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How much is there to see in San Diego?

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by katmu, May 4, 2015.

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  1. katmu

    katmu Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning to book a week at Rancho La Puerta (fitness/spa type place) and will be flying into and out of San Diego. I'm trying to decide if it's worth staying a few extra days in San Diego. I would probably want to see Balboa Park and the USS Midway, I'm not sure about the zoo. What else is cool to see in San Diego?

    I'm flexible about dates but most likely it will be sometime between March and early June as I have another trip planned for late this year. What is a good time of year to visit? And any recs on where to stay? I would get a rental car. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    LEGOland and the Wild Animal Park in Escondido and Tijuana are all I can think of.

    If you're not sure about the Zoo and you don't have any pre-teens with you, that might rule both of those out.
     
  3. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

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    Back in the 80s when my husband was stationed close to SD I enjoyed Old Town - historic San Diego. There was also some great swap meets. Spring Valley was one I remember. Tijuana was fun to visit back then, but I doubt with all the violence along the border I would want to go back. You can park at one of the trolley stops and take the trolley down to the border. The town itself is a mile or two in - The taxi rides to get to the shopping district are down right scary.

    Val
     
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  4. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    We love wandering around the Gaslight and Old Town areas. Ride the trolley to some different areas. We used to always do a day trip to Tijuana. Park the car and walk over the bridge. But that was years ago and I'm not sure how safe Tijuana is these days, even during the day?

    Our typical trip was to fly into San Diego, stay a couple of nights, then drive to Vegas for 4 nights and fly home from there. It seemed like they always need cars in Vegas, so the drop-off in a different city charge was reasonable at the time.

    We like the city, but since there is no longer a non-stop from Milwaukee, we haven't been in quite a while.
     
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  5. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Location:
    Central California Coast
    Coronado
    Pacific Beach
    Craft breweries galore
    Zoo/Balboa Park
    USS Midway
    Gaslamp and catch a game at Petco
    La Jolla
    Pizzeria Luigi
    CA has more interesting missions, but it all started there, so worth a look
    Solana Beach
     
  6. Fish Tacos

    Fish Tacos Low-Roller

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    I would recommend Sunset Cliffs, and then a quick drive through Fort Rosecrans to the Point Loma Lighthouse/Cabrillo Monument.
    Great views of the city from up there.
     
  7. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Great list... San Diego is a BEAUTIFUL city with LOTS to see and do!
     
  8. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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  9. katmu

    katmu Well-Known Member

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    It will likely be just me, unless my best friend can get time off work to join me.

    The Old Town area looks really neat. I think I would skip Tijuana.

    Thanks Joe. I do like the idea of finishing up with a few nights in Vegas, either by renting a car one way or I have enough miles that I could do the MSP-SAN, SAN-LAS, and LAS-MSP flights for free.

    Great list Ken. Do you think most of that would be doable in about 4 days?

    Sunset Cliffs looks gorgeous.

    Thanks again Ken.
     
  10. BlacklabberMike

    BlacklabberMike VIP Whale

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    It probably won't be open, but if it is, take the Coaster to Solana beach and catch the double decker bus to Del Mar.

    I once flew from Vegas and did just that and flew back to Vegas that night.m now, that's hard core.
     
  11. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Katmu, you could knock out some to all of that in four days. Really just depends on how you travel and linger. (And I agree on skipping TJ. There ain't a lot of charm to TJ these days and hasn't been for a long time.) You can kill at day at Balboa Park given all that is there. Do Gaslamp one evening. Midway and Coronado on a half day. Do the beach and beach cities bit another.
     
  12. shokhead

    shokhead I'm no big spender!

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    A great place to be with endless things to do and see. Not cheap as I price the food and hotels about like Hawaii.
     
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  13. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    I've been living in San Diego for about a year and a half. Here are the things I would suggest:

    Spend a day at the beach. If you want to sunbathe, I suggest Coronado beach, and have a drink at the Hotel del Coronado. If you prefer hiking/walking, Torrey Pines is gorgeous. But generally, the beaches here are beautiful. On the way (or on the way back if it is foggy in the morning), stop at the Torrey Pines Glider Port for a gorgeous view. It's free. That is where people take off and land paragliders. You can also say hello to sea lions at La Jolla cove, but the odor there from the pelican droppings can be pretty unpleasant. Then stop on the way back to your hotel at the Torrey Pines lodge for a cocktail or a fancy dinner.

