sunrise you’ll never forget.
Tijuana: Historically considered one of the drinking capitals of Latin America, Tijuana offers much more than just wasted kids gallivanting from bar to bar. It’s a city brimming with culture, great food, cheap drinks and fun nightlife that’s fun for couples, families and individuals looking for a great time.
Don’t Leave Until…
You go to Balboa Park! It has everything you think of when you think of San Diego, and it’s definitely worth a stop. Explore the gardens, catch a show or just pack a lunch and sprawl out on the grass with friends or family. They even have a dog park, so your furry friends can enjoy their vacation, too!