Day 1 – San Diego: Little Italy
We arrived in San Diego on the Saturday evening, bleary-eyed but excited. The airport is located in the city centre itself, so you actually feel like you’re landing on top of the buildings. Watching the planes land is insane… see poor footage which doesn’t accurately portray this below:
We stayed in Little Italy, and spent the first day getting to know the area. We stumbled upon a local festival, bustling with Mexican food and banging choons…
We stopped for lunch at Cafe Gratitude [1980 Kettner Blvd]– a pretentious-yet-undeniably cute and healthy cafe
Here we have gluten free buckwheat pancakes with flax egg. Yep, I did warn you.
Staying on the health theme, I was having serious dance withdrawal symptoms, so I signed up for a few reformer pilates classes at Pilates Room Studios [1702 Kettner Blvd] to soften the pain. I chose their new client membership trial for $35, and managed to take 3 classes, so pretty good value. Classes were tough, and the teachers varied from being great to poor, but I would recommend trying it at least once.
Day 2 – San Diego: Coronado Island, USS Midway, Gaslamp Quarter
We took an Old Town Trolley tour. You can hop-on-hop-off as you wish, and we were taken all around the city including the San Diego Zoo, the Star of India and Hotel del Coronado. It’s not for adrenaline junkies, but for two jet-lagged, over-heated Brits, we were fine with the slower pace.
Coronado Island lets you see the skyline from a distance.
We visited the USS Midway Museum, a decommissioned aircraft carrier owned by the United States Navy. It gives you a flavour of what life is really like at sea. Its vastness was genuinely overwhelming.
After all that learning, we stopped at The Cheesecake Factory to refuel. I ate a slice as big as my head. My parents were really proud of me.
As the sun set, we headed to the Gaslamp quarter for more sugar at the magical Ghirardelli chocolate shop.
This was followed by good ol’ Mexican and American beer at a sticky-floored local bar.
Day 3 – San Diego: Balboa Park
We spent the day exploring Balboa Park. This isn’t like a wee British park, where you can walk round it in half an hour, feed the ducks and eat a Cornetto. No. It’s bloody massive.
We climbed the museum’s tower to get a great view of the city, and pottered around the Botanical Gardens. It’s worth noting that there’s not many food options in the park itself, so bring snacks.
Day 4 – San Diego: Mission Beach
Beach day. We grabbed an Uber to Mission Beach and set up camp on the sand. The area itself reminded me of a run-down English seaside town. But the beach is worth a visit, it’s clean and huge!
Day 5 – San Diego: La Jolla
We picked up the rental car and headed to La Jolla (pronounced ‘hoya’) to say hi to the sea lions. We shared a interest in cuddling, but despite their cuteness, they smelt like death.
We then continued up the coast for the next part of our adventure…
San Diego observations
- San Diego is walking-friendly, but it’s still America, so the locals drive everywhere. We were often the only ones on the sidewalks.
- The Gaslamp Quarter is the main going-out area, particularly 4th and 5th Avenue.
- Going to the cinema doesn’t seem to be a big thing in San Diego…
Maybe give it a miss. We were scared.
- The Kansas City Barbeque is where they filmed that Top Gun scene. Worth a visit if you’ve actually watched the film, although neither of us had (soz, Tom).