Looking for San Diego Recommendations

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My husband is doing some work out in California this week, so we decided to take advantage of the time his parents will be with us in Texas by having me head west to join him for a couple days. We plan to meet up in San Diego for a short, fun, no-kids, relaxing break on the California coast.

 

So far our only experience in San Diego was walking from one airport terminal to the other on our way to Hawaii, so the good news is everything in San Diego will be totally new to us. The bad news is everything will be totally new to us, and with summer ending, school starting, and all the ensuing madness I have done a very, very, very limited amount of research on how to best maximize our time there.

Our visit is short, and we just want to relax and chill for much of the time. This isn’t a case where I need pages of planned activities, but I can’t go somewhere new and not at least check out a few spots. So, I’m turning to the best travel resource I know for some last minute San Diego recommendations…you!

We are for sure staying at the Hotel Del Coronado on Hilton points for part of the trip, but for the first night we arrive we are just looking to crash somewhere a little less extravagant.

We are getting into the city in the evening and will have a car. The two main hotel options I am considering are either the US Grant which is part of the SPG Luxury Collection or a Hyatt. I can book the US Grand hotel for about $230 via the Amex Fine Hotel and Resorts Collection thanks to The Platinum Card® from American Express. Booking it that way that will provide not only the room, but also full breakfast for two, a $100 food and beverage credit we could use for dinner, 4PM late check-out, and a shot at an upgrade. For what it is worth the hotel looks pretty great.

For roughly the same price I could stay at the Manchester Grand Hyatt and put my Hyatt perks to use. My Globalist status would get us lounge access, late check-out, and a shot at an upgrade. While the return per point isn’t great, I could save cash and use 20,000 points and then also avoid the $35 per night parking fee thanks to the new Globalist perks. I’m also open to other Hyatt properties, as well or any other points-friendly option.

While in the area I would love to see La Jolla, the coves, and really the coastline in general. I have seen some morning jet ski tours that head from Mission Bay to La Jolla that seem interesting, though I’m not sure how I would do for two straight hours on the back of a jet ski. If I had to pick just one activity (other than resting and eating), it would be to see some of the coastline and maybe get out on the water.

If you have any opinions or suggestions about where to stay when we are not at the Del, affordable and good places to eat in the area, and the best route to see some of the coastline in a morning, then I would love to hear it! Thank you in advance and I can’t wait to return the favor and share some tips we learn from our time in San Diego!

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Us Grant is old and showing its age. No pool in site is a negative also.
    Have you done a status march to Kimpton yet. The suite they gave me there was too floor , balcony and beautiful

    • I’m just not sure if I’m cool enough for that property or not. I hear there is a lot of noise on the weekends, but it does look nice so certainly still on the maybe list!

      • I agree that the Andaz in San Diego not impressive. I prefer the GH Manchester. The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay is a lower cost option but if everything is the same, choose GH Manchester.

  2. Most of my visits to San Diego are during comic con so it is much crazier, but the Grand Hyatt is a great property and easily located to walk to Gaslamp and some great restaurants and bars. Cafe Sevilla is a great place for food – semi tapas, semi regular sized portions. They have an amazing Queso Fundido made from goats milk cheeses (my lactose allergic husband was thrilled to be able to eat it). If you two enjoy whisky, there is a surprising hole in the wall bar, the El Dorado Cocktail Lounge. It is a bit on the outskirts of Gaslamp but the signature and craft cocktails were great.

  3. Parking in DTSD is $$$$, right between $40-50 a night. The Marriott is in a great spot. Great views and walking distance to Gas Lamp. I believe the Hyatt is right next door. Also walking distance to Seaport Village. You can take the trolley to old town SD to get some carnitas at the Old Town Cafe.

  4. MP
    OUR favorite thing ..
    and it is low cost is rent bikes and bike from pacific beach to mission beach on the boardwalk…have late breakfast at Konos..( they r open till 2..order big breakfast #2..
    Real relaxing..won’t cost much..

    Your friends Wayne and Terri

    • I agree with Wayne that bikes on the boardwalk with coffee and breakfast at Konos in PB would be a great option. Great people watching as well.

      While The Cove is nice, there are better beaches than La Jolla. Torrey Pines is my favorite beach and also has a nice little hike to the cliffs.

  5. The Hyatt near the convention center is a standard Hyatt but near the Gaslamp and the air craft carrier. I liked it for its location. The pool will be full of families on the weekend though.

