San Diego, the birthplace of California, is widely known for having what I would consider to be perfect year long weather and a long standing naval base. My sister moved to San Diego while I was in Korea to be with her boyfriend who is in the Navy. Moving across the country, that's love. Ammi right? While I was in the states this summer I joined my mom on a trip to see her and check out her new city. I loved the vibes in San Diego. The beach is so close, the people are very relaxed, the avocados are so cheap, and fresh organic fruits are available everywhere. Throw in in-and-out burger and what more do you need? Being in Barons market close to her apartment in Point Loma was the most luxurious grocery shopping experience I've had in a long time. Do you know how many cheese options there are in the United States compared to Korea? A lot. I was in heaven.
The area was originally home to the Kumeyaay people, native to Southern United States as well as Mexico, before being claimed by Spain in the early 1540s. It was the first part of the west coast to be settled, but it wasn't until about 200 years later. In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain and the San Diego area, along with the rest of what is now California, became part of the First Mexican Republic. In 1848, under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Alto California was surrendered to the United States. Mexico tried to keep San Diego out of the treaty, but the US knew that the bay was very economically important so the boarder was drawn just South. Tijuana, Mexico is about 18 miles or a 30 minute drive away and you will often hear locals recalling what they remember of their jaunts across the boarder. In fact, over 40 million people cross the boarder between San Diego and Tijuana each year. I unfortunately wasn't one of them because I left my passport behind on this trip. Maybe next time.
To Do //
Aside from grocery shopping, there are a ton of things to do in the city. Shocking, I know. Here are some of my favorites.
Of course. Thank you Spain and Mexico for your habit of setting aside land to be used for public recreation. Because of this practice Balboa Park, named after Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, is one of the oldest recreational areas in the United States. There are so many things to do inside the park, you could visit the famous San Diego Zoo, the Japanese Gardens, the Old Globe theater, the list goes on. My personal favorite thing to do was just walk around and admire all of the different architecture and greenery while Kayln played Pokemon Go. (If you're in to that, this place is a gold mine.) The Spanish Baroque style buildings were meant to be temporary structures for both the 1915 and 1935 World's Fair that San Diego hosted, but were rebuilt after deteriorating and continue to be used today. I do wish that I would have gone into the Museum of Man, they had an exhibit called Cannibals: Myth & Reality that I wad dying to see. I've been weirdly curious ever since I watched Eating with Cannibals on Netflix. (Sadly, the documentary has been removed.)
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
This may have been my favorite spot in Point Loma. We went there an hour or two before sunset with a blanket, drinks and food to watch the sun set, feel the spray of the waves of the rising tide, and dip our toes in the tidal pools. It's possibly the most amazing sunset I've seen to date. It would also be a great spot to hang out during the day, walk along the mile and a half cliff stretch, watch the surfers or go for a swim yourself.
SeaWorld Fireworks from Mission Bay Park
After watching Blackfish (I'm giving away how many Netflix documentaries I watched in college.) I would NEVER go to SeaWorld. Eff you SeaWorld. That being said, you can still enjoy the amazing fireworks show that they put on nightly free of charge from Mission Bay Park. The show starts at 8:50 and lasts for about 8 minutes. We went right after watching the sunset at Sunset Cliffs and it was perfect timing.
La Jolla Cove
Rent bikes to get around faster or kayaks to check out the caves! We originally went to see the sea lions, to find them you just have to follow the wet dog smell. I was amazed at how close people were getting to the cute, stinky little guys and had to go snap some pictures myself. After spending some time at the beach, we walked around the town, popped in to a couple of the boutique shops and art stores. Kayln had been craving fudge for a while and we happened to pass Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I highly recommend the champagne and raspberry truffles and the fudge that Kayln got was both milky and rich, a perfect blend. Truffles are a shared passion of ours. They were our mom's go-to Valentine's Day gift when we were kids.
To Eat and Drink //
Point Loma, Old Town:
Our first night together, we went to Miguel's Cocina in Point Loma. Overall, the food was nothing to write home about but the free salsa and queso were delicious. (Note: Kristina loves cheese almost as much as Netflix documentaries.) The atmosphere was also incredible, we sat on the patio and had an amazing view of Old Town. I also enjoyed a strawberry basil lime margarita and having a menu entirely in English.
Old Town is an excellent place to go if you want to eat, drink, and shop. True to it's name, it is the oldest settled area of San Diego. Some of the buildings are original and some were rebuilt after a fire. This part of the city has a lot of character, and you can see all of the Military Street art of Point Loma on the way.
We also had sushi at Tsuruya in Point Loma, the outside looks kind of strip mall-ish, but don't let that fool you. It was delicious and had both Japanese and Korean food. If you go there you have to get the Garlic Edamame. We ate it so quickly, I almost didn't have room for sushi. Almost.
Tavern At The Beach: An excellent place for nightlife and also for casual game watchin' drinking. The staff is really great and they seem to have a good crew of regulars who come to shoot the shit. We grabbed a couple of buds and watched a Cardinals with a guy who was also originally from the St. Louis area.
We went to Backyard Kitchen & Tap on a Tuesday for $6.00 guac and chips and $9.00 street tacos. The atmosphere was nice and the prices were reasonable, but the staff could up their game a bit. We were pretty much ignored the entire time and it took forever to pay the bill.
OB is my favorite area in San Diego. There are tons of dive bars, cafes, surf shops, and plenty of art. It's very chill and there's even a dog beach. The acai bowls at Sunshine Smoothie are delicious, they're the perfect guilt free summer snack. If you're looking for something a little off the beaten path head to Ocean Beach Pier at night to watch the fishermen and their families do their typical Friday night thing.
Well that's all folks. I hope this was helpful! Let me know in the comments below what your favorite spots in San Diego are! I'll be sure to check them out next time. And also thank you to my sister for refreshing my memory on all the restaurant names. (Love you Kay!)