Weekend Getaway: San Diego, California

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Now that winter is in full swing, it might be time to start preparing for a sunny, warm escape. Of course, there are plenty of places south you can travel to, but going west is an equally viable option. San Diego is a California city ideal for a winter getaway but can be enjoyed at any time of year due to the temperate weather and many activities available. Keep reading to learn more about a weekend getaway to San Diego, California. 

san diego california

History

Sunny and 75 degrees all year round, San Diego is the second-largest city in California and boasts some of the most IG-worthy views of the Pacific Coastline. San Diego County is made up of 18 cities with the most popular being La Jolla, Chula Vista, and Coronado. Each subset is unique and charming with a diverse group of inhabitants and features a ton of exciting things to do. San Diego was originally a small city but after the addition of major military facilities in the late 1800s, the city grew tremendously. Now, the area serves as a base to more than 100,000 United States Military men, women, and families {according to the San Diego Military Advisory Council}. 

Visiting San Diego is easier and more affordable than ever. Whether traveling solo, as a couple, or with friends or family, there is something to do for everyone. 

Flights

Flights from Newark {as well as Laguardia and JFK} are cheap and easy. Nonstop, round trip will cost around $350 and can be anywhere from five to six hours, depending on weather conditions. Remember, San Diego is located in the Pacific Time Zone, which sets visitors from the East Coast back three hours. That means three extra hours of soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful scenery once you arrive. A window seat on this cross country trek will make seeing the Grand Canyon from above something to remember. 

See More: Weekend Getaway:  San Juan, Puerto Rico

Where to Stay

San Diego is made up of 18 neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. While staying Downtown might seem like the best area to book accommodations, there are so many other beautiful areas to consider when scheduling a trip out here. Check out these locations to see which area seems like the best fit. 

La Jolla

La Jolla, which means “the jewel” in Spanish, is a beautiful coastline town, home to several iconic surfing spots, gorgeous boutiques, and trendy restaurants. We recommend renting an Airbnb right on the water for the best view. Be sure to check out the surf; even beginners can ride the waves with surfing lessons or witness the breathtaking Bird Rock sunset. George’s at the Cove {1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla} is a top-notch, must-visit restaurant right on the cliffs, overlooking the Pacific.

Coronado Island

Coronado Island is one of the most popular places to visit and stay in San Diego. The famous Hotel del Coronado {1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado} is also on the island and a great experience for visitors to try.. Other great options include The Glorietta Bay Inn {1630 Glorietta Boulevard} and the oh-so-charming El Cordova Hotel {1351 Orange Avenue}. Both come highly recommended by visitors. Escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown, take a walk along the water, and shop the boutiques that line the streets. This is the place to stay if relaxing is on the “to-do list.”

Old Town San Diego 

Old Town San Diego is a charming spot to stay if history, architecture, and ghost stories are on the radar. This area was the first Spanish settlement in the 1800s and is even listed as a national historic spot in California. There are tons of great Mexican restaurants in Old Town, complete with beautiful decor and live music. Casa Guadalajara {4105 Taylor Street} is a popular spot for foodies, drawing everyone in for the Guadalajara Chimichanga. The Cosmopolitan Hotel {2660 Calhoun Street} is an iconic 1800s historic location that offers a unique experience of history and hospitality. Be sure to visit The Whaley House {2476 San Diego Avenue} if ghost hunting is a must-do. 

Downtown + The Gaslamp District 

Downtown and The Gaslamp District are two of the most highly-coveted places to stay in San Diego. Central to almost everything, this area offers an array of culture, food, and things to do. The Sofia Hotel {150 W. Broadway} is a chic place to stay and is close to so many popular spots. The restaurants, nightlife, and even Petco Park {100 Park Boulevard}, where the Padres play, are all close by and easily accessible in this area.

What to Eat

Being on the Mexico border has its perks, making San Diego well-known for its Mexican foods and fish tacos. With tons of authentic restaurants, visitors can enjoy the simple luxuries of homemade dishes. 

The Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill {3667 India Street}

seaafood san diego

{Photo credit: Facebook}

The Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill is a great option for those seeking some local fresh fish. Try anything from chilled seafood to tacos. 

Mike’s Taco Club {5060 Newport Avenue}

Another popular choice is Mike’s Taco Club {5060 Newport Avenue}, right on the Ocean Beach Pier. It has been said that they have the best carne asada tacos in the area. 

