How to Spend a Day in San Diego Like a Local
San Diego – America’s Finest City
San Diego is affectionately known as America’s Finest City for many reasons. Each year millions of people flock to San Diego to bask in the sun on the beautiful coastline with the best weather in the world. San Diego’s mild climate provides the perfect setting for a vibrant outdoor culture with a variety of activities to choose from.
When to Visit
San Diego’s average year-round temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so you really can’t go wrong. However, the temperature does get warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter but is never too drastic on either side. September is an ideal time to visit as the crowds have died down with the kids back in school and the beach weather is at its prime. There are many outdoor festivals and events held during the month of September including San Diego Restaurant Week. The Del Mar Horse Racing Season is also during this month with free concerts hosted on the weekends. Just make sure that you enter before the last race.
Something For Everyone
San Diego really has something for everyone. Each neighborhood exudes it’s own vibe and lifestyle creating many unique little villages within the city. Check out the hipster scene at a craft brewery in North Park, enjoy pasta and wine in Little Italy, or indulge in fine dining in La Jolla Village. Whatever your taste, San Diego has your flavor.
Start the day with a beachfront brunch and some old world charm. The Hotel Del Coronado became the first seaside resort on the West Coast in 1888. “The Del” as the locals call it, is an iconic California landmark. A lavish beachfront brunch is a perfect start to your active day in San Diego. After brunch, explore the grounds then grab an Uber to the Coronado Ferry Landing. Peruse the shops before catching the ferry across the Coronado Bay to downtown San Diego. Grab your camera for souvenir pictures of the Coronado Bridge and San Diego’s beautiful downtown skyline.
Take a Stroll & Enjoy the Scenery
From here take a stroll through the famous Balboa Park and hit a few museums. The San Diego Zoo is right next to the park and has been rated the best in the world. If you’d rather enjoy the waterfront scenery, walk along the San Diego Harbor and visit one of the many attractions there including the Star of India, USS Midway or Seaport Village.
Have Some Fun in the Sun
San Diego’s perfect weather will have you looking for more ways to stay outside. Join the locals and keep it active with San Diego’s variety of outdoor activities. Pick your favorite and then hit the nearest beach after. For instance, you could surf some waves or go kayaking through the caves at La Jolla Shores Beach. If you’d like to try out stand up paddle boarding, then Mission Bay is a great option. Bikes can be easily rented from many shops at the beach or even on the boardwalk from a DecoBike kiosk with a credit card.
Dip Your Toes Into The Pacific Ocean
San Diego has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Your day wouldn’t be complete without seeing one. If you have time go for a swim or at the least take a walk on the sand and breathe in some refreshing ocean air.
Pick a Place to Admire the Sunset
If you’d like to enjoy the beach a little longer, grab a seat at one of the many oceanfront restaurants. If you’re ready to start your night then head downtown and check out one of the trendy rooftop terraces. Mr. A’s is known for one of the best panoramic views of the city and is perfect for a sunset toast. You’ll need to dress the part, as it’s a little fancy, but totally worth it for the breathtaking views. Top of the Hyatt is a great place to sip martinis in style as you take in the views from this waterfront hotel bar and lounge.
Dine & Dance in the Gaslamp District
The Gaslamp District is in downtown San Diego and offers quite a variety of cuisine to choose from. Take a stroll down 5th Avenue to discover the many restaurant options while taking in the downtown energy. Café Sevilla is a great option for tapas with live music and dancing. The Gaslamp has many bars, clubs, and lounges to explore after dinner. Note: Alcohol is not served past 2:00 am so many places will start to close around 1:30 am.
Helpful Hints for International Travelers
Tipping is customary in America and is not usually included in the bill when dining out. A 20% tip is appreciated for great service. Public transport is NOT widely used in San Diego. The best option for getting around is to either rent a car or request a driver through apps such as Uber or Lyft. Click on the links to download these apps and get your first ride for free on each.
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