Calling on Friends of San Diego...

  1. If you are fond of San Diego, CA I'd like to ask for your opinion of great things to do and places to stay there.

    My husband and I will be there for a few days in early September. We've never been there but would love to visit the famous zoo. We'd also like to stay in a hotal near the Gas Lamp district because it sounds quaint and full of personality but have no idea of a good but not super-expensive hotel to stay in. One person told me that Balboa Park is very special and used to have some type of free musical concert each evening... I wonder if that is still true? Is La Jolla a place we'd want to drive up to for the day? Is there a special beach area you love there?

    Anyway, if you have a wonderful memory of San Diego I'd love for you to share it here. We are in the southeastern USA so San Diego is like a world away for us. We really want to make the most of our visit there!

    Thank you in advance for any comments you have to share!!!

  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   movealong
    I can't give you help on hotels, it's just been too long since I lived there. But I wnder what the rates are for the Hotel del Coronado. It's on Coronado, and it's a big old historic wooden hotel on a beach. It was used in the picture Some Like It Hot.
    It's commonly know just as Hotel del. Pretty grounds, the outdoor cocktail is facing the ocean with wind screens up. It might not be cheap though.

    Balboa Park is beautiful. It's very large. The famous San Diego Zoo is within the park. The organ pavillion is there too, along with alot of other building dating back to the Pan American exposition ( I think)

    La Jolla is the rich area. The beach areas that are well known in La Jolla are "The Cove" and Birdrock ( for the surfers).Lots of art galleries.

    Point Loma is cool. You drive out to the tip of it and there's a lighthouse there with some awesome views. Driving along Sunset Cliffs is also pretty and many surfers will be right off the shore surfing.

    I lived in Ocean beach, which is probably the porest of the beach areas. but the pier there is cool, it extends out over the ocean. I think it's the longest pier in california? Again surfers off the shore there.

    If you start with the southern most part of Diego, there's Point Loma, then Ocean beach, Mission beach, Pacific beach, then La Jolla.
  4. by   jemb
    Balboa Park is full of museums as well as being the location of the zoo. Plan a full day at the zoo and get their package that includes the tram and the skyfari. It's a good idea to take the tram tour first so you get an overall view of the zoo and an explanantion of how and where to pick up the bus when you get tired of walking- and you will get tired! It is a huge zoo and has some wonderful plant life as well as animals.

    My favorite museums in the park are the 'air and space' and the 'maritime' museums. (Can't remember their official names, but that gives you the idea.)

    There are some interesting exhibits at the San Diego Harbor, also, as well as a harbor cruise available. Mission Bay is scenic also.

    Hotel del Coronado is gorgeous, but way out of my price range. For hotels, I'd suggest going to Orbitz or Expedia and checking out the rates along with the locations. Downtown/gaslamp district hotels can be pricey, plus most charge an extra $8-12 per day for parking. Hotel Circle has a good variety of decent hotels at better prices (parking included), and is centrally located.

    You'll like it. It's very different here from the southeast US.
  5. by   mac23
    Can I go with you? My husband and I took our first trip to San Diego a year ago and I just fell in love with the place. I'd move there in a heartbeat if it wasn't for our current situation. Have a great time. Sorry I can't really help with the hotels as we stayed at Paradise Point Resort and spa. I could have stayed there the whole time. San Diego is gorgeous.

    We went to the wild animal park instead of the zoo, I guess we'll hit the zoo next time, and I really wanted to go but I'm not complaining; the trip was awesome. We went to lego land, sea world, Balboa Park was beautiful, LOTS to do and see in San Diego, as you can tell I'm having withdrawls.....................

    have a great time.
  6. by   Megsd
    Yeah, most hotels in the Gaslamp will be pretty pricey due to the location. Aside from Hotel Circle, there are some decent hotels near Old Town (a few Comfort Inns and whatnot and one or two "local" places). Old Town's a good place to visit, particularly if you like Mexican food.

