Sometimes a few days of travel to a new city are the most memorable ones because you try to make the most out of it in a short period of time. My birthday was on October 18th, so I decided to check out some fun spots in San Diego for my 24th birthday trip.
We stayed in the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse Hotel for the first two nights and last night in Westgate Hotel. Both of them are in downtown and I highly recommend! Marriott Vacation Club Pulse hotel is more of a modern and contemporary hotel and Westgate hotel is a luxury classic style hotel.
San Diego is pretty easy to go around. From the airport to San Diego Downtown is only about 15 minutes drive, and you can pretty much do most of touristy things in downtown itself (without having to drive far out). Throughout our trip, our main transportation was BIRD. BIRD is an electric scooter where you can ride anywhere except fast-paced highways. Download the app on your phone, scan the barcode, hop on it, travel and explore. When you are done, please park anywhere safe, take a photo of it to show that you've parked, and you are all set. You will be amazed by the concept and how much time you can save. Cheaper than Uber too!
There are plenty of things to do in San Diego and here are 15 must-go spots in San Diego to totally capture the moments. Hope it helps as a guide for your upcoming San Diego trip!
1. La Jolla Cove
Can't forget how beautiful this place was. My favorite parts were meeting seals and sea lions along with all the other sea creatures, able to see and smell emerald beach waves and the rocks. Not much to explain because the photos say it all. We didn't snorkel because the waves were strong and we wouldn't see much under the water.
2. Scripp's Beach
Scripp's Beach is one of the Instagram-worthy spots to take cool vacation photo. Keep in mind, there is really nothing to do around here other than the La Jolla Cove which is about 10 minute from this beach. It was 75 degrees outside, hot and sunny, but the water was ice cold. If you take photos from where I took, you can get this beautiful shot. From the far side, it's an old bridge in the middle of the beach.
This park is probably one of the main places you should totally visit if you are looking fun things to do in San Diego. You can think of it as a giant park with a lot of family-friendly activities to do in downtown. Balboak Park is made of more than 20+ museums and art centers, 15+ gardens, restaurants and other attractions. If you decide to do everything, you could probably spend a day or two just looking around and taking photos!
I actually didn't make it to San Diego Zoo because I had other places in mind to visit throughout this trip. However, I heard it was such an experience because of how big the zoo is and the number of animals you can meet. San Diego Zoo offers a lot of different fun activites, kid programs, giant panda viewing, sunrise stroll, dining events, and more!
5. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
You know how much I love museums. Had to check out the contemporary art museum while I was there. It did not leave me disappointed. From American Art to Asian Art, German Expressionism and European Art, there is a lot to experience. Make sure to bring your student Id to receive student discounts!
6. Japanese Friendship Garden Society
Japanese Friendship Garden Society is one of the gardens in Balboa Park. The society is "an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama that binds the two cultures to create a unique expereience for visitors from all over the world". Upon entering the garden, it looks small but no, there is plenty of beautiful nature to see. The view, large koi fish to sakura flowers, bonsai trees and waterfalls, this zen style garden was quiet and relaxing.
7. House of Hospitality & Spanish Village Art Center
These two attractions are also located in Balboa Park. There's nothing much to do inside House of Hospitality but the view from the second floor is pretty. With the decoration of palm trees and the fountain, it's a great spot to relax. When you go up to the second floor, you will see gorgeous detailed doors and walls. Spanish Village Art Center is where artist's shops are gathered. You will find unique style and colors here.
8. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Ah, finally a place I was able to check off from my travel list. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a must out of must. It is about 30 min drive from downtown San Diego and you won't get signal near here, but you can spend about an hour watching the sun come up and go down till it gets dark. It's so beautiful and calming. There is also a hiking trail around the back. Check out the short video below.
9. Seaport Village & San Diego Bay
You definitely need to check out Seaport Village and the bay area! If Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a warm tone beautiful, Seaport Village view is a cool tone beautiful. It's windy and cool vibes all over the place. Riding BIRD around the bay area taking photos, enjoying the weather, and feeling the moment will leave you awe.
If you are looking for a cozy and cute shop to stop by, check out Pigment. You can find a wide and beautiful selection of art, flowers, furniture, kitchen supplies and thoughtful gifts in this home decor shop. They have a section where you can build your own succulent and another section to take photos and feel the sun next to the window.
Another Instagram-worthy spot in San Diego. This snug coffee shop with breakfast pastries and lunch items also has a section for making a bouqet of flowers. Their wall is popular for the backdrop (see photo below). I tried their iced lavender honey latte with almond milk and it was super sweet!
12. Extraordinary Desserts
If you are looking for a dessert spot in San Diego, Extraordinary Dessert it is! They have few merchandise and a wide variety of selection for their sweets. You will definitely find something you like from here. We got tutti shortcake and torta misu with strawberry cream soda and hazelnut latte. Flowers on the plate makes the visual presentation totally camera worthy and will make you smile as soon as you take a bite. Tutti shortcake was scone with mango + strawberry and torta misu was a mix of chocolate + brownie + nutella.
13. Little Italy Farmer's Market
Another district to check out while you are in San Diego. Make sure to go first thing in the morning because the farmer's market close around 1 pm. You will see local vendors and artists selling food, plants, crafts and more. Around the farmer's market are restaurants and cafe.
14. Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop
The Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego has a lot of restaurants, sightseeing, cafe, and nightlife. If you love sweets like me, Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop would be your stop. The line was quite long throughout 6-8pm but it goes by fast. On the right, you will see a full wall of different flavors of chocolate to buy. On the left is where you order your dessert.
15. Full Moon
If you love sushi, you will understand how I feel. This upscale yet casual dining spot is perfect if you are craving some sushi. Located in downtown San Diego, the interior is chic and you have a lot of to choose from! We got tuna usuzukuri and blue moon rool with clam and tofu miso soup. It was amazing!
So... those were the 15 must-go spots I picked from my 3-day San Diego trip. If you loved this post, please don't forget to like and share with your friends!
For other travel guides: New York, Houston, Chicago, Boston, New Haven, Los Angeles, and more!
***All photos taken here are mine. If you wish to use them, please do it with proper credit. Thank you!
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I am a Houston based blogger who loves trying new dishes, traveling beautiful destinations, capturing moments, and more! Blogging gives me a chance to share and talk all about these moments with you. I'm all about being happy and positive vibes!
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