Known for its warm weather and relaxed atmosphere, this Pacific Coast city offers plenty of leisurely things to do and places to go. From cultural monuments to ocean side activities, San Diego makes for an exciting place to visit. With this list, you will know just how to make the most of your time in the town.
A trip to San Diego would not be complete without watching the sunset over the ocean, and the best place to watch San Diego’s famous sunsets is arguably from the cliffs of Point Loma. Historically, Point Loma was where European sailors first landed in California. Therefore, Point Loma is now known as “where California began”. This is suiting, as Point Loma perfectly captures the classic Californian way of unwinding and relaxing. If you have extra time before the sunset, make sure to check out Point Loma’s lighthouse and the Cabrillo Monument.
One of many beaches in San Diego, Pacific Beach is great for swimming, surfing and relaxing on the shore. Nestled between La Jolla and Mission Bay, Pacific beach is centrally located for the perfect getaway. Boasting long sandy stretches of coastline, this one is a beautiful option for spending time in San Diego. Plan to spend the whole day here as there are also numerous nearby shops and restaurants to check out. The beach offers bathroom and shower facilities to freshen up at too.
With dozens of incredible breweries in San Diego, Ballast Point is one of the best. Locally founded in San Diego, Ballast Point is an authentic piece of the city. There are four locations in San Diego, offering food menus in addition to their extensive beer list. Some of the most loved beers include the Longfin Lager, the Sextant Oatmeal Stout and East to West India Pale Ale. If you are hungry, try the truffle fries or the Ballast Point burger (at the Little Italy and Mirimar locations). For those interested in how the beer is made, Ballast Point also offer brewery tours daily at the Miramar joint.
As San Diego’s most famous park, Balboa Park is not to be missed. Balboa park is a multi-faceted landmark with an expansive 1,200 acres encompassing some of San Deigo’s most beautiful gardens, an array of museums, memorial sites, recreational facilities, and the well known San Diego Zoo. Additionally, the park has multiple stadiums and theaters for special events. Dedicated to the Spanish explorer, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, Balboa Park takes some time to explore completely. Visitors should plan out which parts of the park they are most interested in beforehand, especially if time is limited.
The Bernardo Winery is San Diego’s oldest vineyard and winery. Located about 45 minutes away from the city center, Bernardo Winery is worth the drive. Guests can try the Winery’s best wines in their tasting room. With a causal ambiance, five tastes from the wine list costs just $12 and includes red wines, white wines and rosés. After wine tasting, visitors can also walk through the winery’s artist village and shops. The village offers a diverse collection of handmade and unique clothes, jewelry, knick knacks, and botanicals to boot.
Mission San Diego de Alcalá is a historic site dating back to 1769. The site captures San Diego’s long history of religion and Spanish origins. Mission San Diego de Alcalá offers daily tours of the church and mass services both on weekdays and during the weekend. Traditionally painted white and adorned with bells, the church is a symbol of San Diego’s past. The inside of the church is also well preserved and elucidates the Spanish traditions integrated into San Diego’s modern culture.
Since San Diego is so close to the Mexican-American border, it only makes sense that tacos are one of the city’s most popular dishes. Lucha Lubre Gourmet Taco Shop is one of San Diego’s most well liked restaurants for authentic street style tacos. Don’t miss the surf and turf taco, classic California burrito, or the fresh fries. Lucha Libra also offers classic Mexican sodas, which pair perfectly with the food. Customers can also enjoy Lucha Libre’s Mexican food for breakfast, as they have a large breakfast menu to boot.
The Mingei International Museum is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the art and culture of San Diego and the rest of the world. Perfect for one of San Diego’s rare rainy days, the Mingei Museum literally means “the art of the people”. As one of the museums located in Balboa Park, Mingei is an easy destination to fit into any schedule. The museum features a combination of folk art, crafts, and designs from around the world. With frequently changing exhibitions, make sure to check and see what the museum is currently showing on their website.
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is a another great way to learn about San Diego’s rich history. Located within San Diego’s Old Town, visitors can learn about the only religious based unit in the United States’ military history. Presented through interactive exhibits and films, the site integrates San Diego’s unique cultural, religious and military roots. The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is free to enter and offers guided tours daily.
Just north of San Diego in La Jolla is the La Jolla Open Aire Market. Here, guests can find an array of locally sourced produce, food vendors and handmade crafts and artwork. While not in San Diego, the drive to La Jolla is beautiful as it follows the Pacific Coast Highway up the coast of California. However, it is important to plan this trip ahead of time as the market has very limited hours.