In April, I went to San Diego, California for a work conference. I stayed a few extra days with my friend, Lisa, and tried to see as much as possible. First stop of exploration was Seaport Village. There are a bunch of specialty shops (54 of them!) and restaurants, not to mention it is on the San Diego Bay.
We ate lunch at Edgewater Grill. I had the shrimp tacos, which were delicious, and a Captain’s Mojito. I recommend sitting outside on the patio overlooking the bay.
Then we visited the famous Unconditional Surrender statue. It is ginormous and really quite stunning. Behind it sits the USS Midway Museum. There are a lot of exhibits and activities inside, but we did not have the time to go in. I think you would need at least three hours to appreciate all there is to see! Also in the same area is the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military. A statue of Bob stands in a plaza entertaining different soldiers as he did on USO tours. A speaker plays audio of one of his performances.
That night we went to Lolita’s Mexican Food (the downtown location) for dinner. I had a combo plate of two shredded beef tacos, rice and beans. This is a very casual restaurant, but probably one of the best Mexican food places around.
The second night in San Diego we went to Born and Raised for dinner. It’s located in Little Italy, and I would describe it as a steakhouse with art-deco flair. The servers wear tuxedos, everything is visually stunning, and the food was delicious. It’s on the pricier side, but well worth it.
After dinner we wandered through Little Italy and stopped at Extraordinary Desserts. They have a ton of different desserts to indulge in. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, and I think we ordered a bit too many. But, oh, were they delicious!
Night three after the conference we went to Volcano Rabbit for dinner in the Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a tequila bar and craft taco restaurant. It was pretty happening in there since it was Taco Tuesday, and the tv screens played older music videos. Right up my alley! Afterwards we stopped at Prohibition for drinks. It’s modeled to be a 1920s speakeasy, with a secret entrance and live music.
Day four, the conference ended around noon and then I was free to start my vacation! We went to the Crack Shack in Little Italy for lunch. It’s an outdoor restaurant and is known for their chicken. I had the Malibu Barbie Q sandwich, and I highly recommend it.
After lunch came the most terrifying yet fun thing we experienced in San Diego: GoCar Tours. After watching a short training video and signing waivers, you are given a helmet and the keys to a GPS-guided talking tour vehicle. You drive it like a motorcycle with the brake and accelerator being on the handlebars. I think it went about 35mph. You can choose how many hours you’d like to explore or rent it for the day. I think we drove around for almost two hours on the Then and Now Downtown/Oldtown tour. We saw Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and more. You can stop anywhere you’d like to, and once you get back on the tour path, the narrator will start right back up. Lisa and I took turns driving the car. I highly recommend trying one of these tours!
After a pit stop at the hotel to rest up and refresh, we headed out to Ocean Beach. We had dinner at Hodad’s, a well-known burger joint. It was pretty delicious. I had a cheeseburger and fries. The interior of the restaurant is very laid back and decorated with license plates and surfer gear. Lots of things to look at!
Afterwards we walked in a few of the shops, but mostly just went to check out Ocean Beach. It was a very different vibe. I don’t even know how to describe it. There are a lot of surfers and skaters. I’d probably recommend visiting during the day, and without kids.
Day five we went to Mission Beach. This was one of my favorite places. We had planned to eat at Cannonball on the boardwalk, but it was closed due to high winds (it’s a rooftop restaurant). So we ate at South Draft Mission instead. We split a giant plate of shredded beef nachos and had some good sangria.
We spent some time walking up and down the boardwalk, and we visited Belmont Park, a classic amusement park. It was very family friendly and just visually interesting. There are rides, shops, and food. Most of our day was spent sitting on the actual beach. It’s huge, it’s clean, and it’s beautiful. Word of warning though: do not bring your lunch to the beach because the seagulls will not leave you alone!
We walked to Café Bahia for dinner. It’s located in the Bahia Resort Hotel and was a bit of a walk from the beach. It has a Mediterranean feel to it, but an American menu. I had some kind of shrimp special that had watermelon in it, and a coconut cocktail. The resort itself also has a tropical garden path you can walk through and see some seals.
Day six we went to La Jolla. We started out at the La Jolla Cove to see the sea lions and seals. It’s a very pretty area. If you are more adventurous, they also have kayak tours. I was happy to just walk and take a lot of really nice pictures. If you want to explore the Sunny Jim sea cave, it’s here too. It is the only sea cave that you can get to by land. We did not go into the actual cave, but we perused the gift shop.
Then we headed to downtown La Jolla Village and looked in some shops and an art gallery. There are quite a few painted murals throughout the village. We ate lunch at George’s Ocean Terrace. Super cool rooftop view and awesome food.
After a trip back to the hotel, we went to Coronado Island across the bridge by taking a ferry. There are lots of cute shops to explore. We ate dinner at Peohe’s. I had a super yummy filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes.
Lisa and I saw a whole lot of San Diego in the time we were there. The weather was gorgeous, and I would not hesitate to go back! What's your favorite San Diego spot?