By Zeke Quezada
In the doldrums of winter or even in the stiff humidity of summer it is natural to look for respite in the well known brochure like landscapes that the travel brochures will tempt you with. However, San Diego is often overlooked simply because its neighbor to the north, Los Angeles, boasts movie stars and Disney characters. That should be the reason why you visit the seaside city that is just as impressive as Los Angeles without all of the entanglements.
San Diego is a destination that often gets overlooked in Southern California being in the shadow of Los Angeles, Hollywood and the Disney Resorts but visitors looking for sunshine, multiple beach options and plenty of things to do while on vacation will be very pleased when they arrive. This city on the Mexican border offers culture, entertainments and natural beauty in such a wide variety of options that it is among the hidden treasures of the West.
When deciding on a visit to the Western United States you might be tempted to visit Los Angles or San Francisco until you take a long hard look at what San Diego has to offer. While the world-class dining options might not compare to the cities to the north there is plenty of quality eating in San Diego County. When it comes to attractions people talk about the San Diego Zoo and Sea World but the natural attractions are not only more impressive but they are also free. If you need museums and culture, San Diego has those as well.
Three Things To Do In San Diego
Visit La Jolla – If there is one spot in San Diego that often makes me think about relocating it is this jewel of a neighborhood. It feels classy and upscale while still retaining that beach community feeling of a sleepy and laid back enclave. The beach is perfect for a day-long beach adventure and it is capped off by a dazzling light show produced by a sunset. Food options surround this area from classy bistros to authentic roadside tacos.
Mission Bay – Glide across the flat surface of the water on a Stand-Up Paddle Board in Mission Bay and you might start packing your bags to relocate to this part of the world. With so much to do in this area, you will spend more than a day exploring by foot or by sea. Learn to sail, go for a run or rent a bike and take advantage of the endless bike paths and trails. The big draw is water sports so consider a kayak, a boat, or a board or just simply watch from shore as the California lifestyle is on display in this scenic area. This is home to Sea World Marine Park, while it is expensive you can find deals on the internet to see the marine life. Money better spent can be utilized with a whale watching tour or sunset cruise.
Balboa Park – Home to museums, walking and biking trails and the San Diego Zoo this oasis in public space while not as large as Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is easier to navigate and contains just as much if not more things to do. Highlights include the San Diego Air and Space Museum as well as the Natural History Museum and the San Diego Zoo. The park is populated with gardens that are perfect for long exploratory walks. Admission to the park is free as are most gardens. Museums have independent hours and cost of admission but plenty offer days of free admission. The visitor’s center offers free tours of Balboa Park and is the spot to get maps and information about things to do in the area.
Once you finish your exploration of San Diego and all of its natural beauty, make sure to consider locations such as the Gaslamp Quarter and Old Town for food, entertainment, and nightlife. As with any vacation destination, those districts designated for visitors can tend to be slightly inflated when it comes to prices for food and drink. Within your movement around the city, you will notice plenty of food options just adjacent to these areas that will save you money.
Are you adventurous? Mexico via Tijuana and the border with the United States is a few minutes from Downtown San Diego. You can walk across the border and experience a little of the Mexican culture on a day trip to this border town. Check with local authorities for details and safety concerns before you consider this.