Charging Down To San DiegoSan Diego is the second largest city in California and has some of the best year-round weather and tourist attractions of any city in the world. For an Australian, there’s something very familiar about San Diego; the weather, language, beaches and culture make you feel immediately at home.
On our trip to San Diego we stayed in La Jolla, a coastal suburb renowned for having some of the finest beaches and most spectacular coastal views in the country. The coastline is ideal for walking and there’s a wide range of cafes, restaurants, galleries, shops and hotels.
Some beaches are ideal for surfing (particularly Windansea Beach), others for swimming. My favourite was the popular La Jolla Cove, an inviting beach that you have to share with hoards of noisy but friendly seals. The seals have made their home on the rocky outcrops and they happily share the ocean with all the swimmers, snorkellers and kayakers.
The day I was there the weather was perfect. Watching the locals in their cossies swimming in the clear blue ocean looked incredibly inviting, so without too much thought I brazenly charged for the water, only to quickly discover how extremely cold it actually was! Fortunately I survived the experience, but the shrinkage factor was certainly high.
TOP ATTRACTIONS OF SAN DIEGO:
La Jolla is located fifteen minutes from downtown San Diego and is an ideal area to stay. Surrounded by pristine real estate and glorious coastal views, all the major tourist attractions of the area are just a short taxi ride away. The weather is exceptional as is the vista and the beaches. This combined with the friendly resort atmosphere featuring hotels, bars, restaurants, galleries and retail outlets makes La Jolla a must-stay destination.
Mission Beach is your classic board-walking Californian beach, quite similar to Santa Monica, and it offers some of the best people watching in San Diego. Walkers, roller bladers, cyclists and joggers all vie for space on the boardwalk. There are designated walking and riding lanes, and on the weekend colourful locals, exotic pets and talented buskers liven up the atmosphere. There are numerous shops offering bike and roller blade hire so you can join the throngs rolling their way along the walk. Mission Beach is great for surfing, swimming, kayaking, sunbathing and picnicking. The boardwalk is home to multi-coloured homes, hotels and condominiums, combined with old-style beach cottages, beach apartments, shops and cafes. The best time for casual cycling and rollerblading without the crowds is definitely Monday to Friday.
San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter is the area’s most popular neighbourhood, featuring a mix of history, interesting architecture and entertainment. The Quarter has something for everyone from antique shops, art galleries and boutiques, to bazaars and specialty stores. There’s also a massive range of cuisine available to cater for all palates. This area comes alive after dark!
You can get as close as you will probably ever get to the moon by visiting the Apollo 9 at the Aerospace Museum at Balboa Park. Checking out the spacecraft close up will give you goosebumps and I highly recommend putting it on your ‘things to do’ list. Balboa Park is San Diego’s oasis of culture, entertainment and sightseeing. It’s one of America’s best urban parklands and is set on 485.5 hectares. There are more than a dozen museums showcasing history, aviation and space, photography, sports, art, science, automotive, railroad and, my favorite for no particular reason, the chocolate museum. Also located at Balboa Park is the world famous Old Gold Theatre, Puppet Theatre, Japanese gardens, the San Diego Zoo and an outdoor concert area. Cafes, restaurants, buskers and fortunetellers are also on hand to keep you entertained.
This is a favourite tourist attraction that celebrates San Diego’s rich Hispanic heritage. Old Town recreates California’s early ambiance and makes this a must-do San Diego activity. It combines an eclectic mix of lush gardens, shops and restaurants. One great reason for tourists and locals to visit Old Town is the Mexican food. It’s taco heaven and the choice of Mexican restaurants is abundant. If I had to recommend one restaurant without hesitation it would be Coyotes Café. The atmosphere at Coyotes is electric and the fish tacos to die for!
*Great city to walk and discover, but ensure you have comfortable walking shoes.
*If you go to the beach, heed and read all the warning signs and take all the local lifeguards’ instructions seriously.
How to get there:
The Travel Café Bondi
(02) 9130 1345