Haunted places in San Diego

Haunted Places in San Diego

From our beautiful white-sand beaches to our friendly and welcoming community, there are so many wonderful things about our little corner of the world here in sunny San Diego, California. However, our turquoise waters and close-knit atmosphere only begin to touch on what it has to offer to both guests and locals alike. Many people don’t realize that we’re also the home to some of the most historical — and dare we even say, spooky — sites in the entire state, as well. In fact, we’d even argue that we’re one of the most haunted places in California.

While not everyone knows about the many haunted attractions in San Diego that we have hidden here, we’re more than happy to share them with you. If you’re a fan of old Victorian mansions, we’ve got ‘em. More into World War II history and the eerie lore that surrounds it? You can find it right here. The bottom line is, there is no shortage of haunted places in San Diego, and they’re just begging for you to explore them further.

The Top Most Haunted Attractions in San Diego

We are proud to be the go-to spot for thrill-seekers and history buffs alike, and there’s plenty of that to be found here. If you’re looking for the best haunted places in San Diego, then look no further. We’ve rounded up ten of the most spooky places to go in San Diego just for you, which means only one thing: you better grab onto your britches, because there’s seriously nothing holding you back from tapping into your own spirit of adventure by checking out these ten hair-raising haunted places in San Diego!

Sign for the haunted Whaley House in San Diego
Is the Whaley House haunted? IG photo by @thespiritchick

The Whaley House

The Whaley House (2476 San Diego Ave. in Old Town) has been many things throughout the years (including a courthouse, general store, and public theater), but even its humble origins are admittedly disturbing. Thomas Whaley, one of San Diego’s earliest settlers, built the famed Whaley House on top of an old execution site. Little did he know it would become a bonafide San Diego haunted house after tragedy repeatedly struck the poor family. Not long after they moved in, Thomas Junior succumbed to scarlet fever. Then Violet, one of their daughters, took her own life after being betrayed by her husband.

With its dark past, there’s little doubt that the Whaley House is one of the most haunted places in San Diego. Many other members of the Whaley family also perished within its walls, lending to its spooky aura. If you listen carefully while there, you might be able to hear baby Thomas’s little footsteps pattering around, or catch a glimpse of Violet’s heartbroken spirit lingering upstairs. 

The William Heath Davis House
The William Heath Davis House may be one of the most haunted places in San Diego. IG photo by @redfishingboat

William Heath Davis House

As the oldest surviving structure in San Diego, the William Heath Davis House (410 Island Ave. in the Gaslamp) has its own share of paranormal history. Since San Diego didn’t have enough lumber to build a house, a “salt-box” house was shipped in from Maine. Davis’s home is unquestionably one of the more haunted places in San Diego thanks to the sheer number of people who once lived — and died — there. 

There was significant pushback from locals about the salt-box houses, and it took the work of one Anna Scheper to get the community to come around. She determined that San Diego was long overdue for a hospital, and the William Heath Davis House was the prime location for it. She was paid a dollar per patient she saw per day, no small sum for the era. These days, you can possibly see the ghost of a German WWII spy roaming around the property, or the apparition of one of the many patients who died there.

The Steam Ferry Berkeley
Be on the lookout for the Fedora Man on the Steam Ferry Berkeley. IG photo by @ocghostsandlegends

Berkeley Steam Ferry Boat

When many people think of famous haunted ships, they often tend to think of the Titanic. However, don’t let the Steam Ferry Berkeley slip under your radar; this ferryboat saw some incredible things during its tenure… but it also has its own supernatural backstory, too. Launched in 1898, it was the largest passenger ferryboat at the time, capable of carrying up to 1,700 passengers.

It came in handy after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, where the Berkeley was responsible for shuttling the survivors of the devastating earthquake to safety. While it never actually sank during its active years, it did see its own shares of death aboard. In turn, you’d be wise to be on the lookout for the Fedora Man, an ominous being who loiters aboard the vessel. It’s rumored to be the ghost of John O. Norbom, who died aboard the Berkley when he dropped a bottle of nitroglycerin, blowing himself up and injuring five others. The ferryboat is now an exhibit at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego
According to local folklore, Room #309 at the Horton Grand Hotel has a story behind it. IG photo by @dannysoliz1

Horton Grand Hotel

Usually when you think of haunted places in San Diego, what probably comes to mind are abandoned places in San Diego. The Horton Grand Hotel (311 Island Ave.) is anything but. A flourishing and gorgeous historic building in the Gaslamp District, it still sees plenty of activity. However, it also has its own sordid past, too. And if you decide to stay there? While this is definitely one of the places to see in San Diego if you’re a fan of haunted locales, you just may want to avoid room #309.

According to legends, a debt-stricken gambler by the name of Roger Whitaker spent his last fateful night in that room back in the 1800s. After cheating at a card game, he retreated to his room, but his pursuers still found him and shot him to death as he hid inside his wardrobe. To this day, he still continues to raise a ruckus at guests who are brave enough to stay in #309.

Kate Morgan at Hotel Del Coronado
What happened to Kate Morgan at Hotel Del Coronado? IG photo by @ohthatmichael

Hotel del Coronado

Unlike the rambunctious Roger Whitaker who lodged at the Horton Grand Hotel, the spirit who resides at the Hotel del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave. in Coronado) is said to be a kind and gentle ghost by the name of Kate Morgan. Her tragic tale begins back in 1892, when the young woman checked into her room on Thanksgiving Day. According to other guests, she waited five whole days for a gentleman to join her. When he never showed, she took her own life.

Since she never checked back out, her ghost still remains at the Hotel del Coronado. According to paranormal experts, there’s ample evidence of her presence. Guests have reported seeing lights flicker, felt a cool breeze rush past them, and saw televisions turn off and on. Others have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to see her transparent shape with their own eyes. There’s just something about San Diego haunted hotels that keep us on edge, and the Hotel del Coronado is no different.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse
Listen for heavy footsteps on the spiral staircase at the Point Loma Lighthouse. IG photo by @itwasthelight

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

When it was first built, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse had the distinct honor of being the highest elevated lighthouse in the country, towering over the world at an impressive 462 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, this was actually a disadvantage, and fog made it hard for passing ships to make it out in inclement weather. Because of this, the presiding lighthouse keeper oftentimes had to fire off a shotgun to warn vessels to stay away.

The numerous keepers of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse took their duties very seriously, and these days, it’s reported that they’ve returned back to their outpost. Visitors have noted that they can hear heavy footsteps in the spiral staircase, securing its position as one of the more haunted places in San Diego. Without a doubt, this spot is one of the top places to see in San Diego for a chance at a ghost sighting. To visit the lighthouse, you’ll have to go to the Cabrillo National Monument.

USS Midway in San Diego
Sailors on the USS Midway thought it might be haunted even back then. IG photo by @roamingbison_

USS Midway

The USS Midway (910 N. Harbor Dr. downown), a decommissioned United States Navy aircraft carrier, has never been a stranger to supernatural activity. Even when it was still in service, crewmembers would discuss in hushed tones the existing resident ghosts aboard the vessel. One such entity allegedly made the ship’s cold storage his home, and many people stated that they could smell the stale, copper odor of blood from time to time.

Paranormal experts have been quick to point out that the ghosts that haunt the USS Midway are not to be feared, though. The haunted crew aboard the Midway aren’t those who perished on the boat and roam the vessel like lost souls, but instead, they came back to serve on it after they left the mortal realm. Their sense of camaraderie and love for the ship, as well as their crewmates, makes them a welcome guest aboard it.

The Star of India under full sail
Feel something peculiar when visiting the Star of India? That might be a ghost. IG photo by @markrogerbailey

Star of India

The oldest working sailing ship, the Star of India (formerly known as the Euterpe) is no stranger to its share of supernatural phenomena. Named after the Greek goddess of singing and dancing, the Euterpe was seemingly doomed from the start. Its first voyage to India was met with a collision and a mutiny. Its second? It was so stressful, the captain perished not long after it limped into its port of call.

Sadly, many sailors who worked aboard the Euterpe passed away, as being a deckhand was no easy job. Drownings were quite commonplace, as were serious illnesses and diseases. One of the ship’s youngest ghosts was a stowaway by the name of John Campbell. Not long after he was discovered, he fell from one of the masts and died three days later from his injuries. It’s purported that if you stand close to the mast from which he fell, you can sometimes feel his cold hand grasping your arm. The Star of India, like the Steam Ferry Berkeley, is part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The Julian Pioneer Cemetery
Things can get spooky at the Julian Pioneer Cemetery. IG photo by @ghosty_girlz_official

Julian Pioneer Cemetery

The story of the Julian Pioneer Cemetery (Julian, CA) is a heartbreaking one, but it’s also one that lends to quite a few supernatural sightings on its grounds. Back when the gold rush was in full swing, pioneers came from across the country to see if they could stake their claim of the treasure. Sadly, the reality of the situation was far worse than the fantasy lives they dreamed of, and many of them perished from disease, alcoholism, and even during childbirth.

These days, the old mining cemetery is very old and somber, and it carries the weight of all of the lives lost during the gold rush period. Visitors to it often report that they have spied a ghostly apparition weaving through the tombstones, further reinforcing the notion that this is one of the most haunted places in San Diego. And according to first-hand accounts, one of these entities is none other than the town’s founder, Drury Bailey.

Villa Montezuma Museum in Sherman Heights
Stay away from the Villa Montezuma Museum if haunted places frighten you. IG photo by @dj_arkon

Villa Montezuma Museum

The Villa Montezuma Museum (1925 K St. in Sherman Heights) is arguably the most haunted location in the entire city, making it one of the best places to go in San Diego for a ghost sighting. Crafted in the distinct style of Queen Anne architecture, it was built in 1887 for an English Renaissance man by the name of Jesse Shepard. Surprisingly, he abandoned the mansion only one year later. Evidently, after finding himself living in a haunted house, San Diego was no longer his preferred city.

As it turned out, he was responsible for the events that drove him away from his home. One of his hobbies included holding séances, and passersby noted that they could hear full orchestras playing in his house — even when he was all alone! One of the ghosts that loiter at the Villa Montezuma Museum today is allegedly a man who had bought the house after Shepard moved out. Soon after, he hanged himself from the second-floor observatory.

A Haunting and Enchanted City

There’s no shortage of mysterious happenings here in San Diego, and its vast and rich history only contributes to its intrigue. The sheer amount of spooky evidence makes it difficult for even staunchest cynics to refute the presence of specters, ghosts, and supernatural beings within our city limits. However, despite all of the eerie phenomena found here, we can all agree that there’s no place in the world like San Diego — and the true spirit of the city can easily be found in the heart of each and every one of the wonderful people who call it home.

About the author: When Karyl Trejo isn’t writing articles about health and fitness, you can find her hanging out with her husband and two cats on the beautiful Central Coast of California, chipping away at her next science fiction novel. If you want to hit her up for her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or swap running tips with her, you can find her LinkedIn here.

Bioluminescence in San Diego

Bioluminescence in San Diego

Imagine how cool it would look if someone emptied out a million glow sticks into a swimming pool. Now imagine that a mad scientist found a way to make the glow sticks inactive until the water was disturbed – in other words, the water would look like normal water until something moved it. Drop a penny in the pool, and it will glow like a comet all the way to the bottom. Well, nature is better than even the maddest scientist out there, and has, over the course of millions of years, cooked-up a natural phenomenon just like the spectacle described above… but on steroids and sprinkled with fairy dust.

The Bioluminescent Waves & Beaches in San Diego

A bioluminescent beach in San Diego, La Jolla
A bioluminescent beach in La Jolla. Photo by BommaritoArt.com.

These natural phenomena are called bioluminescent waves, and if seeing these waves in person is not on your bucket list then you either do not know what they are or you are more boring than Ben Stein giving a lecture about the impact stamp collecting has on liquidity in the municipal bond market. Fortunately, you do not need to travel the world over to experience this awe-inspiring site for yourself because it is right in your own backyard. It is not that hard to find a bioluminescent beach in San Diego.

What Is Bioluminescence in San Diego?

Chances are, that even if you have never been to a bioluminescent beach in San Diego, you are already familiar with at least one bioluminescent phenomenon: fireflies. Bioluminescence simply refers to any organism that produces light. There are many different organisms that are capable of bioluminescence, and they can be quite different from one another – for instance, the bioluminescent plankton in San Diego are entirely different from the bioluminescence of fireflies. People travel the world to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomenon, but the chances are that there is a bioluminescent beach in San Diego near you right now. Before we get into that, however, let’s start with the basics.

What Is a Natural Phenomena 

First, the grammar nerd in me is just screaming to point out that, even though most people say “a natural phenomena,” it should actually be “a natural phenomenon” because “phenomena” is the plural form of “phenomenon.” Okay, I feel better now that I got that out there. In any event, regardless of how you choose to say it, there is still the question of what exactly natural phenomena are.

The dictionary definition is that a phenomenon is simply something that can be seen, heard, felt, etc.; however, in practice, it usually means something that is exceptional or unusual that can be seen, heard, felt, etc. So natural phenomena are simply things that occur in nature that are interesting and exceptional – think a solar eclipse, a cicada emergence, or a tornado.

Is There Still Bioluminescence in San Diego?

The short answer is “it depends.” The presence of bioluminescent algae in San Diego can change drastically from even one day to the next, but they are most common during the spring and summer months. To get an exact answer as to if you can see them right now, your best bet is to look at resources that are updated from one minute to the next. Places like Reddit, news outlets, Facebook, and surf cams are all good bets. Another resource that might be helpful is UC San Diego’s Scripps Institute. They study red tides (which cause bioluminescent waves) and are even working on a forecasting tool so that soon they will be able to predict when the next one will be near you.

 Where to See Bioluminescence in San Diego?

When the San Diego bioluminescent waves are in town, you can likely see them along most of the coast. That said, the best place to see bioluminescence in San Diego is at a beach with as little man-made light as possible. The darker out it is, the better you will be able to see the bioluminescent lights San Diego style. Some good spots would include Torrey Pines, State Beach, Sunset Cliffs, and Solana Beach in San Diego’s North County.

If you would like to learn more about the beaches near you, these links have oodles of information that will help you figure out just where exactly you would like to have your mind blown: La Jolla beaches, Del Mar beaches, Coronado beaches, and Mission beaches.

Bioluminescent waves in San Diego
Bioluminescent waves in San Diego. Photo by BommaritoArt.com.

Are Bioluminescent Algae Still in San Diego?

Well, the fact is that there are always some bioluminescent algae in San Diego – it is just that there are not usually enough to put on a show. The kind of algae we want are called dinoflagellates, and, just like all plankton, they are much happier when there is plenty of food and nutrients around for them to gobble up. The nutrients they like can come from currents, upwellings, storms, and even man-made waste.

When the algae find a source of food, they reproduce like bunny rabbits. Their numbers increase so rapidly that they frequently turn the water a reddish color, and for this reason when their population explodes people call it a “red tide.” There are a number of websites that track the water quality of local beaches, and these will tell you if there is a red tide in the area. If there is a red tide, the odds of finding bioluminescence in San Diego go through the roof.

What Is the Best Time to See Bioluminescence in San Diego?

The spring and summer months are the times when it is most likely that you will be able to see bioluminescent waves in San Diego. Bioluminescent algae like warm water, so if you want the very best chance possible, shoot for late summer.

How Long Does Bioluminescence Last in San Diego? 

The length of time the bioluminescent algae in San Diego stick around depends on how long the nutrients they like to munch on last, which, depending on their source, can be anywhere from a week to a month or more. 

How Often Does Bioluminescence Occur in San Diego?

Bioluminescence in San Diego usually happens once every few years. There have been times, however, when bioluminescence in San Diego has happened in sequential years. Though this used to be a rare occurrence, the odds of it happening are actually increasing quite rapidly because of climate change. It is kind of like the consolation prize we humans get for doing such a great job of ruining our atmosphere.  

Bioluminescence is a natural phenomena in San Diego
Bioluminescence is one of many natural phenomena in San Diego. Photo by BommaritoArt.com.

A Few Tips

While it is almost impossible to not have a jaw-droppingly memorable experience if you get a chance to witness bioluminescence in San Diego, there are a few things that you will want to consider before heading out. Chief among these is safety. Remember that you are going to purposely try and find beaches that are dark and isolated. 

To make sure that you know where you are going, it is a really good idea to scout out the area you plan on visiting ahead of time in the daylight. Many of the paths along the shore with the best views also just happen to be terrifyingly close to cliffs and bluffs. Just because you put seeing bioluminescence in San Diego on your bucket list, that does not mean that you want to kick the bucket right after you see it! Scouting the area will also help you get to know the best route to take so that you do not get lost.

Assuming you figure out where you are going and how to safely get there, you will almost certainly want to take pictures. I mean, let’s be honest – if you are going to go around telling people you saw the ocean come alive, sparkle, and turn neon blue in the middle of the night, you will probably want proof. 

To get a good picture, you will need to do better than just using the standard settings on your phone. While almost any bioluminescent beach in San Diego is likely to be absolutely spectacular in person, the amount of light that the bioluminescent waves put out is less than your phone is meant to capture. Ideally, you will be able to bring along a standalone digital camera, but whatever you use to take the pictures, the key will be to use a longer-than-normal exposure time. This will allow the camera to collect enough light to truly showcase the beauty of the bioluminescent waves. Just be sure to keep your camera as still as possible because the longer exposure time makes it very easy to get a blurry picture if your camera moves even the slightest bit.

Bioluminescent waves in San Diego are the kind of natural phenomena that people spend thousands of dollars and travel the world to see, so don’t under-appreciate just how lucky you are to get the chance to visit a bioluminescent beach in San Diego. Take your time and soak it in. It is a spectacle that will not only leave you in awe of its beauty, but will also remind you just how amazing this world we live on truly is – and that is something we could all use.

About the author: Ethan Margolis is an academic research librarian and freelance author. He is also a lifelong musician who loves writing and playing all types of music, and especially enjoys the classical guitar.

Photo credit: The beautiful photos of San Diego bioluminescence, including the banner photo, on this page are from local photographer Jeff Bommarito. Check out his website at BommaritoArt.com.

Fishing in San Diego

San Diego Fishing

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish and they go to San Diego where the fishing is always good. That is because when you teach a person to fish, you also teach them about the best places to do it. California enjoys an embarrassment of riches when it comes to world class fishing locations. San Diego boasts some of the best places in a state full of the best places to fish. 

What makes a place good for fishing? Here are a few things to look for:

  • Access to a lot of water
  • Favorable laws for hobbyists
  • Sound regulations for environmental protection
  • An active and vibrant community of like minded people
  • A strong and supportive ecosystem

If you narrow your focus to this handful of items, you will see why San Diego volts to the top of the list of great fishing locations. San Diego fishing is not just a passing fad. People have been fishing in San Diego for ages. In fact, San Diego is one of the world’s premier fishing destinations. 

