San Diego is one of California’s great cities. I visited it on route to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. With a population of 1.4 million it’s manageable to get around, clean, relaxed with a great vibe and a semi-tropical climate.
1. Gaslamp Quarter
The Gaslamp Quarter is in the historic district of San Diego and is the entertainment and night-life hub as well as the location for famous festivals including the Mardi Gras and the Street Scene Music Festival.
It’s safe, fun and a happy place to be particularly in the evenings when the restaurateurs are touting for business and the trishaw riders are out with their colourful illuminated bikes.
The district also has many good hotels, including the Hotel Solamar – in the perfect location. It’s within walking distance from many of the attractions as well as restaurants and bars. The bars/restaurants all have their own culture with multiple beers on tap, TV channels completing with one another and one bar, BUB’S even had its own basketball hoop in the middle of the restaurant to amuse the restless, young and old.
Most of the restaurants in this area are casual but if you are looking for something with a little more finesse walk a couple of blocks towards Little Italy. We had a great meal at Toscana.
2. USS Midway
The USS Midway was commissioned as the largest warship in the world in 1945. It’s now a museum in San Diego. Not being particularly interested in war or aircraft carriers I still thought it was well worth a visit. It’s very interactive, kids would love it and it has several simulated rides. I was blown away by the size of the runway and the techniques used to get the aircrafts into the air and stop them once they had landed before ending up in the drink!
3. La Jolla Beach
About 15 minutes from downtown San Diego is La Jolla Beach, a lovely stretch of coastline safe for all sorts of recreations activities including kayaking, snorkelling and diving and my all time favourite – hanging out with seals. Other colonies I’ve observed can get a bit titchy as they are territorial beasts but not these babies – they were far too chilled.
4. Fashion Valley
If you are a shopper, head to Fashion City. It’s about 10 minutes up the coast from the city and can easily be reached by taxi. It has five department stores and over 200 shops. If you prefer to stay in the city Horton’s Plaza has two department store and over 200 shops.
5. Breakfast at Broken Yolk Cafe
Two doors from our hotel, Hotel Solamar, in the Gaslamp District is the Broken Yolk Café. The queues of locals out the door was a good sign and it was a winner but the Americans just don’t get portion sizes. The meals were huge, their patrons were huge and the wastage was indescribable.
A number of airlines including our national carrier Air New Zealand fly to Los Angeles frequently, with connecting flights to San Diego. We opted to drive which takes about three hours.