    I suggest heading out to Pacific Beach and walking or riding a bike along the boardwalk. And when out there go to Kono’s for breakfast, if you’re lucky you can get one of the seats that overlooks the ocean.

  6. Hotel: Grand Hyatt ( it’s near Seaport Village) US Grant is old. Best views in SD: Carrillo National Monument in Point Loma. Best lunch with a view: Island Prime C Level on Shelter Island. If there is a Padres game, go to the top floor of the Marriott on 6th St- there is a rooftop bar “Altitude” where you can enjoy a cocktail and overlooks the ballfield. Super cool night views!

  7. Go to Valle de Guadalupe in Ensenada,Mexico 2 Hrs driving from San Diego. Take the toll road. In Valle de Guadalupe there are some of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America!!!

  8. Just returned from a stay at US Grant and while the room was nice I found the whole experience kind of meh.

    I’d go with the good ol Hyatt with a bay view.

  9. If you have the now expired Fairmont stay the Del Mar in North county San Diego is one way f the top 3 I have stayed at (no need for a Suite upgrade for just two if you).

    That includes Al Maja and a few Waldorf Astorias (Rome and Jersusalem)

  10. I live in La Jolla. How about a night the Hyatt La Jolla so you can explore the beaches and village for a day before checking into Hotel Del?

  11. Hyatt Regency La Jolla for only 16k points. It’s not coastal La Jolla but literally up the road so you can be at the cove in 10 mins. Try The Cottage for breakfast or Puesto for lunch. There is also a Japengo on site with a decent happy hour.

    • Considering that, but just don’t have a good feel for if it is a PITA to get around the area and head in and out of the city.

    • Wow! You are getting a lot of conflicting advice!!! I’m a San Diego native, long time MP follower and we have several mutual friends. Assuming you are a Globalist or Guest of Honor, stay at the Manchester (hands down best Regency Club lounge) and request a bay view. The Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad (50 minute drive from downtown) is also nice and has a spa. Hyatt Regency La Jolla has a crumby lounge! Andaz- meh! While in La Jolla eat lunch at Eddie Vs. Gorgeous view!! La Jolla breakfast–Brockton Villa. Famous for French Toast. If you want to eat where locals eat, go to Miguel’s in Coronado. Honestly the food is so-so… the queso dip is to die for though! Pt Loma Seafood is another local place– super casual. Great food! I’m-n-out for drive though hamburgers. PM me for their secret menu. Not sure about Jet skiing, but La Jolla Kayak (often on Groupon) is a fun easy water experience. Feel free to pm.

  12. I’ve had several stays over the past 5 years at the Grand Hyatt Manchester, the US Grant, the Andaz, the Palomar (Kimpton) and the Marriott. I left Hyatt this year after the WoH changes, but would still recommend you go with the GH Manchester – particularly if they don’t appear to be crazy during your dates. It is a big convention hotel, so I’d suggest calling/emailing the staff to see how your dates look for occupancy. I’ve had some great upgrades there (one of my largest suites ever) as well as many stays where there was no possible upgrade so be advised that it is very YMMV. Even w/o an upgrade, it has one of the better Club Lounges and most of the rooms received a full refresh in the past 2-3 years.

    2nd choice would probably also be Hyatt with the Andaz. US Grant is overdue for an update as is the Westin. The Marriott is known for limited upgrades so get ready for the same exact hotel room you would have anywhere else. Palomar is a nice property with some style, but I avoid them as their limited footprint means I could never get real status. Hope that Del Corando is a good experience for you guys – I found the grounds nice, but the the hotel was pretty underwhelming for my wife and I.

    As for activities, I will be watching for feedback on the jet ski tour as it sounds really interesting. Otherwise, you have a wealth of great restaurants in and around DT and the Gaslamp – just check Chowhound. I would second the bicycle recommendation as there are some great, easy rides around the city and along the water. Also, if you have any interest in craft beer – San Diego is very much on the map!

  13. Mommypoints,

    Would recommend the first night either the Hyatt Regency at University Town Center (near Lajolla) or either right near the airport at the Homewood Suites Liberty Station.

    The Hyatt Regency has a nice club and pool while near some great restaurants.

    The Homewood Suites, personally one of my favorites, is walking distance to some great restaurants to include Point Loma Seafood and Mitch’s. Definitely in a very nice area right near the airport right on the harbor. Parking is very expensive in town…I just stayed at the Manchester Grand Hyatt and paid 35 bucks a night for self parking.

