San Diego, California

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looking for some tips + tricks for your next adventure that don't break the bank (or your finally-developed self-care habits)?! i've compiled everything i found during my favorite trips around the globe so you don't have to! 


over july 4th this year, d + i went down to san diego (only a 45-minute plane from from sf!) for a few days and it was magical. neither of us had visited sd before, and it far surpassed all of our expectations - people walking barefoot (this is a major factor in how i judge a beach town!), awesome restaurants and perfect weather. 

what else could you need? 

we will definitely be back as often as we can while living on the west coast. here are some of my favorites - but i'm sure i'll be adding to this list! 

dream

we stayed on the north end of pacific beach in a cute airbnb (it was a shared house for pretty expensive - but then again, it was less expensive than other options and it had a hot tub!). 

if you're into the party scene pacific beach is your spot. it was a fun and laidback beach vibe with tons of young people, bars and cheap eats. i liked that we were away from the "scene" but still walking distance to the beach.

my favorite area was la jolla - if you're ready to splurge or find a great deal this neighborhood is magical. it was also a short, 10-minute bike ride from where we were staying. 

if you want an exclusive, secluded stay check out hotel del coronado - it's on a little island connected to the downtown sd by a long bridge. it feels a bit like a disney resort - but the beaches literally shine there (you can also spend a beach day at the resort - continue reading for more!). 

 

move

bikes are the way to go here! d + i rented a bike for the day on the beach and it was perfect. you can find rentals pretty much anywhere for $10-20 (/day). 

there's also a ton of lyft/uber drivers around so if you want to get across the city i'd recommend using that. some people prefer renting a car; that could be helpful and parking doesn't seem to be an issue. 

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eat

i was surprised at how amazing the food/coffee were in sd! here are some of my favorites:

  • bird rock coffee roasters: yum! this coffee shop is airy, open and has delicious coffee (and the owners are australian - always the best coffee shops! stop here on your morning bike ride to la jolla and then walk over to the beach. 
  • java earth cafe: obsessed. if you're staying in pacific beach - start your morning here every day. they have amazing acai bowls, vegan (and not) breakfast burritos and awesome coffee. they also have a ton of outdoor seating to enjoy the weather!
  • taco surf: if you're looking for authentic tacos (carne asada fries maybe?!) this is your spot. it's seriously no frills but order to go and eat at the beach across the street. yum!
  • george's at the cove: could i stay here forever?! this restaurant is consistently rated one of the best in sd and i can see why! go for lunch and enjoy their rooftop beach views. everything on the menu is perfect!
  • ironside fish and oyster: if you're looking for a hip, trendy vibe for dinner this is your spot. located right downtown in little italy, this place was poppin' on a thursday night. also all their fish is amazing. their cocktails are great too (ask for ones off the menu!).
  • mitch's seafood: if you couldn't tell - seafood in sd is awesome. this place is a no frills, counter-style seafood spot but so worth it. seating is along the marina, and i could recommend basically everything on the menu. also, if you have a late flight stop here before you leave - it's literally 5 minutes from the airport!

 

do

oh man, could i just recommend go to the beach? all the beaches in san diego are beautiful. but, besides that here are some of my favorite things:

  • rent a bike for the day and explore the la jolla coast
  • walk the la jolla tidepools
  • spend time at every beach possible: la jolla shores, pacific beach, mission beach!
  • kayak to la jolla caves
  • rent a beach chair at del coronado hotel (get there early or reserve online ahead of time! they sell out by 10:30am daily)
  • explore the san diego zoo (you can even go at night if you're there in the summer!)
  • walk through the liberty arts district
  • spend a day relaxing in balboa park
  • learn to surf!
Katina Mountanos