Sick of grey skies and rain? Bored of your surroundings? Just need a breather? Yeah, me too. My go-to city is San Diego. Since catching my last international flight back to the states (from down under) back in May, I’ve been saving up and only travelling domestically until I leave once again next month. Instead, I’ve been to San Diego 3 times! (What can I say… it’s an awesome place!)
Here’s what you need to know to plan a kick-ass time in one of our southernmost cities:
How to Plan the Perfect San Diego Getaway
There’s good news for you: San Diego is covered in a plethora of beach-side hostels or AirBnB’s. For as little as $20 USD per night, you can have your own little space near the beach. I wrote a lot about my favorite hostels (and my least favorite- click on the link below for more information.
Check out the best hostels in San Diego: Hostels That Don’t Suck
There are also some awesome little hotels in P.B. (Pacific Beach) and in O.B. (Ocean Beach) ((Whoever decided to name a beach “ocean” may have been smoking a little too much of that Cali reefer….)). These hotels run a little more (some a little less!) than a private room in an OB hostel, but overall I feel like the hostels are higher-quality.
Check out Class San Diego Tourist Spots
This shouldn’t be hard to do. At all.
With tons of attractions around, it’s going to take work to be bored. Here are the classics:
- San Diego Zoo
- Although it’s roughtly $50 to enter, the SD zoo is a full-day adventure. Make sure you bring walking shoes.
- Old Town
- A colonial-style state park with lots to do and see (and eat)
- Balboa Park Museums/Garden
- Museums on museums. Some free! Featuring a lovely botanical garden.
- La Jolla Beach/ Seals
- Sea Lions and seals sunbathe along the cliffs
- Coronado Island
- Rent a bike and ride along the the ‘city’s’ edge, exploring all of the military installments
Check into the World’s Largest Spa
What? A Spa? Yes. San Diego features The Pacific Ocean. Including a free seaweed treatment. You’ll feel relaxed, stress-free and certainly “in the moment” every time you enter!
Even if you have never tried surfing, you should grab a board and head down to the water for a refreshing splash in the water. (It’s really not that difficult, trust me!)
If you’re still too chicken to try, at least boogie board. All hostels along the beach have free boogie board rentals.
After all the time I’ve spend in SD, I hope you would get off the tourist path and check out these:
Free Flight Bird Sanctuary
Skip the zoo and check out the bird sanctuary/day care instead. The sanctuary is run by avian-lovers (of all ages). I waas shocked when a pint-size preteen ran over and gave me a run-down on one of the residents. The girls I met that volunteered at the sanctuary knew so much about each species and each individual bird! What an interesting hobby to have as youngster.
Be warned though: some birds are kinder than others. I reached into one of their cages and had quite the shock. A parrot came flying towards me, and got attached to the lace on my vest. No one bit me, but I did find a birdie I like. “Miss Kitty” (the cockatoo) and I cuddled for the better part of an hour.
The sanctuary costs $7 to enter.
San Diego Maritime Museums
Tour a Russian submarine and other boats of old. The museum runs about $20 per person for all 3 boats, including a British Voyager (my personal favorite). Located just down from “Little Italy”, the museum is within walking distance of some very tasty restaurants, which leads me to:
Tastiest Places to Eat in San Diego
Embrace your inner glutton. I probably do a little too much, but bikini season is long gone, right? Like any good foodie, I’ve explored quite a few neighborhoods in San Diego and compiled a few of my favorite not-to-be-missed restaurants for your tasting pleasures.
South Beach Bar and Grille
If you haven’t already maxxed out on cheap tacos, make sure you head down to South Beach Bar and Grille. With a perfect sunset-watching balcony, you can gorge yourself on a few tacos (watch out, they’re big!) and get drunk on all the oyster shooters you can handle. At $4/per, it’s a sure way to get that budget buzz you never knew you were looking for.
The food is fantastic. The decor is extra cute. But the real reason I fell in love with this brekkie place? The staff. One of their waiters took me on a locals tour of San Diego after finding out I was from out of town. Instant friendship, guys.
(P.S. Their menu is off the chart! Make sure to grab a pitcher of mimosas)
How about truly authentic Japanese food? It’s hard to find Japanese cuisine that is up to my standards stateside, but this restaurant definitely fits the bill. Tempura, miso, and other small plates are served with a ocean view, about 20 minutes away from any large tourist destination. It’s quiet, and the atmosphere is subdued (but not the food!)
Spoiler Alert: I’m clumsy.
When you head up to the second-floor restaurant, OB Warehouse, grab a seat along the window benches. But unlike me, don’t drop an entire mimosa glass ($2 mimosas all weekend long?! YES please) onto the sidewalk below. (No beachgoers were hurt in the making of this misadventure).
What other awesome things await in San Diego? If I’ve missed anything- throw me a comment below.
P.S. A lot of the photos on this post were taken by Audra, a wonder girl I met at my Ocean Beach Hostel. Due to “clumsy Cassy’s” usual antics, I had managed to completely shatter the phone camera I was using, and didn’t take my gopro around with me everywhere I went. With express permission, I used some of the photos she took on our vacation. Thanks again, Audra! You’re the bomb.com! 🙂