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San Diego Travel Guide: What to do in San Diego

San Diego, California - Top things to do, see and eat

San Diego is the southernmost city of California. Famous for its beaches, surf spots, craft brewery, diverse scene and cuisine, it is without a doubt one of America’s finest cities.

USEFUL INFORMATION

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  • Transportation: The most convenient way to experience Southern California is to rent a car if you want to cover most of San Diego. The city is also abundant in Lyft/Uber cars but that will cost you more. A cheaper alternative to get to one town to the other is riding the Amtrak train, which gives you hassle-free and scenic routes that ranges from $15-$50.
  • Climate: San Diego has without a doubt the most perfect weather you can ever wish for. The average temperature is around 73°F in the summer and 57°F at its coldest. Make sure to bring a light jacket because it gets chilly at night, even during the summer.
  • Best Time To Visit: July to October
  • Helpful Apps: Yelp, Groupon, Amtrak

PLACES TO SEE

  • Old Town San Diego – considered as the birthplace of California, it takes you back to the life of early Mexican and American period. You can find specialty shops, San Diego heritage and authentic Mexican food here. Don’t forget Taco Tuesdays for good deals on tacos!
  • Gaslamp Quarter – Night life, you ask? This is definitely the place to be. It is a 16-block neighborhood that consists of a number of bars, shopping and live entertainment.
  • Balboa Park – it is one of the oldest and largest urban parks in the US. It is rich in museums – from art, history, aviation and automobile and it has 20 different gardens made for a good stroll.
  • Balboa Park – houses more than 3,500 animals. Need I say more?
  • Point Loma – gives you a scenic view of the San Diego skyline and if you’re lucky to get good weather (which is likely), you can see all the way to Mexico.
  • Carlsbad Flower Fields – fifty acres of flowers that blooms from March until May. While you’re at it, make sure to visit Carlsbad Premium Outlets right beside it for your shopping needs.
  • Encinitas – the whole town gives you a hipster-surfer vibe and is without a doubt, one of the best surf towns in the US.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

  • Surfing – there are usually surfboard rentals by the beaches. List for surf-friendly beaches are down below!
  • Skydiving – head over Pacific Coast Skydiving near the San Diego and Mexico border to jump off a plane at 10,000 feet. See a breathtaking view of the coast, San Diego and Mexico as your tandem skydive with a professional.
  • Kayak Tour – rent a kayak by La Jolla and explore its sea caves, make friends with sea lions and learn about San Diego’s marine life.
  • Paragliding – tandem paraglide in Torrey Pines to get your adrenaline up and running.
  • Hiking Spots
    • Torrey Pines State Park
    • Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail
    • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
    • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

BEACHES
* Surf-friendly spots

  • *Coronado – an island paradise and probably the best beach in San Diego. It’s peaceful, elegant and gives out a cool ocean breeze. It’s quite a nice place to enjoy a picnic.
  • *Mission Beach – a two-mile stretch of white sand, has a huge boardwalk for you to cruise your longboards, bikes and roller blades around. It is also right by Belmont Park, which is a small amusement park just in case you want that roller coaster and fried carnival food fix.
  • *Pacific Beach – just north of Mission Beach, this is where the party is at. Numerous bars align the shores and are always ready for your alcohol needs.
  • *La Jolla – offers a range of beaches for everyone’s pleasure. From diving, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking and sun bathing – there is one for every kind of traveler.
  • *Black’s Beach – an isolated beach found with a hike down Torrey Pines. It is surf-friendly and also an unofficial nude beach.
  • Del Mar North Beach – a dog-friendly beach where you can enjoy the sand and have your furry friends roam around off-leashed.
  • *Swami’s – yes, Swami’s from Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA”. It is a well-known surf spot in Encinitas for both beginner and expert surfers. It is usually where the locals go out to surf.
  • Surfside Ranch – enjoy the ocean breeze as your horseback your way to the beach and watch San Diego’s beautiful sunset.

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

  • Rockin’ Baja Lobster | Many branches
    • Mexican cuisine
    • Must try: Anything lobster, Crab Legs, Tacos and Margaritas + they have all you can eat chips and salsa (and guacamole) bar!
  • Casa de Bandini | Carlsbad
    • Mexican cuisine
    • Must try: Ensalada Fiesta Tropical, Seafood Chimichanga, Carnitas a la Michoacan, Margaritas
  • Harney Sushi | Old Town, Oceanside
    • Japanese cuisine
    • Must try: Crunchy Shrimp Sushi, Katsu Chicken, Sake
    • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Searsucker | Del Mar, Gaslamp Quarter
    • American cuisine
    • Must try: Egg + Bacon Pork Belly, Wild Blue Crab Cake, Sea bass
  • Juniper & Ivy | Little Italy
    • American cuisine
    • Must Try: Corn Cobb, Strawberry Caprese, Carne Cruda Asada, Yodel
  • Snooze an A.M. Eatery | Del Mar, Hillcrest
    • Breakfast and Brunch
    • Must try: All of their eggs benedict dishes, OMG French toast, flight of pancakes
    • Note: Make sure to come in early as they are always buzzing with customers.
  • Hash House A Go Go | 5 th Ave.
    • Breakfast and Brunch
    • Must try: Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower
    • Note: It also gets busy here often so make sure to come in early. Also, portions are humungous and are good for sharing.
  • Solterra Winery & Kitchen | Leucadia
    • Mediterranean cuisine
    • Must try: Meat and Cheese Platter, Brussels Sprouts, Pork Belly, Wines
  • Ignite Bistro & Wine Spot
    • American cuisine
    • Must try: Man Candy Bacon, Steak & Knife Burger, Lobster Bacon Mac, Wines
  • Extraordinary Desserts | Little Italy
    • Desserts, Café
    • Must try: Pavlova, Strawberry Shortcake, Dulce de Leche cheesecake
    • Note: Gluten-free options available

SHOPPING CENTERS

  • Fashion Valley – an open air shopping mall, with over 200 brand stores and is San Diego’s biggest mall
  • Las Americas Premium Outlets – it is located near the border of Mexico and the US and you can get that bang out of your buck with over the 120 outlet store choices here
  • Westfield UTC – has a three-level outdoor upscale shopping center, movie theatre and skating rink

EVENTS

  • San Diego Comic Convention - July
  • Del Mar County Fair – June to July
  • Annual LGBT Pride Parade and Music Festival – July
  • Big Bay Boom – 4 th of July Fireworks
  • San Diego Beer Week - November
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