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Desi & James's SD Guidebook

James

Desi & James's SD Guidebook

Sightseeing
Points of interest in San Diego
The botanical building and Japanese friendship garden is beautiful. Check out the Museum of Man and the Aerospace museum. Rent a bike or scooter and check out all the trails. Visit the zoo or see a play at the old globe theater.
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バルボア・パーク
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The botanical building and Japanese friendship garden is beautiful. Check out the Museum of Man and the Aerospace museum. Rent a bike or scooter and check out all the trails. Visit the zoo or see a play at the old globe theater.
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food or family friendly night life this is the spot. Check out one of the many delicious Mexican restaurants (our favorite is Cafe Coyote) most places are very authentic and even make their own tortillas. After dinner take a stroll down the historic street and visit the Mexican sweet shops, ice cream parlors and gift shops full of everything from Mexican blankets to luchador masks and everything in between. Several bus and trolley tours start in or visit old town including general sight seeing, seal tours or even ghost tours.
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オールド・タウン
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If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food or family friendly night life this is the spot. Check out one of the many delicious Mexican restaurants (our favorite is Cafe Coyote) most places are very authentic and even make their own tortillas. After dinner take a stroll down the historic street and visit the Mexican sweet shops, ice cream parlors and gift shops full of everything from Mexican blankets to luchador masks and everything in between. Several bus and trolley tours start in or visit old town including general sight seeing, seal tours or even ghost tours.
Seaport is great for the whole family, this area has shops and restaurants as well as easy parking in a pay-lot. Adjacent to “The Headquarters” (many restaurants with outdoor seating) as well as USS Midway Museum and park area, the Embarcadero and convention center. We love Edgewater Grill for brunch (7 days a week) overlooking the bay and Coronado island and Ben and Jerry’s for a sweet snack. Check out the hot sauce shop and the handmade toy store too. Walk or scooter to the end of the pier near the hotels and grab a burger or hotdog at the little Burger and Bait shack; or check out Sally’s Fish House for great seafood on an elegant patio.
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シーポート・ヴレッジ
849 West Harbor Drive
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Seaport is great for the whole family, this area has shops and restaurants as well as easy parking in a pay-lot. Adjacent to “The Headquarters” (many restaurants with outdoor seating) as well as USS Midway Museum and park area, the Embarcadero and convention center. We love Edgewater Grill for brunch (7 days a week) overlooking the bay and Coronado island and Ben and Jerry’s for a sweet snack. Check out the hot sauce shop and the handmade toy store too. Walk or scooter to the end of the pier near the hotels and grab a burger or hotdog at the little Burger and Bait shack; or check out Sally’s Fish House for great seafood on an elegant patio.
This is one of my favorite places in San Diego. These beautiful ocean cliff faces along a winding road all the way up to the state park are a great place to walk hike and explore or catch a stunning ocean sunset. If you plan on hiking or venturing off the main area athletic shoes would be most practical. If you’re just going to see the sunset or check out the views sandals or flip flops will do. Be prepared for a bit of dirt or dust in either case. You will need to drive or Uber to this spot.
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Sunset Cliffs
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This is one of my favorite places in San Diego. These beautiful ocean cliff faces along a winding road all the way up to the state park are a great place to walk hike and explore or catch a stunning ocean sunset. If you plan on hiking or venturing off the main area athletic shoes would be most practical. If you’re just going to see the sunset or check out the views sandals or flip flops will do. Be prepared for a bit of dirt or dust in either case. You will need to drive or Uber to this spot.
Torrey pines is a great spot for an easy to moderate hike with beautiful views. See the ocean from atop the cliffs after your hike. There are often nature events held here so check their calendar to see what’s going on. I believe there is a $15 entrance fee for the park which goes to maintain and keep it clean. You will need to drive or Uber to this spot.
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Torrey Pines State Reserve
12600 North Torrey Pines Road
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Torrey pines is a great spot for an easy to moderate hike with beautiful views. See the ocean from atop the cliffs after your hike. There are often nature events held here so check their calendar to see what’s going on. I believe there is a $15 entrance fee for the park which goes to maintain and keep it clean. You will need to drive or Uber to this spot.
Beaches
Details of local beaches
This is the most beautiful and clean beach in San Diego. Arrive early and head all the way down by the base entrance for the best spot to relax. Street parking is available but fills up fast. Bring a picnic and your own drinks to this beach since there are not shops or restaurants here. This beach is best for enjoying the view and swimming and relaxing in the sun (for a beach town feel with shopping head to pacific or ocean beach) sunsets here are photo worthy. Don’t worry about overcast it usually clears by noon. Walk down to Hotel Del for a drink or lunch on the deck.
