I have recently had the chance to spend an amazing weekend in San Diego, a place that mixes Southern California and Mexican routes to generate an wonderful and lively City. If you are looking to spend an American Holiday avoiding the usual places such as NYC, LA or MIAMI, San Diego is a place that I would suggest.
Downtown San Diego (aka The Gaslamp Quarter)
This historical neighbourhood is the home of many restaurants, bar, clubs and shops. One of the most interesting spots is Westfield Horton Plaza. While it is not the best mall I have ever been, it is one of the most characteristics, as the whole architecture is based on the book “Alice in Wonderland”.
Seaport Village and the USS Midway AirCarrier are definetely worth a visit.
One of the places I appreciated the most is Old Town, the birthplace of California. Even if quite touristy, the place is enriched by the number of interesting, an unusual, museums, shops and restaurants. Make sure you visit the “Casa de Estudillo”, an amazing historic adobe house from 1827 and the Wells Fargo Museum. Also if it happens you go there in the Halloween Period, make sure you visit on the Dia de Los Muertos (November 01) for the parade.
If you are feeling hungry, Cafe Coyote has the best mexican food I had to date. (If you are a big group make sure you book a table).
One of the cultural centres of the cities, Balboa Park is an incredible artistry place where you can spend a relaxing and inspiring weekend. Street artists surround the place with dances and songs and I also had the chance to visit a Japanese Flower Show in Casa del Prado. Apparently in the weekends there’s also a Classic Music Rehearsal, but I didn’t manage to find it. Make sure you visit the Botanical Building.
Do not miss a visit to the beautiful Coronado Island and its beautiful beaches. And if you are a movie fun Coronado Hotel was the place where one of the best comedies was shot: Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe.
La Jolla Beach
Just about 30 minutes drive up north you will find a beach town called La Jolla, home of amazing sceneries and good restaurants. Make sure you go and visit the Sea Lions on the beach, they are quite smelly but they are worth keeping your breath for few minutes. Don’t have a car? Don’t worry there is a bus from Old Town that will take you there in around 40 minutes.
Daytime or Night time, Hillcrest is the place the be with its number of cafes and bars you won’t get easily bored. While most of the bars are aimed to a LGBT community I can assure you nobody I know has been disappointed by this neighbourhood. And if you are there in the weekend, most of the places offer a bottomless mimosas deal for few bucks.
While the most popular place is probably Mo’s, I think #1 Fifth Avenue was much more friendly and with far better drinks.
A few tips for your trips:
- The Hop On Hop Off trolley tour is the easiest way to visit the city and it’s main landmarks if you have few days.
- If you prefer, as I do, using public transport, do a Compass Card and with $5 daily pass you will be able to use any bus or train in the area (and they are quite good for American Standards). If you don’t have a Compass Card, buses only use cash and they need the exact change.
- From Taco Tuesday to Thirsty Thursday you will find a daily day of the week, so check out google before heading out.
More infos on San Diego
Article Written by Maurizio Boatto
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