Yellowtail fishing in La Jolla
Boat fishing in La Jolla can yield yellowtail. IG photo by @slayerangler

Your Full Guide to Fishing in San Diego

In this guide to fishing in San Diego, we will be exploring the best places to fish and the kind of fish you can expect to catch. You will also learn about licensing and even deep sea fishing in San Diego. When you are done reading this guide, you will be ready to pick up a San Diego fishing report along with your gear of choice. 

One of the best things about fishing is how it tends to bring families together. Fishing is great as a solitary experience. But it is amazing when shared with family and friends. Getting outside is a good thing. And learning about nature and appreciating its diversity and splendor is even better. So before you pack up the vehicle and put on your favorite fishing hat, here are a few things you need to know:

Fishing America’s Finest City: Is Fishing Good in San Diego?

Is this a good time for fishing San Diego’s waters? The good news is that no matter when you read this the answer is yes, it is an excellent time for fishing San Diego! One of the reasons for this is the year-round perfect fishing weather. The weather in La Jolla ranges anywhere from mid 60s to high 70s with a handful of exceptions on either end. Weather like this is not only good for the fish, it is good for the person doing the fishing. 

The thing to remember is that fishing is not just a singular event. It can take all day, or several days. A fishing trip consists of more than the time spent angling. It consists of beer runs, or coffee runs if you prefer. You also have to find something to eat during the day. Everyone in the family will need to use the facilities while out fishing. So make sure there are some facilities nearby. There is a whole infrastructure required for a good day (or week) of fishing. San Diego has that infrastructure in spades. With that in mind, here are some of the places to go for the best fishing in the area:

Where to Go Fishing in San Diego

Where can I go fishing in San Diego? This is a common question. It is one thing to know that San Diego is great for fishing, and quite another to know all the great San Diego fishing spots. The best fishing areas in San Diego is a rather subjective call. It depends on what kind of fish you are after. Pier fishing San Diego spots are a good alternative to a deep sea adventure. Searching for fishing near me will surface places to go for the more casual angler. Here are a few locations to check out:

You will find that all of the major San Diego neighborhoods are never far from great fishing. 

Fishing in Diamond Valley Lake
Bass fishing in San Diego’s Diamond Valley Lake. IG photo by @bass_brosfishing

Fresh-Water Fishing in San Diego

For fresh water fishing, try the following:

Diamond Valley Lake

Don’t be frightened off by word of an algae bloom clogging the lake. The cleanup went very well and the area is good for fishing. Bass fishing is good at DVL year-round. 

Chollas Lake

This spot is interesting because it is a kids only fishing spot. They define kids as 15 and under. While exact numbers are not known, this lake is stocked with trout. 1/2 pound is the average weight of each fish. 

Dixon Lake

This is a good choice for catfish and bass lovers. When the water is colder, go for trout. Because the water is clear, you will have to fish more tactically. If the fish can see you, they will be harder to catch. Shad is their meal of choice so stock your bait box accordingly. Dixon boasts another feature worth mentioning: You don’t require a license to fish there. 

When it comes to fresh-water fishing, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to explore. 

Saltwater Fishing in San Diego

Beyond the lakes, there is plenty of fishing to be found. Here are a few examples associated with key neighborhoods and communities:

La Jolla

You don’t need another good reason to visit La Jolla. But if you need just a little more convincing, the fishing should be reason enough. If you like halibut, yellowtail, barracuda, lingcod, and calico bass, La Jolla is your place to be. What’s that? I had you at halibut? That’s good to know. Because this isn’t the only San Diego spot to get it. The kelp line is equally generous as the shore line when it comes to giving up fish to the hungry angler. You can cast your line from a motor boat, canoe, or your own two feet planted firmly on mother earth. Either way, you probably won’t go home empty handed.

San Diego Bay

No one who has seen it denies the scope and grandeur of San Diego Bay. Shore fishing San Diego Bay is fishing nirvana for angling from land or boat. Of the 12 miles of shore, there are no bad spots. The catch of the day could be any of a large variety of species. Try Shelter Island and the Cays for something a little different. The Bay is a great place to find bonefish, spotted bay bass, and of course Halibut. 

 San Clemente and Catalina Islands

Why would you need to bother with the islands when there is so much bountiful shore? Tuna. It is not the chicken of the sea. It is the filet mignon stuffed with caviar topped with truffles of the sea. Perhaps you had tuna last night and have your heart set on a giant yellowtail. Either way, the decadent delights of the deep await.

Drop your line in the drink and it is likely one of the premier, San Diego fishing spots. Tuna fishing San Diego islands is as satisfying whether or not you catch your limit. Where can you fish in San Diego? If there is not a faucet attached to it, you can probably fish in it. Check the signs just to be on the safe side.

What Fish Are in Season in San Diego?

Check the San Diego fishing report or San Diego fishing calendar to know what is in season when you get there. Here is a quick look:

  • Year-round: rock cod, rockfish, yellowtail
  • Spring: blue fin, bonito, calico bass, halibut, wahoo, swordfish, white sea bass
  • Summer: barracuda, durado, marlin, 

There are no fish exclusive to the fall season. But some of the summer fish start in late summer just as some of the spring fish start in late spring. Because there is so little change in the weather from one month to the next, the fishing is relatively consistent all year. There is never a bad time to visit San Diego for fishing. It is always fishing season in San Diego.

Do You  Need a Fishing License in San Diego?

You will definitely need a California fishing license for many of the best spots. But there are still plenty of free fishing San Diego locations if you just want to give it a try without committing too much investment up front. You do not need a license when fishing from any one of the 7 public peers. Licensees must be a minimum of 16 years old. 

  • A sport fishing license for residents is $52.66 and $142.05 for non-residents.
  • It is $7.98 for disabled vets, recovering service members, and low-income seniors. 
  • The license is free for low income Native Americans and people with various types of disability including visual, mobile, and developmental.

There is a 10-day sport fishing license for non- residents costing $52.66. That is the same amount for the annual resident license. You can also get licenses for one or two days at $17.02 and $26.49 respectively. 

How Much it Costs to Go on a Fishing Trip

Deep sea fishing charter out of San Diego
Deep sea fishing charter out of San Diego. IG photo by @tisvlad

You are going to love deep sea fishing in San Diego. A guided fishing trip is great fun for the whole family. Your deep sea charter could last anywhere from three hours to three weeks. You can turn it into a full-blown cruise vacation replete with 5-star meals and lavish accommodations. Prices run the gamut from reasonable to REALLY? 

You can do a day trip off the Coronado Islands for as little as $5,000 for up to 60 people. That’s less than $85 per person. Obviously, the bigger the party, the better the value. It’s not exactly fishing. But if you are in for some great white shark cage diving, you can find a 5-day trip for around $3,500 per person. 15 days will set you back over $5,000. 

Naturally, pricing varies depending on the charter. The long-range charters will usually require a passport. Some require half the charter fee up front. The trips are usually booked out well in advance. So be sure to plan ahead, especially for the longer trips. Usually included are meals like you have never had before. Bait and tackle is provided. Expect the crew to help you with your catch including cleaning and bagging. On the multi-day charters, be prepared to get up early for an incredible breakfast and maybe a giant tuna. Those who sleep late miss out. 

Conclusion

Teach a person to fish and they go to San Diego. Any travel agent will tell you they come from all over the globe. They come by land, sea, and air. They drive past, sail through, and fly over fertile fishing waters to get to the sand and surf of San Diego. One begins to suspect that there is something in the water. And it isn’t just the yellowtail. Come sea for yourself.

About the author: David Johnson is a professional writer whose relationship with La Jolla started with a family vacation at a young age. A former professional musician, he enjoys creating music in his free time.

 

A San Diego book store

Book Stores in San Diego

San Diego has no shortage of great businesses, retail stores, and boutique shops. Most people might not think of books when they think about this sun-soaked city, but as it turns out there are plenty of amazing bookstores where you can find copies of new, used, and rare books. Whether you want to buy the latest novel by a famous author or an old book of poetry, there are plenty of bookstores in San Diego to browse and find copies of your favorites and books you’ve never discovered. 

The Best Bookstores in San Diego, CA

San Diego bookstores range from your basic commercial establishment to boutique used stores where you can find rare first editions. With the ability to find the best bookstores in San Diego, you’ll be amazed by the options to find just what you’ve been looking for or something you never knew you needed. The independent bookstores in San Diego will blow you away. Look below to find some of the best options to purchase books around San Diego.

Warwick's Book Store in San Diego
Warwick’s in La Jolla. IG photo courtesy of @warwicksbooks

Warwick’s

Warwick’s (7812 Girard Ave), for example, is an iconic shop and one of the best bookstores in San Diego. Located in La Jolla, the store has a wide variety of books, stationary, journals, pens, and other items. It has the title as the country’s oldest family-owned and operated bookstore. If you want to find a wide selection of books without going to a corporate shop, look no further than Warwick’s. You won’t be disappointed by the selection or the atmosphere. 

The Book Catapult

Another great option for one of the best independent bookstores in San Diego is The Book Catapult (3010-B Juniper St.). With an amazing selection and a laid-back vibe, this store in the neighborhood of South Park is a great option. They specialize in contemporary fiction, but pride themselves on the ability to provide books that you didn’t know you wanted. The Book Catapult has 5,000 books in the small store, accompanied by clothing, accessories, and folk art. 

Barnes & Noble

There are ten Barnes & Noble locations in San Diego. If you’ve been to one of their retail stores you probably know what you’ll find in a San Diego branch, but it is an option for when you need to find something specific they keep in stock. Not only does the highly corporate bookshop have a wide selection of books available, there is typically a café serving Starbucks inside. If you type in “bookstore near me,” Barnes & Noble will probably be the first to pop up. 

Bay Books

Located in Coronado, Bay Books (1007 Orange Ave.)  has an inventory that includes titles from local writers, travel books, and a variety of other items. You can get a cappuccino at the Bay Books café while you browse through the selection of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. It offers a great environment for browsing for exactly what you want. In addition to the location in Coronado, Bay Books is also inside the San Diego airport. 

The Mysterious Galaxy

The Mysterious Galaxy (3555 Rosecrans St. Suite 107) is a store in San Diego that stocks genre fiction like mystery, fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. Not only does the store have niche books for lovers of genre fiction, they host book signings and readings by various local and out-of-town authors. With thousands of genre fiction installments, this bookstore is perfect for anyone who is looking for the next book in a series or wants to dive into the worlds of specific genres. 

Verbatim Books in San Diego
Verbatim Books in North Park. IG photo courtesy of @dha.raiter

The Best San Diego Used Bookstores – Verbatim Books

San Diego used bookstores vary, but all of them provide great options for rare and old copies of your favorite titles. Verbatim Books (3793 30th St.) in North Park offers a highly curated selection of rare and used books. They also have a selection of zines as well as work from local authors and writers. The space is adorned with art and the atmosphere is eclectic. Verbatim has a huge selection. Take a dive into their inventory and you will find something you absolutely love. 

The Best San Diego Used Bookstores – La Playa Books

La Playa Books (1026 Rosecrans St.) is located in Point Loma. There are thousands of used and out-of-print copies in the shop. Not only will you be able to find a specific book you’re looking for, you will stumble upon titles you never knew about. An integral part of the community, La Playa has been around since 1886 and continues to thrive.

The Best Independent Bookstores in San Diego

San Diego has a decent amount of independent bookstores where you can support local owners and book lovers. Verbatim Books is an independent bookstore in North Park that provides high-quality options. Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Point Loma is another independent bookstore in San Diego that goes above and beyond to satisfy the needs of their customers. 

Both of these shops curate their selections for their patrons, creating vibrant communities around specific lanes of books. Another independent bookstore in San Diego is Bluestocking Books (3817 Fifth Ave.) in Hillcrest. This retailer stocks a broad range of books for kids and adults. Their inventory consists of fiction and non-fiction as well as graphic novels, humor, self-help, and more. 

Footnote Books, Hillcrest, San Diego
Footnote Books in Hillcrest. IG photo by @footnotebookssandiego

You’ll also find Footnote Books (1627 University Ave.) tucked away on the other end of Hillcrest, near North Park and University Heights. Footnote Books is a must-visit for true bibliophiles who love to search the stacks for hidden treasures. One Yelp reviewer writes, “Tightly packed treasure trove! Every topic, and not just the standards, but some rare and hard to find titles. Obviously collected by someone who knows at least a little about a lot of things.” Another writes: “They really have it all, you just have to look for it. This place is filled to the brim with books.”

These are some great options if you want to support independent stores and people who truly care about books. 

FAQs About Bookstores in San Diego

Q: Does Borders bookstore still exist?

A: No, Borders no longer exists. It used to rival Barnes & Noble but went out of business, filing for bankruptcy in 2011. 

Q: Where were the old Borders locations in San Diego?

A: You may remember shopping at the Borders locations in the Gaslamp (668 6th Ave, now a Fogo de Chao Brazillian Steakhouse), Mission Valley (1072 Camino del Rio N., now a Trader Joe’s), or National City (in the Plaza Bonita shopping center).

Q: What happened to 5th Avenue Books in Hillcrest?

A: Fifth Avenue Books (3838 Fifth Ave.) was located in Hillcrest for 30 years before closing in 2017. The owner, whose name was Robert Schrader, told the Union-Tribune that he had been losing money for years and was losing about $1,000 a week near the end. This store was located across the street from Bluestocking Books, which is still open.

Q: What happened to Wahrenbrok’s Book House on Broadway?

A: San Diegans may remember Wahrenbrok’s Book House (726 Broadway), a delectable three-story store that one Yelp reviewer called an “Aladdin’s cavern with a myriad of treasures.” Another reviewer wrote: “Book nerds could spend an entire day looking through the stacks,” and she was right. She continued: “If you need something in a hurry, go to Borders. If you need something with a little more soul, go to Wahrenbrok’s.” The bookstore abruptly closed during the summer of 2009.  Its owner, Chuck Valverde, Jr., took over after his father passed away the previous year. He reported to the Union-Tribune that “not enough people came in.” He continued: “These days, you can get just about everything you want off the internet.”

Adams Ave Books in San Diego
One of the resident cats in the now-closed Adams Ave Books. IG photo by @
ontherunfromjohnnylaw

Q: What happened to Adams Avenue Books?

A: Another beloved San Diego bookstore was Adams Avenue Books in Normal Heights, which closed its doors during the summer of 2018. The bookstore was 53 years old. Its owner, Brian Lucas, had run the bookstore for over 30 years. He reported to NPR that online books led to the store’s financial decline, although he had stayed open as long as he did because he was trying to help create “a culture of books.” Adams Avenue Books often had a cat or two in the store, which many regulars loved to stop and pet. 

Q: Where can I sell used books in San Diego?

A: You can sell or trade used books at Verbatim Books, La Playa Books, Footnote Books, Bluestocking Books, and just about any other used bookstore. 

Q: What is the largest bookstore in the US?

A: Barnes & Noble is the largest bookstore in the United States with 633 retail stores in all 50 states. 

Q: What is the best online bookstore?

A: Amazon (combined with its used-books acquisition AbeBooks) dominates the online bookselling market, but there are others if you want to spread the wealth. One of the most inspiring options is Bookshop.org. The Chicago Tribune said this: “Bookshop.org hopes to play Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire.” Profits from purchases made on the platform are distributed to independent bookstores. You can also buy from Barnes & Noble online, Powells.com, BAM! Books A Million, Target.com, and Walmart.com. And there is always your local public library, which provides both physical book lending and ebooks.

Q: Why are bookstores going out of business?

A: Many bookstores went out of business in part because Amazon became so convenient for online sales and Barnes & Noble dominated retail stores. However, there is a resurgence of the independent bookstore, especially in the used books category. Just like record stores specializing in vinyl are enjoying a second round of popularity, so are bookstores.

Supporting Bookstores

With independent bookstores becoming scarcer and scarcer, it has never been more imperative to support them. San Diego is ripe with independent and used bookstores where you can find titles that the book giants don’t stock in their inventory. Not only will you be able to find rare and old books, there are independent stores where you can talk to people who love reading. 

When it comes to bookstores in San Diego, you have a wide variety of options. You don’t have to settle for corporate booksellers. Instead take a deep dive into the selection of books available at these independent shops. You can get lost in the towering inventories, where you can discover books you never knew that you needed.

About the authors:

Ryan Beitler is a writer, journalist, and blogger who has written for a variety of publications including The Slovenia Times, Paste Magazine, Deadline News, and more. He used to live in San Diego.

Sterling Guelich has passed many pleasant hours in San Diego’s finest bookstores. While he mourns the loss of Wahrenbrok’s, Fifth Avenue Books, and Adams Avenue Books, he gives his patronage to independent book sellers every chance he gets.

 

Places to relax in San Diego

Places To Relax in San Diego

The city of San Diego is a lively, busy city where people come to from all over the country to enjoy the many attractions the city has to offer. The city can get a bit too busy sometimes so if you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful, relaxing vacation it is best to choose an ocean view vacation rental in a serene surrounding where you will not be disturbed by the big city’s hassle. 

Where To Stay for Relaxing in San Diego

There are plenty of charming small, beach towns for places to relax in San Diego, each with its own personality and perks. According to your preferences, you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Here are the top 4 cities we recommend you to check out when planning your trip:

Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Cardiff by the Sea
Cardiff-by-the-Sea. IG photo courtesy of @katelyn.gardener

Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a world-class surfing destination known to have almost perfect weather, located in a serene natural environment, it’s almost like a peaceful oasis, perfect for a relaxing getaway. 

The area in and around Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a very spiritually rich area where you can find various hidden gems such as beautiful natural sceneries, soothing meditation spots, stunning sunset-watching spots, and others. 

The best thing is that even though it is located in such a beautiful natural environment, you can also easily reach the city of San Diego (just 20 minutes) if you want to check out some of its attractions too.

 

 

 

Encinitas

Swami's Beach in Encinitas
Swami’s Beach in Encinitas. IG photo courtesy of @billyy.martinez

The city of Encinitas is the parent city of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. It was founded in 1986 and brought together the communities of New Encinitas, Old Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain, and Leucadia to create a single city rich in history and steeped in tradition.

Spreading across six miles of Pacific coastline, the city of Encinitas represents a unique blend of old-world charm and sophistication and new-world culture. Its beaches are coveted by locals as hidden gems. 

The city is alternately known as the “Flower Capital of the World,” because of its extensive collection of unique nurseries and gardens, most extensive of which is the San Diego Botanic Garden.

 

 

 

Solana Beach

Solana Beach
Hanging out in Solana Beach. IG photo courtesy of @courtneyadrian

Located along the north coast of San Diego, Solana Beach is a quiet refuge with family-friendly beaches that has a mellow, small-town feel, making it one of the best places to relax in San Diego.  The charming, seaside community is approximately a 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego. 

