What's there to do in San Diego?

Jefe

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Hello all. My wife and I are flying out to San Diego next week to visit our daughter. She's in the Navy and is currently stationed there.

I've never been to San Diego, and this will actually be my first time in California. So, I'm looking for suggestions. Our daughter already has some stuff in mind for us to do, but any additional advice would be much appreciated.

Which beaches should we check out? My wife loves the beach.

What are some good hiking spots? Relatively short hikes (2-3 hours) with nice vistas.

What other natural scenery is there to explore?

I love craft beer. What are some good breweries to check out? In general, what are some of the good Cali beers that I might not be able to get here on the east coast? I wouldn't mind hitting the liquor store and bringing 2 or 3 bottles home. Edit: holy crap, there are a lot of breweries in the greater SD area! I didn't know that.

Where are the good eats on a tight budget? We love Mexican, and I hear it's pretty damn good in SD. Where's the authentic stuff?

What's there to do & see downtown. I'm a bit of a train buff, and I wouldn't mind riding the trolley. I like using mass transit in general.

Any areas to avoid?

Anything else I forgot?

Thanks in advance!
 

Paul in Colorado

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It's hard to go wrong. I had friends there who I used to house sit for. They lived near Mission Beach. They took me floating on rafts out on Mission Bay (I think). I like Balboa Park and the coast to the north. You could go out to El Cajon and take the Taylor Guitar factory tour. There was a sailing ship called The Star of India that I toured one time.

I'm sure others will have food recommendations. I know I ate well, but I don't remember where. You could always go down to TJ for a day.

Sounds like a good adventure. Have fun.
 

fenderfan

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The beach at the Hotel Del Coronado is fabulous - if your wife is a beach lover, she will thank you for taking her there. Plus, the drive over the bridge to get to Coronado provides a spectacular view. The beautiful village of La Jolla, just north of San Diego, is fun to visit, although parking can be a challenge.
 

BariTele

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San Diego native here:

Balboa Park is great to walk around in. The architecture is interesting and there are several museums if you are into that. Also sometimes buskers. The Hotel Del Coronado can also be fun. These are great destinations, but they are touristy.

Sarita's is, in my opinion, the best Mexican food in San Diego county. It's not fancy. It's what I'd call "cheap and cheery", but it's the best carne asada burrito I've ever had.

Ballaste Point and Stone are both good breweries to check out. I'm not sure how widely available they are, though.

Cabrillo national monument is interesting and close to the naval base. There is some hiking there too.

This is of course by no means an exhaustive or authoritative list.
 

Frank'n'censed

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TJ's real close, (Tijuana). Rent bicycles, California girls, sun & sand...you can spin from downtown, up to ritzy, La Jolla. "OB", (Ocean Beach) is a funky, trippy neighbourhood, check out "The Black", a local smoke shop, with some interesting items...
 

Tele-Caster

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Hello all. My wife and I are flying out to San Diego next week to visit our daughter. She's in the Navy and is currently stationed there.

Please extend a "thank you" to your daughter for her service.

I've never been to San Diego, and this will actually be my first time in California. So, I'm looking for suggestions. Our daughter already has some stuff in mind for us to do, but any additional advice would be much appreciated.

San Diego was one of my favorite places to live because there was (and is) much to do there and the weather is universally marvelous.

Which beaches should we check out? My wife loves the beach.

I like the Silver Strand State Beach near the Hotel Del Coronado. As a kid, I was more partial to the shoreline in the Mission Beach section of the city, particularly because of Belmont Park at 3146 Mission Blvd because of the roller coaster there ;).


What are some good hiking spots? Relatively short hikes (2-3 hours) with nice vistas.

Hmmmmm.... I would guess that the 2,000 or so acre Torrey Pines State Reserve would be the best hiking spot in the city. It is located at 12600 North Torrey Pines Road, GPS coordinates 32.92138; -117.2497. To get there from downtown San Diego, you'd go northbound on Interstate 5 to Carmel Valley Road, and take that about a mile and half west to San Diego County Road S-21 / Camino Del Mar, turning left to head south on that about a half mile or so. Entrance to the reserve would be on your right just before the road makes a fairly steep climb up the Torrey Pines Grade. This is right on the ocean and the beach there is kind of nice, too.

To me, though, the best hiking in San Diego County is in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, about 45 miles from Downtown San Diego off State Highway 79. Or, at least, it was the best... They had a wildfire years a go that kinda changed it. Just beyond the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is 110 surface acre Lake Cuyamaca which is one of my all time favorite fishin' holes. It's one of the few places in California where you can catch smallmouth bass and I've caught plenty of monster trout from it.

What other natural scenery is there to explore?

