Here’s a four-day itinerary that showcases some of the essential outdoor activities of California’s southernmost coastal city.
Start the day at Cabrillo National Monument, where Europeans first landed in 1542. Visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, explore the tide pools and enjoy spectacular views – on a clear day, you can see all the way to Mexico.
Rent a bike and ride the boardwalk along Mission and Pacific Beach and the scenic 19.3-kilometer Mission Bay Bike Path. Kono’s Café, a San Diego breakfast and lunch institution, is a must-stop for a casual meal as you watch surfers in the Pacific.
Walk around the historic buildings and shops in Old Town San Diego. Watch authentic Mexican tortillas being made at Café Coyote, and stay for dinner and people-watching in the festive courtyard.
Begin the day with a hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, home of the rarest pine tree in the USA. Take photos along the bluff of the dramatically sculpted coastline and shimmering ocean waves.
Stop for lunch at Galaxy Taco to sample San Diego’s signature Cali-Baja flavors before spending the afternoon kayaking, paddleboarding or surfing at La Jolla Shores.
Visit the quaint village of La Jolla, keeping an eye out for the Murals of La Jolla, a collection of outdoor murals painted on buildings throughout the village. Treat yourself to an upscale, locally sourced dinner at Nine-Ten. The restaurant’s executive chef Jason Knibb competed on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”
Hit the greens at one of San Diego’s more than 90 golf courses such as Coronado or Torrey Pines, where Tiger Woods famously beat Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open. The course will once again host the tournament in 2021.
Enjoy fresh seafood brought in daily at Point Loma Seafoods. Take your pick of sailing tours within walking distance and cruise along San Diego Bay until the sun sinks into the horizon.
Browse the specialty shops and galleries in Little Italy, the largest in the USA, and enjoy local craft beers at Ballast Point. For dinner, head to the northern end of the neighborhood, which is quickly becoming known as “Top Chef Alley” thanks to the numerous creative restaurants from alumni of the hit Bravo TV reality cooking competition. Favorites include Juniper & Ivy and The Crack Shack by Richard Blais, Herb & Wood and Herb & Eatery by Brian Malarkey, and Pacific Standard – Coastal Kitchen by Giselle Wellman.
Explore Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the USA with beautiful gardens, theaters, attractions, 17 museums and stunning architecture. Climb the California Tower atop the Museum of Man for one of the best panoramic views in the city. Have lunch at the Tea Pavilion in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Visit the USS Midway Museum, set aboard the USA’s longest serving Navy aircraft carrier during the 20th century. Browse exhibits and 29 restored aircraft on board while taking in downtown’s scenic skyline and waterfront from the flight deck.
Finish the evening with dinner and nightlife in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, a 16.5-block historic district with buildings dating as far back as 1850.
San Diego is connected to major international airports. It is only one flight away from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas, Seattle and more. International direct flights to San Diego International Airport (SAN) are available year-round from the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada and Mexico, and seasonally from Germany and Switzerland. Amtrak provides rail service to San Diego from Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Anaheim on its popular Pacific Surfliner train.
Where to Stay
Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton, 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, is near La Jolla Shores Beach. The hotel’s guest rooms and suites feature balconies, many overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Grab a bite to eat or a cocktail at Cusp Dining & Drinks, which features stunning views from the 11th floor.
Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside, 2137 Pacific Highway Suite B, San Diego, sits just steps from the bay in downtown San Diego. The all-suites hotel includes kitchen and living room areas, a hot breakfast each day and an evening reception on weekdays.
Embassy Suites San Diego Bay – Downtown, 601 Pacific Highway, San Diego, is the only all-suite hotel in the downtown bay area with bay and city views. The hotel is near the upscale Marina District, Seaport Village and Gaslamp Quarter. Enjoy a cooked-to-order breakfast each day of your stay and a welcome reception each evening.
A story with Visit The USA: The Official USA Travel Website