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コロナド
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This is the most beautiful and clean beach in San Diego. Arrive early and head all the way down by the base entrance for the best spot to relax. Street parking is available but fills up fast. Bring a picnic and your own drinks to this beach since there are not shops or restaurants here. This beach is best for enjoying the view and swimming and relaxing in the sun (for a beach town feel with shopping head to pacific or ocean beach) sunsets here are photo worthy. Don’t worry about overcast it usually clears by noon. Walk down to Hotel Del for a drink or lunch on the deck.
If you’re looking for the beach town feel Pacific Beach is a good option. This bustling beach area is packed with bars, restaurants, hotels, and surf shops lining miles of sandy beaches. Casual beach side restaurants and a boardwalk style paved trail great for biking, walking or even rollerblading. Many places to join a game of beach volley ball, frisbee or flag football. This beach is the most visited in San Diego so arrive early to snag parking and a good spot. Remember to bring a blanket or towels. At the south end of the beach is a small amusement park with rides and games for the kids. In the evenings this beach is full of nightlife catering to the 20-something crowd with a very college town vibe. It can get very crowded so if you’re looking for a more relaxing vibe try Coronado.
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パシフィックビーチ
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If you’re looking for the beach town feel Pacific Beach is a good option. This bustling beach area is packed with bars, restaurants, hotels, and surf shops lining miles of sandy beaches. Casual beach side restaurants and a boardwalk style paved trail great for biking, walking or even rollerblading. Many places to join a game of beach volley ball, frisbee or flag football. This beach is the most visited in San Diego so arrive early to snag parking and a good spot. Remember to bring a blanket or towels. At the south end of the beach is a small amusement park with rides and games for the kids. In the evenings this beach is full of nightlife catering to the 20-something crowd with a very college town vibe. It can get very crowded so if you’re looking for a more relaxing vibe try Coronado.
This beach has more of a hippie surf town vibe. Lots of little shops and restaurants along the main streets and a great farmers market on Sundays. There are many cliffs near by for exploring and a giant pier you can walk out on. There are mostly locals at this beach and while you may catch a nice sunset from a restaurant generally it’s not the prettiest place to be.
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オーシャン・ビーチ
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This beach has more of a hippie surf town vibe. Lots of little shops and restaurants along the main streets and a great farmers market on Sundays. There are many cliffs near by for exploring and a giant pier you can walk out on. There are mostly locals at this beach and while you may catch a nice sunset from a restaurant generally it’s not the prettiest place to be.
Activities
Looking for more than sightseeing
Ocean kayaking through the beautiful seaside caves, you can take a guided tour or go solo. The water is usually calm and this can be a very relaxing activity or a bit of an adventure. After kayaking check out the shops and restaurants in La Jolla cove. This activity is only open spring through early fall.
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La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks
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Ocean kayaking through the beautiful seaside caves, you can take a guided tour or go solo. The water is usually calm and this can be a very relaxing activity or a bit of an adventure. After kayaking check out the shops and restaurants in La Jolla cove. This activity is only open spring through early fall.
If you want to be chauffeured around all of the sights in San Diego take a trolley tour. There are many kinds of tours to choose from, USS Midway, Zoo, Museums, La Jolla or the hop on hop off tour so you can explore at your own pace. They do a good job of showing the sights and including historical facts and charming anecdotes about the town.
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Old Town Trolley Tours San Diego
4010 Twiggs Street
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If you want to be chauffeured around all of the sights in San Diego take a trolley tour. There are many kinds of tours to choose from, USS Midway, Zoo, Museums, La Jolla or the hop on hop off tour so you can explore at your own pace. They do a good job of showing the sights and including historical facts and charming anecdotes about the town.
We are not generally a fan of zoos but this park feels more open than a zoo and much less crowded. There is a lot more space for the animals to roam and seems to be closer to a natural habitat for most. They advertise having 3500 animals so there is something for everyone. Book a caravan tour for the best experience. Be prepared to do a lot more walking than a regular zoo (the full park is 1800 acres). Ride the tram early to make sure you get a chance before you run out of time. Check out their website for seasonal events and special offers like overnight stays at the park. You will need a car or Uber to get to this place. It’s about 35 minutes east of central San Diego.
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サンディエゴ・ズー・サファリ・パーク
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road
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We are not generally a fan of zoos but this park feels more open than a zoo and much less crowded. There is a lot more space for the animals to roam and seems to be closer to a natural habitat for most. They advertise having 3500 animals so there is something for everyone. Book a caravan tour for the best experience. Be prepared to do a lot more walking than a regular zoo (the full park is 1800 acres). Ride the tram early to make sure you get a chance before you run out of time. Check out their website for seasonal events and special offers like overnight stays at the park. You will need a car or Uber to get to this place. It’s about 35 minutes east of central San Diego.
