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Insider’s Guide to San Diego

There are not many places where one can pack light all year round. San Diego has consistently been considered to have the best weather in the United States, no matter what time of year you visit. The laid-back beach attitude, flip-flop appropriate weather, surrounded by some of the most gorgeous beaches in California, makes San Diego a very desirable place to be. San Diego County itself is massive and is made up of a variety of cities that offer pretty much anything and everything for every type of traveler. San Diego also is home to some world-class attractions and cultural events, not to mention some premier shopping and culinary options. With so much happening in the city, narrowing down what do while visiting can be challenging, as there’s so much to choose from. Hillcrest has been the city’s “gay district” for years and it’s packed full of bars and restaurants, but don’t limit yourself, even though it’s worth checking out, there’s a lot more to see.

Surf’s Up

Ok, not everyone is a surfer, but as we all know, beaches aren’t just for surfing. San Diego has an array of beaches to choose from and plenty of year-round sun to compliment them all. The Mission Bay area of San Diego has three main beaches that are in the younger and trendiest areas of San Diego. Mission Beach is centrally located and is the closest in resemblance to classic East Coast beaches like Atlantic City and Coney Island. Pacific Beach offers some funky beach bars and taco stands as well as some great nightlife in the evening. And of course, Mission Bay, which covers 4200 acres of land and water and is made up of a network of waterways, inlets and islets. And just across the bridge is Coronado Beach, voted as one of America’ finest beached by Travel Channel. The gentle waves and glistening sand of the Coronado beaches are very much deserving of recognitions.

Home Run

🇺🇸⚾️ #SDOpeningDay

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Everyone loves baseball, right? That might not be necessarily true, but if visiting San Diego during baseball season, Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres is a great way to spend the afternoon or evening. Parking is only $5 and nosebleed seats can run as low as $13 a ticket. Spending the day at the ballpark, enjoying some hot dogs and epic views of downtown San Diego and the waterfront make for a unique activity that won’t break the bank.

Take A Step Back

In the one-mile radius that makes up Old Town San Diego, there are over twenty-five restaurants that all offer authentic and cultural cuisine. In addition to the variety of food options, Old Town has excellent shopping opportunities. But the real beauty of Old Town comes with just exploring the area by foot. Within Old Town, there are three Park Agencies: State, City and County, all of which have historic sites operated as museums. Old Town is considered to be the “birthplace” of California and the historical sites and affordable museums can easily fill up a day of sightseeing.

Win A Gold Medal

Ok, you might not actually have a chance to win a medal, but a visit to the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista will at least give visitors a glimpse at how future Olympic and Paralympic athletes train. The 155-acre complex is home to four natural turf soccer fields, six sand volleyball courts, three state of the art BMX tracks, a 5,400 square foot strength and conditioning center, among lots more. The training center offers support to athletes including housing, dining and professional development programs. Self-guided tours are available daily and official tours are offered on Saturdays at 11am.

Take A Hike

Just twelve miles from downtown San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the nation’s largest urban natural parks covering over 6,000 acres and featuring 42 miles of trails for walking, hiking, biking, birding and even rock climbing. There is a 14,000 square foot visitor and interpretive center to explore pre or post hike. The center offers state-of-the-art exhibits that teach about the park’s geology, plants, animals and history. There’s also a 930seat theater that features films about the park. In addition to the center, there are two lakes, a scenic stretch of the San Diego river, the Old Mission Dam, a historical landmark, Cowles Mountain, whose summit is the highest geographical point in the City of San Diego, which has one of the best panoramic views of San Diego.

Head To The Pools

Point Loma Beaches don’t actually have real beaches, or swimming poolsbut it’s one of the best places in San Diego to explore tide pools in the rocky reefs that are full of marine life. It’s also a great place to just sit and enjoy the sounds of waves crashing on the cliffs. For a magnificent sunset moment, a drive out to Sunset Cliffs will satisfy any night of the week, and for the inner-thrillest, a drive out to the old Cabrillo Lighthouse and hike out to the tide pools by the point will provide a little extra adventure and marine life.

Get Artsy

Impressive collections are exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) in over 10,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space is currently in the process of renovating its neighboring La Jolla gallery to quadruple current gallery space. MCASD presents over 4,700 post 1950s art installations and constantly curates internationally recognized artists for seasonal display. Everything from painting to sculpture to video installations can be found in the space, but the museum stands out for its 1960s/70s pop art collections as well as its display of Latin American and local Southern California art.

Many galleries are smattered around the city but the best neighborhoods for boutique galleries live in La Jolla, Little Italy, and the Gaslamp Quarter. The essence of the city and it’s laid back lifestyle is captured in Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery with glossy prints of the ocean, surf culture, and colorful sunsets dipping into the horizon. For more a wider range of photography, the Museum of Photographic Arts carries over 7,000 world famous photographs from over 750 photographers and is based in the heart of the well-known Balboa Park.

Where To Stay

Andaz San Diego

Located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, the property is made up of 159 guest rooms with 17 suites, each with custom fixtures and amenities, including a generously sized glass-enclosed peekaboo bathroom. Consistent with the Andaz brand, the hotel provides free non-alcoholic drinks and snacks in each room, in addition to the paid mini-bar. The Rooftop by STK provides stunning city views as well as regional cuisine. By night, The Rooftop by STK is one of San Diego’s ultimate rooftop experiences, with great music and views while sitting next to the fire pit or enjoying a private table for dinner or bottle service.

Pendry San Diego

Good Morning San Diego! 📷:@blissnilsen

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Also located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter and just shy of its one-year anniversary, the new kid on the block is the newest sub-brand from luxury mega brand Montage Hotels. The hotel is made up of 317 guestrooms including 36 suites. Dining and entertainment at this property is endless. Lionfish, the signature restaurant, features a menu of inventive fresh-catch along with prime meats. Oxford Social Club is a new approach to an elevated nightlife experience. The Pool House is a premier rooftop lounge. Nason’s Beer Hall is a California coastal establishment featuring global beer and food. Provisional Kitchen, Café & Mercantile is a three-meal restaurant and marketplace. And Fifth & Rose is their sophisticated hotel bar. Spa Pendry has 6,200 sq. ft. of space and four treatment rooms, as well as a state-of-the-art 24-hour fitness facility.

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