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San Diego

1 week in San Diego

Can you suggest a good schedule for a first time visit to San Diego, in father/mother/daughter(18) trip? Sights, museums, beaches, shopping and resaturants...

5 Answers

answered by
Gary from San Diego

Hi Evandro, San Diego is really an exciting place these days. Of course we've always been about beaches but the culinary scene, art, and architecture has really taken off in recent years. There are many great suggestions listed in the other comments so I'm going to dig a little deeper.

My favorite places to eat right now: 
Liberty Station is a public market and collective of shops, restaurants and vendors. You can grab some tacos and sit in the Mess Hall with a local craft beer. Stand-out spots are Soda & Swine Liberty Station (meatballs!), Cecilia's Taqueria(fish tacos), Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens (garden setting). There are many eateries to choose from so there's something for everyone and it's all situated next to San Diego bay.
Little Italy is buzzing with great restaurants, my favorites being Ironside for oysters, Herb & Eatery for breakfast or lunch, The Crack Shack - Little Italy for amazingly delicious fried chicken (and bocce ball!) and James Coffee Co. for their house roasted coffee and interesting local vendors in a hip warehouse vibe.
North Park is the latest in gentrified areas and has dozens of places to eat and shop. Shank & BoneOne Door North and Bivouac Ciderworks are new and notable.

Great spots to shop and wander:
La Jolla Cove is beautiful and full of great shops and restaurants, all walking-friendly. Try George's At The Cove or Duke's La Jolla for a gorgeous seaside view. Walk Prospect and Girard for boutiques and cafes. Wander along the cliffs and watch the seals and sea lions play.

While you're in the area, take a hike up to the top of Torrey Pines State Park. The trail leads you up to the top of the cliffs and then you can wind down to the beach for a nice round trip hike.

North County offers some nice beaches and villages to explore. Cedros Avenue Design District is worth a look, as well as Encinitas with its quaint beach town feel. Del Mar is a luxurious stop along the coastline for shopping and cafes. The terrace in the Plaza provides a beautiful view of the ocean at sunset.

Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market happens every Saturday and is a great spot to spend a few hours. Local vendors and farms sell fresh produce and small plates of ethnic foods.

Balboa Park has been mentioned (for good reason) and there are some stand-out places to visit. Being that I'm a professional photographer my favorite museum is Museum of Photographic Arts. Their "Pay What You Want" entrance fee is unique and easy on the budget. Panama 66 is a nice little bar and eatery located in the Sculpture Garden. The famous San Diego Zoo is a full day's worth of fun and stays open until 9:00 PM through Labor Day (first weekend of September). Try Albert's Restaurant for a meal in a "tree house" next to a waterfall.

Luxe shopping can be had at Fashion Valley Mall. All the luxury brands are represented here. There's not much else happening nearby but it's very central and on the way to many other destinations.

Beaches and Fun:
Pacific Beach
is a very popular beach with the highest concentration of shops, restaurants and a long boardwalk and pier. It is the quintessential Southern California beach town. Expect crowds day and night, especially on the weekends. 
La Jolla Shores is a quieter experience where you can rent kayaks and tour the cove among the sea lions and leopard sharks. The caves are stunning and unique.
Coronado Ferry Landing is the starting point to explore the island. You can drive over by bridge but it's more fun to take the ferry from Broadway Pier There are shops and restaurants at the Landing (Peohe's is a favorite) or you can ride-share to the other side of the island near The Hotel Del Coronado and explore the area and wide open beach, which is larger and usually less crowded than those on the mainland.

Notes on Downtown:
The Gaslamp Quarter has some interesting and historic sites, though in general it is very much a tourist destination. Areas near Petco Parkand further east are less crowded and tend to cater toward locals. It's less hectic and busy and you'll get to see a more authentic version of San Diego city living. 