Besides gorgeous bluffs overlooking the ocean and a serene shoreline, Solana Beach boasts one of San Diego’s top shopping districts, locally as “The Avenue with Everything.” If shopping is your way of relaxing then this is something you should definitely check out.

 

 

 

La Jolla

La Jolla
‘Wild tide’ in La Jolla. Photo courtesy of @bommaritoart

La Jolla is a seaside community best known for its beaches, rugged coastline, and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The moment you arrive here is the moment you’ll realize that you’ve made a great choice for your vacation destination.

There are many reasons why La Jolla is one of the best places to relax in San Diego, including the fact that there are a variety of outdoor activities that will put your mind at ease. 

For example, imagine the peace that comes with laying on the beach as the sun sets (or rises) in the distance. 

As you plan your vacation, start by making a comprehensive list of places to stay in La Jolla. With no shortage of options—ranging from hotels to vacation rentals—you’re sure to find something that suits your wants, needs, and budget.

While there’s no limit on the number of outdoors activities in La Jolla, don’t stop there. You’ll also fall in love with the world-class dining, museums, and variety of local shops.

No matter how you define a relaxing vacation, La Jolla has you covered. 

 

 

 

Tips for Relaxing Things To Do in San Diego

Yoga class at Sunset Cliffs
Yoga class at Sunset Cliffs. IG photo courtesy of @mindbodybadass

Go on a morning walk by the ocean and admire the sunset in the evening

Every trip to San Diego should have some time spent on a morning walk by the ocean, being a great way to set up your mood for the day. Watching the sunrise above the ocean’s waves is a truly spectacular view and the fresh morning ocean air is very good for your body.  When you return to your housing, you are bound to be in a more relaxed state and ready to start your day.

Enjoying the sunset from a beautiful ocean view setting will help you relax and unwind after a busy day of fun activities. Let go of any worries and just be in the present and let the beauty of nature inspire you and bring you to a place of stillness.

 

 

 

Meditate in a charming natural setting

If you are aware of the benefits of meditation then you know it can be a very powerful tool to reach a state of complete relaxation. Meditation quiets your mind, relaxes your body and brings your mind, body and soul into alignment. Besides, when you add the soothing power of nature’s beauty you are bound to have a profoundly relaxing experience.

Treat yourself with a day at the Spa

A little pampering is something we all need, every once in a while, and when is the perfect time to do this if not when going on vacation? A day at the Spa is one of the perfect relaxing things to do in San Diego to let go of any stress or negative feelings for a state of deep relaxation. A spa experience can have many beneficial effects:

  • improves sleep quality
  • relieves muscle and joint pain
  • improves circulation and helps prevent varicose veins
  • helps your body eliminate toxins
  • releases built-up stress
  • helps with weight loss

Now do you see why San Diego hosts nearly 35.1 million visitors each year? Now do you see why approximately 1.4 million people call this city home? 

From a morning walk on a local beach to a day at the spa, you don’t have to look far for things to do on your next San Diego vacation. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can find a place to relax and enjoy your surroundings. 

When you combine all the activities above with enjoyable weather year round, you’ll find it difficult to leave “America’s Finest City” at the end of your trip.  

And should that be the case, it may be time to look into moving to San Diego. There are single family homes, condos, and townhouses for sale in and around the city. By making a purchase, you’ll be able to enjoy the area day after day—and that should put a smile on your face. 

Hopefully, this brief guide will come in handy when looking for places to relax in San Diego for having that peaceful getaway.

Relax Like A Local

Check out some of our best local stories on ways to kick back and enjoy La Jolla for all its perks.

Mormon Temple in La Jolla area of San Diego

The Mormon Temple in San Diego

Let’s start with a quick note about the amazing photo of the San Diego Mormon temple photo in the banner of this article. It’s from a super-talented photographer and friend of ours, Jeff Bommarito. You can–and should–see more of his work on BommaritoArt.com.

If you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you likely already know about the Mormon temple in San Diego. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is informally called LDS, or Mormon church. But there is nothing remotely informal about a Mormon temple. That is even more true about the Mormon temple local members get to enjoy.

You might look at an undertaking like this temple and pause to think about the business side of things. And obviously, churches don’t run without a certain machinery behind them; that’s why there are architects who build places of worship, that’s why there are church secretaries, and that’s why there is even a growing business in the sector of software for churches. But the longer you look at this magnificent temple, the less you think about how difficult it must have been to build. You start to think, “Wow, I can’t believe how beautiful this is.”

Architecture is as much an emotional art as is music. The difference with architecture is that we are also compelled to ponder the science and engineering of the construction. This is especially true with very large structures. Like standing in the shadow of a mountain, we are taken by the sheer size of the thing compared to us. It is fascinating to think about how a mountain was formed. But it is even more awe inspiring to stand in the shadow of a handmade structure conceived of and executed by humans like ourselves. When faced with such a monument, we can’t help but feel at least a little touched by the divine.

What to Know About the San Diego Mormon Temple?

The La Jolla Mormon temple by day
The La Jolla Mormon temple by day. Photo by BommaritoArt.com.

The outside of a temple has one main function: It is to create awe in the hearts of those outside the faith. The inside of the temple is for those who are literally insiders. Temple exteriors serve as a passive evangelistic tool of sorts. It gives the outsider a hint of the divine experienced more fully within. If it feels this good to be in the presence of a temple, imagine how much better it must feel inside the La Jolla Mormon Temple. The most important thing you need to know about the temple is that it does its primary job extremely well. You can’t see it, even from a distance, without wanting to get more of what it has to offer.

La Jolla Temple Facts

In size, the San Diego Temple is the 24th largest. Its 72,000 square footage is rather impressive compared to the over 200 temples it dwarfs. You can see the twin towers from a distance even before you glimpse the scope of the 7.2 acres of land. As you get closer you will notice those two majestic towers are not alone. They are each accompanied by four smaller spires like fingers on a hand reaching up toward the heavens. If you are a Mormon, you already expect to see the statue of the angel Moroni at the tallest point.

The Temple was announced in April of 1984. Temples generally get one open house viewing for the general public before being consecrated. Open house for the San Diego Temple was almost exactly 9 years later. For those noticing a numerological coincidence, the open house was enjoyed by 720,000 people inside the 72,000 sq ft building on a 7.2 acre property. One wonders if there might be more than coincidence at work regarding these auspicious appearances of the number 72, a religiously significant number.

Q: What Religion is the La Jolla Temple in San Diego?

LDS is a relatively modern offshoot of the traditional Christian faith. Historically, it is one of the smaller movements within the larger umbrella of the American Restoration Movement within Christianity. From that movement, we got denominations like the Church of Christ, the charismatic Pentecostal movement, and the LDS. All are extremely different and offer very little interoperability. But they all sprang from the desire to return to the original church founded by Jesus and get as close as possible to that original intent. That is the one thing all Restoration Movement churches have in common. The San Diego California temple represents a part of that proud tradition.

Q: Where is the La Jolla Temple located?

If you want to book a trip to visit the temple (it’s across the 5 freeway from a Best Buy), here are the particulars:

7474 Charmant Drive San Diego, California 92122–5000 United States

Telephone: 1 858–622–0991

Before finalizing your plans, there are a few more things you will need to know:

Q: Can anyone go inside the La Jolla Mormon Temple?

If you are not a Mormon, you cannot visit the San Diego California temple interior or any other temple interior unless you are a member in good standing or happen to find one in the process of an open house. There are occasions when a temple has to be re-consecrated, perhaps due to construction or storm. Before consecration, there will usually be a new period of open house available to the public.

To enter a temple during a period of consecration, a Mormon must be a member in good standing and have a temple recommend from state-level officials of the LDS church. If you are a Mormon, you likely already know the rules for preparing to enter the holy temple.

All others are welcome to visit the spectacular grounds and appreciate all other aspects of the temple. You can also visit the visitors’ center honoring the San Diego Mormon Battalion about 10 miles from the temple proper.

Q:  What is nearby the La Jolla Mormon Temple?

Visiting the Mormon Temple in San Diego is like being transported to another world. The best day in the Magic Kingdom has nothing on a San Diego California temple wedding. That feeling doesn’t end when you leave the temple. There is a certain aspect of otherworldliness permeating throughout La Jolla and greater San Diego. When you step into that world, you are still going to need to know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do.

Just know that when you enter San Diego, you are entering the unofficial coffee shop capital of the world. Your favorite cup of coffee will come from that little shop you visited while there. You can also bring your dog to the party. You will find hotels more welcoming of your dog than your own home if such a thing is even possible. Canines rank San Diego K10 out of 10 bones on the puppy love scale.

Conclusion

One of the best reasons to visit one of the historic and awe-inspiring sites in San Diego is that you have plenty to do before and after the main event. The San Diego Temple is the cherry on top of an already decadent treat. Whatever your religion, you will be right at home in the city. LDS is the third largest faith group by number of members and number of congregations.

You don’t have to be Mormon or even religious to appreciate the San Diego temple. Make it one of your first stops. You won’t be disappointed.

About the author: David Johnson is a professional writer whose relationship with La Jolla started with a family vacation at a young age. A former professional musician, he enjoys creating music in his free time.

 

Shore Break Wave At San Diego Beach

Our Favorite San Diego Outdoor Activities

San Diego Outdoor Activities

San Diego is known as one of the most active, fit, and outdoor living communities in the whole country. When the weather is this nice all the time, who wants to stay stuck inside? Over the year's LaJolla.com has had the privilege of covering some of the best outdoor activities in all of San Diego. Take a look at our favorite articles and let us know in the comments what your favorite activity is or which ones we're missing!

Checking out the waves is one of many things to do in San Diego

Things to Do in San Diego for Adults

Every year San Diego is visited by millions of people worldwide, making it a hotspot for things to see and do. From the perfect weather all year long and expansive beaches to Legoland and SeaWorld amusement parks, the Del Mar Racetrack, restaurants in the Historic Gaslamp section of downtown San Diego, as well as the World Famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, there are so many fun things to do in San Diego for adults and kids alike. 

And with proximity to Mexico to the south and Orange County to the north, with its attractions, theme parks, and beaches, San Diego is perfectly situated to be the destination for every vacation. 

Whether you’re on vacation visiting San Diego for the first time or a local looking for hidden gems and ideas for something to do, read on and see our selection of all the fun things to do in San Diego for adults and their families. 

The Best Daily San Diego Activities for Adults

From beaches, parks, museums, mountain biking and hiking trails, and top-rated restaurants… to some of the coolest dive bars in America, there are many things to do in San Diego. This list is designed as a resource for you to discover San Diego and have a great time along the way. 

We’ve separated our list into sections from boat cruises and tours, other attractions for adults, amusement parks for families, sightseeing tours, sporting events, outdoor activities, and the many casinos located around San Diego. 

Cruises & Boat Tours

Take a tour of the San Diego Bay with a cruise, boat tour, or rent a boat and take a spin around the bay. From Shelter Island to Coronado, the San Diego Bay allows you to see the incredible downtown skyline in a new way. Or leave the piloting to the professionals, hop on one of the Hornblower’s evening cruises to have dinner, drinks, and entertainment on the bay while you watch the sunset over Point Loma. 

San Diego Attractions for Adults

Home to the most craft breweries per capita globally, San Diego boasts award-winning breweries such as Ballast Point, Stone, Coronado Brewing Company, among others. Grab a rideshare, cab, or join a beer tour and check out some of San Diego’s many breweries. 

If beer is not your thing, San Diego is also home to small wineries in Fallbrook, Rancho Bernardo, Penasquitos, and Valley Center in North County and is a short drive to the incredible wineries in Temecula. 

If nightlife is what you’re after, San Diego has several hotspots to check out. 

Cruise out to any of the beach communities and sip on a cocktail next to the beach during sunset. 

The historic Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego offers a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs and is one of the top destinations for things to do in San Diego for adults after dark. 

If catching some live entertainment is more your “jam,” check out Winston’s in OB, the Comedy Club in La Jolla, the Starlight Theater, and the Old Globe in Balboa Park for live plays. 

If you’re looking for suggestions on what to do in San Diego for seniors, Lamb’s Players Theater in Coronado offers intimate small traditional plays nightly.

Amusement Parks in San Diego

Not as famous as Orange County for its amusement parks, San Diego has a few local secret spots for you to enjoy. 

One of the two major amusement parks in San Diego is SeaWorld. As an oceanarium, you can watch and see aquatic animals in their natural element either within their exhibits or live-action shows. Grab a beer and snacks, walk around the interactive park, or head over to the roller coaster and other rides, including the Bayside Skyride. 

Legoland is for the kid in all of us. Check out the exhibits, each made from thousands upon thousands of legos. Or get in a line and jump on one of the many roller coasters and other rides. Don’t worry, the passages and carriages aren’t made from legos, just the exhibits. 

The San Diego County Fair (formerly Del Mar Fair) is held annually in late June with vendors, attractions, and rides. 

 Built-in 1910, the Balboa Park Carousel adjacent to the San Diego Zoo is one of the oldest standing amusement park rides around. 

Not to be outdone, Seaport Village has the oldest carousel in all of the area. Built over 125 years ago in 1895, take a nostalgic trip to a time long ago as you go faster and faster on the Fair Park Looff Carousel. 

The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park opened for its maiden voyage in 1925. Known for long drops at speeds approximately 50 miles an hour, the Giant Dipper is the oldest remaining wooden roller coaster on the west coast. 

Sightseeing Tours

Old Town Trolley Tours the historic areas of San Diego, allowing riders to hop off, shop, dine, explore, and hop back onto the next trolley when ready to head back. 

San Diego SEAL Tours takes you from street to bay in their unsinkable Hydra-Terras. Take a guided tour of historic San Diego and a “bird-eye” view of the seals and sea lions while you float nearby.

San Diego Bay Cruises takes you from shelter island in comfort and style around the San Diego Bay and harbor. 

For the hop-head in you, one of the best San Diego activities for adults is to take one of the many brewery tours. With over 100 craft breweries to choose from, get unique insights, details, and most importantly, a designated driver while you sample a variety of San Diego’s famous breweries. 

Sport Events

There are several sporting events in San Diego throughout the year, so if you’re looking to catch a game or some of the world’s best golfers, we’ve got it on our list of the best things to do in San Diego for adults. 

  • The San Diego Padres: Play at Petco field, downtown San Diego in the East Village.
  • The San Diego Seals: Play professional lacrosse at the San Diego Sports Arena.
  • The Farmer’s Open at Torrey Pines: This seasonal event hosts some of PGA’s finest golfers.
  • The San Diego Gulls Hockey Team: Plays at the San Diego Sports Arena of the AHL.
  • San Diego State Aztecs, UCSD Tritons, and USD Toreros: Various college games hosted by local teams from the San Diego State Aztecs, the Tritons of UCSD, and Toreros of University of San Diego.
  • Del Mar Races: Held every summer beginning in mid-July, the Del Mar Race Track is renowned as a premier venue for horse racing
  • Red Bull Air Races: Held in the San Diego Bay, catch some of the most acrobatic single-engine planes worldwide

Outdoor Activities

San Diego is more than just beaches. In fact, within less than an hour’s drive, you can get to the desert, mountains, and valleys for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and even snowboarding during winter. 

San Diego Casinos

San Diego is home to numerous resort casinos, from Sycuan, Barona, Pechanga, and Viejas, among many others. To explore San Diego for adults, spend a day at one of the luxury resorts surrounding the casinos, lounge poolside, or jump into the action on many different popular casino table games and enjoy yourself. 

Things to Do in San Diego for Adults FAQs

From casino games, shopping, dining, amusement parks, and more, there are many things to do in San Diego. If you have questions about all the attractions and things to do in San Diego for adults, our frequently asked questions section below can guide you. 

Q: What Can Couples Do in San Diego?

If you and your loved one are looking for San Diego date ideas or need romantic things to do in San Diego, try a sunset boat cruise. Or perhaps romantic dinners overlooking the ocean in La Jolla is your thing. Maybe cocktails at the Hotel del Coronado or dinner overlooking the San Diego skyline at any of downtown’s rooftop bars and restaurants.

Q: What Is There to Do in San Diego at Night?

There’s never a dull moment in San Diego. For nightlife, check out the historic Gaslamp Quarter, a romantic dinner in downtown La Jolla, or drive up the coast to sleepy Solana Beach and catch a show and grab a beer at one of the many breweries and restaurants in the area. 

Q: How Can I Spend a Day in San Diego?

Outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and mountain biking are common in San Diego and are among the best things to do in San Diego alone. 

Q: What Can You Do for Free in San Diego?

When making a San Diego itinerary for adults, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention freebies like the first Tuesday of every month the museums in Balboa Park offer free admission. With so many trails around the county and beaches galore, just basking in nature at Torrey Pines State Beach, watch the seals at La Jolla Cove’s kiddie pool, browse the Ocean Beach Farmers Market, or hike Mission Trails are excellent ways to spend your time.

Closing Thoughts

With so many things to do in San Diego for adults, you just can’t get it all accomplished in a day, much less than a week. Remember to pack your sunscreen, drink some water, and prepare to have the time of your life. 

About the author: David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors.

San Diego AirBNB Favorites Of The Rich And Famous

When it comes time to plan a vacation, especially one to Southern California or La Jolla, there’s always the preemptive San Diego Air BNB search, without a max budget set, looking for a sneak peek into the vacation options of the rich and famous – those traveling without a budget. If you spend any time exploring the greater region thinking, what Air BNB should I stay in San Diego, you’re sure to find some incredible homes by the beach in just a few clicks. 

We’ve rounded up some of the best luxury Air BNBs in all of San Diego, not just La Jolla. We only set one rule, nothing can cost less than $15,000 per week!

La Jolla Black Gold Resort

 

 

 

Sunset Pointe

    • Sunset Pointe in the Birdrock neighborhood is known best for its 100+ feet of private coastline with uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean from nearly every room in the home. A one week stay at the Sunset Pointe San Diego Air BNB is about $15,000

 

 

 

Rancho Sante Fe Private Resort

    • If crowds near the beach aren’t your thing, head East to the famous Rancho Sante Fe and book this estate. Located around the corner from Bill Gates’ horse ranch … that he bought from Jenny Craig. To call names like that your neighbors, you’ll need to shell out around $25,000 for one week living the high life at this Rancho Sante Fe Air BNB.

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Estate in La Jolla

    • When the La Jolla rec center is busy with basketball instead of pickleball just skip down the coast to this mansion and get your own private rooftop court. This Air BNB estate in La Jolla has a rooftop count, an oceanfront view, and 8 bedrooms. To set up your own rooftop Wimbledon and have a room for each contestant you’ll be forking over $17,000 for a week on the cliffs. 