    Must do’s while downtown San Diego include a visit to the USS Midway/ Seaport Village area and the gas lamp….even a Padres game would be great!

    Your Coronado visit will be lovely. The entire island is in its own bubble of happiness.Have fun and enjoy the best weather in the world!!!

  14. I’ve stayed at the Sheraton La Jolla several times, and enjoyed its resort feel. It’s 10,000 points/night, so roughly the same “points value per night” as the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. They do charge for parking, but you can often find parking on the street, which is safe. (Driving into Balboa Park is no problem; not sure how hard it is to find parking downtown.)

  15. I’ve made a lot of trips to SD over the years. My favorite is Tower 23 for the beach vibe, great views (if you’re lucky), and nice rooms. Used to be very affordable too but not the time I looked.

    U.S. Grant is so so but great value on FHR. I wouldn’t recommend any of the other chain options (Sheraton, Hyatt) except for the Park Hyatt Aviara which is quite far north.

  16. My husband and I stayed at the US Grant several years ago, and we really enjoyed it. It’s old, to be sure, but still charming and unique. We also stayed for a night at Hyatt Mission Bay on the way home from Maui and enjoyed it, as well, though it’s admittedly more of a family atmosphere. The Omni is another nice place in the Gaslamp District.

    One of my favorite, unique dinners anywhere was at Gaslamp Strip Club in SD. Look it up – it’s not what you think. 🙂 The cook-your-own aged steaks were excellent, sides were delicious, and drinks were also excellent. We just enjoyed the friendly, cool vibe so much.

    Listen MommyPoints, I’ve been reading your site for years and we’re as good as BFFs at this point, so I need for you to take this suggestion to heart. GO TO RICHARD WALKER’S PANCAKE HOUSE and order the baked apple pancake for breakfast. There may be a short wait, but I’m telling you, it’s the most memorably delicious food I have ever put into my mouth and you cannot leave San Diego without tasting it. I promise. I’m serious. Go. 🙂

    Against my husband’s better judgement, we also did a Segway tour around SD, and it was A BLAST. Hilarious and awesome way to see the city. Next time we go without our girls, we’ll be doing the same around La Jolla. Super fun… USS Midway was also surprisingly awesome! I thought I’d be bored by it but we loved it.

    Have fun! I love, love, love San Diego.

  17. I was super disappointed with Hyatt Regency La Jolla. I do travel a lot and I’m a Globalist, so that might play in… super expensive parking, not located near anything, really mediocre Regency Club! I wouldn’t stay there!

  18. We stayed at the GH Manchester in March 2016 with Diamond status and really enjoyed it. I used a suite upgrade and it was a very nice/large suite. There is also a great Regency Club with wonderful views.

    We enjoyed the hotel so much that we are returning later this year.

  19. Stay: Grand Hyatt. It’s awesome and in a great location. For activities, you MUST (repeat: must) visit the USS Midway. It’s amazing.

  20. GH Manchester was great. They upgraded us to a huge 2 BR suite with 2.5 bathrooms and a great view. Super location. Great staff. Just book it.

    • That is where we are booked. It was my gut instinct but just wasn’t sure. Thanks to everyone for advice and ideas!

  21. We just stayed at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, with our two kids. Highly recommend. Right out the back door is Seaport Village, with shops, restaurants, live music, a carousel, and plenty of places to just sit and eat an ice cream cone, or walk along the water. Your kids will love it. We couldn’t drag them away from a fire eater doing a free show. Fun guy in the magic shop too, who showed them tricks. Truly a great place to stay with kids.

  22. I’ve lived in San Diego for the last 15 years and love your blog. My wife and I have a 2 and 5 year old and try to live swanky on points whenever possible with free flights/hotels/staycations. Your tips are great. I’m sure you will love the city.

    The Manchester Hyatt has an excellent bar on the top floor, but the rest of the property is just ok. Good options downtown/gaslamp are the Andaz (which has a nice rooftop bar/pool area), the US Grant (older/smaller but nice rooms and a great manhattan in the bar), and the new Pendry boutique hotel. If you’re downtown Friday the 25th, you should get tickets to the Gaslamp Comedy show at the Tipsy Crow bar. It’s always a ton of fun and it’s central to lots of fun bars and some live music.

    You might want to stay away from downtown and do the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines–where you can hike in the morning through a Torrey Pines State Park and the surrounding beaches, then take the scenic drive to Coronado for your stay. The Grand Colonial in La Jolla is a nice and central property to explore the La Jolla cove and related areas by foot. Further north is the Hyatt Aviara (which is 45 minutes north from the SAN airport) which is a beautiful property but probably too far out for a quick weekend.