Neighborhood Eats
Food and drinks very close to the property.
We love this place! Perfect for a beer connoisseur there are TONS of beers on draft including local breweries, big name favorites and seasonal specials. The food is really good, offering more than standard pub fare with a California twist and they have a late night menu in case you miss dinner. The atmosphere is lively but easy going and the bar tenders are friendly and full of great recommendations. They also have a great patio. This spot is walking distance from the house so it’s perfect for a casual dinner and drinks.
The Corner Drafthouse
495 Laurel St
We love this place! Perfect for a beer connoisseur there are TONS of beers on draft including local breweries, big name favorites and seasonal specials. The food is really good, offering more than standard pub fare with a California twist and they have a late night menu in case you miss dinner. The atmosphere is lively but easy going and the bar tenders are friendly and full of great recommendations. They also have a great patio. This spot is walking distance from the house so it’s perfect for a casual dinner and drinks.
We are regulars at this fusion taco spot. The atmosphere is casual but trendy to go with the eclectic decor. The food is amazing! Very creative tasty combinations of taco flavors (we love the spicy chicken) paired with traditional rice and beans. Mix and match tacos or double up on your favorite try their amazing margaritas too. We love sitting at the bar and chatting with their bar tenders. This is walking distance from the house (little bit longer walk) or snag a parking spot just outside. Meters free after 6. They serve food until 11 on weekends.
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Barrio Star
2706 Fifth Avenue
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We are regulars at this fusion taco spot. The atmosphere is casual but trendy to go with the eclectic decor. The food is amazing! Very creative tasty combinations of taco flavors (we love the spicy chicken) paired with traditional rice and beans. Mix and match tacos or double up on your favorite try their amazing margaritas too. We love sitting at the bar and chatting with their bar tenders. This is walking distance from the house (little bit longer walk) or snag a parking spot just outside. Meters free after 6. They serve food until 11 on weekends.
We love this upscale Italian place for date night. This is on the nicer end of the neighborhood eateries, not a shorts and flip-flops place like most of San Diego but no need to get too dressed up. Expect a chic atmosphere and excellent service. It can get a bit loud during peak times. The inside is beautifully decorated and full of reclaimed wood accents. They have amazing food, wine and craft cocktails. If natural preservative free wine is your thing this is a must try. Walking distance from the house
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CUCINA urbana
505 Laurel St
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We love this upscale Italian place for date night. This is on the nicer end of the neighborhood eateries, not a shorts and flip-flops place like most of San Diego but no need to get too dressed up. Expect a chic atmosphere and excellent service. It can get a bit loud during peak times. The inside is beautifully decorated and full of reclaimed wood accents. They have amazing food, wine and craft cocktails. If natural preservative free wine is your thing this is a must try. Walking distance from the house
If you’re looking for a very upscale experience this is the place. This French inspired American fare is delivered with excellent service atop one of the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. Outdoor seating is available but may require a reservation for groups over 4. This is perfect for a special occasion dinner and is among the pricier options in the neighborhood. Walking distance from the house
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Mister A's
2550 Fifth Avenue
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If you’re looking for a very upscale experience this is the place. This French inspired American fare is delivered with excellent service atop one of the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. Outdoor seating is available but may require a reservation for groups over 4. This is perfect for a special occasion dinner and is among the pricier options in the neighborhood. Walking distance from the house
Casual upscale French food at a great price. This is one of my favorite spots for dinner or brunch. We love the patio. Expect great service and delicious upscale food. This place can get busy and loud so shoot for a visit outside of peak hours if that’s not what you’re in the mood for. Walking distance from the house
Parc Bistro-Brasserie
2760 Fifth Ave
Casual upscale French food at a great price. This is one of my favorite spots for dinner or brunch. We love the patio. Expect great service and delicious upscale food. This place can get busy and loud so shoot for a visit outside of peak hours if that’s not what you’re in the mood for. Walking distance from the house
This is my favorite sushi place in San Diego, like most good sushi it can get a bit pricy so be sure to check market prices on seasonal, special and off menu items. This is a great spot for an upscale business dinner or date. Omakase here is sure to impress but is very pricy so not for everyone. They do have maki rolls but are better suited for sashimi and Nigiri It’s very small inside so groups over 4 should make a reservation. Solo travelers and dine at the sushi bar and enjoy special off menu treats from the chefs. Walking distance from the house
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Hane Sushi
2760 Fifth Avenue
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This is my favorite sushi place in San Diego, like most good sushi it can get a bit pricy so be sure to check market prices on seasonal, special and off menu items. This is a great spot for an upscale business dinner or date. Omakase here is sure to impress but is very pricy so not for everyone. They do have maki rolls but are better suited for sashimi and Nigiri It’s very small inside so groups over 4 should make a reservation. Solo travelers and dine at the sushi bar and enjoy special off menu treats from the chefs. Walking distance from the house
Got a sweet tooth? You will LOVE this place as much as we do, it’s a desert paradise!! Every day they make a massive assortment of gourmet deserts. From cakes to pies to pastries and everything in between. Perfect for a whole cake for a birthday (best to order a head but if you show up early in the day the selection should be good still) or for after dinner deserts and coffee or a mid-day sugar fix; they are also open pretty late but beware in the evenings there will be a long wait time.... worth it but be prepared or go early. Everything here is amazing and the selection is the best in town. I highly recommend this spot. There is also a second location in little Italy.