 

 

 

Oceanfront Luxury Estate in La Jolla

    • Being able to hit the surf moments after finishing your morning espresso has never been so easy at this Oceanfront Luxury Estate in La Jolla. Staying right on the surf in your San Diego Air BNB can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially with the $24,000 per week price tag at this place. 

 

 

 

Encinitas Retreat

    • Encinitas, in North County San Diego, hosts this incredible Encinitas Retreat with endless ocean views day and night. Come catch some rays, waves, and vibes of the relaxing north county for a cool $15,000 per week for this North Country Air BNB.

 

 

 

Rancho Sante Fe Private Family Resort

    • Relaxation, tranquility, and silence run rampant at this gorgeous Rancho Sante Fe Private Family Resort. Situated on a 2-acre property you can fill the seven bedrooms with friends and family to enjoy peace by the pool. The price for a week among the elites of Rancho Sante Fe at this home costs around $15,000. 

 

 

 

San Diego Dream Home

    • Located in Carmel Valley near the Golden Triangle, this mansion has nine bedrooms a massive kitchen and incredible sunset views across the valley towards the Pacific Ocean. Upon checkout, your bill for a week’s stay at this San Diego Air BNB is about $20,000. 

 

 

 

The Grand Del Mar

    • The Grand Del Mar, one of the finest hotels in the world, also has private standalone villas so you can stay on the grounds of the hotel but feel like you have your own house. If want to stay a short walk from where superstar athletes like Lebron James and San Diego native Reggie Bush got married make sure you can afford the $23,000 per week price tag. 

 

 

 

Five Acre Estate in Rancho Sante Fe

    • This Five Acre Private Estate in Rancho Sante Fe boasts your own private tennis court and pool with waterslide for about $25,000 per week. Stroll the grounds day and night for sunset views over the lush acreage in one of the most relaxing hidden estates in all of Southern California. 

 

 

 

Windsor Villa

    • Getting close to the action in Pacific Beach while living enjoying the high life won’t come cheap. Check out the Windsor Villa Pacific Beach Air BNB this summer for about $15,000 per week. This mansion offers multiple levels with expansive ocean views and a pool. 

 

 

 

Sea Glass in La Jolla

    • Sea Glass in La Jolla costs about $18,000 per week and includes your own fire-lit outdoor tv room and panoramic ocean views from your cliffside patio. La Jolla Air BNB’s this nice don’t come available often thanks to the views and access to downtown La Jolla in just a few minutes drive.  

 

San Diego is still beautiful during Covid, with lots of things to do

Things To Do in San Diego During Covid

The current pandemic situation has surely taken its toll on our lives, from how we learn to our traveling habits. Many counties were under lockdown for quite some time, including San Diego, until just recently when the regional stay home order was lifted and San Diego moved to Purple Tier. Because of this, you might ask yourself, “What to do in San Diego?” Well, businesses have been allowed to reopen with some restrictions.

Save up to 60% on San Diego Activities

 

 

The following restrictions are currently active in the state:

  • Restaurants are open for outdoor dining and take-outs.
  • No indoor use of libraries.
  • Movie theaters, family entertainment centers, and casinos are closed down unless they are outdoors.
  • Indoor hair salons and barbershops are closed.
  • All indoor recreational facilities are closed.
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums are closed. They are permitted to operate only outdoors.

Basically, indoor activities are still forbidden. Nonetheless, these restrictions should not keep you from having a fun-filled vacation. Going on vacation and finding things to do in San Diego during Covid is perfectly safe if you follow all the safety guidelines against covid-19 transmission

What To Do in San Diego During Covid?

Luckily, most of the fun things to be done in San Diego are outside, which is excellent against the spread of coronavirus. So, let’s move on and see what fun activities can be done in San Diego, even during the covid-19 pandemic. 

Enjoy a picnic on one of the many beautiful beaches in the area. Restaurants may be closed for indoor dining, but they are still open for take-out, so you can still enjoy your favorite meal in an even better setting than a restaurant.

Go hiking. Go cycling. Go kayaking. Go fishing. Do yoga on Sunset Cliffs. Watch the sun set into the ocean. There are plenty of alluring beaches in the area, so we’ve made a list of the most popular ones:

Hotel del Coronado. Photo By BommaritoArt.com.

Coronado Beach

Located on Coronado Island, this gorgeous beach is also close to the Hotel del Coronado. The hotel dates back to the 19th century and is a popular destination for royalty and celebrities. It contains four beach areas, including Coronado City Beach, Tidelands Park, Glorietta Bay Park, and Centennial Park. Tidelands Park and Glorietta Bay Park both have picnic areas, grassy fields, and play areas for children. All the beaches have glittery sand due to the presence of mica, which makes it sparkle under the sun, making it look like gold. You can easily reach this beach by public bus, car, private shuttle, or taxi via San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. 

 

 

 

La Jolla Cove Beach

This beach is located at the northeast end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla. From the grass park above, two stairs lead you down to the beach. For a little after-meal adventure, you can explore the tunnel at the south end of the cove that will lead you to some pretty cool tide pools. This if you are willing to hop around on large boulders.

Save up to 60% on San Diego Activities

 

 

 

 

Solana Beach

Solana Beach is a secluded spot in San Diego’s North County with many hidden coves (accessible by staircase on nearly every street corner). Solana is also a great place for antique and vintage shoppers, being home to the Cedros Design District.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach, most commonly known as “The Strand,” is a two-mile stretch of beach and one of the top destinations in San Diego, drawing crowds every season of the year. It has an abundance of shops and restaurants along its north end where you can grab a delicious bite to enjoy on the beach. 

Enjoy a North County Staycation

North County San Diego is the perfect place for a relaxing staycation. You are conveniently close to downtown San Diego where you can find whatever you may need, and there are plenty of beautiful places in nature where you can enjoy a breath of fresh air. Here you can find some great ocean view rentals for the best staycation experience.  So what activities can you still enjoy, even during the coronavirus pandemic, here in North County?

 
Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla
The PGA comes to La Jolla. Torrey Pines Golf Course. Photo By BommaritoArt.com.

Visit Torrey Pines Natural Reserve

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park is one of the most beautiful places to see in South California & one of the top things to do in San Diego during Covid. With desert landscapes, breathtaking coastal sights, pine forests, sandstone canyons, rugged cliffs, and hiking trails on the bluffs that offer gorgeous views of the ocean that will make your trip simply unforgettable. From the high viewpoints on the bluffs, especially the ones that stick out into the ocean, you can have a novel experience watching migrating gray whales from December to March.

Spend a Day at the Famous Swami’s Beach

Swami’s Beach is an internationally known surfing spot located in Encinitas that draws up surfers from around the world, especially during the fall-winter seasons when waves can surpass 10 feet. On days like that, surfers line up to catch their big wave, and people gather on the cliffs above to watch the surfers tackle the ocean’s waves. The beach also has a spiritually rich history. It gets its name from Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian monk, yogi, and guru that chose the grounds of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, built in 1937, to overlook this reef point.

Visit the Historical Oceanside Pier

Standing 1,942 feet long, the historical Oceanside Pier is one of the most iconic landmarks of Oceanside city. Its first piling was driven into the sand 125 years ago, and the remnants of that first pier are still there, occasionally making an appearance during low tides and low sand levels.

Go on a Wine Tasting Tour

San Diego North County offers plenty of choices when it comes to wine tasting. More than 60 grape varieties are grown commercially throughout the county, from Albariño to Zinfandel, with small, often family-owned wineries producing a wide range of whites, reds, and rosés, plus sparkling, port, and dessert-style wines.

Save up to 60% on San Diego Activities

 

 

 

 

Check Out the Local Surfing Spots

If you want to enjoy the ocean view and experience the waves, the San Diego area surfing scene is abundant and colorful, and you can surely find the most suitable waves for your surfing skills. Here are some of the best surfing spots in North County:

  • Swami’s Beach, Encinitas
  • Windansea, La Jolla
  • Silver Strand State Beach, Coronado
  • Imperial Beach Pier, Imperial Beach
  • Ocean Beach, San Diego
  • Cardiff Reef, Cardiff-by-the-Sea

 

 

 


We know it’s hard to plan for a vacation and find things to do in San Diego during Covid within these restrictive times we live in. Still, you deserve a relaxing, recharging break, and we hope that the information we provided in this article will help you make the right choice for a perfect vacation, even during the pandemic.

Photo Credit: Banner Photo by BommaritoArt.com

San Diego Outdoor Activities

San Diego is known as one of the most active, fit, and outdoor living communities in the whole country. When the weather is this nice all the time, who wants to stay stuck inside? Over the year's LaJolla.com has had the privilege of covering some of the best outdoor activities in all of San Diego. Take a look at our favorite articles and let us know in the comments what your favorite activity is or which ones we're missing!

Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, home of Farmers Insurance Open

Reasons to Go to La Jolla During The 2021 Farmers Insurance Open

Farmers Insurance Open 2021
Photo By Bommaritoart.com

San Diego is abuzz with news that December’s stay-at-home order has been lifted in Southern California. We’re back in the COVID-19 “purple tier,” which means that restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms are allowed to offer modified outdoor dining. Breweries and bars without food service remain closed. And live sporting events can continue as long as fans aren’t in attendance.

This is just in time for local golf fans, because the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, a La Jolla-based PGA Tour event, runs from Jan. 28 – 31.

Background on the Farmers Insurance Open

One of the premier golf events is back at Torrey Pines. For over 50 years, the world famous Farmers Insurance Open has been hosted at the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course under perfect skies and buffeted by beautiful coastlines in idyllic Torrey Pines north of La Jolla. 

Since 1968 this event has brought some of the world’s best to compete for the championship, which is no different this year. Local hero Phil Mickelson, legends Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player have all been champions at the crown jewel event in La Jolla. 

This year’s field is loaded with talent from favorites Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy versus the field, so who ya got? According to CBS Sportsline, the top ten finishers based on odds to win the tournament are:

  1. Jon Rahm 7-1
  2. Rory McIlroy 8-1
  3. Xander Schauffele 14-1
  4. Tony Finau 20-1
  5. Patrick Reed 25-1
  6. Harris English 25-1
  7. Viktor Hovland 28-1
  8. Sungjae Im 28-1
  9. Hideki Matsuyama 28-1
  10. Scottie Scheffler 33-1

The four-day event is sure to be remarkable. And with San Diego having the stay-at-home order lifted, that means you and the family can make an entire trip to the event and have time to explore what to do in La Jolla for a day to experience what makes it an extraordinary place. 

The current public health status is that San Diego is listed in the Purple Tier. This tier means that local eateries can serve food and beverages outdoors, shops can be open at a limited occupancy, and the parks and beaches will be available for all activities. 

If you’re considering checking out the action, keep reading for our list of things to do around Torrey Pines.

South-facing view of Torrey Pines in La Jolla

Why Stop By La Jolla?

Just south of the Torrey Pines Golf Course is the city of La Jolla, also known as the Jewel City. 

This pristine city has a small-town feel and offers a slew of places to shop, eat, swim, and enjoy the outdoors for the entire family. From restaurants, beaches, parks, hiking trails, and more, see all that La Jolla has to offer and why it’s called the Jewel City. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of kid friendly things to do in La Jolla

Where to Eat 

After a long day at the course, check out some of the best eateries in La Jolla. You can get food to go and picnic, or sit along the sidewalks and take in the ambiance of downtown La Jolla.

Taco Stand

One of the local’s secret spots, these handmade fresh tortillas, and authentic Tijuana style food-to-order is a sure-fire hit. Like all good things, these tacos take a little bit of time, so expect a slight wait as this is one happening taco joint.

Georges at the Cove

Voted best restaurant in San Diego, this upscale eatery is open for curbside pickup. Choose from the Chef’s 3-Course menu, a particular Saturday “Date-night” option, or Family-dinner on Sunday. Order ahead to schedule your pick-up time to get these tasty treats while watching the tournament play-out.

Nine-Ten

A “Michelin-plate” designated restaurant, Nine Ten offers a rotating menu of California Coastal Cuisine. Check the website for updates on their reopening plans.

Whisknladle

After 12 years, Whisknladle is permanently closed due to the COVID pandemic. However, check out its sister restaurant Catania for fine Italian cuisine made-to-order and curbside pickup between 4-8 pm.

Puesto

Known for their unique take on tacos and other savory Mexican dishes, Puesto is famous throughout La Jolla. Check for updates on their menu and hours of operation.

Parakeet Cafe

With a focus on organic, whole-foods, Parakeet Cafe believes in Hippocrates philosophy that we are what we eat and “let food be thy medicine.” 

Sunset at Torrey Pines in La Jolla

Where to Go

Don’t forget to take some time to explore everything else that La Jolla has to offer. 

If you need suggestions for things to do in La Jolla, we’ve included a list of the top La Jolla beaches and others nearby for you to stretch out and enjoy. 

La Jolla Cove

If you’ve never checked out La Jolla Cove, you’re missing out. The cove is one of the premier places to visit in La Jolla. You can watch the seals and sea lions that call the kiddie pool their resting place from the secured edges of the cliffs.

Del Mar

Just north of La Jolla is the city of Del Mar. With family-friendly beaches to swim, sunbathe, and explore, the shops and restaurants around Del Mar (almost) rival some of La Jolla’s. 

Carlsbad

North by about 15 miles is Carlsbad, a bustling city with outlet malls, beaches, and the lagoon to spend the day relaxing on a shoreline, shopping, or eating at many restaurants.

Pacific Beach

This beach town that the locals call “PB” is located just south of La Jolla and hosts the famous body-surfing spot at Marine Street, Crystal Pier, the start of the PB/MB boardwalk, and plenty of coastline for any activity.

Mission Beach

South of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach connects to its neighbor by way of the boardwalk that ends at Belmont Park, San Diego’s original rollercoaster!

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is known fondly as “OB” hosts many breweries, and has a weekly farmers market. Wander around Voltaire street and see some of the original beach town life.

Coronado

This family-friendly “small-town” is located just over the Bay Bridge in San Diego Harbor. Tour the mile-long Orange Avenue and visit local restaurants, parks, and the historic Hotel Del Coronado, home to more than a few movies over the years and rumored to be the inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Emerald City. 

Mountain biking trails in San Diego

Mountain Biking in San Diego

Everyone knows San Diego is fantastic. With Mexico to the south, Los Angeles to the north, and short drives to Las Vegas and Arizona, there’s no better location in the world.

There’s something for everyone to do, from the proximity to so many destinations in the region to the almost always perfect weather, being outside is one of San Diego’s highlights.

To take advantage of all that San Diego has to offer, you just need to step outside and explore the amazing parks to breathtaking beaches and go surfing. Drive out to the mountains for some snowboarding, or check out the desert for hiking and even mountain biking in San Diego. It’s a short drive for every outdoor type of adventure.  

 Mountain Bike Trails in San Diego

Living in San Diego means you’re probably adventurous, or at least outdoorsy. I mean, with the almost always perfect weather, how could you not be?  

If you’re curious about all the region has to offer, there are numerous hiking trails and mountain bike trails in San Diego. And if that’s the type of thing you’re into exploring, we highly recommend you refer to the San Diego Mountain Biking Association for tips on the kinds of rides you can take and etiquette for each trail. 

The San Diego Mountain Bike Association will provide you with a detailed list of the types of rides, terrain, and riding levels for each trail. 

Also, before any ride, make sure you have the right type of protective gear, from mountain biking (MTB) helmets, MTB goggles, gloves, shoes, a flat kit, and water. Whether you are experienced in MTB in San Diego or are a beginner, there is an opportunity to explore the outdoors for every rider type. 

Below is our list of the best MTB trails in San Diego for you and your family to consider. 

Balboa Park

Balboa Park has mountain biking trailsThroughout Balboa Park, there are ten miles of easy to intermediate trails to explore. You can even make a day of your bike ride and explore the history and beauty of San Diego. You can bike about, park, enjoy the parks, zoo, and museums, return home, and still have time left in your day. Pictured here are the Botanical Building and the Lily Pond; combined, they are some of the most iconic images of Balboa Park. 

Rose Canyon Trail

Located just east of La Jolla, the bike trail in Rose Canyon is a single trail that transverses the railroad tracks that run north and south with a couple of water crossings along the way. This ride is one of the best mountain bike trails in San Diego for beginners. 

It’s not a challenging ride, and even if you don’t own a bike, Rose Canyon Trail isn’t too far from La Jolla, where you can easily pick one up from any of the options for La Jolla bike rentals in the area. 

Cowles Mountain

One of the tougher rides in San Diego, this ride has a grade of 25-30% toward the top, making it a bit brutal of a climb but an excellent downhill ride. There are switchbacks and railroad ties, rocky terrain, and even a creaky bridge of the creek to enjoy along the way. 

Mission Trails Climbers Loop

Located close to Cowles Mountain, this moderate 1.8-mile loop is precisely how it sounds. It’s a loop on a moderate vertical incline. It’s accessible year-round and while dogs are allowed (on a leash), keep in mind that you may also encounter some wildlife along the way. 

Fortuna Mountain Trail

A part of the Mission Trails bike paths, Fortuna Mountain offers a steeper climb and more loose rocky terrain than some of the other Mission Trails routes that switchback over the San Diego River crossing making this a more moderate route for riders.

Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail

Located near the San Dieguito River Park, this moderate 8-mile trail can be heavily trafficked at the starting point. Hikers and bikers alike can enjoy this scenic trail that encircles the local Lake Hodges, so be prepared for a busy course if you head out here. 

Anderson Truck Trail

One of the more remote trails for mountain biking in San Diego, the Anderson Truck Trail is a little over 7 miles of private trails that ride quickly through some of the more rugged terrains of all the mountain bike trails in San Diego. If you’re looking for a beautiful, peaceful ride, then head out to Anderson. 

Meadowbrook Mountain Bike Trail

One of the more challenging rides of all the mountain bike trails in San Diego goes through some rugged terrain and overgrowth with steep climbs. The landscape is home to some filled in mines, and you can explore some of the terrain and see the cutouts from those years that the mines were open. Before you travel, make sure you’re prepared for all possibilities and pick up some gear or get your bike serviced quickly at nearby Black Mountain Bicycles

Iron Mountain Trail

A moderate 5 mile, heavily trafficked ride near Poway and the Meadowbrook trails. Much easier terrain will meet the rider with vistas of lush wildflowers with views as far as Mount Woodson and even the Catalina Islands on clear days. Just be aware that you’ll encounter hikers and bikers of all ages on this ride.

Happy’s Loop Trail

You can access these remote trails just past Ramona with the trailhead located just past the Ramona fire station. This trail is a fast ride through Oak Groves and along equestrian trails with lots of long climbs for the adventurous. 

San Elijo Harmony Grove

This single-track loop merges with the fire road is a comfortable ride even for beginners. It’s heavily used between intermediate riders and hikers as the trail has a mix of rough terrain and smoother fire roads that pass by electrical towers mixed with lush San Diego flora. 