    For an adult night out, the gaslamp is good with many dining options (Seersucker for fish and trendy food, Cowboy Star and Flemings for steak, Roy’s for Cal/Hawiaan fusion, Cafe Chloe for French Bistro food and an easy walk to the East Village Tavern and Bowl) but I am partial to Liberty Station, a converted Naval Training Center with a public market and a handful of great restaurants (Solare, Buena Forchetta, Stone, Soda & Swine, and many food stalls inside the market). It is very walkable and fun to walk , and it’s a short drive/uber from downtown. The area also has a new/nice Mariott and Hilton property in the park that rent kayaks/SUPs to launch into the bay if you choose to stay here (and parking will be free instead of super expensive downtown).

    Good luck on the adult weekend. Enjoy San Diego, it is fantastic.

  23. Another San Diego local here who’s followed your blog for several years but hardly posts (I use your t-shirt though). The hotel scene is constantly changing and I don’t stay in hotels here so I don’t want to comment on that much. Dining and things to do… Coronado Brewing Company has great craft beer and very underrated food, Lobster West (more of a lunch place), Miguel’s a nice hidden Mexican spot that’s been around forever. You would also do very well picking up some sandwiches/grub from Boney’s Market on Coronado and eating someplace with a water view.

    As for breakfast, I hate to say but Kono’s is overrated but if you go maybe you will have a better experience. I would instead go for the french toast at any of the Mission’s 3 locations (downtown, Pacific Beach, North Park). If you go up north, Jake’s is a nice spot with ocean views for a splurge dinner out. San Diego has a little something for everybody. I hope you enjoy our town as much as I enjoy your blog.

    From a father of a 2 year old who has managed to get his wife somewhat interested in miles/points.

  24. Welcome to San Diego. A hike at the Torrey Pines Sate Natural Reserve is a must. The trail loops take you from the reserve down to the beach and back to the parking lot. Breathtaking overlooks, rare native plants and pines, and beautiful rock formation are part of the experience. The hike level is easy to medium. So enjoy what San Diego has to offer.

  25. Ex San Diego resident. Long time reader of yours, 1st tome caller. San Diego zoo is top notch. San Diego Wild Animal park as well, a bit north near Escondido. Balboa Park is a nice walk, green space, museums, Imax, Spanish mission architecture, very close to downtown. Coronado and the Del is nice. Early 1900s feel, walnut paneling in lobby, step back in time (now Hilton). Old Town San Diego is nice but touristy (but you are one). Same for Seaport Village but I still go there. Be aware the ocean water is cold, 60s on a good day. Cool thing around Del Mar and Carlsbad to watch is seeing para sail surfing (surfing with a para sail and doing flips and 10 foot jumps off top of waves).

    Like any city just avoid rush hour and you’ll be ok. The drive across the Coronado bridge is a nice view although someone has to watch the road. Cabrillo Lighthouse is a good view of Coronado and downtown.

    Try a hole in the wall Mexican fast food: Robertos, Albertos, Aibertos, Rubertos. Carne Asada burrito. To die for.

  26. WOW!! What great responses from all your loyal followers. This just proves to me that my hometown of San Diego really is America’s finest city. I don’t have first hand experience at the Manchester Grand Hyatt but it has perfect location with Seaport Village and the Gaslamp District within walking distance.
    Walking around Balboa Park, visiting some museums (if that is your thing) and spending a few hours at the Zoo are options too. It really IS a fantastic zoo.
    As others have noted hiking around Torrey Pines is beautiful and since you are looking for coastal ideas I would start here and then head south into La Jolla. It is very close. The drive along the coast passes the Cove which is gorgeous. If you can find a space to park stop and walk down. Take a swim. Then keep driving south along the coast. You will run into Pacific Beach. You could walk or rent bikes along the boardwalk. There are many good casual places to eat lunch. If you have enough time (I hope you guys are early risers) head up to Cabrillo National Monument. It is one of our most scenic spots. Enjoy the view of the coast and the skyline. Then head down to Point Loma Seafoods for some great casual seafood.
    When you are in Coronado if you haven’t already done it you could walk around town or on the beach or bike around. The sights are nice and some houses historic. It is very quaint.
    There is so much to see and do here that you will just have to return soon with your girls.
    Enjoy your visit and I can’t wait for your review!!

