Before I became a travel agent and went on an unintentional 15month blogging hiatus, I spoke fondly about the trip my boyfriend and I were taking to celebrate our first anniversary. We were California bound and set to explore the open highway and take in the sights from San Diego, east through Palm Desert, then north through LA, Monterrey and finally ending up in San Francisco. The trip was wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring this area of the world together – our first major trip since we started dating the year previous. If you were to ask us what our favourite destination in California was, I can confidently say it had to be San Diego. While we weren’t there long, we did manage to make the most of 48 hours in San Diego – taking in ample sights and eating delicious food (of course!).
San Diego’s laid-back charm had such a great vibe. The downtown gas lamp district, quaint Coronado, laid back- but trendy- La Jolla, the Mexican vibe of Old Town… what wasn’t to love? I wanted to highlight some of my favourite places I encountered and recommend in case you find yourself with 48hours in San Diego.
Brunch – Snooze, An AM Eatery
Like any good millennial, I love myself a good brunch – there’s something so gluttonous and luxurious about sipping a $5 latte while enjoying the latest trend in eggs benedict. I did my research and read the reviews, and after a bit of convincing of the significant other- we made our way to the hipster-y LGBT friendly area called Hillcrest and found ourselves waiting in line for 45min to try out Snooze, An AM Eatery. I’m not going to lie – I get quite hangry, so it was difficult to not get impatient while waiting for our table-for-two, but the wait was oh-so-worth it! My eggs benedict arrived and it was to die for! The boyfriend went for the smoked meat hash – which he also claims was delectable and worth the wait.
Gaslamp Farmers Market
Once I was all fed, we were headed in the direction of Coronado Island, and as a result, had to pass through the main downtown core, including an area referred to as Gaslamp Quarter. We happened to stumble upon an eclectic farmers market and decided to check er’ out! We sampled tangy – yet sweet- freshly pressed orange/tangelo juice from one particular stand and thought about indulging in some stuffed hash browns despite just having come from brunch (we restrained ourselves – much to my regret). The locals sell everything from their locally grown produce, to their arts and crafts creations – if you see a market – there’s one pretty much every day of the week, somewhere around the city – be sure you stop by and support the locals!
Hotel del Coronado
When we started planning our few days in San Diego – I started to get excited about going to see THE Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island. As a teenager, I was a big Marilyn Monroe fan – so being able to see the setting of many famous scenes from Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn, Cary Grant and Jack Lemon, was utterly exciting to the teenage film nerd in me. It did not disappoint, it’s grandeur was certainly a sight to behold. We spent the rest of our time on the island wandering around the quaint all-American style streets, wishing we had bicycles to tour around further.
Dinner – Mexican food in Old Town
Old Town Mexican Café Restaurant – this place won’t break the bank and pumps out some quality Mexican food that you can expect from Mexico’s closest neighbouring city. After meeting up with my good friend Stephanie and her boyfriend, locals to San Diego, we settled on Old Town Mexican Café Restaurant mostly because it was one of the only places that didn’t have a line. The portions were hearty and the food was tasty. We even were treated to a mariachi band performance. To be honest, any of the restaurants along the Old Town main drag looked to have delicious and authentic food- I’m not sure that this place was necessarily the BEST, but it was damn good.
Brunch – Hash House A-Go-Go
With no high hopes for topping the previous day’s brunch experience, we made our way over to Hash House A-Go-Go, another Hillcrest brunch joint. I later learned that this diner was the first of a small chain that can be found in various cities in the US. It had more of a traditional diner feel – with a bar that you could eat at (so we did). Previous to this brunch experience, I hadn’t ever had chicken & waffles, so I figured – why not do it up! We saw an order come out – and the serving size could only be described as behemoth! When the sage-fried chicken and waffles came out, it was astonishing! Two massive portions of sage-fried chicken sat atop four huge Belgian waffles with bacon cooked right into them! Needless to say, we couldn’t even come close to finishing the portion, but left feeling extremely satisfied (if not a bit on the porker side).
Children’s Pool Beach – La Jolla
We met up again with my friends from San Diego and found ourselves heading over to Children’s Pool Beach in the swanky La Jolla area of San Diego. This particular beach is notorious for it’s colonies of seals and sea lions – and we spent much longer than most tourists probably would. Since we were with two wildlife advocates, it only made sense to really get the full Children’s Pool Beach experience, and anyone who knows me from my Australia days knows my love for seals and sea lions!
Dinner –Craft Beer Tasting in La Jolla
After spending an afternoon with the seals, we figured the only way to top it would be to go to the Karl Strauss Brewery and sample some of their local craft beers, and enjoy an assortment of their upscale-pub appetizers for dinner. My boyfriend is a huge craft beer fan and he had an amazing time learning all about the unique brews they made in house from our knowledgeable server. (Photo cred: http://www.beertrotter.com/)
While I could have regaled you with typical suggestions like hanging out in Balboa Park (a must do), or the San Diego Zoo (another must do), I thought it would be more practical if I suggested checking out smaller, more local places that you may not have heard of before.
Have you been to San Diego? If so – what are your favourite things to do, and where would you suggest someone go if they only had 48 hours in San Diego?