The northern hemisphere has just entered autumn. Notions of pumpkin spice, apple cider, and fall festivals grace the pages of every magazine and each post on the ‘gram. But what if you want something different? If you’re looking to continue those days on the sand, evenings of toasting marshmallows, and epic adventures outside – look no further than San Diego. Whether you’re a fan of green pastures, lakeside retreats, or ocean waves, this is the city for outside playtime all the time.
San Diego, also known as America’s finest city, is home to summer time hobbies year ‘round. Here the sea air meets the sandy beaches, the endless hiking trails invite wanderers of all levels, and the city’s green spaces provide picnic fun and museum magnificence annually. And don’t worry, if you’re still hankering for those fall festivals, head to the mountains of Julian for some of the best apple pie around.
We came to San Diego to spend three months ditching the New York winter; that was almost four years ago and we don’t expect to be changing zip codes anytime soon. This city feels like a giant beach town with nooks and crannies far and wide. Every neighborhood has its own focus, its own nuances, and its own heart. Within minutes you can go from a Broadway show to a beach picnic, from a paddleboard to a hiking trail, or from sunset yoga to nighttime extravagance, and within a few hours’ drive, you can hang with Mickey Mouse or ski at Big Bear. And don’t get me started on the fish tacos!
San Diego offers more than meets the eye. From the beaches of Coronado to the boardwalks of Pacific, from the hiking trails of Torrey Pines to the alpine peaks of Iron Mountain, from the museums of Balboa Park to the rides at LEGOLAND, and from the theater lights of La Jolla to avocado delights of epic proportions; whatever you fancy, it’s here. Come for the beaches and stay for the everything! The laidback vibe of this southern California city weaves through its every aspect. With easy access to flights (both international and domestic), San Diego is a spot where snowbirds flock during the winter months, where yoga studios are as prolific as Starbucks, where there’s a symbiotic relationship between military and civilians, and the most dog friendly city of any I’ve ever visited. You can chill by the sand, surf endless waves, hike trails of all kinds, try heaps of wellness options, or hang at a variety of nightlife establishments. If yoga pants, board shorts, and flip-flops are your kind of fancy (they’re definitely mine) – San Diego is a perfect fit!
Fish taco anyone?
We learned early on that if you ask five people for their favorite fish taco shop, you get twenty-five different answers. This southern Californian delicacy that’s taken the country by storm has more varieties than I can count. Fried, grilled, seared, covered in white sauce or tartar, and on a flour or corn tortilla – you can literally eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and no two will be alike. There are fish taco contests galore and taco Tuesday is more a religion than a discount infused weekday. Hailing from Australia, the husband has fully embraced the Mexican cuisine available and the endless culinary experience that comes from the proximity to the southern border. Hit the Gaslamp Historic Quarter and Old Town for an array of restaurants, or hit the beach towns of Ocean, Pacific, or Mission for finger food fun. In search of awesome Asian cuisine, head over to Convoy Street to embrace all things noodle and if you’re thirsty give over the 100 craft breweries a try. Whether you stock up daily on avocado everything or want to take your taste buds out on the town – you can happily and easily eat your way around San Diego.
The magic of vitamin D
I’ve spent a lifetime following the sun and have plenty of laugh lines to show for it. I feel happiest when I’m outside, the sun is shining, the ocean is crashing, and there’s sand beneath my feet. Whether you’re a beach kid, hiker, an outdoor enthusiast of any sort, or want to be able to spend much of your visit or existence without socks or a jacket – this is the spot. Sporting endless sunshine (well, not as much in May and June but the clouds tend to burn off by midday), the healing power of vitamin D continues to work its magic on all who come here. There’s something about the medicine of nature surrounding you at every turn that makes your soul happier, your being freer, and your light shine that much brighter. Come visit – if you’re anything like us, it’s possible you’ll never leave.
- Favorite fish taco shop: Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill
- Favorite breakfast spot in the East Village: The Mission Café
- Favorite breakfast spot in Hillcrest: Snooze AM
- Favorite beach spot: Coronado Island
- Spots to take those gorgeous coastal shots: La Jolla, Del Mar, Sunset Cliffs (Point Loma)
- Husband’s three favorite breweries: Mission Brewery, Alesmith, & Karl Strauss
- Favorite farmer’s market: Little Italy Saturday Mercado
- Favorite state parks: Old Town State Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
- Easy one – day adventures: Orange County, Julian, Tijuana
- Awesome weekend adventures: Big Bear, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Disneyland, Mexico
- Favorite local trail: Torrey Pines Natural Reserve
- Cool neighborhoods to hang in: North Park, Hillcrest, South Park, Pacific Beach, Little Italy
- Husband’s favorite dive burger joint: Hodad’s
- Favorite food market: Liberty Station public market
- Favorite museum visit: USS Midway
- Ways to get around town: Free Ride, trolley, bus, ride shares, bikes, scooters, your own feet
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