Back in October, about a week before I left for India, I headed across the country to visit one of my best friends and to be the maid of honor in her wedding. Having been to California, but never San Diego, I was looking forward to exploring all the city had to offer. With just a week, I know I didn’t see and do it all, especially with a wedding, but this is what I was able to fit in and my suggestions for anyone thinking of visiting this beautiful Californian city. Here are 8 experiences to have in San Diego!
Visit the Breweries
Since I was staying with friends in Vista, we visited the nearby San Marcos breweries. Beer is, in many ways, the key to my heart, and the beers I enjoyed didn’t disappoint. We started at The Lost Abbey, which offers a variety of beers to try and adorable tasting size beer glasses. I enjoyed a Witch’s Wit and a Devotion, both of which I loved. Since they were out of Carnevale, I picked up a bottle in town to bring home.
Then, we made our way over to Mother Earth Brewing Company. I was excited about this brewery because the night before I had tried their Cali’ Creamin’ vanilla ale, which I quickly fell in love with. Wanting to try something new, I enjoyed a Cali’ Creamin’ mixed with their peanut butter stout. It was rich, but delicious and worth going outside the box a bit.
Since my friends had their rehearsal dinner at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, I got to enjoy one more brewery before heading home. We did a tasting before dinner, and I couldn’t begin to tell you what I drank, but all of it was good and the dining area was beautiful, even with the planes flying overhead.
Eat a California Burrito
This is one of the last meat meals I had prior to becoming a vegetarian, and I am so glad to have tasted something so delicious. California burritos vary a bit depending on where you have them, but mine was stuffed with steak, beans, rice, and french fries. It’s a hangover dream come true. I’ll be sad not to indulge in one again, but I am sure I can make a veggie version, and it’ll be yummy either way.
Visit San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park
I am not a huge fan of zoos, as I hate to think of animals living in cages, especially after seeing them in national parks in Africa. That being said, Safari Park is different in that it allows the animals to live together in conditions similar to their natural environment. It’s also quite large with amble space for the animals to live their lives relatively normally. Plus, the San Diego Zoo works to end extinction and protect animals, something that can’t always be promised in the wild. While, I am still not in support of most zoos, I think ones that are properly funded and work towards the overall well-being of wildlife are ones that I can stand behind.
Cruise Around the Harbor
Lucky for me, my friends decided to get married on board one of the yachts that can take you around the harbor, so this was something I had to do during my time in San Diego. The boat ride was stunning, offering views of the city you wouldn’t see otherwise. There are a lot of options for getting out in the harbor, but no matter what way you do it, you can’t leave San Diego without being out on the water. We had a gorgeous night with the perfect sunset, and it was easily one of the best nights of the trip.
Eat at In-N-Out
Another one of my last meat meals was my Animal Style In-N-Out burger. Sure you can get them all over California, but since I had not enjoyed one during my previous California visit, this was a top priority. I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint and paired with one of their famous milkshakes, I was in heaven. I’m just glad I was able to give it a try before heading toward vegetarian life.
Take a Stroll on the Harbor
This was one of the prettiest areas in the city and the sidewalk and areas with restaurants make it easy to take a stroll on the Harbor. There are boats to look at and it’s especially pretty at sunrise or sunset. My hotel was right on the harbor, so it was the perfect spot to enjoy beautiful views and head right outside to take in the water.
Eat Fish Tacos
This was my very first meal in San Diego, a favorite in the city, and even though I was practically falling asleep in them due to jet lag, they were delicious. Like the California burrito, they are made a bit differently everywhere. We got ours at Mrs. Taco, which was located near my friend’s house and ate them in the comfort of her home. Although it’s another meal I won’t enjoy again, it was pretty unforgettable, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to have proper fish tacos at least once in my life.
Visit the Beach
You simply cannot visit San Diego without visiting the beach. On my first morning in town, we made our way to Carlsbad Beach, a local favorite, took a walk, and put our feet in the ocean. It was chilly, but refreshing. The beach wasn’t very crowded, which was ideal, and after our walk, we grabbed a table at Harbor Fish Cafe and enjoyed fish and chips with a beer to wash it all down. Next time, I’d love to spend more time soaking up the sun and watching the surfers, but this was still an ideal introduction to the beauty of San Diego’s beaches.
I cannot believe it took me as long as it did to venture out to San Diego, but it was well-worth the wait. With friends in town, I knew I’d have the best local experience, which is what I am always looking for. Now, my friends have moved a bit more north, and I’m excited to see what that area has to offer in just a few weeks, as I head back to California for a few days before making my way to Las Vegas.
Pin this for later!
If you have any San Diego recommendations, please tell me about them in the comments. I know I’ll make my way back there one day soon, and there’s just so much more to see and do.