Living in the Pacific Northwest, sunshine is very limited in the winter months. This was something I took for granted living in California, and to this day, is something I am still adjusting to. The rumors you hear about Seattle are likely true, it’s rainy, it’s grey, and the winter months stretch on for what feels like forever and a day. By the time March comes around, I am desperately needing sunlight and I will do nearly anything to get it. This desperation is what led to a weekend trip to San Diego, California. Nothing quite warms my soul like California sunshine. Correction, nothing quite warms my soul like the California ocean, and sunshine. For a quick weekend getaway, San Diego has it all–good weather, solid food, trendy shops, and the beach. Here’s how to do a weekend trip to San Diego!
Where to stay:
Location is key in San Diego, especially if you are not going to have a vehicle to get around. We opted to stay in La Jolla and it was one of the more positive Airbnb experiences I’ve had. The homemade brownies waiting for us were an added plus, but it was the robes that really sold me. I’ve included a link here if you are interested. The space was clean and in close proximity to everything we needed, including a short scooter ride to Pacific Beach. Because we skipped renting a car for this trip, I don’t think we could have picked a more perfect location. We were able to locate Uber scooters and ride them to most places we wanted to go. For those places that were a longer drive away, Uber was always handy!
Day 1: Soak Up that California Vitamin D
There was nothing more that I wanted to do then beach bum it up at Pacific Beach. We found some Uber Scooters down the block and did the 8 minute ride to the beach. PB is definitely not a “peace and quiet” type of beach. If that’s what you’re seeking, I would head to a different location. Despite the crowds, I enjoyed the convenience and having bars and restaurants all within walking distance. Nothing is worse than being too hungry to enjoy the beach. If you’re seeking some thrill after the lounging on the beach, head over to Balboa Park, a beachside amusement park.
After a full beach day, I recommend checking out Gaslamp. It was the first place we visited that I went in with zero expectations. I have a habit of doing extensive research on places, so I usually know exactly what it will look like, the vibe, etc. When we got to Gaslamp, I was shocked, maybe even a little blindsided?! This place was a California Vegas and we went out with the expectations that we were going to play arcade games at Coin-Op. Bachelor parties lined the streets, hydraulic cars flooded the block, and drunken sorority girls were running wild. It was a sight to see! Needless to say it wasn’t the casual night we were expecting, but it provided some of the best people watching. I definitely recommend a night out in Gaslamp and if you are wanting a chill bar with arcade games, hit up Coin-Op!
Day 2: Shopping in North Park & Strolling Balboa Park
When planning my trip to San Diego, I knew visiting North Park was a must. I had read that it was full of hipsters, young professionals and students and this seemed to be right up my ally. Surprise, it was! As much as I enjoy hitting up the popular spots when I travel, I also find joy in finding places that are less known to outsiders. We rented scooters and explored the streets of North Park. A few of my favorite stops included: Pigment and Holy Matcha.
If you like matcha, healthy breakfast snacks, or cute decor, Holy Matcha is the place for you. The chia seed pudding was a great way to start my day and it felt good eating something healthy after all the tacos I had devoured the day before.
After breakfast, then came shopping. Pigment is one of my favorite stores I’ve ever been in! It was a plant oasis. Had I not been flying home, I would’ve brought a handful of plants with me. Everything about this store was aesthetically pleasing. They even had a make shift photo booth in front of a plant wall! And don’t get me started on the succulent wall. I now contemplate how I can decorate one of the walls in my apartment the same way.
Next up..Balboa Park! I was initially very apprehensive about Balboa park. Everything I had heard or read recommended at least a full day in the park. Being as this was a quick trip, we didn’t have a full day and I wasn’t sure if stopping by for an hour or so would be a waste of time. Being as North Park and Balboa park are in such close proximity to another, we decided to give it a shot. We rode the scooters the 2.2 miles to the Park and ended up in Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. Reflecting back, I have no idea what the hell we were thinking riding scooters 2.2 miles on crowded streets, 10/10 do not recommend, but we had a blast and it seemed rather cost effective at the time. After the rose garden, we made our way through the park. A magical Sunday stroll it was.
Last Day: Ferry to Coronado Island
We had a half day to spare before our afternoon flight and decided to take the ferry to Coronado Island. I’ve always wanted to visit the island and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. So off we want, lugging our luggage through the sand. Though not the most ideal, it was a great little visit. The island was both quiet and quaint and it was a relaxing way to spend our last few hours outside the city. The ferry dock is fairly close to the airport so we weren’t too concerned about timing.
It wouldn’t be a successful weekend in San Diego without a few food recommendations. I went into the trip with a long list of food places I wanted to try, but we didn’t get to most of them. We spent more of this trip exploring than eating, but I did want to mention a few favorites!
1. Oscar’s Tacos–our first meal was Oscar’s tacos. The fish tacos were amazing and Luke asked if we could go back the next day. Oscar’s is a San Diego Staple, if you only have time for one of these spots, do this one.
2. Grab a quick drink at Pacific Beach Alehouse. They have a cute rooftop that overlooks the ocean.
3. Cannonball–loved the vibe of this spot. Spacious rooftop deck with couches that overlook the ocean. The lamb lollipops were delicious and the rolls were a hit too!
4. For desert, hit up the Baked Bear for cookie sandwiches
The Missed List:
Even though it felt like a perfect weekend getaway, there were a few things we missed that you should consider for your trip to SD:
1. Sunset Cliffs–I am a sucker for a good sunset. I’ve heard this place has incredible views. This will be at the top of my list next time I’m in San Diego.
2. Little Italy
3. Liberty Public Market
4. Drinks at Pendry Rooftop
That concludes an adventure packed weekend in Sunny San Diego! Happy planning 🙂