Paulo and I went to San Diego in July 2017 and it was an amazing experience. Despite having gone to Los Angeles several times, I had never been to San Diego, which is only two hours away. We stayed only two days in the region, but it was enough time to leave me enchanted by the place.
The difference of San Diego in relation to Los Angeles is the tranquility of the city, perfect for those who want to relax, especially if you stay in a hotel near a beach. As always, I have selected several tips on this tour for you. I’ll tell you all the important things you need to know before you go 😉
When to go
San Diego is a nice city to visit all year round, I swear! In general, the temperatures there are hot and it rains very little. If you want to enjoy the beaches as much as possible, without worrying about rain or cold weather, the best time to go is between June and August. In the other months the temperature is still good for going to the beach, but maybe you find the sea too cold!
Ah, from November to January the prices are much lower and the places more empty, because it is low season in the city. This is a great option for those who want to save money and don’t care much about going into the sea, for example. It might rain in a few days, but nothing that can end the fun of a walk.
Where to stay
We stayed in a hotel close to Balboa Park, which is one of the main tourist attractions in the city. The location was great, but our hotel, Britt Scripps Inn, was very quirky. This hotel is located in an 1887 house and its decoration is all gothic and very unusual. The whole style of the house is Victorian and, at night, it even looked like a haunted place! Despite this, we really liked the accommodation and the place was super quiet.
Other great lodging areas are Hotel Circle, in Mission Valley, and Downtown. Staying in the city center is incredible- even more so if you are going to use only the city’s public transport. In addition, you will be close to must-see sights like the Seaport Village region. In relation to Hotel Circle, it is already a more remote area and the ideal is that you rent a car. The main attraction of this part of the city is the lower prices for accommodation!
Getting around the city
The best way to get to know the city, in my opinion, is by car. With your own vehicle, you have more freedom to choose where you want to go and get to know more remote regions. If this is a viable option for you, don’t think twice and rent a car! I already explained how to do it abroad in this post here.
If the car is out of your reach, the city’s public transport is good and will take you to the main sights. They have several bus lines and also an electric train. Just keep in mind that the city is big and the attractions are not always close to each other, that is, be patient to know everything, ok?
Taking advantage of this subject, I will talk about some of the places that are not to be missed in the city. The first one I already mentioned to you, which is Balboa Park. There are more than 15 museums there and they have themes for all tastes, from art to information about space and the universe. Beyond, the Gaslamp Quarter for those who want to enjoy the night and Belmont Park for lovers of amusement parks. Last, but not least, Old Town! In this area you will find several establishments related to Latin culture, from restaurants to shops.
San Diego is located in the extreme south of California, close to the border with Mexico. For this reason, the city’s cuisine has a lot of Mexican influence. One of the best places to eat this type of food is Las Cuatro Milpas! Unfortunately, they don’t offer any vegetarian or vegan options, so I ended up eating only rice and beans – which were delicious. Paulo tried other dishes, like the burrito, and he also loved the food and the seasoning.
Anyone who wants to eat something more traditional can go to the Civico restaurant, which specializes in Italian food. In addition to the pasta being made right there and everything being fresh, they offer a complete vegan menu. It is the type of restaurant that anyone likes, because there are many options for dishes. Another good place for those who are vegan is Evolution. All the dishes there are vegan and things are very tasty 🙂
The beaches in San Diego are a little different from what we are used to. In some of them you will not see kiosks or street vendors, so take everything you will need! From sunscreen to snacks that reduce your hunger until lunch or dinner. Of course, those closer to the center will have better infrastructure, but I prefer to relax in less busy places.
One of the most incredible places I have ever seen in my life was Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. It’s not really a beach, but you won’t regret going there, I swear! The sunset in this area is surreal, it’s so beautiful. In addition to it, I also recommend Victoria Beach, Mission Beach, Imperial Beach and, if you have your dog, or want to see the animals of the residents of the region, Dog Beach. They are all beautiful!
La Jolla is very close to downtown San Diego and is a place with wonderful scenery. Virtually the entire coastline of this region is mountainous. The contrast between sea water and rocks is very charming. I had a reason that made me even more excited to know this area: the sea lions! In La Jolla Cove part of the beach is full of sea lions and the most interesting thing is that they camouflage themselves with the rocks. The pee smell of the animals is very strong, but it is still worth going.
There you can also practice activities such as kayaking, snorkeling or cycling through the region. Those who enjoy the beach and nature cannot miss La Jolla. Even if you have little time to enjoy the city, try to fit a tour through this area of San Diego. I promise you won’t regret it 😉
Our two days in San Diego were really fun and we enjoyed every moment. If you want to see a little of our trip just watch our vlog by clicking here!