I recently found myself hanging out in San Diego for all of 24 hours. It was short but sweet, with the Californian weather providing a welcomed change from the freezing cold temperatures of New York City this winter. San Diego is definitely a place you want to spend a little more time relaxing than just a short in-and-out day visit, but equally 24 hours is enough to let you unwind. If you too find yourself in San Diego for a short amount of time, here’s how to make the most of a 24 hour trip!
La Jolla is located North from Downtown San Diego; a beautiful stretch of coastline that encompasses a cove, beaches and seafront trails to walk along and enjoy the view. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot some of the many sealions that also inhabit this coastline. They may well be beached up on the rocks, if so you can actually manage to get quite close to them. La Jolla also has lots of little eateries, a personal favourite being Cody’s, it’s located with a great view of the sea and they serve fresh, delicious food. Definitely try their Mahi Mahi tacos, I cannot recommend enough!
If you’re looking to stay in La Jolla and also looking to treat yourself a little then check out the boutique hotel La Valencia, it stands out from the crowd being pale pink in colour and has an enviable view of the ocean. If you’re not staying here then it’s easily accessible from all areas of San Diego via hire car or cab. Beautiful spot on the coast that will most definitely relax you entirely!
Explore the Coastline
San Diego sits right on the coast so there’s plenty of beaches open to be explored. If you’re into surfing then this is a great place to catch some waves. However, if, like me, you’re not quite talented enough to balance on a surf board, you can rent Stand Up Paddle Boards or go out on a kayaking adventure. At this time of year the sea is a little nippy but it’s nothing a wetsuit can’t solve. Go out and paddle around in the beautiful Pacific Ocean!
The Old Town is apparently where the first European settlers in California lived, all the way back in 1850. Nowadays, it’s a little hub of amazing Mexican restaurants, as well as trinket and boutique shops. It’s the perfect place to grab dinner and also to explore in the afternoon sunshine. Every Saturday and Sunday there’s an Artisan Market here to wander through, you can buy anything from jewellery to hand-painted glass, making it a great place to pick up gifts for the loved ones you left behind!
The Gaslamp Quarter
The Gaslamp Quarter is a historic district in Downtown San Diego. It’s filled with boutiques, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, it’s most definitely the heart of the city’s nightlife. The streets are lined with the iconic circular lamps, which gave the area it’s name. This is a really fun place to explore in the evening, there’s plenty of al fresco dining options and lots of restaurants to take your pick from. For the best street tacos you should definitely check out La Puerta, you won’t be disappointed. The Gaslamp Quarter is a great place to end your day in San Diego, especially if it’s with a margarita in hand!
Whatever you do make sure you eat Mexican food…
San Diego is the closest city to the Mexican border, you can even take a trip over the border to Tijuana, if you’re staying for longer. Due to it’s close proximity to Mexico, the Mexican food here is, unsurprisingly, some of the best in the USA. If you’re as big a fan of Mexican cuisine as I am then you’ll be in heaven. I think during our very short time here I managed to consume at least 3 meals, all of which contained guacamole and tacos.
Over to you! Where are your favourite places in San Diego for visitors on a day trip?