If you're visiting San Diego for the first time, you'll realize
there is so much to do. So, how do you decide what to do and where to
go? Well, some things are more obvious than others, but there are some
things that "you just gotta do" while in San Diego. Here are my top
picks of "Gotta Do's" while visiting San Diego.
1. Gotta Hit The Beach
matter what time of year you visit, you gotta make your way to the
beaches: it's what personifies the San Diego lifestyle. Watch the waves
roll in from a bluff or on the sand. Soak in the beach life all along
the coast, and watch the sunset. Best bet:
Make your way to Mission Beach and the Belmont Park rollercoaster - if anything says SoCal, this is it.
Gotta Try a Fish Taco
San Diego's unofficial delicacy: deep fried, battered fish wrapped in a
corn tortilla with cabbage and sauce. If you've never had one, it
sounds weird. If you try one, you'll crave one every time you visit San
Diego. You just gotta do it! Best bet:
Hit one of the many Rubio's restaurants, the originator of the San Diego fish taco.
3. Gotta Go To Mexico
San Diego is a border city, and Tijuana is a metropolis in it's own
right. Don't let the urban legends scare you - a visit to Tijuana and
Baja Mexico is perfectly safe, fun, and eye-opening. Visit during the
day, if you're a little wary - just use the same precautions you would
traveling to any foreign country (and bring your passport). Pick up
some kitschy souvenirs, or just go for a good meal. Best bet:
Behave and respect that you're in a foreign country. They have their own laws. Please check current conditions before you go.
4. Gotta Ride the Trolley
don't have the greatest public transit system, but the Trolley is the
closest we come to a subway. With the just opened Green Line, the
bright red cars can get you from downtown to East County down to the
border and through Mission Valley. If our freeways seem intimidating
(and they are), then the trolley can get you to a lot of places,
especially within the urban core. Best bet:
Buy an all day pass and just ride - you'll get a good idea of what San Diego is all about.
5. Gotta See the Pandas
you can go to Sea World or Legoland, but where else are you going to
see those lovable giant pandas then at the San Diego Zoo? The city's
venerable tourist attraction is home to four giant pandas, including
the baby panda Su Lin, which you just might have been watching on Panda Cam on the Zoo's website. Best bet:
Visit the Zoo early in the morning, that's when you're most likely to see the pandas active and not sleeping.
6. Gotta Visit Balboa Park
you visit the pandas at the Zoo, head over to the city's jewel, Balboa
Park. It's our public playground and cultural center, where you have
lovely green space and an array of wonderful museums, as well as the
famous Old Globe Theatre. Best bet:
Visit the park on Tuesdays,
when many museums have free admission. Dine at the Prado Restaurant for
great food in a fantastic setting. Or just bring a picnic lunch and
enjoy the scenery.
Gotta Go to the Gaslamp
the city's center of nightlife, and the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown is
where you'll want to be if you're looking for restaurants, dancing, or
just people watching. Eating establishments to suit every taste, all
within walking distance of one another. If you want to experience San
Diego city life, then you gotta hit the Gaslamp. Best bet:
Stroll along Fifth Avenue to take in the vibe of the Gaslamp. Then take
in a meal at a sidwalk table and a show at the nearby House of Blues.
8. Gotta See La Jolla
Diego's bastion of old money, La Jolla, is the seaside enclave that
everyone has heard about, and is deserving of its reputation. A
beautiful village around a picturesque cove, La Jolla is where the
beautiful people live and hang out. Restaurants and stylish boutiques
make for an enjoyable day - and it'll make you want to live there, if
you could only afford it. Best bet:
Head down to the oceanfront cove, where on a sunny day, nothing can compare to nature's beauty than here.
9. Gotta Take a Harbor Cruise
only way for you to get an idea of how important the waterfront is to
San Diego is to sail on San Diego Bay. The Harbor Cruise gives you the
best vantage to do this, where you'll cruise by the huge Navy ships,
sportfishing and pleasure craft, waterfront hotels, the downtown
skyline, and under the sweeping San Diego Bay Bridge. Sure it's
touristy, but you gotta do it. Best bet:
Don't miss spotting the Star of India tall ship, and maybe an aircraft carrier docked on North Island.
10. Gotta Visit Old Town
San Diego isn't always evident, but a sure bet to take in the city's
past is to visit Old Town State Historic Park. Sure, it can be overly
touristy and contrived, but if you look hard enough, you can find
snippets of our past. From a visitor's standpoint, though, Old Town is
a fun way to spend the day. Best bet:
There are many fine restaurants in Old Town, but you gotta go to the Old Town Mexican Cafe, the best Mexican food around.