I'll be in San Diego for just over two weeks starting Friday. What do you recommend to do/see?
July 3, 2012 8:52 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in San Diego for just over two weeks starting Friday. What do you recommend to do/see?

I'm super excited to be visiting my brother and his partner in SD. Both are busy postdocs, though, so I'm going to have a pretty open schedule during the day.

I'm very open to all kinds of suggestions, but I especially love outdoors/active things, music, and plants and animals. Oh, and good coffee and booze and food! Not really into ritzy-type environments or clubs.

What do you suggest? I'll be on foot, bike, or public transportation, so getting around is not a problem. Thanks!

(I'm checking out http://ask.metafilter.com/147479/Help-us-have-the-best-week-in-San-Diego too)
posted by iftheaccidentwill to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'll be on foot, bike, or public transportation, so getting around is not a problem.

This statement kind of makes no sense. If this is all you're working with, it could very well take hours for you just to get to someplace where you want to do anything, depending on your starting point. What's your starting point? What area are you going to be staying in? It's hard to recommend things without knowing - San Diego is a big place. In the meantime, start getting acquainted with bus and trolley schedules.

The ComicCon will be happening while you're here. If you're not going to the ComicCon (if you don't already have tickets, you are not going to ComiCon), and you don't like fighting massive crowds to do anything, you'll want to avoid Downtown, but apparently there's some sort of MetaFilter meetup going on around that time. If it's like previous San Diego meetups, there will be 3 or 4 people in attendance.
posted by LionIndex at 9:10 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Balboa Parkis a pretty decent one stop for a lot of different types of museums as well as a kick ass Zoo. The USS Midway museum is really neat as well.

The public transit in San Diego is pretty god awful especially when you get out of the main city proper, so it might be worth renting a car for some of the trip.
posted by Drumhellz at 9:19 PM on July 3, 2012

I probably said it in the other thread, but spend a half day in La Jolla Cove. Go for breakfast at Brockton Villa (at least get a side of Coast Toast, if not an entire order), walk over to the caves (you can do kayaking or paddleboarding there if you want), walk back over to Scripps Park and around to the Children's Pool (which is no longer swimmer-friendly because of the sea lions), and if you like ocean swimming come back to the Cove beach and faff around the Underwater Park. It's my most favoritest place.

I actually don't find Downtown all that difficult, even during Comic Con. It's such a sweet, gentle downtown in the grand schemes of downtowns. Little Italy is also quite nice, and there's a number of neat touristy opportunities at the harbor.

It's July, which is what passes for summer here. Stay within 10 miles of the water for best results; East County is close to the desert. I don't think that part of the world is terribly accessible from public transportation, otherwise I'd suggest nipping into the Anza-Borrego desert, Palm Springs, or Joshua Tree, all 2.5 hours or less away.

You don't say where you're staying, so I'm assuming central/south. You can take the Coaster (coastal Amtrak) up to the North County towns and beaches, and it is not unpleasant to wander around the Del Mar/Solana Beach/Encinitas/Leucadia corridor. You'll be missing the County Fair by a couple of days, but that means that Del Mar/Solana Beach aren't completely balls-to-the-wall anymore.

Is there anything specific you like to do?
posted by Lyn Never at 9:24 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you will be in or near the Gaslamp Quarter, there is no end of stuff you can walk to. I live without a car and have yet to use public transit. That is not an issue in the dowtown area, but the more suburban areas aren't as pedestrian friendly.

Horton Plaza is an amazing five level open air mall.
There are parks everywhere. Must see: Balboa and Embarcadero Marina. Balboa is huge. You could probably spend days there exploring the parks, museums, zoo, etc.
There are coffee shops all over the place.
There are street musicians, usually found at places like Embarcadero, Horton Plaza and the stadium, whose name slips my mind.
posted by Michele in California at 9:28 PM on July 3, 2012

I especially love outdoors/active things, music, and plants and animals.

I wrote a long comment with recommendations in a previous AskMe about San Diego (it's different from the thread you linked in your post), and I'd recommend most of the things again here as well...particularly the Maritime Museum (one of my favorite museums -- it has explorable ships!) and Cabrillo National Monument (outdoorsy, great views). Both are technically accessible by public transport (here are directions for the Maritime Museum and public transit info for Cabrillo Monument), but definitely check the bus schedules for the period of your visit. My previous comment has more details about the museum and the monument, and other suggestions / how to find more events.

