Yes travel: San Diego city guide

EmmaBy Emma  •  9 Jan 2017 at 7:00am  •  Places, World Travel

by Emma

San Diego was a bit of a surprise to us. It wasn’t somewhere that we had thought about visiting until we sat opposite our travel agent planning the road trip.

When we arrived we instantly knew it would be our favourite city of the whole trip. I think a lot of that was testament to the area that we stayed in. We were in the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp District, which boasts an array of funky bars and stylish places to eat. It had such a good vibe to it.


Seeing the sites

San Diego is pretty accessible; in fact all of our exploring was done on foot.

We spent an entire morning wandering around the stunningly beautiful Balboa Park. The weather was toasty and it was a simply beautiful way to spend the morning.


We covered as much ground as possible, taking in the gardens, the picturesque botanical building (which was like being in a garden palace), and paying a few pennies to roam the Japanese Friendship Garden.




From there we strolled through Little Italy, down to the Embarcadero where we walked along the Waterfront until we got to the iconic Unconditional Surrender statue. A pretty awe-inspiring sight.


Our time there on the waterfront confirmed to me that San Diego is one of those achingly cool places that I now really want to live in.


Island life

Coronado is a resort city just off San Diego bay. You can catch the ferry there from Embarcadero and explore this idyllic seaside escape. You won’t believe you are only a few minutes out of the city.


We used our time on the island to wander around and take in the beautiful beaches, as well as ogling at the famous Coronado Hotel (I totally want to stay there one day). The beaches are some of the best we saw, but the rest of Coronado mirrors this beauty as well with pretty houses and streets lining the way. We caught the free shuttle bus back to our ferry, and although we weren’t there very long, we certainly fell in love.



Eating out

San Diego had lots to offer on the cuisine front as well.

We had an awesome lunch at Carnitas’ Snack Shack on University Avenue (down by Embarcadaro). The food might be fast but it is still of impeccably good quality. And they do a mean mojito as well.


We were in San Diego for two evenings and dined out at two very different restaurants. The first was Gaslamp Strip Club, which initially we only noticed because I literally thought it was a strip joint and was joking about it. This funky diner was actually all about the meat though; you cook your own steaks on the grill (with the guidance of very specific instructions to help). It was really good fun and the steaks were delicious.


On the second night we dined at Searsucker. This was one that I had booked up in advance before we travelled, and I was so pleased I did. It was packed but the service was impeccable and really attentive. The quality of the food matched the front of house as well, I did my best to devour the duck potpie, which was delicious but managed to beat me. I wish I could finish off the rest now though…

When I was doing my research on San Diego I read about a secret ‘rabbit hole’ bar, Vin de Syrah, and knew that we had to give it a go. It wasn’t as tricky to find as we thought, taking some steps down from the sidewalk to be confronted by a concealed door. When we went in we weren’t surprised to find a super cool joint. They served a range of beers, which kept the boy happy, and I enjoyed a prosecco – though the cocktails sounded great too. The night we went they were showing a movie, though we didn’t actually sit and watch it. But if you are looking for somewhere for drinks while you are in town, this is definitely worth checking out.

And one other watering hole that we tried for a bit of a laugh, was Kansas City Barbecue the filming location for scenes used in the film Top Gun. That’s my boy right there, doing his best attempt at re-enacting the scene.



That’s it for San Diego. We truly truly loved it and I hope one day that we will return to explore it even more.



{If you are planning a West Coast of America trip, you will want to check out the other posts in this series: Planning a West Coast of America trip, San Francisco city guide, Los Angeles city guide, Las Vegas city guide}

About the Author

Emma loves sunshine and flip flops, prosecco, chocolatey treats, things that sparkle, trips to the beach, reading and blogging.

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