Make sure to spend a day at Balboa Park, which happens to be the largest urban cultural park in the States. And it’s more than just a park; it’s a cultural landmark, with acres of gardens, 17 museums, theatres and galleries to discover. For some impromptu free entertainment, checkout the street performers and artists that line The Prado. Of course, since we are in San Diego, you can also enjoy a charming meal at The Prado restaurant, or wade into the craft beer scene at Panama 66, which is a more casual outdoors hangout – all while surrounded by the beauty of Balboa Park.
Forbes called San Diego “America’s Coolest City”, and it’s easy to see why. This is a paradise for the young and the young at heart. With an average age of just 35, San Diegans have created a mecca for adventure seekers who expect just a little more from life. If your idea of a great time involves perfect weather, great food, craft beer and a vibrant arts scene, you will find it here, in addition to spectacular surroundings and some of the best beaches in the world.
You can’t mention San Diego without talking about its phenomenal outdoor lifestyle, much of which has a lot to do with the fact that it lies at the southwestern tip of the US, right along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. This is matched by its fantastic year-round weather, with the temperature rarely dropping below 16°C or soaring above 25°C. The fact that you can surf, snorkel, boat and paddle all year makes it a must visit destination for any Canadian that might have been a fish in another life!
Those who would rather not get their feet wet can immerse themselves in the city’s beach life by playing beach volleyball, biking on endless beach paths or just laying in the sun. San Diego also offers hiking, world class golf, rock climbing and more. Its perfect year-round weather makes it the ultimate outdoor playground.
La Jolla Cove
Take a short drive North to experience the beach town of La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya) – there is a reason why it means ‘the jewel’ in Spanish. Consider exploring the oceanside caves of La Jolla Cove, an ecological reserve, where you can mingle with the seals and spot other wildlife. Later, take a stroll to experience the fantastic Murals of La Jolla, a project of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library commissioned by the community to demonstrate La Jolla’s unique personality and vibrancy. Scope out the town’s many coveted dining options, including some of San Diego’s best upscale eateries. Here you can enjoy gourmet open-air dining and stunning coastal views like nowhere else.
Food is at the centre of the city’s rich craft scene. For a truly San Diego experience, get to know Cali-Baja food – a mixture between Mexican cuisine and California’s emphasis on fresh, local food. It’s about shocking your taste buds and doing the extraordinary, like grilled octopus on a tostada or grilled avocado in a taco. The Cali-Baja scene has kept those in the know buzzing for years, and could be reason alone to visit the city, especially if you are a foodie.
Speaking of foodies, do go to Little Italy – one of the buzziest food neighbourhoods in the city, and an area that Forbes dubbed as one of the US’s top 10 hottest neighbourhoods. This foodie’s haven is home to more than 50 restaurants and cafés, some of which are dotted along what locals call “Top Chef Alley”. This strip is famous for the many restaurant creations of past Top Chef contestants including Brian Malarkey and Richard Blais.
Best place to view downtown:
To get there, drive across San Diego’s iconic 2-mile Coronado Bridge or hop on a ferry from downtown. The island showcases San Diego’s downtown skyline in all its glory.
Best spot to watch the sunset:
Watch as the horizon changes colors as the waves crash along the side of the cliffs. You may even spot a couple of surfers.
Best hike to view the city:
Take in a panoramic view of the city on this three-mile hike. You can even bring your four-legged friend.
Best location to view wildlife:
La Jolla Cove.
Get up close and personal with San Diego’s marine wildlife. Catch a glimpse of the seals that make La Jolla Cove home year-round, or view the many birds bob in the water.
Best historical view point:
Cabrillo National Monument.
Discover the history at your feet as you step onto one of the first places that explorers discovered on the great West Coast. Cabrillo National Monument offers scenic views of San Diego’s bay and a monument commemorating Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s voyage.