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エクストラオルディナリー・デッサーツ
2929 Fifth Avenue
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Got a sweet tooth? You will LOVE this place as much as we do, it’s a desert paradise!! Every day they make a massive assortment of gourmet deserts. From cakes to pies to pastries and everything in between. Perfect for a whole cake for a birthday (best to order a head but if you show up early in the day the selection should be good still) or for after dinner deserts and coffee or a mid-day sugar fix; they are also open pretty late but beware in the evenings there will be a long wait time.... worth it but be prepared or go early. Everything here is amazing and the selection is the best in town. I highly recommend this spot. There is also a second location in little Italy.
We love this coffee shop; it’s walking distance from the house, serves great coffee and has a delicious little menu of breakfast and lunch items (mostly sandwiches). There is a fairly large indoor area with AC and WIFI as well as outdoor tables. The staff here is wonderful and the shop and bathrooms are always clean. Our favorite item is the chai tea latte and the sausage egg croissant. They can get busy during morning rush and lunch but are typically still pretty quick with orders.
The WestBean Coffee Roasters
2550 Fifth Ave
We love this coffee shop; it’s walking distance from the house, serves great coffee and has a delicious little menu of breakfast and lunch items (mostly sandwiches). There is a fairly large indoor area with AC and WIFI as well as outdoor tables. The staff here is wonderful and the shop and bathrooms are always clean. Our favorite item is the chai tea latte and the sausage egg croissant. They can get busy during morning rush and lunch but are typically still pretty quick with orders.
This is a vegan fast food spot, we are not vegan but I have had several items here and it’s very good. "Chicken" sandwich and soy vanilla shake are tasty. If you’re vegan or vegetarian and looking for a quick bite this is a great option. Walkable but a bit of a longer walk, they have a very tiny parking lot and a drive through as well as outdoor seating and some street parking.
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Evolution
2965 5th Ave
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This is a vegan fast food spot, we are not vegan but I have had several items here and it’s very good. "Chicken" sandwich and soy vanilla shake are tasty. If you’re vegan or vegetarian and looking for a quick bite this is a great option. Walkable but a bit of a longer walk, they have a very tiny parking lot and a drive through as well as outdoor seating and some street parking.
This is a more upscale vegan spot. I’m not a vegan but a few things were great here, food and atmosphere are a bit nicer. Everything is very plant based not many options of meat replacement or imitation mostly creative uses of plant based foods. Walkable but a bit farther. No parking lot, street parking only large groups may need to call ahead.
Donna Jean
2949 Fifth Ave
This is a more upscale vegan spot. I’m not a vegan but a few things were great here, food and atmosphere are a bit nicer. Everything is very plant based not many options of meat replacement or imitation mostly creative uses of plant based foods. Walkable but a bit farther. No parking lot, street parking only large groups may need to call ahead.
This is one of the oldest breakfast spots in San Diego. We love this historic diner style restaurant and bakery. They serve classic American breakfast items and baked goods. Expect generous portions of comfort foods and old diner charm. This is walkable though it may be a bit of a hike, we usually take scooters. It does get quite busy later in the morning but it’s open at 7 so we recommend going a bit earlier to avoid a wait especially on weekends.
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Hob Nob Hill Restaurant
2271 1st Avenue
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This is one of the oldest breakfast spots in San Diego. We love this historic diner style restaurant and bakery. They serve classic American breakfast items and baked goods. Expect generous portions of comfort foods and old diner charm. This is walkable though it may be a bit of a hike, we usually take scooters. It does get quite busy later in the morning but it’s open at 7 so we recommend going a bit earlier to avoid a wait especially on weekends.