Hope you have a great time!
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:36 PM on July 3, 2012

There is also currently a discussion of a potential mefite meetup during that timeframe:

posted by Michele in California at 9:41 PM on July 3, 2012

and the stadium, whose name slips my mind

I'm guessing Michele means Petco Park, the downtown stadium for the Padres? Speaking of the Padres, it looks like they have a couple of homestands during your trip. The Padres are...not doing that great this season, but if you like baseball and would be interested in going to a game and/or taking a stadium tour, here's the team schedule.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:06 PM on July 3, 2012

If you like animals, you will want to go up to La Jolla and visit the Scripps Aquarium. It's near/connected UCSD, so there are buses.

La Jolla also has an active hang gliding spot, just north of the aquarium which is cool to watch. I don't know anything about participating.

La Jolla's beaches are also great for low tide tidepooling. Best to do after the aquarium, because they have demonstration pools to help get your ID skills up.

There are also places that will teach you to surf, snorkel and scuba dive around San Diego. When I was last there, some had deals on a Groupon Now

Be warned, when walking outside of the downtown, other people on the sidewalks will be uncommon. but it's still possible :)
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 6:09 AM on July 4, 2012

I'd also venture north of La Jolla to Torrey Pines State Reserve; great trails on the coast.

For more urban adventures, there's great exploring to be had in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Fun shopping, great food and some of the best Mexican food in the city (and that's saying a LOT) at El Cuervo.

I'm with Drumhellz: Rent a car for part of the trip. The trolley system is great, but beyond the city limits, it's not that useful. If you do get a car, go inland to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (what used to be called the Wild Animal Park when I grew up south of the city in Chula Vista), a free-range animal park run by the zoo. Yeah, it's desert hot when you get into East County, but there's other things to check out, like the tiny old mining town of Julian and Cuyamaca State Park.

posted by weederman at 7:14 AM on July 4, 2012

2nding that having a bike and needing to use public transit could leave you somewhat limited in your options. If your brother is up in or near UCSD, then there is a lot to do in La Jolla. You can also get downtown or to to Pacific Beach or Mission Beach areas by bike; it's a long ride and you'll probably be sweaty on arrival but it's very doable. Uphill on the way home though.

Things you should do:

Eat a California Burrito.

Go to Ocean Beach and check out the antique shops and colorful Obecians.

Go to Torrey Pines State Beach and walk along the cliffs or along the beach. You can actually walk all the way down to La Jolla shores if you go at low tide. Be warned that Black's Beach, which is clothing-optional, starts about two miles south of the parking lot.

In La Jolla get a sandwich at the Cheese Shop.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:45 AM on July 4, 2012

This might be a little late to be helpful, but I'm near Genesee and Eastgate. I'm not sure what the neighborhood is called.

Thanks for all of the suggestions!
posted by iftheaccidentwill at 8:01 AM on July 4, 2012

You'll be an area sometimes called "UTC" which is short for "University Towne Centre", which is the name of a mall in the area; it's also called the Golden Triangle, since there's a lot offices and stuff around and it's bounded by 3 freeways. You will be very close to La Jolla - biking is possible, but you'll have a gigantic hill to deal with on the way back. The hangliding port is actually pretty close and a mostly flat trip up Torrey Pines Road. Bus route 30 could connect you with downtown La Jolla, Pacific and Mission Beaches, and eventually the transit center at Old Town; it's easy to get to downtown SD from there, or take the 10 bus up into Hillcrest. But, like I was hinting at in my first comment, it'll take over an hour on the 30 to get from La Jolla to Old Town; it looks like there's also the 41, which will only take one hour. Your closest Coaster stop will probably be Sorrento Valley, which is down the hill to the east.
posted by LionIndex at 9:17 AM on July 4, 2012

Please go eat at Saffron Chicken. I'm begging you. And brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado, followed by a stroll on the beach. Oh! And a fancy dinner at The Prado in Balboa Park. And you must not leave town without visiting Extraordinary Desserts.
posted by matty at 9:30 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

best Mexican food in the city (and that's saying a LOT) at El Cuervo

I used to live a couple blocks from El Cuervo, and I disagree (my money is on Super Cocina), but everyone has their favorites. I think the main point here is to not be afraid of divey-looking Mexican joints in strip malls and other hole-in-the-wall places - their food will often be MUCH better than fancy-looking places or chain restaurants that you've heard of. There is bit of chance involved, but it's work taking a risk. Don't waste your time with On the Border, El Torito, Taco Bell or Chipotle. Please.

Please go eat at Saffron Chicken.

Note that there are two Saffrons right next to each other. One is a take-out rotisserie chicken place, the other is more of a standard Thai restaurant. Both are good. The coffee shop half a block up the street is also great, serves gelato (the place is called Gelato Vero), and is open until midnight or 1am depending on the day. All this stuff is fairly close to the Washington Street trolley stop and on the 10 bus route.
posted by LionIndex at 11:48 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Help me help pass a bill from afar!   |   Botulism and a future-showing TV Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.