Lake Poway

One of the more amazing San Diego mountain bike trails that is accessible for riders of all ages and skill levels. Just short of 3 miles, this ride takes you along the outskirts of Lake Poway, traveling to an active waterfall, and is (leashed) dog-friendly to boot. 

Snake Trail

This is the furthest south of San Diego mountain biking trails on our list. This bike path is located near Chula Vista, features in-bloom wildflowers with towering mountains in the backdrop, and is accessible for riders of all types and ages.  

The Best Trails, Shops & Community for Mountain Biking Are in San Diego

Whether you’re a more advanced mountain bike enthusiast or merely a weekend hobbyist, there are some incredible mountain bike trails in San Diego to explore. With so many bike paths to explore, there is a whole cottage industry of bike shops to get all your gear and services that we recommend, such as La Jolla bike rentals, Black Mountain Bikes, and California Bicycle.

Regardless of your destination, our list of mountain bike trails in San Diego would be incomplete without including the top 3 La Jolla Bike Path and Trails. The beauty of living and visiting San Diego is that there is always an opportunity to explore all the great outdoors. 

About the author: David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors.

 

Financial Tips for La Jolla Homeowners

As people get older, their financial assets become increasingly important. This can be especially true as people begin to build for their retirement. For homeowners in La Jolla, one of their most significant assets for retirement is their home. That is why learning some essential financial tips as a homeowner is one of the best ways to secure a home as an investment.

When it comes to securing home value, making sure to care for it properly is key to protecting it as a financial asset. Through continuous diligence with repairs and maintenance, homeowners in La Jolla can protect property values for themselves and their neighbors.

Understanding Home Care Basics

While interior décor and landscaping can help a home be aesthetically beautiful, the critical areas of a home should always be maintained first. This includes prioritizing the proper care of the structure and mechanical systems of the house.

Home Structure Maintenance

Structural maintenance usually involves the roof, siding, windows, and the frame. Checking the home for any problems in these areas and promptly repairing them will protect the house from structural degradation. Roofs usually have a minimum 25-year lifespan if they are properly maintained on a regular basis. However, if the roof system is not properly maintained, water damage and sub-roof wood rot can become problematic and costly. 

Additionally, it is vitally important to protect residential property against the threat posed by insects and rodents. Proper pest control in La Jolla keeps infestations from taking over a property. While there are a number of things homeowners can do to prevent pests from gaining a foothold, calling the Joshua’s Pest Control – San Diego office might be necessary for infestations already underway. Unattended infestations can cause thousands of dollars in damage in a home in just a few years. If left untreated, the cost for repairs can reach significantly higher levels. 

Home Mechanical System Maintenance

Home mechanical systems are best-taken care of when the first symptoms arise. Two of the major mechanical problems for homes in La Jolla include electrical power surges and lack of proper electrical capacity. When a power surge occurs, certain electrical outlets in the home may begin to malfunction. If this occurs, it should be addressed quickly by a licensed electrician.  

Additionally, homes that have frequent problems with reduced electrical system capacity, prioritizing a system upgrade is essential. If either of these problems is not tended to properly, there is an increased risk for electrical system overloads, which can lead to house fires.  

Property Upgrades

Keeping up with proper upgrades such as kitchen and bathroom remodeling when necessary, is vital to protect the home’s value. Since these rooms are the most widely used, the care of the plumbing, upgrading fixtures as needed, and changing flooring in these rooms should be a priority. 

Proper Insurance Coverage- Lack of adequate home insurance can be a nightmare. Since homes in the La Jolla region are at a heightened risk for earthquakes, high winds and wildfires, having proper insurance is a necessity.  One of the biggest risk areas for loss for Southern California homeowners is not having proper home insurance coverage. Home insurance values and plans should be revisited for adequate coverage every five to ten years. If the home has had any upgrades, the policy should be reflective of the increase of home value.

Home Improvements and Aesthetics

Long term upgrades to the exterior and interior of a home, including aesthetics, are valuable. Upgrades that improve square footage, as well as the function, are always beneficial. These can include improvements to landscaping, flooring, wall coverings, and appliances. When hiring a contractor, it is critical to ensure they are a reliable, licensed, and bonded contractor. Hiring an inexpensive contractor that does half the job or a poor job can be costly to repair. Usually, with a little research, you can find a reliable contractor at a reasonable price.

4th of July Fireworks & Celebrations in San Diego

4th of July in San Diego is just one big celebration! Fireworks displays, parades, street fairs, and festivals are all part of the fun on the big day. Sadly, there will be no 4th of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove this year due to funding issues; but there are plenty of other places and ways to celebrate 4th of July in San Diego! Here’s the roundup, from San Diego Bay to Rancho Santa Fe.

Annual Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show

Where: Multiple Locations along San Diego Bay
When: 9:00pm
Take in the largest fireworks display in the county! With fireworks launched from four barges placed around North San Diego Bay, they can be seen from multiple locations along the San Diego coastline.  Just find a place along the bay, set up a blanket and some hot chocolate, and get ready for the display! We recommend arriving early to reserve a spot.

Where to watch:

  • Shelter Island
  • Harbor Island
  • North Embarcadero
  • Marina District
  • CoronadoFerry Landing
  • Boating/On The Water

SeaWorld San Diego 4th of July Fireworks & Celebration

Where: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
When: 10:00am to 10:00pm
SeaWorld San Diego will celebrate Independence Day with a 15-minute display of fireworks set to a musical soundtrack, starting at 9:40pm on July 4th. Entrance is required, and there are plenty of spots throughout the park to watch the display. You can reserve seats ahead of time via seaworld.com.

Ocean Beach July 4th Celebration

Where: Ocean Beach Pier (end of Newport Avenue)
When: 9:00pm
Spend Independence day picnicking, swimming in the ocean, walking and playing in the sand, and shopping along Newport Ave. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a blanket for a really spectacular fireworks show launched from Ocean Beach Pier! Free parking will be available at the Main Beach Parking Lot as well as at the Pier Parking Lot. We do recommend arriving early to reserve a spot – head to obsandiego.com for more information.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

Old Town San Diego 4th of July

Where: Old Town State Historic Park
When: 11:00am to 4:00pm
Although Old Town won’t be putting on a fireworks display, there will be a parade, crafts, and activities all throughout the day on July 4th. The activities will recreate an old-fashioned Independence Day just as it was celebrated on the frontier. You’ll also be able to compete in several contests, including cherry pit spitting or an egg toss, for handmade ribbons.

4th of July Celebration in Coronado

Where: Various Locations on Coronado
When: 7:00am to 9:00pm; Fireworks at 9pm
Celebrate the 4th of July in the Crown City! Independence Day activities will include a parade down Orange Avenue at 10:00am, a concert in Spreckels Park at 4:00pm, and fireworks over Glorietta Bay at 9:00pm. The fireworks display can be easily viewed from anywhere along the bay on Coronado Island.

Earlier that day, the Crown City Classic 4th of July Race will take place between 7am and 10am. This historic run through Coronado will feature a 12k and a 5k, and kicks off at Coronado Tidelands Park.

San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebrations

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds (2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014)
When: Starts at 10:00am, Fireworks at 9:00pm
Independence Day is one of the best days to come to the San Diego County Fair, because they pull out all the stops with food, fireworks at 9:00 PM, entertainment, and more! Fireworks are launched from the west end of the racetrack and are choreographed to a soundtrack played through the Corona Grandstand Stage sound system. The fireworks are visible from many areas of the Fairgrounds, with favorite viewing areas including reserved Terrace seating and 2nd and 4th levels of the Grandstand, Family Funville, and the Fun Zone.

SEE ALSO: Explore La Jolla Cove This July 4th!

Red, White, and Boom!

Where: LEGOLAND California (One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008)
When: 1:00pm to 9:00pm, Fireworks at 8:30pm
Take the whole family and spend the day enjoying over 60 rides, shows, and attractions at LEGOLAND along with some all-American picnic games like burlap races and water-balloon tosses. Then cozy up with a blanket and a picnic that evening, and watch the awe-inspiring fireworks display set to patriotic music!

fireworks san diego la jolla

Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic

Where: 16948 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091
When: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Pack a few blankets and chairs for Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic! The parade kicks off at 12:15pm, and will include floats, vintage cars, and equestrians. The picnic and concert will begin at 1:30pm, complete with a barbecue and live music by The Harmony Grove Band.

Poway 4th of July Fireworks

Where: Poway High School
When: 6pm – 10pm; fireworks at 9pm
The fireworks in Poway start at 9 p.m. at Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.). The gates will open at 6 p.m. and the event will include games and a DJ spinning tunes; it costs $5 per person to get in and kids 11 and under get in free. Meanwhile, during the day, the Old-Fashion Fourth of July Celebration goes down from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.), a patriotic party, “turn-of-the-20th-century-style.” That event includes western-style reenactments, free crafts, train displays and old-timey games. Free shuttles to the daytime fest will run from two locations: the Poway City Hall parking lot on Civic Center Drive, and the Poway Adult School parking lot on Twin Peaks Road.

Oceanside Fireworks

Where: Oceanside Blvd & Rancho del Oro Road, Oceanside, CA
When: July 3, 2018
Time: 6:00 to 10:00pm, Fireworks at 9pm
You’re invited to the City of Oceanside annual Fireworks Show! Spectators are encouraged to arrive anytime after 6:00 pm, park in the business park nearby, bring a beach chair, and walk to the viewing area on Rancho Del Oro road. There will be live music as well as food trucks offering a wide variety of foods. The firework show will begin at 9pm.

Then, on Wednesday, July 4th at 10am, head to Oceanside Beach and Pier for more festivities! Main Street Oceanside will be hosting a variety of booths and activities in the plazas, parks, and parking lots from the Oceanside Pier to Tyson Street Park. The day will include kids’ crafts and activities in the Pier Amphitheater, with a wide range of food vendors. There will also be retail vendors of all kinds in both the Pier Plaza and in the parking lot south of the Pier Amphitheater.

Exploring Balboa Park: Museums, Gardens, & Dining

Balboa Park

This historic San Diego park is a must see, no doubt about it. Built in 1986 and majorly re-vamped in 1915, Balboa Park holds over 100 years of Southern California life and culture. It’s home to seventeen award-winning museums, more than fifteen green promoting gardens, the famous San Diego Zoo and (if you can believe it) much more! Here’s the basic layout of what you’ll find, events to look out for and information to help you plan the ultimate trip.

Museums

Whether you’re a lover of science or art, trains or sports…there’s a museum for everyone, even the typical non-museum goers. Some of the most applauded favorites include:

San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego Air & Space Museum
San Diego Museum of Man
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Mingei International Museum
Museum of Photographic Arts
Timken Museum of Art
San Diego Automotive Museum
San Diego History Center

As for prices and packages, there are multiple options. If you’re a resident, did you know you can go for free? On each Tuesday of each month, Balboa Park hosts “Residents Free Days,” where different museums offer free admission to San Diego residents (you’ll need ID confirming your residency) each week.  Find out which museums are free on which Tuesdays here.

If you’re not a resident or you’re interested in going on a day other than a Tuesday, you can :

• Pay for admission at each museum individually (prices vary)

• Purchase a Go San Diego Card for discounted admission to more than 40 San Diego attractions – including Balboa Park!

• Purchase an Annual Balboa Park Explorer Pass: This pass gives you entry into all 17 museums for an entire year. And this isn’t Disneyland; there are no blackout days.

**It’s important to note that with any of these options, special exhibits aren’t included, such as the Natural History Museum’s King Tut or Museum of Man’s Torture Exhibit.**

Balboa Park Gardens

If you enjoy botany or simply looking at beautiful flowers, there’s plenty to see here. Walk through the Botanical Building to transport yourself across the world. Not only is the inside captivating, but the outer design is very striking and in many classic Balboa Park photographs.

Just outside its main doors are plants known for housing caterpillars. They blend in well, but look carefully amongst the green leaves and you’ll find them; you may be surprised at just how darling a yellow caterpillar can be! One of the best parts about this spot though? It’s free.

As far as larger gardens go, the other two main ones are the Rose Garden across the road from the Natural History Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Friendship Garden is lovely, especially the coy fish it features in its shaded pond. It’s good to note that it’s the only garden that charges a fee.

The other smaller gardens you’ll find sprinkled amongst the park; we recommend walking and exploring to let yourself surprisingly stumble upon them. Go far enough? You’ll find trails around the park’s edges, the most intricate and steep going along Florida Street to Morley Field.

All of the gardens at Balboa Park:

    • Old Cactus Garden
    • Alcazar Garden
    • Botanical Building & Lily Pond
    • Native Plant Garden
    • Casa del Rey Moro Garden
    • Desert Garden
    • Children’s Peace Garden
    • Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve
    • Memorial Rose Garden
    • Japanese Friendship Garden
    • Marston House Garden
  • Palm Canyon
  • Trees for Health Garden
  • Veterans Memorial Garden
  • Zoro Garden

San Diego Zoo

The world famous San Diego Zoo is famous for many reasons, some of the top being the pandas and Australian koalas, of course. There’s so many wonderful things here that we gave it its own page. Learn more about this zoo and what it has to offer at our San Diego Zoo page.

The Old Globe Theatre

You were transported to Asia in the Japanese Friendship Garden. You experienced Australia taking in the zoo’s koalas. Now, let’s take you over to Europe by putting you in the recreation of England’s Old Globe Theatre. We think Shakespeare would be proud the Old Globe created right here in San Diego, still performing his plays to this day.

You’ll find more than just Shakespeare, though. Famous Broadway and locally written plays are performed here, as well. Watching a play here is a brilliant way to experience theatre the way it was back in Shakespeare’s time, a great way to transcend time.

Events

There’s a constantly updated calendar for Balboa Park. Between all the museums, the theatre and zoo, there’s always something going on. We want to highlight two particular noteworthy events, one that’s weekly and one yearly.

International Cottages Sunday:

Every Sunday from noon to 4 pm, head to the international cottages located on the lovely stretch between the Organ Pavillion and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Each of the cottages represents a different country and is filled with cultural decor, educational information and folks (usually from and) very knowledgeable about the country.

On these Sunday afternoons, they have samples of treats from that nation. For example, head to House of England for tea and samples of tea cakes, House of Spain for Spanish cookies and House of Iran for a savory treat so magical….you just have to eat it to believe it.

There’s also a lawn program included. Every Sunday, one of the nations’ cottages puts on an afternoon of cultural performances and entertainment. It rotates throughout the year, so you’ll enjoy Filipino dancing one week and witness Ukrainian performances the next!

December Nights:

Each year at Christmas time, usually the first weekend of the month, Balboa Park features December Nights. To say this event wows is an understatement. Attendance is at over 350,000 folks a year, and that’s just across 2 days.

These high numbers are drawn by the museums offering free admissions (certain ones at certain times), endless food booths (not free), cultural cuisine hosted by the International Cottages (also not free), no-cost performances in the Organ Pavillion, stages hosting performances around the entire park and so much more.

We find that it’s good to go in with some knowledge, but, when it comes down to it…you’re going to discover things you had never heard about simply arriving in-person. Show up and let the event sweep you off your feet.

In Conclusion

Balboa Park truly does have something for everyone. As with anywhere, the earlier you come for parking the better and the weekdays are less busy than weekends. However, because it is such a vast space and there are so many lots as well as street parking along the sides, even if there’s some hunting, you’ll be able to find a spot! Learn more about San Diego and it’s nearby downtown at our Downtown San Diego & Gaslamp Page.

Uncovering the Roots of the Chumash People of Southern California

Long before there was the Hotel del Coronado, Hollywood, or Disneyland, Southern California was home to an indigenous population of people known as the Chumash. Researchers have uncovered many clues about the lifestyle of the people that lived along the southern coast. One thing scientists have not fully uncovered, however, is where those indigenous people came from. The original assumption was that thousands of years ago, they migrated from Asia via the glacier ice cap before it melted.

An obvious approach to unveiling the history of a state is to look at what the settlers named the state. When Spanish explorers first came to the coast, they named the place after a Black Amazon woman named Queen Calafia. She was the queen of an island called California, in a fictional novel that was popular in those days. This fact gives some insight as to how the natives looked. Finding clues as to where they came from, however, is a much more complicated assignment.

One might wonder how it is possible to link a modern group of people to a tribe from hundreds or thousands of years ago. This has been a challenging task for researchers for some time now. Fortunately, new technological advances have enabled scientists to gain more insight into the migration of native Californians. The most powerful advance in science is DNA testing. Testing the DNA on a fossil is difficult, but not impossible. Once the DNA of a fossil is abstracted, it can be compared to the DNA of a living person. Once a match is found, then the living person has an idea of where their ancestors came from.

 

One group of native Californians is the Chumash tribe. Although there are no longer any full-blood Chumash people left, modern DNA testing – much of which is being done with home kits like those reviewed at YourDNA – links the remaining descendants to earlier natives in the Americas. Recent studies have shocked the Chumash culture by showing that the migration of these people came from the Alaska area instead of Asia. The DNA tests showed strong matches between a fossilized jaw bone found near Alaska and Chumash people living today in California.

The remaining people of the Chumash tribe were surprised to learn that their roots are now being traced back to somewhere that is thousands of miles away from where they have been for multiple generations. These groundbreaking studies challenge everything scientists have thought about the origin of Native Americans who once lived in Southern California. Not to mention, the Chumash tribe, through DNA tests, have now learned that their ancestors and current relatives could very well be all along the coast of this continent. This discovery would not have been possible without DNA tests.

Learning this new information about where the Chumash culture started gives researchers a new area to look into in regards to human migration worldwide. While this newfound evidence does go against the theory of an eastward migration, it does support the theory of mankind having a common ancestor. None of this evidence is 100 percent proof of anything, but it does point scientists in the right direction. Also, it gives us a better understanding of cultural origins and why they have so many similarities. As more of these tests are done we can expect to have more light on who came from where.

legoland california

10 Reasons to Visit LEGOLAND California This Year

LEGOLAND California is one of San Diego’s most popular theme parks, and provides families the unique opportunity to experience all things LEGO – in one place! Located in Carlsbad, California, and surrounded by tons of family-friendly activities, the entire park is themed around the colorful LEGO bricks. Each section of the park (there are 9 different areas) comes with its own theme – from Ninjago World to MiniLand USA, which features LEGO-sized reproductions of certain areas of the US, in addition to a waterpark, aquarium, and its very own LEGOLAND Hotel. Here are ten reasons to visit LEGOLAND California this year!

1. It’s more than your typical amusement park.

LEGOLAND California has more to explore than its rides – including a Waterpark, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the official LEGOLAND Hotel.

The Waterpark: The LEGOLAND Waterpark is impressive, especially with the recent addition of the Chima section which includes more slides and the Lion Temple Wave Pool. Head to the park to experience Riptide Racers, the Wipeout Lagoon, Build-a-Raft River, Duplo Splash Safari, Joker Soaker, Pirate Reef, Orange Rush, Soak n Sail, and the Splash Zoo; each one offers a different set of rides, splash zones, and epic water adventures for you and the little ones!

