Hello, welcome back. I spent a few years living in San Diego while I was attending San Diego State University. I absolutely fell in love with the city, it has so many different neighborhoods and things to do, there is something for everyone! If you want to learn about some of the best areas in SD, stay tuned!
Pacific Beach or PB for short is probably one of the most common places to go out for young adults. It has incredible beaches for surfing and chilling and the local restaurants, bars, and nightlife are great! Some of my favorite restaurants in PB are Sushi Kuchi (50% of sushi and $1 sake bombs all the time? Sign me up), Baked Bear (ice cream cookie sandwiches that are to die for), and El Prez (best nachos ever). This area is also known for brunch and bottomless mimosas, so check out Crushed, Fig Tree, Breakfast Republic, Duck Dive, PB Local, and more. Honestly, you could eat and drink just about anywhere here and you wouldn’t be disappointed. Many of the restaurants turn into bar/clubs at night frequented by college students and young adults. Think frat party for 21+ haha.
Balboa Park is home to loads of different museums (free and paying) and many different gardens, ponds, and sitting areas. There are a few restaurants here, but I recommend just walking around and checking out any museums that are free or that you are willing to pay for. The architecture and landscaping are absolutely beautiful and picture perfect. In the summer they have outdoor concerts and on weekends they have craft and art fairs so you can check out the local artists.
Hillcrest is for all my LGBTQ+ friends and allies! My favorite weekday bar is located there, Flicks, which does a Wellfare Wednesday special, and all well mixed drinks are $2! I was there during pride week a couple years ago and I have never had such an amazing time on a night out! On par with SD, Hillcrest’s restuarant game is amazing including Baja Bettys, Uptown Tavern, and Hash House A Go Go.
I love love love North Park. This is actually my favorite area to go bar hopping with loads of unique breweries and bars, including Coin Op, a arcade/ bar for adults. This area is super artsy and you will find loads of different murals painted around the area.
Ocean Beach is for your inner hippy. Again, incredible beaches (that is pretty standard in San Diego) and loads of amazing, unique restaurants and shopping. Hodads is a very famous burger place located here, but make sure you go early or plan on waiting in line forever. OB also has lots of great breweries and brunch places and has a dog beach!
La Jolla is for all you boujie folks out there! The beaches are beautiful, but all limited street parking so come prepared to walk a bit. The restaurants are mostly on the nicer end and often overlooking the cliffs and oceans! La Jolla Children’s Pool is also a sea lion breeding and pupping ground! So you can go and see hundreds of sea lions chilling in this small cove. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve is in LJ, so if you want some more nature and to have a nice picnic, be sure to check this out.
The last area I am going to discuss in Downtown! Downtown has a few different areas including Little Italy and the Gaslamp District. It is great for a nicer evening out and a fancier restaurant. It also has nicer clubs including Omnia, Fluxx, Parq, Oxford Social Club, and more. Check out Groupon for a bar crawl pass to make it more affordable!
If you want some history and really cute souvenir shopping, check out Old Town San Diego! It is literally preserved buildings from the first Spanish Settlement on the West Coast. You can go inside old banks, saloons, museums, and more. Towards the end of the street there are loads of Mexican Restaurants. I recommend Café Coyote for authentic food and huge portions!
Besides the beaches, sunshine, and brewskies, San Diego is known for its incredible hikes! The most famous being Potato Chip, where you hike up a hill and pose for a picture on a sliver of rock that overhangs a cliff. Also check out Cowles Mountain, for the highest view point in SD, Black Mountain if you want a challenge, Three Sisters for a waterfall destination, Blue Sky for a swim after, and so much more. SD has loads of causal and coastal walks including Sunset Cliffs, Lake Miramar, Los Pequenos, and Torrey Pines. For more information check out this site.
Brewery Hop through San Diego. Okay, this obviously isn’t a specific location, but SD has some of the best craft breweries in the United States and is home to thousands of them! Literally just pick an area and you can probably walk between breweries!
Honestly, there is so much more in San Diego, these are just the areas I am most familiar with. I lived there for years and couldn’t see and do everything! If you ever have the chance to go, spend as much time and eat as much food as you can! San Diego is beautiful year round and is, in my opinion, the best city in California.