San Diego has all the makings of a perfect vacation: beaches, zoos, amusement parks, art galleries, nightclubs, hiking trails, and restaurants. Pack a swimsuit, but don’t forget tennis shoes and party clothes. A lot of fun can be packed into a weekend in San Diego.
Upon landing at the San Diego International Airport (SAN), visitors can’t help but notice the miles of beach and swaying palm trees along the edge of a hip and growing downtown. Though the trolley system is good, travelers will most likely need to rent a car—there’s a lot of terrain to cover. San Diego is home to a mix of eclectic neighborhoods waiting to be explored.
Start the morning by heading out to Point Loma (or “the Point,” as locals call it), and stop at Con Pane Rustic Breads & Café, where it’s all about the bread—delicious artisan bread. On the weekend, ask for the pane cioccolata—it’s worth it. Work off those carbs by renting a bike to ride the miles of paths along Mission Bay and Pacific Beach.
Head up to Normal Heights for antique shops and lunch. At Blind Lady Ale House, diners can find pizzas made from seasonal, local ingredients, as well as a superb variety of craft beers. Vegetarians and vegans can find paradise at Jyoti-Bihanga, where the best reason to visit is the “neatloaf”—imitation meatloaf that even carnivores will enjoy.
With a zoo, performing arts spaces, and museums to choose from, there’s something for everyone in Balboa Park. For dinner, head south to the Golden Hill neighborhood, one of the city’s creative hubs. Counterpoint, dubbed “a place for people” by its owner Cam, invites everyone to come and enjoy the company of others. The emphasis on creativity is so strong that the kitchen staff tries something new and adventurous every week. If the pain frites are on the menu that day, ordering them is a must.
The Gaslamp District downtown has an abundance of Italian restaurants, but beer-lovers should head to Little Italy for a gem called Bottlecraft. They have a huge selection of domestic and imported bottled beers, including a rotating selection kept cold for immediate drinking. They don’t serve food, but guests are welcome to bring their own. For those who can’t decide what to order, Bottlecraft offers a flight of beer; selections change daily. Bottlecraft’s walls are home to short-term gallery installations, so make sure to admire the art while enjoying the brews.
Sunsets are beautiful just about anywhere in this town, but for the most breathtaking views, take a stroll along the Sunset Cliffs stretching from Ocean Beach to Point Loma.
A weekend in San Diego is enough to give a taste of what this beautiful city has to offer, but there’s so much to discover, visitors might end up planning another getaway on the way home.
Places to Visit in San Diego
Written by Jenna Clouse
Photography by Kristen Pfund