I find deciding on the big events easy, here are a few San Diego side trips to help fill in around the big events on a trip. What to do in San Diego? Side Trips can be fun and memorable without being expensive or event taking a lot of time. A place to relax and walk with your spouse or significant other. In addition, I have included a few of the restaurants I enjoy in San Diego – a few are cheap, one or two are little on the nicer side but all are places I enjoy when visiting San Diego.
Side Trips, Drives and “Dives”
You could call Seaport Village a tourist trap, but it is one that I have visited many times. Melissa and I enjoyed the chance to take a relaxing walk and explore the shops. Many of the shops a tourist targeted, and if you are looking for t-shirts and other memorabilia, you will find it here. The location, right on the bay, makes for great views of Coronado and the Bay. The parking can be a little challenging and there is a charge, but I still would say it is worth an hour or two. Here is additional information about Seaport Village.
Park on one of the side streets and explore Orange Ave. Lined with shops and places to get coffee and snacks. Spreckels Park on Orange Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets is beautiful. Pack a picnic lunch and grab a blanket, you will enjoy your time here. The beaches on Coronado are some of the best in San Diego. Here is more information about what to do in Coronado
Old Town San Diego is part Historic Park, part restaurant district and part shopping district. It is worth a couple of hours to explore and learn more about the history of the city. This area of the city dates back to the mid 1850’s and includes historic buildings and recreations. There are many great restaurants, but one I like is the local chain Miguel’s Cocina. There is also a Miguel’s on Coronado that is worth visiting. Miguel’s is part of a local family of restaurants called the Brigantine Family of Restaurants. I have visited several of the Miguel’s locations and the Brigantine Seafood restaurant and have always enjoyed them.
Presideo Park,located just above Old Town San Diego on a hill, overlooks the city and the bay. The park is beautiful and the views are worth the visit. The Junipero Serra Museum is in the Presideo, but I have not been inside in years. Here is additional information about the Juniper Serra Museum.
Hotel del Coronado
The Hotel Del Coronado is a historic beach resort worth exploring. The red roof and rotundas take you back to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The hotel is featured in several movies over the years, including “Some Like it Hot.” The grounds are beautiful and the lobby and buildings have lots of character. We like to do one nice meal on a trip and decided that combining dinner with a visit to the Hotel del Coronado was the perfect combination. We arrived early and explored before heading down to a wonderful dinner at the Sheerwater Restaurant. Dinner on the patio watching the sunset was beautiful, the food and service made for a memorable evening.
Two of my favorite on the go meals in San Diego are from regional chains.
In-n-Out Burgers: “Double-Double-Animal-Style” is all you need to remember! That is a double cheeseburger with grilled onions and pickles mustard and extra spread. You won’t find it on the menu, but they will know how to fix it. In-N-Out Burgers is know for its secret menu, which isn’t a secret anymore. The burgers and fries are fresh, the staff is always friendly. Though the lines can be long, they are very efficient and move the crowd quickly.
Rubio’s: Great Fish Taco’s and other Baja style Mexican food. They also have fresh salsa and guacamole made daily. If you have never tried fish tacos, be daring and spend the $1.50 or so for one. Multiple locations throughout the city make it easy to grab a fish taco when you are hungry. More information can be found here.
Highway 163 from downtown to the I-8: This is a short cut-through from downtown to the Mission Valley area, and is one I have always enjoyed. The entire county is filled with canyons and this road will give you a glimpse of one of the canyons. You will pass alongside Balboa Park and under the Cabrillo Bridge, which connects Balboa Park to downtown San Diego. The traffic can be very heavy during rush hours, but on a nice weekend afternoon this short drive can be beautiful.
Coronado Bay Bridge: If you are going out to Coronado, you will take the bridge, and the views across the bay are worth it. There is no longer a toll, so take the bridge and turn around for a quick return to San Diego even if you are not exploring Coronado.
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