  27. Since it seems like everyone here has the hotels covered…

    Taco Surf in Pacific Beach for Breakfast Burritos, and Tacos El Gordo for Tacos.

  28. First night stay at the Doubletree in Little Italy – it’s 5 – 10 min. from the airport (they have a free shuttle from the airport – save parking fees & get your rental car later the next day). The next day you can walk to the Crack Shack in Little Italy for lunch & it’s also a nice walk to Balboa Park, where the SD zoo & a lot of other stuff is.

  29. Count me in as another local who loves MP. I lived on Coronado for years so I have a few suggestions there…

    If you and hubby are looking for something unique and romantic, you can drive just 10 min down the strand from the Hotel Del and do a private gondola ride through the canals at the Cays. Driver’s sing in Italian while you eat chocolate covered strawberries. Look up gondolacompany (http://www.gondolacompany.com/) for more info. It’s lots of fun and very close to the Hotel Del.

    You can also take the ferry from Coronado Ferry Landing over to downtown (lands near the Midway Museum aircraft carrier) and back for pretty cheap. Leaves regularly (30 min or so). The Midway is fun to explore, but not very romantic. Seaport Village is a short walk South and also near the GH.

    Miguel’s is a good Coronado local joint as someone mentioned and literally a 5 min walk from the Hotel Del.

    Of course, there are other go-to sites like the SD Zoo, Balboa Park, Point Loma Lighthouse, Mt Soledad in La Jolla. If you want to get on the water they have kayak tours at the cove.

    If you are here on a weekday note that the majority of the base on Coronado gets off at 2:30pm so bridge traffic gets bad then.

    Have fun in San Diego!

    Clay

  30. If you have time, doing a segway tour (Another Side of San Diego) is pretty cool way to see quite a bit of SD in 2.5 hours. It was definitely one of our favs when we went a few years ago. I agree with Kathy about Brockton Villa for breakfast or least lunch in La Jolla. We did lunch at Brockton Villa, then La Jolla Cove (great views with sea lions), and La Jola Shores Beach. We drove up to Torrey Pines State Reserve with a stop at Torrey Pines Gliderpoint (flytorrey.com) which is pretty laid back place to grab a drink and watch the hang gliders and enjoy the incredible views.

  31. We stayed at the Andaz Gaslamp and it was great. It was also a date night without the kids and was a cool atmosphere.
    Had dinner at the Marina Kitchen at the Marriott Marquis, great view of the marina from their balcony.
    Go check out a Padres game, their stadium is ranked near the top of every “experts” list. (It’s in my top 5 and I’ve been to them all)
    The jet pack adventure out in the bay was awesome also.
    http://www.jetpackamerica.com/phone/book-now-sd.html
    Not cheap but memorable and a ton of fun.

  32. Hi Summer!

    If you’re wanting to get to La Jolla and see some coast, then don’t mess around with staying downtown – go to La Jolla! Consider the La Jolla Shores Hotel or La Jolla Cove Suites. San Diego and surrounding areas are pretty compact and easy to get to so shouldn’t be a problem for you and the kiddos.

    If you want to be close to Coronado, check out the Loews Coronado Bay Resort – good one for kids, but may be pricier than you’re looking for.

    If you want to stick to points, maybe the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay? It would be better for kids (3 water slides and a childrens pool) and still close to everything you want to do, and La Jolla isn’t that far away.

    Carlsbad wouldn’t be bad either and the kids would love staying at the Legoland hotel I’m sure!

    Carrick

  33. We went to San Diego this past spring. My favorite thing we did was look at the seals and sea lions at La Jolla (but that’s also quite the drive for about 10 minutes of looking unless you want to go all the fancy stuff in that area as well). If you are staying near la jolla, you might check it out. I was bummed we didn’t have time to go to the USS Midway, I heard its amazing. We also rented bikes and biked over on coronado island. On Coronado, I have eaten at Miguel’s (Mexican) and Yummy Sushi (obviously sushi). Both are good–Miguel’s has 6 locations in San Diego. Its not authentic Mexican food which you can find abundantly in parts of San Diego–you might seek recommendations for best place for that. Miguel’s does have really good margaritas though (they are only open until 9:30 or 10:00 at night at the Coronado location). I would liken it more to an upscale Mexican restaurant. Also, if you haven’t had it before, you could plan on getting In and Out Burger. Of course, on a kids free trip, I personally wouldn’t waste one of my meals on fast food, even In and Out Burger.