That depends on how far out of town you're willing to go. There's BLM land south of San Diego that I used to go quail hunting on, but none of it I reckon most would consider scenic. Any wild land is scenic to me.

The Cleveland National Forest has parcles within San Diego County.

I love craft beer. What are some good breweries to check out? In general, what are some of the good Cali beers that I might not be able to get here on the east coast? I wouldn't mind hitting the liquor store and bringing 2 or 3 bottles home. Edit: holy crap, there are a lot of breweries in the greater SD area! I didn't know that.

Yeah. San Diegans like beer. Well, at least this former San Diegan does.

One of my favorite beers doesn't come from San Diego, but it does come from California... San Luis Obispo, to be exact.. Sold under the S.L.O. lable. I think that would be worth checking out. I used to buy it at a liquor store in the Mission Beach section of San Diego when the supply I bought direct long since ran dry.

Where are the good eats on a tight budget? We love Mexican, and I hear it's pretty damn good in SD. Where's the authentic stuff?

Good eats on a tight budget? For me, that's a place called The Boll Weevil at 9330 Claremont Mesa Blvd., suite E. There's other Boll Weevils in the Greater San Diego Area, but I usually wind up at the one previously mentioned. Nothin' fancy, but the burgers are good, the Parmessan Fries are kind of unique, they serve beer, and have a pool table, and I always meet interesting people there.

I don't think I've ever had any truly bad Mexican Food in San Diego. You can almost just kind of pick a Mexican Joint and sup sumptuously there, but I haven't eaten at a single one in San Diego yet that was better than the El Adobe in San Juan Capistrano, the town 60 miles north of San Diego that I lived in before moving to Oklahoma. Usually, I just eat lunch at the Mexican joint in the Old Town State Park. It's better than any Mexican joint here in Oklahoma, for sure, but I reckon that ain't sayin' much.

What's there to do & see downtown. I'm a bit of a train buff, and I wouldn't mind riding the trolley. I like using mass transit in general.

Downtown.... The Gaslamp Quarter extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue, covering 16½ blocks. It includes 94 historic buildings, most of which were constructed in the Victorian Era, and are still in use with active tenants including restaurants, shops and nightclubs. Petco Park where my beloved San Diego Padres play their home games is about a block outside of the Gaslamp Quarter. It's a really nice "yard" to see a ball game in, if you're in to that sort of thing.

Ingrid Croce, widow of the late Jim Croce ("Time in a Bottle," "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown," etc) had a restraunt down there in the Gaslamp Quarter that I thought was really good. She's moved out of the Gaslamp Quarter digs and has something called Croce's Park West in the Banker's Hill section of the city, at 2760 Fifth Avenue. They do a weekend Jazz Brunch thing on Saturdays and Sundays from about Noon to 3 PM that was pretty good the one and only time I've been able to try it.

Nothing in San Diego is really all that far from Downtown.

I used to live on the bluff above the Old Town State Historic Park located at 4002 Wallace St and spent a lot of time there as a kid and still do when I return to San Diego.

Balboa Park, located at 1549 El Prado, has a bunch of really cool museums. As a "gearhead," I'm particularly in to the car museum and aerospace museaum there, but the art museum and others are pretty good, too, and of course the San Diego Zoo is there, if you're in to that. It's easy to get to. From southbound Interstate 5, you would take the 10th Avenue Exit off I-5; then turn left on "A" Street and left again on Park Blvd. Follow the signs to Balboa Park. From northbound Interstate 5, take the Pershing Drive/B Street exit off I-5 to Pershing Drive. Take Pershing and then turn left on Florida Drive. Turn left on Zoo Place to Park Blvd. Left on Park Blvd and follow the signage. If you are flying in to Lindberg Field, you'll pretty much be flying right over the Ford Building in Balboa Park which houses the aerospace museum.

I'm really just kind of scratching at the surface here... There's Seaport Village with neat little shops, the Star of India, a deal my the MCRD where you can see tuna get gutted, Sea World, USS Midway Museum, art galleries in La Jolla, and if you expand "San Diego" to include the whole county, there's apple pie in Julian and trout fishing at Lake Cuyamaca...

It is, in my not so humble opinion, America's Finest City, and I would move back in a flash if California's goofy state laws didn't come with the move.

Any areas to avoid?

Probably, but when I lived there as a kid, I roamed around pretty much all over the city, with no issues. That habit has continued to this day. The standard answer most would give is probably Barrio Logan, which a lot of tourists drive through without knowing it, since the 1-5 / San Diego -Coronado Bridge Junction is kind of in the heart of it.

A friend of mine who is a patrol officer for San Diego P.D. thinks the crime rate is actually no worse in Barrio Logan than in "The Mesas" i.e. Kearny Mesa and Claremont Mesa. I reckon maybe it looks more "seedy" than it really is, but really, there isn't much a reason for a tourist to even be there unless it is to get on the San Diego-Coronado Bridge to cross the bay.

