Our Favorite Things: San Diego

{San Diego is a different sort of beauty than the dunes of the UAE and the evergreens of the PNW, but it certainly is pretty}

We really enjoyed living in and exploring San Diego. There is a lot you can do there, and a lot of it is even free!

Hiking! We didn’t do a ton of this despite loving it and being really close to a regional park. But Mission Trails is great, and we really enjoyed Cowles Mountain for a good hike and views. We also went to Tecolote Canyon and Lake Murray.
Beaches. There are SO many beaches in San Diego. Coronado is one of the most talked about, and it’s big and pretty and Coronado is great in other ways, but to me it was just… flat. If that’s your thing, it’s one of the prettiest. But if you’re like me and like cliffs, head towards La Jolla: Torrey Pines and La Jolla Cove are fantastic. You may also spot sea lions at the cove, and enjoy the tidepools. We also spent a lot of time at De Anza Cove, which is the bay, not the ocean, but a good spot for picnics and large group events.
Old Town is fun to explore for an afternoon, and they even have country dances once a month (unfortunately we never made it to one).
Cabrillo National Monument has a lovely lighthouse. It is a national park and so there is an entry fee per car.
Coronado is popular for its beach and Hotel del Coronado. Our favorite was Orange Street, with its eclectic mix of 50s, surfer town, Spanish, and manor architecture.
Balboa Park is FULL of museums (paid) and free stuff. We loved going there for picnics and listening to buskers, but also checked out the International Houses and went to a Sunday afternoon organ concert (free).
Mission de Alcala, the first mission in SoCal, is near Qualcomm stadium. The church is free.
Look around online – who knows what you’ll find! We ended up at a free San Diego Symphony Concert at Tidelands Park in Coronado and really enjoyed music under the stars.
– There are lots of great places to walk or shop, especially on the waterfront, like Seaport Village, Spanish Landing, and the area by the U.S.S. Midway (and there’s a fantastic sushi restaurant right there).

If you’re willing to pay, the number one place we recommend going is the Maritime Museum on the waterfront. It’s housed entirely on vessels: two tall ships, two submarines, and an old steam boat (I think), with a few other small boats
If you’re looking for a place to eat, our two favorites are Bencotto Italian Kitchen (Little Italy) and Sushi Bar Kazumi (Mission Valley/Grantville). Bencotto makes their own pasta and ginger beer, while Sushi Bar Kazumi gets their fish shipped from Japan and is so delicious. Tacos el Gordo is popular as an authentic tacqueria, but there are lots of hole in the wall places you can get yummy Mexican food.

If you’ll be living there and giving birth, I highly recommend Best Start Birth Center.
If you’re looking for a church, Grace Bible Church San Diego is tough to beat.

Other random places if you’re living there:
– John’s Automotive
– Baby Go Round Consignment

Some photos:

{Tacos el Gordo – we highly recommend the adobada}

{we saw a play at Balboa Theater}

{Cabrillo National Monument}

{the zoo is a lot of fun, but pretty spendy}

{Torrey Pines}

{there are tons of trails and regional parks everywhere – like Tecolote and Mission Trails}

{Sunday afternoon organ concerts at Balboa Park}

{down by the U.S.S. Midway}

{Posing with a Dalek at the International Houses}

{The International Houses are more of a sampling of the arts and some aspects of culture than anything else. We enjoyed it, but were expecting them to be a bit different, not sure exactly what we expected though}

{Maritime Museum. On the ship they used in Master and Commander}

{descending into the USS Dolphin}

{Mission San Diego de Alcala}

{Cowles’ Mountain. It’s pretty neat to be above the city}

{De Anza Cove}

{La Jolla Cove}

{tidepools at La Jolla Cove}

{Lake Murray}

{Imperial Beach}

{Free concert at Tidelands Park in Coronado}

{Octopus at Sushi Bar Kazumi}


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