    I was not a huge fan of Legoland (we took our son up there one day). It just doesn’t compare to Disney lol

    Also, I liked the pacific beach area restaurants. We rented a house on Mission Beach but would drive to Pacific Beach to eat. For some night time amusement park history, you could check out Belmont Park if you want to enjoy a (very small) amusement park with just you and the husband. But again, not sure that’s what you want to be doing on a kids free trip when that is something you could do with the kids if you took a family trip to San Diego.

    Sorry I’m not more help lol

  34. Mommy Points, I know it wasn’t one of the options you listed but Crystal Pier Hotel (they’re really cottages) is literally on a pier over the ocean and it is an amazing experience-the waves will rock you to sleep at night. I encourage you to visit La Jolla. The Cove particularly has some to-die-for views and lots of seals. Enjoy your trip and thanks for your blog. It has saved my family scads and introduced us to some wonderful places.

  35. Hi Mommy Points,

    Not sure if anyone’s mentioned this, but my favorite evening stroll is on Harbor Island (not really an island) because there are not a lot of tourists and you get a wonderful view of downtown and the Navy base side of Coronado Island. I know it’s not Hyatt or SPG, but the Hilton San Diego Airport Harbor Island Hotel is a decent middle ground hotel with little airplane noise and harbor/marina views. And, being that you’re getting in at the evening, it’s close to the airport.

    As for suggested places to eat:
    1) Cheeseshop – La Jolla shores, old school mom and pop sandwich shop. Try a lamb or pork loin sandwich and a sweet molasses oatmeal cookie and bring 1 block to La Jolla Shores Beach.
    2) Liberty Station – It’s a former Naval Training Station (my Dad trained there) turned into a multi purpose community with 2 hotels, public spaces, restaurants, breweries and even a public market. There’s bound to be something there that you will enjoy (Soda and Swine, Con Pana, etc). Cheers!

  36. You guys are all awesome! I think you all helped me into a decent plan that uses points, gets us on a bike, and on the water…and solidified that it sounds like we need a longer visit with the girls in the future as there is no way to even do 1/10th of these great ideas on our visit!

    Can’t wait to experience it and share how it all works out, but thanks again. You guys are the best and I hope this list inspires others on their San Diego adventures as well!

  37. MP- cannot wait to read about your results.

    I am taking my family (total of 13 bodies) to SD for Christmas this year (On points of course!)

    Have a great time!

  38. With all these awesome recommendations, as all of us enthusiastic responders don’t leave you two much time to chill and relax as you said you wanted to do!! The Del will certainly be a fine place to do that and many fine eats close by.
    Whatever you decide on should just wet your whistle to return for a longer stay with your girls!
    If you are coming later this week the weather should be perfect. I’d love to run into you while you are out and about. I hope san Diego lives up to its reputation of America’s Finest City!!!
    Have fun.

  39. Kellogg Park in La Jolla shores. Cute playground in the sand. There are a few small restaurants where you can walk and pick up some lunch or pack a lunch and eat at the beach. The beach and boardwalk (is that what they call it on the west coast?) is smaller but way less crowded than the other beaches and a little bit more of a family vibe. Plenty of street parking. Then you can make your way south to the coves (drive). Or you can end your morning in La Jolla shores when the kids are tired of seeing what mom wants to see. My 18 month old loved it when we were there last summer.

  40. I lived in San Diego for five years and miss it every day. Hope I can bring some insight!

    Both the zoo and the Safari Park are well worth your time if you have any interest in animals. I went to one or the other every month and never got bored. They are truly among the best zoos in the world and not a “for kids only” experience.

    The zoo is centrally located and within Balboa Park, which can be a great area to walk around. I never heard anything good about the museums around the park and therefore never went.

    The Tex-Mex food is outstanding, and fish tacos are the local specialty. I’d suggest stopping at any small, dingy-looking taco shops you happen to pass by. Another interesting phenomenon in SD are the small independent liquor store / sandwich shops, which are great places to pick up lunch to go.

    I would suggest putting the beach low on your list of priorities. The water is honestly cold and dirty. Instead, I’d suggest going for a walk along Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma. There’s some pretty nature around SD (e.g. Torrey Pines), but be advised that you will be sharing it with 10,000 of your closest friends, particularly on the weekends.

    Hope you have fun!

  41. Trip has become very much in jeopardy thanks to TS Harvey back home…I’m going to throw a pity party if I have to put all of these great suggestions on hold for now, but if that does happen you can be sure I am going to plan an even longer trip next time!

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