San Diego is one of the southern California cities that I visit most often, as I have a good amount of family and friends that live down there. It's always sunny and beautiful in San Diego, so you can't go wrong visiting for a weekend getaway.
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If you're looking to stay on the beach and rent a house through Airbnb or VRBO, I recommend Mission Beach. I've stayed there with friends a few times on the stretch along the ocean front Boardwalk, which is always filled with people out and about, be it runners, bikers or walkers, there are always people exercising and taking in the amazing beach views. Look out for Slo-Mo, a full-time slow motion rollerblader who quit his day job as a doctor to live the easy life. He's a legend to locals and you can read more about him here.
Pacific Beach is a really young area, also on the beach and directly next to Mission Beach. You'll find lots of college students and 20-somethings hanging around this area. It is a bit more high energy than Mission beach, which has little bit more of a relaxed vibe. In PB, there are tons of restaurants and bars right on the beach and down the main stretch. It's a fun place to go out at night for drinks and dancing!
Photo by San Diego Coast Life
Park & Rec in University Heights is such a fun bar/restaurant! It has the coolest decor, a great bar, a great food shack outside, and most importantly, fun activities! The venue is setup with various different areas, a combination of both outdoor and indoor sections. There's a room specifically for ping pong, with two tables to play and a bar. You can rent the paddles at the front bar to play! The outdoor patio area has corn hole and the indoor/main bar has shuffleboard. We had a blast here, and the food is amazing! At the food shack out back, they serve burgers and tater tots for lunch/dinner, along with an extensive breakfast menu too. One of the best burgers I've had in awhile!
For nightlife, The Shout! House is a fun dueling piano bar in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. If you've been to Johnny Foley's in San Francisco, you know exactly how much fun dueling piano bars are (for ALL ages!) My cousin, Maddi (@maddiporter), who is a doctorate student at San Diego State, took my aunts, mom and me here on one of our recent visits. There aren't many things that wouldn't be a fun with that crew, but needless to say, we all had a blast (and even got pulled up on stage against our will!) The Little Italy and North Park neighborhoods also have a fun bar scene! Check out more suggestions for nightlife here.
Visiting the many craft breweries in San Diego is a must. San Diego is one of the coolest beer cities around, which tons of tasting rooms. Joe was in beer heaven. This past trip, we visited two different tasting rooms: Ballast Point and Modern Times. On another visit recently, I went to Mike Hess as well. I'm not a huge beer fan by any means, but I really liked the beer at all of these places along with great prices for tastings. They had tons of beer on tap, so I was able to find some that were more my style!
On Sundays, there is a great little farmers market among a stretch of the cutest little shops full of art, collectibles, plants, gifts, home decor, and more. It's called Cedros Aveneue in Solana Beach. I found so many things I wanted for my apartment here! One of my favorite stores, which was offering DIY crafts the day I was here, was called House Vintage. It was full of great home decor at cheap prices! The day I was visiting, there was a huge Etsy event, where shop owners from all over the country attended and sold their DIY items. I got this cute painting for the wall above my bed at an unbeatable price! With my passion for travel, it had my name written all over it.
Visiting the beach, of course, is something you won't want to leave out in a city with such amazing weather! My favorite beaches to go to are Grandview Beach in Encinitas, South Carlsbad State Beach, Mission Beach, and Scripps Beach in La Jolla.
If you're into sports, you can check out the Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play, or Qualcomm Stadium (although the Chargers are likely going to be leaving San Diego for LA.) As a Dolphins fan, my brother Ryan, my Dad and I often have to travel to SD to see them play against the Chargers since they are rarely in California! It's a fun stadium to visit, even as a rival, because the crowd is always lively and they are so passionate about their Chargers. GO DOLPHINS!
We even saw Blake Griffin from the Clippers at the game yesterday, sitting a couple rows down from us and dressed incognito to hide from the fans! Stars, they're just like us! 😜
Luckily, I've always had the best hosts and hostesses whenever I'm in San Diego, so I hope this helps you to think of ideas for your trip! Read more about the different personalities of each San Diego neighborhood here.