I grew up spending my summers in San Diego, my step dad has been back and forth working in southern California my whole life so I’ve spent a lot of time in Southern California. We try to travel to the beach as much as we can, especially in the winter. San Diego is really easy to get to from where we live (Utah) it’s so family friendly, and theres SO much to see and do. This list is barely scratching the surface. Hope you enjoy this list of our favorite things!
Our favorite place to stay-
the Lodge at Torrey pines – We stayed here recently and had the best time. here’s a few things we loved about our stay-
The staff is so warm, food was incredible, we loved breakfast lunch and dinner! The property is so family friendly, they heat the pool, and the view from the hot tub is stunning. We ended up ordering room service every night and going to breakfast at their grill every morning, it was fantastic. I highly recommend the French toast, and their sloppy Joe the food is amazing.
Their property connects to the Torrey pines trails and it was such a great after breakfast walk. We brought the stroller on the trail and I’d recommend that for any kids that get exhausted easily. You could also golf during your stay, the Torrey pines golf course is “golfers paradise” better yet, let your husband or spouse play and you go do a spa day! another fun thing was when we checked in, they gave Poppy a little token that she could turn in at the gift shop to pick out a stuffed animal and she was in HEAVEN. I could go on and on about this stay. We will definitely be back, here’s a few pics from when we stayed at the lodge at Torrey pines.
San Diego food favorites-
I don’t eat much red meat and dane does, so these are a bunch of places we’ve found that accommodate both of us!
•True foods- farm to table – favorite dishes- edamame dumplings, lasagna, Brussels sprout. Honestly I haven’t had one thing on their menu I didn’t like, and we eat there every time we go!
•Burger lounge– my absolute favorite veggie burger. Dane loves their beef burgers, their chocolate shake is my favorite plus they have a few locations. This is also a place we go to every time we are in town.
•Yuki Yama – we dream about this spot, amazing sushi.
•Blanco– fashion valley mall- great Mexican after shopping. The skinny margarita is delish. I love their avocado taco, Dane love the carnitas taco.
•Great maple– really fun breakfast spot. The interior is my favorite it’s got a Art Deco diner vibe and their food is 10/10
•Salt + straw little Italy – there’s always a line, but they have really fun flavors.
•Seersucker – $$$$ American – nicer restaurant but so delish I dream about their biscuits.
•Basic pizza – gas lamp area, ginormous New York style pizza, will feed a lot of people and its so good! great for door dash too!
•Taco stand– famous for their tacos, we love getting food to go from here and taking it to the beach.
•Boboi– ice cream in La Jolla – I almost like this place more than salt and straw, fun area to walk around as well! You can see the seals and amazing views at sunset and some fun places to shop!
•Isola– Great Italian food we’ve been once and I’m wanting to go back!
•JRDN– right on beach. ask to sit outside for an amazing view! Great for brunch, lunch or dinner $$$
–Underbelly – my favorite ramen spot. Super fun vibe.
-Full Moon SD– great sushi.
fun things to do – with or without kids
•North side of crystal pier– pacific beach- gorgeous views – there’s a brandy Melville + urban outfitters up the road from here JRDN is also right there. fun spot to chill on the beach, close to shopping and food.
If you go to Coronado you have to go see hotel del – not sure what their covid regulations are but its such a classic hotel. worth seeing!
Coronado– one of my fav things to do here is rent bikes, we always go to Hollands Bikes & Beyond, they will give you maps. It’s a great way to explore!
•Orange avenue in Coronado – so fun to walk up and down to explore the shops, we love walking on the beach and exploring around the hotel del.
Hotel del Coronado– if you go over the holiday, they have fun Christmas lights and a huge Christmas tree on the Windsor lawn. Normally they do an ice rink but didn’t this year per covid restrictions.
•Solana beach– one of my favorite beaches, so beautiful, peaceful and CLEAN.
•La Jolla beach – fun to walk down the cliff side- walk a little past the pier and its one of my favorite isolated spots to listen to the ocean. So beautiful. I always see people taking photos here under the pier. These photos were taken here over the summer
•Torrey pines beach- also amazing to walk down the cliff side. Really great spot for photos. we took these photos here.
•Balboa park – huge park, so much to see and do, if you go, you have see the Lilly pond. I love parking in the alcazar garden parking lot + walking through the alcazar garden. It’s a pretty small parking lot though. Make your way to the Lilly pond. Absolutely gorgeous! + free
-San Diego Zoo – it will take all day to see everything, but its worth it. such a beautiful zoo. I feel like the animals are actually happy here. Totally worth the adventure.
•Gas lamp district downtown– lots of fun restaurants + bars. Check cover restrictions
•UTC mall– love this mall! – the restaurant at this Nordstrom is amazing! I dream about their Brussels sprouts. I also love the store Aritzia at this mall.
•Fashion valley mall– amazing stores as well, lots of designer brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, YSL. I always find the greatest stuff here. I come here every time I am in town.
•Torrey pines state reserve– so many amazing hikes with lookout views. bring shoes you don’t care getting dirty, the paths are loose powdery dirt and will ruin any nice shoes!
•Carrillo national monument/ tide pools – the tide pools are Insane here. Gorgeous views, wear walking shoes. Here are a few pictures we look last time we were there!
•Sunset cliffs – my favorite spot ever. This place is sacred to me, it holds so many memories. For watching sunset get there 45 min before sunset to find parking and walk around, it’s always busy at sunset. I have told all my people that they must spread my ashes at sunset cliffs. I’ve been taking Poppy there since she was a baby! I grew up going here, loved looking back at all these memories!
Ocean beach- this is the greatest people watching, I wouldn’t say the beach is my favorite or the nicest + we never actually go here for the beach. BUT the little shops are really fun to walk around. This is your typical beach town, pretty grungy, quite a bit of homeless but its such a vibe! sunset cliffs is close too!
•Mission bay– rent paddle boards great for kids, no waves. I grew up going to mission bay, its also so fun to get scooters or bikes and bike on the path around the bay!
Mission Beach– I grew up coming to this beach, I took swimming lessons at Belmont park, which is a super fun spot for families. It’s a little amusement park right on the beach! great for kids! there’s also showers and a big parking lot.
Leo nails– it’s a whole experience like you’ve never had- also not cheap- but so fun and we felt so fancy!
Holy matcha– very Instagramable – matcha and small bites
Pigment– they have their holiday stuff up and it’s so cute! Really fun boutique store! they have a few locations. one of the locations is close to Leo nails and holy matcha
liberty public market– bustling market in an old navy building with hip eateries, bars specialty food craft vendors + live music. So fun to explore!
One Paseo– fun little outdoor mall, great stores and lunch spots. Great vibe super clean and fresh feeling.
hope you enjoy’d this list of our favorites! I’ll be adding more as we continue traveling there and finding new things! I’d love to hear your favorite SD spots in the comments below! Thanks for following along!