I love California. I have been there for work several times. I’ve visited San Diego, Oceanside, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
I spent a month in San Diego in the spring of 2003 where I really got to learn the town. I’ve gone for one and two week trips here and there over the years since.
There are many places that I recommend visiting in San Diego. I’ve found that the easiest way to see them all is by taking a trolley tour of the area- http://www.trolleytours.com/san-diego. They are in other cities across the United States and the DC one is great as well.
The San Diego Zoo - http://www.sandiegozoo.org/ - is undoubtedly the best zoo in the world, in my opinion. It’s huge so prepare to be there for the whole day and be sure to get on the tram that goes around so you can catch it all. It’s definitely worth the admission price.
Old Towne San Diego - http://www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com/ - is one of my favorite places to go in San Diego. It’s really neat to see the old stores, pick up a few souvenirs, and eat some great Mexican food. All the restaurants are great and have outside eating areas that are a lot of fun.
Balboa Park - http://www.balboapark.org/ - is beautiful. Balboa Park was built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Expo. Be sure to take a picnic. It’s a great place to gather your thoughts, chill and get away. They have museums there as well that you can venture into or just walk around the park outside.
Seaport Village - http://www.seaportvillage.com/ -This area is a good place to get a view of San Diego Bay, pick up some souvenirs and get something to eat. I really like the food and view of the bay at the Pier Café - http://www.piercafe.com/
Point Loma Lighthouse - http://www.nps.gov/cabr/historyculture/old-point-loma-lighthouse.htm - has a beautiful view of San Diego from up there as well as of the Pacific Ocean and North Island / Coronado area.
La Jolla (pronounced La Hoy-ya) - http://www.lajolla.com/ - Seals on the shore of La Jolla are pretty cool to check out. They’re always there and you can get pretty close to them. But, walking around town checking out how the rich live is kind of interesting as well.
Talking about the rich, you should also check out the Coronado area and the Hotel Del Coronado http://www.hoteldel.com/. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to walk on the property. You should check out the hotel, the beach, the restaurants, the spa, etc.
If you’re interested in Navy history or ships, check out the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. One of my friends saw it the last time she was there and really enjoyed it - http://www.midway.org/.
Tijuana, Mexico is only about 30 minutes south of San Diego. You can’t drive most rental cars into other countries so we parked on the US side of the border and walked across. I wasn’t impressed but it was neat to say I had been to Mexico. You are now required to have a passport, or passport card to cross the border. http://www.tijuana.com/
When it comes to food, I’ve found a few favorites in the area –
Souplantation - http://www.souplantation.com/ - is an all you can eat soup, salad, and breadstick place with different soups and salads every day, that all taste fresh. When you’re on the road and eating out every night, you try to find these kinds of places.
In n’ Out Burger - http://www.in-n-out.com/default.asp - it’s a chain in California and in the southwest. They have burgers, fries, and milkshakes and they’re all fresh and awesome.
Pat and Oscars - http://www.breadstick.com/index.html - another great salad and breadstick place, but they have other options that are yummy too.
Point Loma Seafood - http://pointlomaseafoods.com/index.html - you can buy the fish and take it home to cook or you can eat here. It’s right on the water so they have a great view and great food!
Todai’s Seafood - http://todaisandiego.com/1.html - huge all you can eat seafood and Japanese food buffet. YUMMY! Come prepared to eat. It is a little pricey but check around for coupons online or in the community newspapers.
Vera Cruz Fish House in San Marcos http://www.fishhouseveracruz.com/Fish_House_Vera_Cruz/Fish_House.html is really good if you’re in the area. You can either buy fish to take home and cook or eat it at the restaurant.
Ruby’s Diner on Oceanside Pier - http://www.rubys.com/index.aspx - if you’re willing to venture out of San Diego, you should check out the town of Oceanside. Ruby’s is a 50s diner with burgers, milkshakes, etc at the end of a pier and has a great view. If the seas are rough, you might want to stay on land. Last time, my team checked it out we got a little sea sick because the seas were rough and the restaurant was swaying with each wave.
Claim Jumpers - http://www.claimjumper.com/ is also outside of San Diego. You better come starving because Claim Jumpers is good family cooking food and HUGE portions. All of the food there is yummy.
A favorite chocolate chain I like to go to in the San Diego area is Sees Candy - http://www.sees.com/. They give a free sample. I love their truffles! Yummy!
One popular chain in California that I didn’t like was Del Taco. It’s nasty and very greasy. Keep away.
These are just a few of the things I like to do in San Diego. If you know of anywhere else in the San Diego area we should check out, please leave a comment below. Later this week, I’ll share about Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the other places in California that I’d like to visit. Then, next week, we’ll explore what’s just round the corner in Colorado.
**Pictures were taken by me **