All that said, I personally think Chicano Park underneath the concrete canopy of elevated roadway is actually kind of cool. A local artist named Salvador Torres painted the concrete support pillars and it's pretty unique.

San Diego is probably a safer place, in general, than Tulsa, Oklahoma is. No place is perfectly safe, but I seriously doubt you'll be a crime victim while you're in San Diego, no matter which of it's neighborhoods you wind up in.

Anything else I forgot?

Dunno. I'm sure I did.

Thanks in advance!

Enjoy your trip. And thanks again to your daughter for her service.
 

slauson slim

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Surf Taco in Pacific Beach. The races at Del Mar - where the turf meets the surf.

Padre game at Petco Park, a really good ball park.

Afternoon at the beach in Coronado, Hotel Del for drinks, good restaurants up the street from the hotel.
 

Guitarteach

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Not a local but visit every couple of years or so. If you don't mind a day out drive, Mount Palomar and the huge telescope there is about 65 miles to the north east in the mountains. Nice drive that goes higher and cooler and has great views of the diverse landscape.

Nice restaurants and occasional music in the gaslamp quarter.

Only place I did not feel safe was under the freeway underpasses near the airport when I stayed near there once.

La Jolla is nice.

The aircraft carrier in the harbour is very educational with the audio tour and lots of veterans.i really enjoyed that a couple of times now.
 

Colo Springs E

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Not much, it's a real sh*thole, that San Diego!

I kid, of course.

I've been several times and love it. I've gone to many of the beaches, but the one I found to be the warmest/had the warmest water was Ocean Beach. Don't know if it was a fluke, but the water wasn't so cold that it burned to the touch like most of the beaches there. I was in a sort of inlet or lagoon or whatever, so that might be why the water was nicer. I love Southern California but do not enjoy the cold water.

You can't go wrong, SD is a nice place.
 

Jefe

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Thanks again everyone for the suggestions. Lots of great ideas here! I feel a little more comfortable having some plans I can pull out of my back pocket. We are flying out tomorrow.

Tele-Caster, I will thank my daughter for her service on your behalf. We are very proud of her! She enlisted just over a year ago, and she's training to become a sonar technician. I'm not gonna lie, she is kicking ass. Ranking up quickly, getting great grades, etc. *thumbs up*
 

Jefe

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Not much, it's a real sh*thole, that San Diego!



I kid, of course.



I've been several times and love it. I've gone to many of the beaches, but the one I found to be the warmest/had the warmest water was Ocean Beach. Don't know if it was a fluke, but the water wasn't so cold that it burned to the touch like most of the beaches there. I was in a sort of inlet or lagoon or whatever, so that might be why the water was nicer. I love Southern California but do not enjoy the cold water.



You can't go wrong, SD is a nice place.


Interesting tip about the cold water! I just assumed southern Cali would have somewhat warmer water. I'm a New Englander, so I'm not unaccustomed to frigid ocean water... but we'll see! I'm not gonna travel all the way to the west coast without taking a few dips in the Pacific, even if it's just a few minutes at a time.
 

Tele-Caster

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Thanks again everyone for the suggestions. Lots of great ideas here! I feel a little more comfortable having some plans I can pull out of my back pocket. We are flying out tomorrow.

Tele-Caster, I will thank my daughter for her service on your behalf. We are very proud of her! She enlisted just over a year ago, and she's training to become a sonar technician. I'm not gonna lie, she is kicking ass. Ranking up quickly, getting great grades, etc. *thumbs up*

That's awesome !

You should be proud of her. She's excelling in something that's not altogether easy on the one hand, yet vitally important to the Navy's mission on the other.

Thank you, Sir, in advance, for passing on my thanks to your daughter for her service.
 

urizen

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Actually, it's a kick to just wander, meander and get (comfortably) lost; once you get away from the central city, you realize SD is less a city than its own little conurbation, with a lot of different flavors of neighborhoods/communities rubbing shoulders with each other--- some funky, some eclectic, some areas kind of feel like what older cities of different immigrants felt like, sort of like transitioning across a collection of diverse semi/demi-urban villages---Barrio Logan is different from Coronado is different from Imperial Beach is different from Pacific Beach is different from Normal Heights is different from El Cajon is different from Point Loma is different from Ocean Beach is different from Mission Bay is different from La Jolla is different from Del Mar is different from.....

BTW, you might want to check out Julian and Alpine too.

I lived there for 5 years in my early through mid/late-20s. Never got bored, never saw it all.
 

uriah1

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Like the party boat fishing...just got to reel quick to keep away from seals..lol
Head boats always good dollar $ if y ou like fishing.
 




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