Ah, San Diego, where it’s sunny and 70 basically all the time. We spent a week here recently for a good friend’s wedding, along with plenty of exploring. The wedding was amazing, and came with some incredible downtown views from the Ultimate Skybox. It also happened to overlap with a Vanilla Ice concert and we heard “Ice Ice Baby” right as the Bridal Party speeches were finishing up. Perfect timing.
We’d never been to San Diego so we were excited to explore the city and seaside lifestyle. We planned our trip around our friend’s wedding and extended it a couple of days so we got to spend a week in sunny beach weather.
We hit the beaches, found great local eats, and tested our skills surfing on the water.
How to get around
We didn’t have a car so we had to get creative and find budget-friendly ways around town. Let me tell you, scooters are the way to go. They are literally EVERYWHERE. Go ahead and download every scooter app you can find before you go, then jump on whatever you find! We had lots of fun on our long scooter rides up and down the boardwalk.
And obviously like any big city, Uber and Lyft are readily available for longer distances. But if you’re not in a hurry, renting bikes or scooters is a fun way to get around.
Where to go
When in San Diego, the beaches are a must. Soft sand, warm sun and salty water. They’re all great, but there’s a beach for every occasion.
Pacific beach - Great for long walks, with a plethora of cool bars and restaurants to stop in.
Mission beach - Can be crowded, but great nonetheless. They have marked off surfing zones where we tested our surfing skills. Wander down the pier for some more great views.
Ocean beach - Great spot for dogs, with a whole stretch that’s a designated dog beach.
Take the boardwalk to get from one beach to the next. Rent a bike or scooter for an easy ride with lots of activity.
La Jolla - Check out the sea lions in La Jolla. There are also lots of boutiques and beautiful views of the ocean and rugged coastline.
What to do
Surfs up - We found $7 beginner surfboard rentals. Next time we’ll get a wetsuit and nose plug too! That cold salty water can be unforgiving... A tough sport to say the least, but I’m ready for round 2!
Explore Liberty public market - A fun spot for food and browsing local crafters.
Take a walk on the Sunset Cliffs - Be ready to climb a few rocks here. Flip flops can be difficult. Get here just before sunset and be prepared for the most beautiful ocean/sunset views.
Where to eat
There are so many amazing restaurants in San Diego.
The Taco Stand in La Jolla - Recommended from a friend, The Taco Stand is a small, authentic taco place that didn’t disappoint. We couldn’t decide what to get, so we got one of every taco. Boy were they good! Simply made and totally delicious. There will certainly be a line out the door, but it’s 100% worth it. You also get to watch them prepare the food as you wait.
Mongolian Hot Pot - Great for large groups, with a fun atmosphere and lots of amazing food. Try both broths and they have LOTS of veggies to add.
Buga Korean BBQ - get the Haemul Pajun (seafood scallion cake) and the steamed egg - everything was amazing though.
Wonderland Ocean Pub - an open concept with amazing beach views. We got a seat overlooking the ocean with open windows for that fresh sea air. The drinks and apps here totally hit the spot.
Azucar - A local bakery with awesome paninis and other baked goods. It’s a small and cute bakery with some outdoor tables right on Newport Avenue, just blocks from Ocean Beach.
Lighthouse Ice Cream - Family-owned ice cream shop right in the heart of Ocean Beach. The perfect little spot to quench our ice cream craving.
Ambrogio - An authentic Italian pizza place with amazing pizzas. They focus on quality ingredients including stone-ground, organic Petra flour from Italy and biodynamic wines.
Breakfast republic - Love great breakfast spots? Look no further. It’s a fun and eclectic southern California Chain with a focus on sustainability. They compost and don’t use any single-use straws!
El Carrito - Being so close to the southern border, it’d be criminal to forget about Mexican food. This locally sourced spot offers up some incredible tacos, and one of Dalton’s top two burritos to date. The tacos were also awesome and the service was great.
Breweries and coffee shops
Better Buzz coffee - a great coffee spot with an easy working vibe.
Belching Beaver Brewery - The porter was my favorite. We hit this brewery a couple times for brews and board games!
OB Beans Coffee Roasters - This was our favorite working spot. Amazing farm to cup coffee with a great cause.
Ocean Beach Brewery - Find some awesome rooftop seating. But if you’re looking to get some work done, sit on a lower floor for better wifi access.
OB People’s Organic Food Market - This market was a great find! Get your bulk foods and produce here.
Where to stay
This was an Airbnb trip, as no house sits lined up with our dates. Our rental spot didn’t come with wifi, so we ventured out for our working needs. But it was a cute and stylish space with a pool and hot tub in the complex.
Next time I’d like to check off a few more activities. Some beach volleyball and a late-night beach bonfire are still on my list of musts!
What are your favorite spots in San Diego?
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