Travel · USA

California Road Trip: San Diego

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

Cafe Gratitude

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. P102006712191043_10153132308971366_6859033301218897712_n

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.P1020088 P1020089 P1020087 P1020102 P1020101

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.P1020117 P1020115

As the sun set, we headed to the Gaslamp quarter for more sugar at the magical Ghirardelli chocolate shop.Ghirardelli Shop San Diego

This was followed by good ol’ Mexican and American beer at a sticky-floored local bar.Beeeeeer

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.P1020152Balboa ParkP1020176

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!

Mission BeachCartwheel

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.P1020200

We then continued up the coast for the next part of our adventure…

California Road Trip – Part 2: Laguna Beach & LA

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…

San Diego cinemaMaybe 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).

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