    Coronado is my favorite beach, although Pacific Beach is nice too because it has a boardwalk. La Jolla's not a bad place to visit, and the "children's beach" has lots of seals and sea lions to look at. I'd also recommend Balboa Park, and the Zoo highly. I know the Organ Pavillion in the park does concerts regularly, and I believe that there's some kind of jazz thing they used to do in the park in the evenings as well.

    I'm sure I'll think of more fun stuff later -- it's been a few years since I've been home.

    Meghan, born and raised in San Diego
  7. by   KRVRN
    As has been said, hotels in the Gaslamp downtown will run expensive and the Hotel Circle area is very tourist oriented. There are many good restruants and shopping areas near Hotel circle.

    You can go to either the Wild Animal Park OR the Zoo, don't feel like you have to go to both. If I had to choose, I personally like the Wild Animal Park better than the zoo. Although the zoo is connected to Balboa Park, which is a popular place. Legoland is nice for kids but could be skipped if it will be just adults on this trip. SEA WORLD is a MUST see. So cool! Look into the Old Town Trolley tours. A trolley bus takes you to several of the cool tourist spots. There's even a bus that's also a watercar and can drive out into the bay to see the sites. Parking can be difficult in Old town and the Gaslamp.

    Look into some of the wineries if wine interests you.

    There are several cute little shopping places and inns in Julian, closer to the mountains (about 1.5hr away from Hotel circle).

    Definitely make it a point to eat Mexican food here!

    Skip Tijuana.

    Keep in mind that our ocean water is cold and not particularly nice if you're used to Atlantic beaches (so I'm told, I've never been to the East coast). Also, San Diego usually gets cool come about 4pm when the sun gets low. It gets especially breezy on the coast. So you'll probably want jackets and jeans for any of the beach areas as well as Balboa park and Sea World. We rarely get rain.

    And Movealong... I take issue! Point Loma is NOT the southernmost beach of SD. You're missing my hometown... Imperial Beach, the most southwesterly city in the US! Cute little place.
  8. by   movealong
    Sorry KRV, I DID forget Imperial Beach! My bad.
  9. by   Tiki_Torch
    Oh my!!! Many thanks to all of you for your posts!!!!

    We are really getting excited about our first visit to San Diego and you all have given us a great "heads up" for some wonderful things to do!! I have a feeling that we will want to return to San Diego again and again....

    Thanks again for all your input!!!!!
  10. by   Nikki730
    In Feb. 2001, I stayed in a hotel called "La Pensione" (spelling?)

    Anyway, it was very affordable. I also went out to that little island (Catalina Island?) but that's more off the coast of L.A. I think. The zoo is good to visit also. Just kind of expensive, compared to the zoos around here (the Dallas area).

    You are going to have a super it up!!
  11. by   dianah
    Try to go to Old Town and have hand-made tortillas at one of the Mexican restaurants!!! Mmmmmmm! We ate at a small place, not in Old Town proper, but we walked up a street that originates in the middle of Old Town. I'm sure, though, you can get those great tortillas at most of the restaurants in the area!! I always enjoy going to the old lighthouse at (is it) Point Loma/Cabrillo. As you drive out to the lighthouse, the road bisects a military cemetery for a mile or two (or so it seems). Very moving. Great view of the bay from the point! You WILL have a wonderful time!! I haven't been there a lot, but have always enjoyed it when I've gone w/friends.
  12. by   Megsd
    The best restaurant in Old Town is in Bazaar del Mundo, and it's called Casa de Pico. The patio is the popular seating area, and there are tortillas sold while you wait in line. If you want food quickly, go under the awning "behind" the restaurant, and you can sit inside MUCH faster. It's kind of the locals' trick.

    I agree with the Cabrillo Monument at the end of Point Loma. Fort Rosecrans (the cemetary you drive past) is very moving as well. I'd also recommend Seaport Village (cute shops, room to walk by the water). If you like boats, you can also see the Star of India and the Berkeley, which are on the Embarcadero (right on the bay).