Staying home for our second honeymoon - where to go in San Diego ?
February 10, 2011 10:17 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are finally ready for a vacation. We're leaving the kids with the grandparents and will have 3 days to ourselves. Except we're not ready to travel so we'll be staying local in San Diego. What interesting places can we visit in San Diego ?

Our plan is to go to the restaurants we normally can't go ( because of the kids, or due to work schedules ), and visit the interesting parts of the city that we might not know are there. It'll be like our second honeymoon.

I'm also interested in any tips for going local. Even though we lived here for 3 years there's lots of places we just drive by or never take the time to explore.

We plan on staying at a hotel downtown but we'll be free to move around the city as we please. We've done the Zoo and Sea World lots of times. Tell me about the romantic little hotel we might try or the nice restaurant we have to go to. Maybe get the spa treatment for her, that sort of thing.

We've never been to the mountains or desert - anything interesting out there ? Carlsbad / Del Mar / La Costa ?

Let us know what we've been missing around here!
posted by neofite to Travel & Transportation around San Diego, CA (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
An article on the top 5 romantic restaurants in San Diego - Bertrand at Mister A's has lovely views of the city.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:29 PM on February 10, 2011

Have you been to Extraordinary Desserts? The desserts are wonderful. The rest of the food? Not so much. Just go for dessert.

This Guide to San Diego might be useful to you.
posted by shesbookish at 10:31 PM on February 10, 2011

If you've never seen the sunset over the Pacific, you should totally head out to La Jolla, stake out a good place, and watch the sun fall into the ocean. While you're at it, you can check out the seals in the seal cove too.
posted by Geppp at 11:16 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Only been there briefly myself, but I loved Balboa Park. North of the city is Torrey Pines State Park, which was fascinating, especially the trails to and near the beach. Within a (long) day's drive was Mt. Palomar Observatory, the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park.
posted by wjm at 2:04 AM on February 11, 2011

Call the Anza Borrego Wildflower Hotline at 760.767.4684 or check here and if the flowers are out go there as they only last for a week or two.
posted by adamvasco at 4:14 AM on February 11, 2011

Best answer: 1. The Torrey Pines State Reserve
A bit north of La Jolla (which itself is north of San Diego proper), right off the I-5. A lovely little beach if you just park, but walk down the beach a mile or two and there are steep trails up the sandstone cliffs, through layer after layer of little ecosystems, lovely and wild. If somehow you can manage to catch a sunset here, you will be glad you did. (Though I notice the website says they close at 5:30, so that might be tough).

2. Balboa Park and the Zoo
Very charming and possibly where the soul of the city resides. The Zoo, located in the park, is famous for very good reasons: you could spend an extremely nice day meandering around the zoo and park.

3. Mexican food
Yum. You can get a reasonably tasty $3 burrito at pretty much any joint whose name ends in "bertos" (the original chain was "Roberto's", but in the last couple decades every possible variation in the alphabet has popped up- Alibertos, Heribertos, Edelbertos, etc. They're all cheap and mostly decent). However, if you can find a place a cut or two above that grade, you can eat some really spectacular food for almost as cheap. Competition abounds, the title of 'best taco shop' is contentious.
This may be a good start though:
(My personal favorite: El Zarape, in University Heights. It's not really near anywhere touristy though).

4. The Desert
Technically pretty much all of Southern California is desert. Some of it just gets irrigated. But some of the least appreciated, most beautiful land in the country is due east of San Diego; lots of it. Unfortunately it's probably too much driving for most trips, but if you're feeling ambitious you won't regret the detour. The Borrego Badlands are truly amazing, a huge labyrinth of wasteland eroded into tunnels and sandstone caves and arroyos full of old bones. The color of the hills and sky in the Anza-Borrego desert are like nothing else on earth.

5. More Beaches
La Jolla Shores is nice. Not terribly far from Torrey Pines either, just a bit south. Very clean & lovely, good walk-barefoot-in-the-sand area.
La Jolla Cove is also pretty great, and (as the name implies) pretty near La Jolla Shores and Torrey Pines. This used to be home to both lots of kids swimming, and an imposing tribe of seals. Also just generally a very pretty beach. This is also near to the cute-tourist-town part of La Jolla, including a modern art museum, so it's a decent combo pack of a visit.
Pacific and Mission Beach are grittier, surfer-dude neighborhoods, and as such are pretty neat in their own right. But you don't want to go on a Saturday, because both get overrun with drunken party-whoah-brah-where's-the-kegger mayhem. The folks who actually live there in wintertime though tend to be an odd mix of old 60s bohemian surfers and quiet old people. Or, increasingly, those two categories combined. Just as touristy as La Jolla, these beaches are substantially less frou-frou. (The beaches themselves also tend to be dirtier and more full of beery campfires, which is sort of interesting in its own way.

Also: record collectors will want to visit Folk Arts Rare Records.
posted by Erroneous at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

D'oh. Just realized you're already local. That was my tourist advice. Sorry. I need to reread things more than twice to actually understand them apparently.
posted by Erroneous at 10:04 AM on February 11, 2011

We just traveled to San Diego for our anniversary. I highly recommend Gaia Oasis for a couples massage. We were thoroughly kneaded to a paste.
posted by ohohcyte at 4:12 PM on February 11, 2011

If you are downtown, try Neighborhood for beer, or Cafe Chloe for a romantic meal. If you'd like to get out of downtown a bit, how about Las Cuatros Milpas for some tamales, or head to Golden Hill for a drink at Turf Club, or a beer in South Park at Hamiltons?
posted by fillsthepews at 6:29 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Help me locate this Victorian pulp fiction!   |   Stoney Tangawizi in NYC? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.