You can upgrade your LEGOLAND ticket to include the Waterpark for $30.

Sea Life Aquarium: The aquarium at LEGOLAND is an interactive guide to the life of the sea, combining active hands-on learning with fascinating educational talks and up-close encounters with sea creatures, including sharks, octopi and rays. The newest exhibit, Sea at Night, allows you to stroll in a gentle surf under a starry sky – during the day! Walk, jump and splash in a simulated bioluminescent tide with the little ones. Any LEGOLAND ticket can be upgraded to include SEA LIFE Aquarium admission for $25.

2. You can get discounted tickets any time of year.

The Go San Diego Card, is a multi-attraction pass that gets you big discounts at the top attractions in San Diego. With the all-inclusive pass, you’ll have access to more than 40 spots in San Diego – and that includes LEGOLAND – at discounted prices! 1-Day admission tickets to LEGOLAND California start at $89.99.

3. The LEGOLAND Hotel (and Castle) is truly magical.

The LEGOLAND Hotel recently expanded to include a brand-new LEGOLAND Castle, which offers a totally different (and awesome) overnight experience. The original hotel boasts themed rooms, each one completely unique – choose from Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, LEGO Ninjago, or LEGO Friends. There is nightly children’s entertainment, and a free breakfast buffet every morning of your stay. The Hotel is located right at the entrance to LEGOLAND, so when you wake up the park is quite literally at your front door.

The LEGOLAND Castle Hotel is a new castle-themed wonderland. The hotel features 250 LEGO Castle themed rooms with your choice of Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess, or Magic Wizard, plus a new themed restaurant called Dragon’s Den for all your dining needs. There is a special kid’s area that features LEGO building tables and scavenger hunts daily. There is also a pool area, entertainment courtyard, and playful surprises around every corner; every part of the hotel is interactive, and your little ones will get a kick out of exploring every nook and cranny!

4. Kids go for free all year long in 2019.

You heard that right! This year, LEGOLAND California turns 20 years old, and in honor of such an epic occasion, kids 12 and under can enter the park completely for free. If you have little ones, we can’t possibly think of a better reason to check the park out this year!

5. Kids can bring minifigures to trade at the park.

Have your kids bring their old LEGO minifigures to the park (including all the parts and accessories), and they can trade them for new ones right at the Park! Every LEGOLAND employee – they’re called Model Citizens – has a name badge with minifigures fixed onto it. If your little one wants one of the Model Citizen’s minifigures, he or she will gladly trade with them. You’ll also find trading posts throughout the park that offer tons of of mini-men to trade for, and if your child doesn’t have a minifigure for trading, there are plenty of shops throughout the Park where you can pick one up.

6. The park is fun for all ages – even younger kids.

Unlike many theme parks in California, there are a ton of rides and attractions with no height or age restrictions. Fairy Tale Brook and Coast Cruise are great for babies to enjoy, and there are baby-friendly splash pad areas in Pirate Shores and Heartlake City. Toddlers will love the Coastersaurus, Duplo Play Town, and Mia’s Riding Camp, which is a cute carousel.

Preschoolers will get a kick out of the Royal Joust, which takes little ones on a LEGO horse ride through the “countryside.” Junior Driving School is a can’t-miss attraction for kids 3-5, too. Bonus: there are plenty of areas in line for your younger ones to stay entertained and play with LEGO blocks while you stand in line – just scoop up the kiddos before you get on the ride!

7. The whole family will love MiniLand USA.

You’ve likely seen photos of it online, but MiniLand USA is one of LEGOLAND’s most fun attractions. Built with a whopping 32,496,352 LEGO bricks, the area features real-life attractions and famous spots throughout the U.S. See the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the capital building in Washington D.C., Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Grand Central Station in New York, and the strip in Las Vegas all in one day!

8. LEGO fanatics will really get a kick out of the LEGO factory tour.

If you’ve ever wondered how a LEGO brick is made, this self-guided tour will show you from start to finish. The tour features different displays of machines that are used to make LEGO bricks, and you even have an option to get a special item engraved by someone at the end. This is a fun stop that offers a bit of a break in between the other rides and attractions.

9. The park makes it easy to skip long wait lines.

LEGOLAND offers a Reserve-n-Ride system, which allows you to hold a spot in line for their most popular rides without physically having to be in the actual line. To set up a Reserve-n-Ride, visit their website or head to the kiosk just inside the gates. When you purchase the pass, you’ll get to choose between reducing wait times by 25%, 50%, or 95% for $35, $55, and $100 per person, respectively. When you pick up your pass you’ll receive a device that allows you to make a reservation for one ride at a time, from anywhere in the park. When it’s your time ride the device beeps to let you know, and you’re on your way!

10. The LEGOLAND app is a great way to streamline your experience.

Download the LEGOLAND app before you arrive for access to an interactive map, up-to-date ride wait times, height restrictions for rides, directions, and even a car finder to help you keep track of where you’ve parked. It’s a great way to important information right at your fingertips, which can come in handy for a long day of exploring.

Quintessential Festival 2019: Celebrate All Things San Diego!

The La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club presents the 6th annual Quintessential Festival this April 27th, from 1pm – 5pm. Celebrate the true ‘quintessence’ of San Diego with craft beers from local breweries, wineries, and distilleries, along with fantastic food, music, and – most importantly – the amazing people that make San Diego America’s Finest City!

The inspiration for this community event stems from the Rotary Club’s desire to build a collaborative event that brings people together from throughout San Diego and raise awareness and funds for the great projects Rotary is doing locally and globally. Last year’s event drew approximately 750 attendees, and this year they intend to drive attendance in excess of 1,000!

Food, Beer, & Fun

This year’s festival will be held at the Nobel Park and Recreation Fields (8810 Judicial Dr, San Diego 92122). Proceeds from this event benefit over 45 local charities and non-profit groups supported annually by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club.

Attendees will get exclusive access and unlimited samples from more than 30 of San Diego’s finest craft brewers, distilleries, and wine and spirit companies. There will also be plenty of live music, complimentary bites from local vendors, and a few dog-friendly events for your four-legged friends.

A Few of This Year’s Participating Breweries

  • Abnormal Beer Co.
  • Alesmith Brewing Company
  • Alpine Beer Company
  • Ballast Point
  • Coronado Brewing Company
  • Green Flash Brewing Co
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company
  • Mikkeller Brewing
  • Modern Tims Beer
  • Pizza Port Brewing Company
  • Saint Archer Brewing Company

Food Vendors

  • Aloha Poke Company
  • Bread & Cheese Catering
  • Doggos Gus
  • Nibble Chocolate
  • Simply Cheddar

For a complete list of participating craft breweries, visit their website! Tickets are $30 and can be purchased ahead of time online.

About the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club

Chartered in 1986 during the formative years of the La Jolla Golden Triangle region (San Diego County), the Rotary Club associated with the growth and dynamics of this renowned area has become one of Rotary International’s most highly accomplished clubs.

The La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club is an organization of approximately 100 enthusiastic men and woman united in fellowship providing a broad range of humanitarian service and building lasting goodwill locally and globally.

Unabashedly self-proclaimed as the “most dynamic Rotary Club in the world” La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary is consistently one of the top-performing clubs not only in the San Diego/Imperial Counties District, but indeed in the world. The club consistently develops projects to improve health, well-being and self-sufficiency in our surrounding communities and beyond.

go san diego card

The GoCity San Diego Pass: Everything You Need to Know

The Go San Diego App is a great way to save money on more than 45 different attractions throughout San Diego County. It’s perfect for both tourists and San Diego residents alike. While potentially saving up to 55% on regular admission prices at attractions at SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, or the San Diego Zoo, this convenient and easy-to-use app allows you to plan your itinerary and pack in as many attractions you can into a single day.

What is the GO SAN DIEGO APP?

The Go San Diego App is a multi-attraction pass available in major cities around the world including cities in California like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

There are four different options when downloading the Go San Diego App:

  • 1) All-Inclusive
    • A multi-attraction app is a pass that provides you entrance into 40 San Diego attractions and a premium attraction, all for one low price.
    • Available in one day, two day, three day, five day, or seven day options.
    • Can be used on consecutive calendar days.
  • 2) Explorer Pass 
    • Choose from 42 attractions and build your own digital pass to San Diego attractions.
    • If you choose two or more, you’ll save 20% on attractions. The pass is valid for 60 days.
    • Great option for San Diego residents.
  • 3) Package Deals
    • San Diego 4-Choice Flex Pass: choose four San Diego attractions and activities from eight great options to save up to 39%!

Top Three Attractions Pass: Discounted access to three attractions: LEGOLAND® California, San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld San Diego.

HOW TO USE THE GO SAN DIEGO APP

Your Go San Diego App grants you admission to as many included attractions as you want to visit for the number of days you purchase. Once you purchase the pass, you can use it directly from your phone with the free Go City Card App. You don’t need to buy other tickets, the city app acts as your ticket to attractions.

After it’s used the first time, the app is good for the number of days you choose but must be consecutive days. For instance, if you use the card first on a Monday morning, that counts as your first day. Even if you visit your first attraction late in the day, it still counts. We recommend starting as early as possible!

If you skip a day because you’re tired, you won’t get a refund or an extension. You can visit each attraction once unless you get the multi-day pass.

What to Know Before You Download the Go San Diego App

  • Be realistic about how much you can do. The big attractions will each take a full day and some are far apart from the others. For other attractions that are quick, there still may be significant travel time to get from one to another. However, you can visit a few attractions per day by choosing ones that are closer together.
  • You get to skip the line. If you download the Go City App, you can skip the line at select attractions and go directly to the entrance turnstiles where they will scan a QR code on your phone.
  • The app is free and keeps everything in one place. Once you download the app, you can guidebooks to each attraction and get directions on your phone. It’s a great and easy way to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
  • Only longer-duration passes include Sea World. If you purchase a three, five or seven-Day card, you can visit SeaWorld on as many days as your card is valid. SeaWorld is not included on one and two day passes. Skip the ticket line with digital delivery.
  • Child passes are for children ages three-12. Most attractions do not charge for children under three years old. However, there are some exceptions, especially children’s museums and attractions geared toward young travelers. If you have a child under three years old, you should check with the attraction in advance.
  • You have one year to use your Go San Diego Pass once you purchase it. After one year, it will expire.
  • Refund policy: the Risk Free Guarantee gives you 90 days from your purchase date to return any non-activated passes for a full refund.

Included Attractions for Go San Diego 

There are more than 40 attractions to choose from!

  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off Old Town Trolley Tour Ticket
  • Speed Boat Adventures
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • LEGOLAND
  • Whale & Dolphin Watching by Hornblower Cruises
  • 1-hour San Diego Harbor Tour by Flagship Cruises
  • Belmont Park All-Access Combo Pass
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Birch Aquarium
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center with IMAX movie
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • Model Railroad Museum
  • Tandem kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals at Bike & Kayak Tours Coronado
  • Bike, snorkel, kayak, and stand-up paddle board rentals at Bike & Kayak Tours La Jolla
  • Whale Watch by Flagship Cruises & Events
  • Miramar Speed Circuit
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • 30-minute GoCar San Diego Tour
  • The New Children’s Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Whaley House

Ready to start exploring San Diego? Purchase your multi-day pass or a Build Your Own Pass right here!

Exploring the New Children’s Museum in San Diego

Address/Location: 200 W. Island Ave., San Diego 92101
Phone: (619) 233-8792
Hours: M, W, Th, Fr, S: 9:30am-4pm. Sunday 11am-4pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Admission: $14 for adults & children 1+

The New Children’s Museum is part of the attractions included with the Go San Diego Card! This is a great option if you’re interested in discounted tickets and seeing other attractions in and around San Diego County.

The New Children’s Museum in San Diego is a fun, interactive museum that’s all about helping kids think, play, and create through hands-on exhibitions, engaging art-making activities, artistic performances, and educational programs.

The New Children’s Museum is filled with exciting finds, intriguing and interactive exhibits, and meaningful activities for all ages. Each year, leading artists create specifically designed and commissioned pieces of contemporary art with tactile features that appeal to kids, rather than recreate existing art to suit a younger generation. Throughout the museum, hands-on art and exhibits hold the attention of children of all ages, ranging from toddlers and teens.

About the Museum

This San Diego museum was founded on the principle “think, play, create” and serves as a place for children to come and learn creativity, confidence, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and optimism.

The original Museum opened in 1983 in La Jolla as the Children’s Museum, and moved to its current location at a downtown San Diego warehouse in 1993. In 2008, the Museum reopened as The New Children’s Museum – with the word “new” signifying their focus on commissioning contemporary artists to create full scale art installations for children to engage with and explore. The Museum is housed in a dynamic space designed by visionary and award-winning architect Rob Wellington Quigley and is one of the first green museums in California. In 2018, the Museum celebrated 35 years in San Diego, and 10 years as The New Children’s Museum.

Immersive Art Installations

The art installations at the New Children’s Museum are by far the most popular exhibits. Kids and adults alike will love the eclectic mix of interactive art and fun installations!

Smile: Strokes of color draw visitors across the Museum bridge in artist Panca’s 48-foot-long mural SMILE. Playful eyes and hearts are scattered through these lines of color, creating the impression of deconstructed, curious faces.

The Wonder Sound: Drawing influence from tree houses, empowered neighborhoods, canyons at night, sacred plants, silhouetted mountain ranges in the distance, animals that have never been seen, original stories, forgotten histories, whispered languages, ancient footpaths, imaginary places and the human condition, The Wonder Sound is an entirely new and complex culture that blends fact and fiction, the tangible and the ephemeral. It’s a work of art that you physically enter into and discover; the installation will take you to strange yet recognizable places as you explore its many rooms and passageways, going from the real to the unreal and venturing from the wild to the familiar.

No Rules…Except: One of the most talked about installations over the past 10 years, “No Rules…Except” was created by artist Brian Dick. The installation is an ode to childhood, and celebrates the simple childish joy of jumping on the bed. The immersive, interactive room is filled with 40+ mattresses and over 160 “pillow” tires for children (and grown ups!) to play, crawl, jump, and bounce around in.

Sketch Aquarium: Sketch Aquarium uses 21st century technology to create a beautiful, engaging art and science experience for all ages. Design a fanciful sea creature, and then watch it come to life and swim with all the other sea creatures in a wall-sized, moving aquarium projection. Children can observe the power of their creative imagination through Sketch Aquarium. Paper and art making materials offer opportunities to design and color a sea creature. Once completed, the piece of paper is scanned, and the image is projected onto a giant virtual aquarium. Children may also touch the fish to see them swim away, or touch the virtual food bag to feed the fish.

Wobbleland: Wobbleland is a fun, interactive area that resembles a giant kitchen sink and is filled with oversized soft food sculptures. Infants and toddlers 4 and under have exclusive reign in Wobbleland, where they can make creative discoveries: explore an avocado teeter totter, play with slices of a giant tomato, crawl through a cheese wedge, and more. Each sculpture presents challenges such as stacking, spinning, sorting and rocking and invites its young audience to explore.

Desert Derby: At first glance, the twisting tracks in Desert Derby look like freeways. Take a closer look, and you’ll see a series of interconnecting waterways and reservoirs. Desert Derby traces not only California’s roads, but also one of the most important other factors to shape our region: the feat of engineering that is the California aqueduct. We know where and how California’s system of freeways connects, but what if Californians were just as aware of our water system? Would it change our relationship with water?

Art Studios & Activities

The Community Gallery: The Community Gallery is a space where you can see and learn more about art made by local artists, schools, and participants from programs offered at the Museum. You’ll find their artistic contributions throughout the space – displayed on the floor, walls, and sometimes even the ceiling. Visitors are encouraged to take part in the collaborative art experience – the art that you help create will grow over time and become a part of the work on view and the wider Museum world.

Innovators LAB: The Innovators LAB is the Museum’s collaborative makerspace, where locals can come together for drop-in art workshops hosted by local experts, artists, architects, and others. These resident professionals develop design challenges alongside the Creative Team to provide open-ended, skill-building projects that explore real world issues. The Innovators LAB targets families with children ages 6-13 and provides opportunities to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, and hands-on techniques.

Other Activities

Along with art exhibits and interactive installations, the New Children’s Museum offers various family classes and programs (including Friday Toddler Time and the Little Learners Club), Day Camps and Summer Camps, and several events throughout the year.

Do note that the art exhibits and installations change, and they are always bringing in new artists for visitors to enjoy! Be sure to stay up-to-date with the Museum’s schedule and installations when you are thinking of visiting. Want to see more? Check out our other top San Diego museums!

San Diego Attractions for Kids: Explore Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of the best places for families to visit in San Diego. There is a plethora of beautiful gardens, museums, cultural spots, theaters, playgrounds, and walking trails within the 1200-acre park. What really sets Balboa Park is all of the activities that are free and family-friendly – the park is a great place to spend the day, the afternoon, or even a couple of days exploring if you have the time! Here’s our list of some of the best family-friendly activities in Balboa Park for a fun family outing.

Free Activities in Balboa Park

If you’re looking for free things to do in San Diego, Balboa Park has enough activities and events to keep you and your family busy for several days! All of the gardens, playgrounds, and walking trails are open to visitors every day, and some attractions are also free.

On each Tuesday of the month, museums and attractions rotate to offer free admission to San Diego residents for “Residents Free Tuesdays.” The deal includes:

  • The Museum of Man
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Model Railroad Museum

Some of the museums also offer free admission to active duty military and their family or local college students (with ID). The Veterans Museum and Memorial offers free admission every day for active duty military. Each October during the Kids Free in San Diego event, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Reuben H. Fleet and other Park museums offer free admission to children as well.

Balboa Park Playgrounds

There are five different playgrounds within Balboa Park, which are a fun and free way for families to relax and get some exercise. Some of the playgrounds are better suited for kids under age 5, while others are intended for ages 5-12. Here are some of the most popular Balboa Park playgrounds:

Pepper Grove Playground: suitable for kids of all ages. It is separated into two main areas. The side designed for children younger than five has a giant sandbox, cushioned floors, slides and swings. The other side, designed for kids five and older, offers a large jungle gym, faux zip line and fun things to spin on.

Sixth Avenue Playground: this is a large play area that kids of all ages can enjoy. It is separated into two main areas. The side designed for kids aged 5 and up is fun and futuristic with loads of obstacles and things to climb on. The other side, recommended for children under 5, has a fire engine-themed jungle gym with ropes, slides and climbing bars.

