San Diego Travel Guide
The best things in San Diego aren't free, but they are pretty spectacular. After visiting this city briefly during a west coast road trip which had us staying with friends outside San Diego in an area called Encinitas, I knew I'd want to return again to really explore what the gem had to offer. And, oh, am I glad I did. Check out my San Diego travel guide – hopefully it helps you to have the best time!
Booking your San Diego Trip
By all means, use the Skyscanner app to research and book your trip to San Diego. This app puts in all of the legwork for you to scan across all airlines, making sure that you get the best deal possible. We ended up getting a great deal on direct flights from SEA - SAN for New Year's Eve, which is arguably the most expensive time to fly and probably would have been unattainable otherwise.
Landing at SAN in San Diego
Landing at SAN Airport in San Diego is quite a treat (for those comfortable with flying) and perhaps a bit nerve-racking for those who aren't so calm in the skies. But not to fret – what you might experience as a "rough" landing is actually completely normal and necessary based on where this airport is situated... right in the middle of downtown!
I found this to be quite fascinating. The local sitting to my right on the plane was quite chatty, and told me that SAN is the eighth most difficult airport to land at in the world. The benefit of this is that you get a spectacular view of the city as you land – have your camera ready – and once you land at SAN, you're just a 10 minute drive or $15 Lyft/Uber to your hotel in Downtown San Diego.
Preferred Hotel Accommodations in San Diego
Grand is a pretty accurate statement when describing the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. We had a wonderful time staying at this hotel for New Year's Eve, which felt a lot more like a resort than a hotel with its two full pool/hot tub areas on levels 3 and 4 of the building. The adult only pool has wonderful cabana day beds for lounging, and the view of the marina is the best.
Best Beach in San Diego: Pacific Beach or 'PB'
We absolutely LOVED hanging out at Pacific Beach, otherwise known as 'PB' by the locals. This is a great beach for suntanning, jogging, lounging, surfing, and pretty much everything else. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area, as well as a public restroom. This area is also out of the "no fly" zone that exists in San Diego for drones. I flew mine here a couple times, and there were others flying theirs as well. Just beware of the seagulls!
Best Restaurants in San Diego
- Sally's Fish House & Bar, located at the Marina just outside the Manchester Grand Hyatt is where we had our special NYE dinner: lobster! A wonderful seafood restaurant serving up endless drool-worthy dishes, this restaurant is a must-try to fish lovers.
- Double Standard, located in the Gaslamp Quarter is a trendy, low-key spot with plenty of style. We stumbled upon this place and were glad we did. I particularly loved the extremely "random" yet put-together decor, and the food was nothing short of spectacular.
Best Tourist Destination in San Diego: Balboa Park
Balboa Park is a tourist's dream! This place has so many different attractions, and can easily fill up an entire day. Though not necessarily affordable, the park does boast plenty of free museums and art galleries, and also has a restaurant and several espresso bars. This is also the site of the San Diego Zoo – though at $50 USD per person and the forecast predicting rain, we chose to skip it.
Best Day Trip in San Diego: Coronado Island
We spent an entire day on Coronado Island, which isn't far by drive; we instead decided to take the ferry from the closest stop on the Marina, and then we took a leisurely 4o minute stroll to the beach. Along the way, we stumbled upon a Mexican restaurant and ate some of the most delicious burritos (I wish I could remember the name of it!). I got another chance to fly my drone once we reached the open expanse of the beach, and all-in-all, it was a successful and enjoyable journey.
I think you are going to love your trip and I hope my San Diego travel guide was of use to you. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment and I'll be sure to get back to you! PS. You can also check out this blog post which features my San Diego video and some more tips!
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