    Take one day to see Balboa park and (zoo OR museums - both will probably take you more than 1 day). Have dinner somewhere in Hillcrest.

    Take 1/2 to one day to 1 day to walk or ride a bicycle along the waterfront, stopping at the Maritime Museum and the Midway as your time/interest permits. You can rent a bike from the new stations around town and return it to another station whereever you end up. You could eat dinner at a place in Little Italy, but the Italian food here probably isn't as good as most places back east.

    If you play golf, why not play a round at Torrey Pines?

    If you like Asian food of any kind, particularly Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese, go down to Convoy street and walk in someplace.

    That's it. There are a zillion more things but I think you will appreciate San Diego more if you take it easy and enjoy it. I find the Gaslamp in particular to be touristy, uninteresting, and completely skippable, but clearly some people like it. Legoland is great if you are under 6 years old.

    Also, the weather here is beautiful year round. I've noticed that people complain it is too cold when it gets below 68, and too hot when it is above 84, and when people complain about the rain, it is usually drizzling. It did get a little hot for a couple weeks last year, but I never thought it was that bad. The only issue is that not everywhere here has air conditioning, so you may want to check before you book.

    I feel pretty blessed to have found a path in life that led me here, especially when I drive by the ocean on the way to work.

    If you have any deeper questions (restaurants, transportation, areas to stay, etc) I'm happy to help.
     
  14. katmu

    katmu Well-Known Member

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    Wow, thank you for taking the time for such a detailed (and helpful) reply.

    I'm still trying to figure out what area would be the best to stay in. I think I would like to be close to the ocean since I'm a long way from either ocean in Minnesota. What area would you recommend that would still be convenient? I was looking at both the Lodge at Torrey Pines and the Del (might be nice to visit, not sure if I want to stay there).
     
  15. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    San Diego isn't that big. If you have a car, you probably don't want to stay in one of the big hotels because of the cost of parking overnight. Meanwhile a lot of the places you visit (balboa park, certain beaches) have free parking.

    Old Town has a lot of hotels and is pretty central. So is Hotel Circle but they kind of look dated from the outside and they might also charge for parking. Del Mar has some smaller places and is probably pretty upscale. Hillcrest and North Park are more urban but have some more interesting and offbeat places.

    If you are looking for something on airbnb, you can't really go wrong on the north coast (del mar, solana beach, carlsbad, oceanside, etc) or you can probably stay inland a bit and save some cash. I live near the junction of 56 and 15 and I'm 15 min from the beach.

    As for when to come, I'd say anytime except Comic Con, when San Diego gets as crowded as Vegas does during the CES.
     
  16. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    Lodge at Torrey Pines and Hotel del Coronado are both very up-market and iconic. The lodge is built in Pasadena style craftsman architecture and is on a cliff overlooking the water and golf course, whereas the Hotel del is right on the beach and feels a lot bigger. I don't know if one is better than the other, it's probably more an issue of personal preference. I've had drinks at both (which I recommend) but never stayed at either.

    My company puts people overnight at the Indigo in Del Mar and I think people seem to like it. I also stayed several nights at the Hyatt House in Sorrento Valley, which I thought was very nice, but there is nothing "iconic" about it whatsoever.
     
  17. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    :thumbsup:

    But I gotta ask: Torrey? I guess as a local you have advantages, but do you enjoy it? Not a fan, here. It's a bitch to get on, it's spendy, rounds are glacial, conditioning can be funky during non-tourney times and the course simply is too tough for recreational players -- South that is. For a variety of reasons North is a better play for most turistas; let's see what happens if/when they do finally get to the re-do. And the Lodge is not on be bluff.

    Agree wholeheartedly on Legoland.

    You live in a good part of the world!
     
  18. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    Never mind about Torrey Pines golf then. I've only been in the restaurants and hit balls on the driving range, haven't played there yet, so I'll defer to Ken's advice.
     
  19. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    lol

    Torrey South is one of those sacred cows that deserves to be gored.

    What about Loew's Coronado for Katmu? Also, Katmu, do you have any standing with Fairmont? Fairmont recently took over management of the Grand del Mar. It's inland but a helluva resort. Not sure where they are in conversion to the new branding, however. And spendy, of course.
     
  20. katmu

    katmu Well-Known Member

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    No standing with Fairmont, and the Grand is even more $$ than the other two. The Loews Coronado might be an option.

    I won't be playing golf anyway.
     
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