At last! I’ve arrived at San Diego, California. Honestly, I would say San Diego is one of my top five favorite cities in the country. I’ve been there a few times now, and so far I can say, I’ve never wanted to leave. It probably has something to do with the beautiful ocean, the absolutely perfect weather, and the busy downtown. Oh, and the beaches.
I’ve put together a short list of things not to miss in San Diego. I’m sorry for not including the best places to eat, stay, etc. I’ll get to it. But really, San Diego is for doing things. It’s an athletic city on the ocean, with more outdoor attractions than you can cover in one trip. So start there. Honestly, I haven’t had a bad bite to eat in all of San Diego, so you should be fine.
San Diego Zoo: In Balboa Park . It’s one of the premier zoos in the country. It’s one of the few zoos in the world to hold a Giant Panda. Besides that, though, it also hosts 4,000 of over 800 species.
Whale watching: There are several services along the downtown boardwalk of San Diego that offer tours. You can see California Grey Whales, which pass San Diego on their annual migration from Alaska to Baja California. You can also see humpback and fin whales. Super-cool, right?
SeaWorld: Basically the best place to go to see most species of water mammals and other aquatic animals. Don’t miss it. Really. The dolphin and whale shows are fantastic.
Learn to surf: I actually got to do this last time I went. It’s one my dreams to be able to surf really well. It’s still a work in progress. But, when I learned (actually in La Jolla, not San Diego—it’s a nearby community. It’s also gorgeous but a bit more affluent), I did fine. The water is fairly well-behaved, fairly warm, and you have beautiful sandy beaches to lie out on and relax on afterward.
Torrey Pines: If you’re a golfer, and if you can afford it, check out Torrey Pines. I saw Tiger Woods and John Daly play here on a PGA Tour a few years ago, and can remember it like it was yesterday. As for playing the course, not only are you getting access to a beautiful course, but you also get the view of a lifetime. You can look at my photos to get a taste. I don’t have photos of the golf course, but the photos in San Diego (actually, La Jolla) overlooking the ocean, beyond high cliffs, are of what you see from Torey Pines.
Coronado: Coronado, although it is perceived as an island, is actually a peninsula. It juts off the edge of San Diego. Take a day trip there to look around. There are restaurants, shops, beaches. It is also home to a huge naval base. Its other claim to fame is the Hotel del Coronado, where Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe, was filmed. It looks just as glitzy and glamorous today as it did in the movie.
Balboa Park: Home to the San Diego Zoo and much, much more. There are cultural, historical, and art museums, galleries, theaters, gardens, golf and tennis complexes, and hiking trails. It’s impossible to see everything in a day. Set aside more time than you’d expect to see Balboa Park. After all, there are 1,200 acres of things to see.
Gaslamp District: San Diego has a great nightlife scene. There is restaurant after restaurant and shop after shop. But the Gaslamp District is probably the nicest. It has the best of the city, for food and clothes, and hotels.