Other Dining Options

Other locals sing the praises of Cafe Sevilla {353 5th Avenue} for small plates and tapas, Barbusa {1917 India Street} for the Granchio, City Tacos {multiple locations} for the Especial, and El Zarape {multiple locations} for fish tacos and the surf and turf burrito.

What to Do

Being a major city in the U.S., San Diego has no shortage of things to do — discover a few below. 

Go to the San Diego Zoo {2920 Zoo Drive}

The San Diego Zoo, located right in the heart of Balboa Park, is a must-visit spot in the area. They are committed to providing environments for plants and animals to thrive and reproduce which helps to prevent extinction. The zoo houses nearly 3,500 animals, each in their own respective environment natural to that species. 

Visit Balboa Park 

Balboa Park is home to more than 15 different museums, gardens, and art exhibits in a nearly 1,000-acre area. The grounds are beautifully kept and even include The San Diego Zoo {2920 Zoo Drive}. Be sure to check out El Prado, a picturesque area that includes many museums as well as stunning architecture and outdoor areas to enjoy. Also in Balboa Park is the Spanish Village Art Center and Botanical Building and Lily Pond. The grounds are relaxing yet invigorating. 

Visit Mission Bay 

Mission Bay which includes Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Sunset Cliffs, is a must-visit spot for relaxing, dining, and enjoying the culture of San Diego. During the day swimming, paddle boarding, sailing, and fishing are always popular activities. At night, join in on a bonfire near the beach and try some of the best fish tacos in the country. This area is home to many locals and hosts tons of visitors each year. And with 75-degree temps all year round, the beach is always a great choice. 

Read More: Weekend Getaway: Austin, Texas 

Head to Coronado Island {Across the San Diego Bay from Downtown} 

With its sandy, white beaches, this resort town is home to so many notable places, including The Hotel del Coronado. Many visitors flock to the beautiful beaches, ride bicycles along the shore, and shop the trendy boutiques on the island. Accessible by ferry or the Coronado Bridge {which is a breathtaking ride}, this hotspot is a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the main Downtown area of SD.

Visit the Gaslamp Quarter {Downtown San Diego} 

The Gaslamp Quarter is the hub for dining, entertainment, and nightlife in the city. Filled with adventurous restaurants, bars, clubs, and other spots, this area of San Diego is the place to be. There are tons of exciting festivals happening throughout the year, however, the SoCal locals can always find a reason to celebrate. Cafe Sevilla {353 5th Avenue} is a local hot spot for small plates and tapas located right in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

Head to Little Italy 

Little Italy is one of the most visited and oldest parts of the city. Informally renamed as “Top Chef Alley,” visitors and locals come here for the flourishing menus of so many popular restaurants. A favorite amongst locals is Barbusa {1917 India Street}, which features a modern, Sicilian menu, homemade pasta, seafood, and a vibrant drink menu. Saturday mornings are for farmers’ markets, so be sure to stop by for some fresh food.

Petco Park {100 Park Boulevard} 

san diego zoo

{Photo credit: @sandiegozoo}

Petco Park is home to the San Diego Padres and is one of the most interactive and beautiful baseball stadiums in the country. Great seats are very affordable and games are always a fun event. Within the stadium are many restaurants and even a mini baseball field for kids to play on. Be sure to try a grilled fish taco from Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill. Kick back and enjoy the game.

Other activities include visiting La Jolla, Torney Pines, Old Town, Sunset Cliffs, and taking a cruise around the harbor

Southern California is a gorgeous spot to visit for friends, family, couples, and anyone who wants to experience the West Coast. The weather is always nice, the people are even nicer, and San Diego is just a feel-good city with something to do for everyone. Until then, “You stay classy, San Diego.”

Have you visited San Diego? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments! 

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Written by:

Hoboken homeowner and lover of all things local, Danielle made her home in the Mile Square City nearly six years ago. Danielle is a second grade teacher by day; after hours, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up a a new recipe or grabbing a bite to eat with her husband and friends. Danielle is the try-er and buyer of all things beauty and loves finding a good deal. Shopping on Washington, interior decorating, and riding her Peloton are just a few of Danielle's favorite things. Oh, and did we mention her undying love for the New York Yankees?


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