Morley Field Playground: this medium-sized playground is perfect for kids aged 5-12, families with dogs and those who love playing sports. There are slides, monkey bars, swings and a rock-climbing wall to enjoy. It is surrounded by fun places like the a swimming pool, dog park and tennis courts.

balboa park

Fun Activities for Kids at Balboa Park

Balboa Park Carousel: The historic carousel is closer the entrance of the San Diego Zoo, and is truly an awesome place to visit for families. The carousel dates back to 1910 and is a fun menagerie of animals, and all but two pairs are original with hand-carved European craftsmanship. The carousel is one of the few in the world still offering the brass ring game for everyone taking the 5-minute ride!

A little history of the carousel: the Herschell-Spillman menagerie carousel was made in New York, and shipped to Los Angeles, California. In 1915, it was displayed at the summer resort called Tent City, in Coronado, and then moved up Balboa Park around 1922. It originally was placed at the east of Balboa Park, near the San Diego Natural History Museum, but moved to its current location in 1968 to make way for the Fleet Science Center.

In 2017, the Friends of Balboa Park purchased the historic carousel. As its new owner and operator, they will ensure that it remains an historic park landmark for many more years to come.

Miniature Railroad: The miniature railroad is next to the carousel, and families with young children will likely enjoy both rides. The train pulls out of the station for 3-minute rides around a portion of Balboa Park.

The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater is always a hit with the little ones. Founded in 1948, the Puppet Theater is the longest continuous running puppet theater in the United States! Puppet performances are presented throughout the year by a variety of troupes; the theater presents approximately 45 shows a year, with different shows each week (12 shows a week during the winter and 15 shows a week during the summer). The theater boasts 6 rotating resident puppeteers and 2 associate puppeteers, plus occasional guest artists from around the United States. The theater seats 200, and many of productions are “full-stage” using life-size puppets.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is the world’s largest operating model railroad museum. This unique museum contains four enormous scale and model layouts, built by separate clubs, whose exhibits depict railroads all over the Southwest. The Museum also features a Toy Train Gallery, complete with an interactive Lionel layout for children and state-of-the-art theater lighting. Your little train-lovers will absolutely love this railroad museum!

Balboa Park Gardens

The dozens of gardens located throughout Balboa Park are lovely places for a picnic or simply to just relax and enjoy the sunshine. Kids can play on the grass, and most of them offer plenty of shade and picnic tables. The Botanical Building is one of the most photographed buildings in Balboa Park and nestled among several of the most popular natural history museums.

The EthnoBotany Children’s Peace Garden is a unique organic herb, fruit, and vegetable garden that honors the memory of George Washington Carver. The space is dedicated to teaching young people about the role of plants in society. Gardening classes are available to schools, youth programs, individuals and families by appointment or on Sundays at 11:30am, and the garden also serves the nearly 6,000 students in the 5th Grade Balboa Park Integration Program.

The Rose Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, and Zoro Garden are also good options for families. Some gardens are free and some cost money to get in, so be sure to double check on admission before you go.

Where to Eat at Balboa Park

After a long day of fun, the little ones in the group will definitely have worked up an appetite! There are several great places for families to dine at Balboa Park, including casual spots for outdoor activities and quick-and-easy snack carts.

Nosh down on hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft serve ice cream at the Village Grill behind the Natural History Museum. Over by the Fleet Science Center, you can sit outside and enjoy the fountain when you eat at Craveology. They have salads and panini sandwiches, and it’s a fun little spot that’s slightly off the beaten path for a quieter experience. The Alaska Airlines Flight Path Grill is a good go-to spot over by the Air & Space Museum: from chili cheese dogs to grilled cheese sandwiches, there’s yummy comfort food for all palates! You can sit out on the observation deck and watch the colorful planes land at the airport, too. There are also several coffee, snack, and water spots sprinkled throughout the park that you can walk to for a quick pick-me-up.

For more Balboa Park tips and how-tos, visit our explore Balboa Park page!

QUIZ: Which San Diego Neighborhood Are You?

Anyone who’s spent some time in San Diego knows how eclectic, fun, and downright awesome America’s Finest City is! From enjoying our near-perfect year-round weather to indulging in some of the best craft beer in the country, there is no shortage of great ways to spend your time in our coastal city. But where to begin?! With dozens of different (and completely unique) neighborhoods and communities, it’s a tad overwhelming for visitors (or brand-new locals) to figure out which one is which – and more importantly, where they want to live! 

Are you a fun-loving extrovert who loves the hustle and bustle of urban downtown, or are you happier with a glass of wine and Netflix in a quiet suburb? Do you live for the beach, or are you the type to hit the trails every morning? Take our fun quiz to find out which San Diego neighborhood suits your personality! 

  • North Park
  • La Jolla
  • Ocean Beach
  • Little Italy
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Pacific Beach
  • Mission Beach

GIVEAWAY!

That’s not all! One lucky winner will be chosen to receive a $50 gift card to Whisknladle La Jolla! All you have to do is complete the quiz to be eligible to win. 

The Best Views in San Diego

If you’re born and raised in San Diego, you already know that it’s truly one of most beautiful places on the planet  – people come here from all over the world to lay on our beaches and enjoy the perfect weather all year round. Whether your thing is hiking to waterfalls or sitting on the beach watching the sunset, San Diego is paradise. Here are some of the best views in San Diego, from coastal viewpoints to seaside meditation gardens! Plus, visit our San Diego guides section to explore more fun things to do in each neighborhood.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Where else can you sit back and watch people fly over the ocean? The Torrey Pines Gliderport sits above Black’s Beach (a clothing optional La Jolla beach) and next to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, a coastal state park and community known for its world-class golf course (it hosted the 2008 U.S. Open) and picturesque San Diego hiking trails. While both the golf course and trails have views well worth writing home about, just a little south is the Torrey Pines Gliderport, a city-owned aviation site where paragliders and hang-gliders can launch off the cliffs to the beaches below. It’s a magical spot to take in the scenery and watch San Diego’s finest soar through the sky.

There’s a massive parking lot in front of the glider port that’s free all day, so parking is almost always easy to find.

Mt. Soledad

Mount Soledad is one of La Jolla’s secret spots. It’s a small mountain with a veterans memorial and giant cross at its peak; the memorial itself offers an expansive, panoramic view of San Diego and the coast below, and it’s easily accessible by car. It’s an iconic San Diego spot, partially due to the massive controversy over the constitutionality of the cross — it went to the Supreme Court twice! Parking is easy, although the road from Pacific Beach to Mount Soledad is a popular cycling path if that’s your thing.

Sunset Cliffs

With sheer cliffs bordering the ocean, several decent surf spots, and coastal trails along the bluffs, Sunset Cliffs is one of San Diego’s most picturesque – and iconically Southern California –  areas. As the name suggests, it’s a popular spot if you’re wondering where to catch the sunset, although the beaches below are also a great place to hang out if you’re looking for something a little more secluded than some of our busier beaches.

Local tip: The cliffs are mostly unfenced, so watch your step as you explore the area. There are also a few spots where locals and visitors alike jump off the cliffs into the ocean, but be careful if you join: it’s technically illegal and there are lots of sharp rocks hiding in the water.

Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens

Incredible views and inner peace await within one of San Diego’s most picturesque gardens. Perched atop the cliffs in Encinitas, a coastal city in North County, the Meditation Gardens are part of the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple grounds. It’s the perfect spot for a thoughtful stroll through lush greenery, and has plenty of benches facing the ocean view. This is an amazing place to take in the sunset, or simply spend a few hours admiring the garden and the views during the day.

If you’re there around lunchtime, head across the street to Swami’s Cafe! It’s a local gem that is well known for its breakfast and acai bowls, making it a perfect place to stop by before or after your garden stroll.

Stonewall Peak

Stonewall Peak is a favorite among San Diego hikers, and for great reason! Julian is a small city in the outermost part of San Diego County, known for its small-town country feel and freshly baked pies. But just a few miles from the sleepy town is the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, home to several hiking trails with some awesome vistas. We recommend Stonewall Peak, which has a trail that leads up a small mountain via a series of moderate switchbacks. After a 30 minute hike, you’ll arrive at a staircase leading you to the very top, where a breathtaking coastline view awaits.

Go as early as you can manage to see this great view — the view during sunrise is spectacular, plus you’ll avoid the midday heat and the crowds. Parking is at the campground just next to the trailhead and costs $10.

Powerhouse Park

One of our favorite places to relax in North County is Powerhouse Park, located in the quaint beach town of Del Mar. Both Powerhouse Park and adjacent Seagrove Park comprise Del Mar’s crown jewel, and after you take in the view there, you’ll see why!

The sprawling grassy knolls overlook the beach, making it a popular place to sunbathe or dine al fresco at one of the many picnic tables. To see the full scope of this area, begin at the outer rim of Seagrove Park and work your way down to Powerhouse Park, stopping along the routes to gaze at the sea and surfers below. If you walk past the “Tot Lot” play area at Powerhouse Park, you’ll find a small gateway that leads to a dirt path. Follow that trail to a cluster of benches where you can sit and bask in the sun. Seagrove Park is located off Coast Blvd. in Del Mar.

Coronado Ferry Landing

If you’ve ever searched Google Images for “downtown San Diego”, then you’ve seen the view of the San Diego cityscape lit up, standing tall and bright in front of the water. Those photos were taken from Coronado, a small city on a peninsula in the San Diego Bay, just west of downtown. The peninsula’s ferry landing leads into a waterfront park with restaurants, shops, a beach, and the same incredible view of the city that photographers love, making it an ideal place to spend the day. The view is especially impressive in the evening, when the city turns on its colorful lights and they dance off the water.

The best way to get to the ferry landing is the ferry! The ride is about 15 minutes, and it costs $4.75 each way. It operates regularly from downtown to Coronado from early morning until just before 10:00 pm.

La Jolla Cove

We wouldn’t be able to mention views without mentioning La Jolla Cove! Beautiful La Jolla Cove is a small beach area surrounded by cliffs which boast a beautiful view of the neighboring cliffs and hosts a colony of California sea lions – they make for a fun spectacle to watch as you wait for the sunset. 

La Jolla gets pretty busy in the summertime, especially on the weekends. Our recommendation is to explore the area in the evening on a weekday, or stop by during winter or fall (typically regarded as “offseason” here).

Our Best Of La Jolla...

Top Fitness Studios in San Diego

It’s no secret that America’s Finest City is a pretty healthy community; from yoga, barre, and Pilates to boot camp classes and aerobics, there is no shortage of fun ways to work out or hike in San Diego! We’ve rounded up some of the best fitness studios in the County – and what classes they’re known for – so you don’t have to. Here are the best fitness studios in San Diego!

Spark Cycle (Cycling)

Take a seat on a stationary bike, diligently listen to directional advice from your upbeat instructor, and pedal as fast as you can for this indoor cycling, or “spin” class. After taking a class at SparkCycle in La Jolla, it is estimated that riders lose up to 600-900 calories even though the class is only 45 minutes long. SparkCycle offers top-of-the-line Schwinn bikes, QSC audio system, LED lighting, stadium risers for a perfect view, showers for after your workout, free validated garage parking, and passionate instructors. If you don’t want to commit to the all included membership, you can try your first class out for $10.

Core Power (Yoga)

At Core Power, members believe that this workout class not only transforms your body, but also transforms your everyday life mindset. Inside the studio, yogis are pushed outside of their comfort zone and consequently, leave the yoga studio more secure in themselves than when they walked in.

Core Power offers a free week at the multiple locations scattered around San Diego if you’re interested in testing out the waters before buying a membership. Note, there are many types of classes – Core Power 1, Core Power 2, and Sculpt are a few – that differ in levels. If you haven’t tried out yoga before, it is recommended you try C1 before a C2 or Sculpt class. Core Power 1 is a class for beginner yogis and Core Power 2 is a more advanced challenge. Sculpt, on the other hand, is a high-intensity weight training workout where muscle meets yoga and metabolism boosts.

Trilogy Sanctuary (Yoga)

Trilogy Sanctuary holds up to its name — it’s a triple-threat of aerial yoga, an infrared-heated indoor studio space, and an organic, vegan cafe. The stunning La Jolla location boasts a rooftop space with daily aerial yoga classes overlooking the ocean as well as plenty of comfy nooks to enjoy your raw, organic, vegan snacks (that’s a mouthful, literally). And on the rare rainy San Diego day, you can take your indoors, where the temp is cranked up to almost 100 degrees!

Studio Barre (Barre)

Located in Bird Rock, Carmel Valley, Mission Hills, and Encinitas, Studio Barre is all over San Diego and gains popularity each day due to its killer workout and positive effects. Barre is an experience focused on building core strength, improving posture and developing long and lean muscles. Former professional dancer, barre enthusiast, and fitness expert Shannon Higgins founded Studio Barre in 2012. At Studio Barre, there is a new client special which includes one month of unlimited classes for $99.00.

Club Pilates (Pilates)

Club Pilates‘ mantra commends pilates is the path to a fuller, richer, healthier and more satisfying life. Focusing on the functionality of flexibility and strength, Club Pilates classes prepare members to transcend motivation in class out into everyday life. Classes entail “Cardio Sculpt,” “Barre/Reformer Fusion,” “Bootcamp,” and “Stretch.” Moreover, there is a class called, “CP Teen,” which is specifically directed at athletic teenagers seeking to enhance their skills in their competitive sport. Schedule your first free intro class today at one of the many locations, such as Mission Valley, and feel your body transformation first hand.

Orangetheory Fitness (Cardio)

Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) is not a traditional workout center. The vibrantly colored gym offers class-based workouts with varying class sizes – anywhere from 10 to 20 people – and each class incorporates cardio, indoor rowers, weight training blocks, and floor exercises designed to give you fast results. What makes OTF unique is the motivating technology they use to optimize your workout. Each participant wears a heart rate monitor that glows a different color depending on his or her heart rate. Cardiac output is measured with green, orange, and red. Green is the “easy zone”, with orange being ideal, and red nearing danger.

“Work for 1 hour. Burn for 36” is the Orange Theory Fitness slogan. They believe measured success is important. It explains their heart-based interval training workout. They claim that their heart rate training stimulates metabolism and increases energy. According to OTF, their members burn an average of 500 to 1000 calories per 1-hour workout!

F45 Training (Circuit Training)

Every day at F45 is different. From Athletica to Hollywood, the team here has developed 27 different high-intensity circuit workouts that’ll keep you moving and sweating. With two to three trainers per class and exercise demos on TV screens around the studio, it’s easy to follow along. With eight locations in San Diego and La Jolla – and more to come – there are plenty of opportunities to fit in a 45-minute class. What should you expect at your first group fitness workout? A big hug and a “hello mate” from your newest Aussie friends (the company is based in Australia!).

Bodyrok (Pilates)

Bodyrok isn’t your traditional Pilates class, but trust us, you won’t mind! Inspired by the Reformer, the Bodyrok’s signature machine is a remodeled and redesigned version of the original Pilates equipment, so you can get the most out of your workout in the least amount of time. And get ready to pour sweat — Bodyrok’s 40-minute strength-training classes in Del Mar and Encinitas are challenging and will work your whole body as you squeeze, pike, and jump your way to the end.

Barry’s Bootcamp (Bootcamp)

Dubbed “the best workout in the world,” Barry’s Bootcamp classes are a one-hour sweat-fest complete with strength training and cardio intervals. With hill climbs, sprints, and dynamic mode (self-propelled treadmill), running on a treadmill has never been so tough. The floor work focuses on a different muscle group each day, allowing you to develop a well-rounded physique — or at least, avoid leg day (Tuesday). This is a fun one to try if you’re looking for a more regular, intensive workout than yoga or pilates; rest assured, the alternating cardio and bursts of intense anaerobic exercise will keep your heart rate elevated and the sweat coming!

For more San Diego guides, tips, and workout ideas, visit our other blogs or our San Diego guides section!

Comparing San Diego and San Francisco Travel Experiences

The state of California is not simply a popular destination for vacationers within the United States. Millions of tourists from around the world come here every year for business and pleasure. There are many factors that play a role in this popularity. The fact that there are so many terrific cities to explore does have something to do with it. San Diego and San Francisco are definitely two of the cities that make this list of attractions. There are great reasons to choose either of these cities and also things to watch out for.

It doesn’t matter whether you are visiting San Diego for work or for vacation. You will discover attractions that are central to this city. Some of these include outdoor activities, restaurants, and shopping experiences. The same can be said about those going up north. Whether you’re sightseeing or overseeing condominium kitchen remodeling in San Francisco, the City by the Bay is sure to impress.

What San Diego Offers Travelers

Warm weather and sandy beaches are a part of the appeal for San Diego. There are many other attractions and excursions available here. A day trip to Tijuana, the San Diego Zoo, and the Mission San Diego de Alcala are just three of the popular things to do in the city. Those with kids may want to consider driving north to Carlsbad and visiting LEGOLAND California, since it’s only a 40-minute drive. Scheduling sightseeing tours will help you explore further.

Along with the terrific things in San Diego tourists need to be aware of things that could negatively impact their trips. Traffic is an example in this category to consider for those renting vehicles. Trolleys and public transportation provide shortcuts to getting around the city. If you are considering your budget when finding accommodations, the city hotel tax may be of interest to you. Not every travel guide will show you hidden treasures, so plan to get out and explore on your own for things to do.

What San Francisco Offers Travelers

If you are planning on visiting San Francisco you are like more than 26 million other travelers this year according to San Francisco Travel. This number is actually up 2.6% from last year’s visitors to the city. The city offers vacationers and tourists a lot to see and to do. It doesn’t matter whether you explore the wharf area or visit Alcatraz Island. You will discover things that are central to the area like tasty sourdough bowls of chowder or soup. The rolling hills of roadways and the most crooked street are attractions that vacationers love.

Traffic and smog are among the top things that may affect your experience while in the city. These don’t, however, have a big impact on most travelers. It is important to plan ahead when it comes to visiting popular locations and attractions. Since so many people come here some of these will be quite crowded. This is the case no matter what time of year you plan to travel. Homelessness is another issue that can be seen in many portions of the city. This doesn’t prevent vacationers from coming each year.

If you’re traveling to both San Diego and San Francisco, there is a way to fit in all of your top attractions. You may opt to fly into one city over the other on your trip. Depending on the length of your trip this may be a way to see the differences between Southern California vs. Northern California. This is an 8+ hour drive that is filled with scenic beauty and sights only seen in this amazing state. You will be able to embrace what makes it unique and interesting to tourists.

Why are Property Values So High in California?

Many people dream about living in California. The state is beautiful, the weather is nice, and the cities are iconic, to say the least. However, the property values in California are also known as being some of the highest in the country. This makes it difficult for many people to afford to own a home in the Golden State.

Let’s take a look at why that is.

Not Enough Housing

One of the reasons that housing costs are so high in San Francisco and other cities across California is because there is not enough housing to go around. The result is a disparity between supply and demand. According to the state housing department, the state needs to build 180,000 new houses every year in order to keep up with demand. However, California has only managed to build half of that over the past 10 years.