Saúde, and enjoy your first time in San Diego!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Liberty Station (attraction)
  2. Soda & Swine Liberty Station (restaurant)
  3. Cecilia's Taqueria (restaurant)
  4. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens (attraction)
  5. Little Italy (attraction)
  6. Ironside (restaurant)
  7. Herb & Eatery (restaurant)
  8. The Crack Shack - Little Italy (restaurant)
  9. James Coffee Co. (restaurant)
  10. North Park (attraction)
  11. Shank & Bone (restaurant)
  12. One Door North (restaurant)
  13. Bivouac Ciderworks (restaurant)
  14. La Jolla Cove (attraction)
  15. George's At The Cove (restaurant)
  16. Duke's La Jolla (restaurant)
  17. Torrey Pines State Park (attraction)
  18. Encinitas (city)
  19. Del Mar (city)
  20. Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market (restaurant)
  21. Balboa Park (attraction)
  22. Museum of Photographic Arts (attraction)
  23. Panama 66 (restaurant)
  24. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  25. Albert's Restaurant (restaurant)
  26. Fashion Valley Mall (attraction)
  27. Pacific Beach (neighborhood)
  28. La Jolla Shores (attraction)
  29. Coronado Ferry Landing (attraction)
  30. Broadway Pier (attraction)
  31. Peohe's (restaurant)
  32. Hotel Del Coronado (hotel)
  33. Petco Park (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

San Diego is famous for its fish tacos. Torrey Pines is a beautiful ocean front park with unique ecology. If the Padres are in town you can take in a baseball game at Petco Park. Enjoy a drive up the coast one day to Laguna Beach, or you could include a day trip to Catalina Island from Dana Point. There is also a famous organic farm and Fallbrook is the avocado capital of the world. You can take a hot air balloon ride over the whole area. It is a beautiful part of CA.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Torrey Pines (attraction)
  2. Petco Park (attraction)
  3. Laguna Beach (city)
  4. Catalina Island (attraction)
  5. Dana Point (city)
  6. Fallbrook (city)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mary Ann from La Jolla

All great suggestions for San Diego!  Consider starting in Old Town San Diego for early history and then taking the 1-day tour with Old Town Trolley tours. It's hop on hop off and covers all the sights mentioned by Dave.  Great overview.  Also, check out Mission Beach/Pacific Beach/la Jolla Shores Beach. (Gotta spend a day at the Beach!) And for Kayaking, biking, etc. La Jolla Kayak offers kayak rentals/tours.  Further afield is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (part of the San Diego Zoo) where many of the zoo's wildlife conservation programs are. Balboa Park is worth a day and be sure to check out the Mingei International Museum while there.  If you're interested in visiting Tijuana MX, I recommend Turista Libre tours for art, culture, shopping, cuisine. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Old Town San Diego (attraction)
  2. Mission Beach (attraction)
  3. Pacific Beach (neighborhood)
  4. la Jolla Shores Beach (attraction)
  5. San Diego Zoo Safari Park (attraction)
  6. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  7. Balboa Park (attraction)
  8. Mingei International Museum (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Dave from Houston

San Diego has one of the world's best zoos. That should be a must. Balboa Park next to the Zoo has some good museums and pleasant park settings. Hotel Del Coronado is a historic building and favorite of celebrities in the first half of the last century. It's on a nice public beach too. Check out the photos of celebrities who've stayed there on the walls downstairs. Drive out to Point Loma for some spectacular views especially in the evening. Take the harbor boat tour. Visit the wealthy beach town of La Jolla just north of the city and get your feet wet on the beach cove there. Sample some Mexican food in Old Town San Diego there. You can't beat Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island for a restaurant with a great view.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Balboa Park (attraction)
  2. Hotel Del Coronado (hotel)
  3. Point Loma (attraction)
  4. La Jolla (city)
  5. Old Town San Diego (attraction)
  6. Bali Hai Restaurant (restaurant)
  7. Shelter Island (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Thomas from Baltimore, Maryland

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gaslamp Quarter (attraction)
  2. Seaport Village (attraction)
  3. USS Midway Museum (attraction)
  4. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  5. Balboa Park (attraction)
1 thanks

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