While many factors contribute to the failure to keep up with high demand for housing, one of the biggest obstacles is a lack of available land. While California is an enormous state – the third largest in the U.S. by size – the vast majority of its acres are hills and mountains spread across harsh desert. Nearly every nook and cranny of suitable land has been used up, and this is certainly the case the closer you get to the coast.

When new communities are developed, they’re designed to maximize the use of available space. While aspiring homeowners in California are happy to secure small plots of land to plant wildfire-resistant naturesseed.com blends and build the cozy little home of their dreams, attempts to squeeze the most out of available space can only go so far.

Growing Demand for Housing in Urban Areas

Not only is there not enough housing to go around but many Californians are trying to cram into urban areas. The Bay Area – which encompasses San Francisco, Oakland, and surrounding suburbs, is one of the fastest-growing areas in California. While the Bay Area only made up four percent of California’s growth between 2000 and 2007, this figure jumped to 20 percent from 2010 to 2017. 

Proposition 13

Proposition 13 was passed in 1978. The purpose of Proposition 13 was to reduce the amount of property tax that the government could collect. While it was designed to prevent Californians from paying sky-high property tax, it has had a lot of other negative consequences.

This has forced the local governments to use other sources for revenue. That is why the government would rather build retail a store on vacant land instead of a set of apartments.

Developers Face Changes

If a lack of housing is one of the things that has led to the housing crisis, then it would seem as though the simple solution would be to build more housing. However, it is difficult and time-consuming to do this. That is why developers are hesitant to build new housing.

The high cost of materials and labors has also made it difficult for developers to build new housing. It is more expensive to build housing in California than other places in the country. There are strict building codes that developers have to abide by. Furthermore, there has been a push to make the building designs more environmentally friendly. That is also making it harder for developers.

It is difficult to find an affordable real estate in San Diego and other major cities in California, but it’s not impossible. Californians simply have challenges that many other states do not have. On the other hand, the Golden State also has weather, culture, and an economy which is the envy of the world. People who want to live in that environment have to be prepared to pay a premium.

Things to Do in Southern California

Southern California is a great place for vacations regardless of the time of year. There’s gorgeous weather, beaches that are amazing, and all sorts of waterfront attractions that make it rank high on my list of recreation and fun. It offers a plethora of scenic, fun, and most of the time, free things that make visiting Southern California something that needs to be one everyone’s bucket list.

Beaches

With the coast of Southern Cali being so long, you know there are plenty of beaches to explore. You might decide to have a bonfire on the beach in La Jolla, ride the roller coaster at the Santa Monica Pier, or just soak up some rays at any number of other gorgeous beaches.

San Diego Zoo

The landscaping of the San Diego Zoo is amazing, and it features a diverse collection of animals as well as other unique attractions. It’s set on a full 100 acres in Balboa Park and takes about 5 hours to walk through, so plan for a great workout.

The Strand Bike Path

This is great fun for anyone who lives in California or just visiting with their family. It’s a stretch of 22 miles of bike trails along the gorgeous coastline of Southern California, and it’s actually paved! On this route, you will ride past quite a few beach towns and they each have their own attractions and unique look.

Pacific Coast Highway

The gorgeous PCH begins in San Diego and ends in Mendocino County in Northern California. One fantastic route is the drive from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. On this route, you’ll see scenery that is stunning, while also passing through a variety of sites of interest and quaint little beach towns. It also makes for a restorative getaway after a stressful week or maybe if you or a loved one has just come home from one of the Santa Barbara sober living facilities. Taking a break can be a big help as a time to decompress before getting back to the real world.

Griffith Observatory

If you are looking for a good hike, try the trails at this attraction. There are a few miles of steep, short trails that will take you close to the famed Hollywood sign. Aside from a great view of that iconic piece of scenery, there are great views of the surrounding hills and skyline. When you finish the hike, you will be able to take in the night skies at the observatory. This is one of the best spots for getting great night views of LA.

Venice Beach

This beach is definitely a once in a lifetime sort of experience. There are street performers everywhere and the sights can and do differ from one day to the next. You can also pay a visit to iconic Muscle Beach, a prime spot for those bodybuilders in your group.

There are way too many things to list here that you can do and see in Southern California, but the ones discussed here today are a good place to start.

Where to Buy The Best Christmas Trees in San Diego

Ready to fill your home with the scent of fresh-cut pine? Look no further! We’ve rounded up some of the best Christmas Tree farms in San Diego, from u-pick ranches where you can cut your own to family-owned farms with incredible selections of pre-cut trees. These fantastic, family-owned San Diego tree farms are just a short drive away, so bring the whole family and ring in the holiday season the right way!

Mr. Jingle’s Christmas Trees

6710 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla 92037
Open 7 days a week, 11am-9pm
Mr. Jingles in La Jolla is a second generation family-owned Christmas Tree business that operates several locations throughout the country. Their trees are all freshly cut, loaded onto trucks, and shipped to each of our locations from the beautiful Cascade Mountains in Oregon each season. The one in La Jolla is a fun one-stop shop for all things Christmas: along with five different tree types, they also carry fresh garland, wreaths, and other decorations. And don’t forget to pick up a free Christmas bow and candy cane on your way in!

Once you select your tree, they’ll help you with a custom fit water bowl so your tree stays healthy and fresh throughout the season. If you have your own stand, make sure to bring it and they’ll put it on for you! They’ll help you secure the tree to your vehicle and ensure a safe, smooth ride home. You can also choose one of their delivery options and packages, which might be an easier way to go if you’re driving from San Diego.

Family Christmas Tree Farm (U-pick)

300 Pepper Drive, El Cajon
Open 9am-8:30pm, 7 days a week
This ten-acre, family-owned farm in El Cajon kicks off the season the day after Thanksgiving, and you can pick from a huge selection of native California Monterey Pine trees –– they provide the saw for cutting and the twine to secure the tree to your car. In addition to the u-chop experience, there’s an abundance of pre-cut tree varieties (Douglas Fir, Grand Fir) as well as potted trees, mistletoe, cinnamon brooms, and wreaths to choose from. Your freshly cut tree is flocked and picked up after it has had time to dry, which shouldn’t be a problem since the hay wagon rides, farm animals. and straw-bale playpen most definitely merit a second visit!

This family farm’s first Christmas tree season was in 1972, and generation after generation come to cut their tree here each year. It’s a wonderful place to partake in this holiday tradition, given the Farm’s friendly, small town community vibe that can’t be beat –– and you’re supporting local agriculture by picking your perfect holiday tree here.

Pine Tree Acres (U-pick option)

620 Haverford Road, Ramona 92065
Open weekdays 12pm-5pm; weekends 9am-5pm
Pine Tree Acres is a full-service Christmas tree farm that’s been in business for more than 25 years in the Ramona area. Choose from a variety of Noble Fir, Grand Fir, Fraser Fir and Nordman trees to take home this Christmas season; or cut your very own Monterey Pine for a fun family activity. This is definitely a fun spot to bring the family on weekends, as there are a bunch of activities happening through December 18th. Kids will love the inflatable party jump, or enjoy ornament and cookie decorating, outdoor games, a small holiday pop-up shop with ornaments and crafts, pony rides, a small petting zoo, and special Santa visits on certain weekends through December 11th.

Highland Valley Christmas Tree Farm (U-pick)

18425 Highland Valley Rd., Ramona
Open Thurs & Fri 12pm-4pm.; Sat. & Sun 9am-4pm
Tree cutting and wine is a winning combination at the Highland Valley Tree Farm! Take a road trip up to Ramona, where you’ll find this farm nestled next to a whimsical winery, the Principe di Tricase Winery. Families can come and stroll through the groves to choose and cut the perfect tree to cut and take home.

Be on the lookout for the Farm’s special Italian wishing tree while you’re there! This old tradition will delight your holiday guests (and definitely the younger ones): the tree’s piney limbs are filled with written wishes, from guests and the family who own the farm. Choose your tree and they’ll come cut, shake, net and even drill a hole in the trunk for your stand at no additional cost. The kids will love the hot cider, the little present they’ll receive, and on occasion, Santa Claus even stops by for a visit. There’s also an an aviary for watching the birds, a special price wine tasting, and tables and chairs at the Winery if you’d like to have a picnic and sip some wine before you head home. Prices start at $15/ft.

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Mountain Valley Ranch

842 Highway 78, Ramona 92065
Open 7 days a week, 10am-7pm
Mountain Valley Ranch is a family-owned ranch located a short drive away in Ramona. This is a great spot for families, as there are usually several animals on-site for the kids to pet (including goats and horses). The Ranch is a local favorite (which is also open for u-pick pumpkins each fall) and a great place to experience ‘ a little Christmas celebration in the country’ and pick out your perfect tree for the holidays!

Though they aren’t u-pick, they carry a variety of trees including Noble Firs, Douglas Fir, and Grand Firs. Sometimes the Ranch’s holiday hours vary, so be sure to give them a call before you head up there.

Pinery Christmas Trees

14550 1/2 El Camino Real, Del Mar 92014 (Del Mar Horsepark)
Open 7 days a week, 10am-9pm
Pinery Trees is the largest independent retailer of Christmas Trees in Southern California, and they definitely deliver each holiday season. You can either bring the family to one of their San Diego locations, or order online and let them deliver directly to your home. They carry a wide variety of trees, including Douglas Firs, Grand Firs, Noble Firs, and Nordman Firs. Pinery has six locations in San Diego: Bonita, Del Mar, Mission Valley, Rancho Bernardo, Murrieta, and Vista.

Once you have your perfect tree, check out our favorite spots to see Christmas lights in San Diego!

Holiday Party Venues in San Diego

The winter season is upon us, and nothing says ‘the holidays’ like a fun party at one of San Diego’s best venues! Toast to your colleagues, friends, or family at one of these unique San Diego party venues fit for a day or night of merriment this holiday season. From casual craft breweries and romantic, urban-chic eateries to rooftop bars and skyline-view museums, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best San Diego venues made for the perfect 2018 holiday gathering!

1. Clara (Carlsbad)

Having just opened this summer, Clara is the newest addition to the ever-growing downtown Carlsbad Village scene. The space here is serene, casual, and comfortable; making this spot pretty ideal for a dinner feast with your friends or colleagues. The neutral interiors and menu offerings work well for vegetarians and carnivores alike – from the chili braised cauliflower tacos to skirt steak skewers, there is a little something for everyone here. The craft cocktail menu is expansive and innovative, and many of the drinks are infused with locally grown produce.

2. Madison on Park (University Heights)

Located in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, Madison on Park serves upscale Mediterranean and Southern California inspired cuisine in a modern, gorgeous atmosphere. Madison features a full bar and an upscale menu offered in the main dining room, which is a dramatic 3,000 square-foot space built by industrial design firm ARCHISECTS that features sky-high vaulted ceiling made of wood and cedar walls in colorful geometric patterns. The whole space has a fresh, eclectic indoor-outdoor vibe, which makes it a great choice for your holiday party in San Diego.

3. Kettner Exchange (Little Italy)

The open-air rooftop of this Little Italy restaurant is a huge draw for locals – and one of the best rooftops in the city – with the only private cabañas and ocean views in the neighborhood. The cabañas are definitely the main attraction here; each one is totally private, complete with a variety of wines, craft cocktails, and self-serve tap beers. Standing parties of up to 400 can celebrate with innovative cocktails and sophisticated bites – think suckling pig larb, hamachi ceviche, foie gras French toast, and grilled quail char sui – but if you’re hosting a smaller group, consider the hidden, more private Chef’s Table for a special five-course dining experience.

4. BRICK (Point Loma)

From the simple elegance to the stunning ambiance, BRICK just oozes charm, character, and originality. This beautiful, historic Point Loma space can hold up to 450 guests, and there are no curfews or noise ordinances. The best part? The space is yours for a full 24 hours! The aesthetic is modern-industrial, and features market lights, exposed beams, and plenty of (of course) natural brick walls.

5. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa (Rancho Santa Fe)

This expansive, luxurious oasis covers 45 beautiful acres in the hills of Rancho Santa Fe, providing eight garden-filled options for celebration spaces. Each space – from the popular Croquet Lawn to the turquoise fireplace of the Sunrise Room – has its own vibe and aesthetic, and can work for a low-key day party or formal nighttime affair. Each room has a different capacity and rules, so be sure to inquire ahead of time to plan your special event.

6. Luce Loft  (Downtown)

Housed within a historic 1928 Carnation Dairy Factory, Luce Loft boasts cathedral ceilings, exposed brick, and romantic market lights to create the perfect urban party backdrop. One of the best aspects of hosting an event here is that you can customize essentially everything – including booze, as it’s one of the only venues in San Diego that boasts a BYOB policy. Pick from one of 10 catering vendors from nearby restaurants and food trucks, and get the party started with a DJ and photo booth.

7. Darlington House (La Jolla)

Throw an elegant holiday garden party in the heart of La Jolla Village at the Mediterranean-style Darlington House. This historic home is an architectural gem, and echoes the days of vintage La Jolla and a lifestyle of elegant dinner parties and delightful musical concerts (it’s also a popular wedding venue). There are different rooms to explore around every corner; consider The Library, which features dark wooden bookcases, a Moroccan fireplace, and a gorgeous Moorish-inspired staircase and is perfect for smaller, more intimate events, or the Andalusian Patio, which was modeled after the style of Southern Spain and features stunning Roman arches.

8. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (Rancho Santa Fe)

Sitting on 21 lush acres in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe Village, this quaint, luxury inn boasts seven dreamy indoor-outdoor event spaces. The Azalea room is perfect for more intimate parties, while the Croquet Cottage & Lawn features a larger space complete with vaulted wood ceilings, a stone fireplace, and an accompanying outdoor patio for indoor and outdoor seating.

9. The Lodge at Torrey Pines (La Jolla)

In an endless-summer city, it’s not always easy to create a festive wintery ambiance but at this craftsman-style resort, that’s a different story. The Lodge features a great variety of indoor-outdoor venue options (with capacity for up to 400 people), and boasts panoramic Pacific Ocean views, cozy fireplaces, a golf course, and of course, the rare Torrey Pine trees make it a location that pretty much guarantees to put everyone in the holiday mood.

10. Farmer and the Seahorse (La Jolla)

The playful details of the Farmer and the Seahorse in La Jolla (near Torrey Pines) give it a naturally festive vibe — from the vintage Airstream to the telephone booth to the inviting corn hole games on the lawn. Combining the best produce from the restaurant’s gardens and local farms with the freshest catch from the Pacific, the menu from celebrity chef Brian Malarkey is all kinds of delicious.

11. Juniper & Ivy (Downtown)

Treat friends, family, or coworkers to a magical holiday dinner at chef Richard Blais’ high-end restaurant in Little Italy, where he seriously pushes the limits of fine dining. What’s great about this spot is the variety of private dining areas to choose from; including a second-floor overlook or an al fresco patio experience. Take your experience a step further and reserve the exclusive and highly coveted Chef’s Table, which can seat between 14 and 65 and puts you right at the heart of Juniper & Ivy’s main dining room with a clear view into the action in the kitchen.

12. Vin de Syrah (Gaslamp)

This Gaslamp District speakeasy is truly a one-of-a-kind San Diego gem. The quirky, understated décor has been compared to Alice in Wonderland — picture oversized, cushy booths and botanical chandeliers — and the entertainment options go way beyond a live cover band. Reserve a burlesque show, a tarot card reading, or an illusionist, and your friends and family won’t forget your epic Holiday Party of 2018!

For more fun holiday events, tips, and happenings, check out our other Holiday blogs!

5 Unforgettable Places to Stay During a Trip to San Diego

San Diego and its surrounding areas have endless lodging options for guests. With so many to choose from, it can be easy to choose based on budget, especially for families looking for a larger rental space. While there’s nothing wrong with having a strictly utilitarian approach to deciding where to stay, there’s something to be said for the unforgettable experience of high-end resorts and unique rentals throughout the southern California area. What’s great about the varied options for your San Diego stay is that they all offer great access to the local communities and attractions. The county’s varied areas and neighborhoods give you more than enough reason to be out and about regardless of where you are staying.

Ranging from affordable to extravagant, here is a short list of truly one-of-a-kind places to stay while visiting America’s Finest City:

Cozy by the beach

While La Jolla is home to some of the most valued real estate in the United States, the cozy little seaside community is not beyond the reach of those wishing to visit the San Diego area on a budget. Better yet, many of the affordable hotels in La Jolla are within walking distance of the beach and other popular sights. Given the budget-friendly nature of their rates, rooms at these hotels go fast, so remember to book in advance. Whether your walking on the beach, watching the seals, or going for a hike in Torrey Pines your time in La Jolla won’t disappoint.

Home on-the-go

Most RV owners are used to pulling into dusty campgrounds off the beaten path with little more than a front desk and a vending machine. Those visiting San Diego have the option to upgrade to something a little better. It’s easy to find a San Diego RV park complete with in ground pool, spa, indoor lounge area, fitness center, and pet-friendly atmosphere all within close proximity to trolley service linked to the best parts of the city. It’s a far cry from the typical accommodations found at most motorhome parks.

Luxury by the sea

The Hotel del Coronado is perhaps the most iconic resort in the San Diego area. Located across the bay from downtown San Diego, “the Del” as its popularly known remains one of the largest wooden structures ever built. Name your dignitary – king, queen, president – one or more has stayed at this palace on the water at some time or another. If the open ocean isn’t the view for you, look into bay front accommodations in other areas of downtown San Diego or Mission Bay where the water is full of activities like jet skiing, paddle boarding, and sailing.

Luxury downtown

The Horton Grand – billed as San Diego’s oldest hotel – was originally two different hotels when built in 1887. The site was slated for demolition in the 1970s but city officials decided to buy it instead for the purpose of historical preservation. Though quaint and old, the Horton Grand has all the trappings of a luxury hotel condensed into cozy accommodations centrally located in downtown San Diego.

Opulence downtown

If you were to merge the Hotel del Coronado with the Horton Grand, you might end up with something like the U.S. Grant Hotel. Also located downtown, the U.S. Grant is a masterpiece of Classical Revival architecture. For those wondering about the name association, the hotel was built by Ulysses S. Grant Jr., son of President Ulysses S. Grant and named to honor his father.

Out in the woods

One famous saying about southern California is that you can ski and surf in the same day! Nearby the sprawling metropolis of San Diego are far out regions for campers and hikers alike. About 50 miles from downtown San Diego, camp and hike inside Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. If you’re up for the world famous Joshua Tree National Park, you can drive, but it will be three times as far. No matter the level of adventure you can always find camping or cabin living near San Diego.

The City of San Diego and the surrounding regions offer a plethora of lodging options for travelers coming from near and far. With so many to choose from, tourists are able to research and customize their vacation based on what attracted them to the area the most. Where will you stay?