Top 10 things to do and see in San Diego
Sitting cheek by jowell with the Mexican border, in sight of the Laguna mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, this San Diego offers an Hispanic heritage, with a huge dollop of Californian cool and a laid-back vibe of anything goes.
And as it is San Diego’s 250-year anniversary this year there has never been a better time to visit the land where California was born.
First time tourists to San Diego will find this beach city gloriously yielding in terms of attractions. Within its confines are 100 neighbourhoods, 70 miles of coastline, 33 beaches and 120 craft breweries (wine takes a back seat here).
There’s night life heaps of culture and living to keep you busy.
1. Seaport Village
This waterfront shopping and dining area located Downtown on West Harbor Drive is probably a great place to start. There are 54 unique shops including a fun magic shop and plenty of eateries. Supping a coffee while looking at passing yachts and ships on picturesque San Diego Bay is a brilliant way to ease into the day. Also you can pick up The Old Town Trolley Tour, a hop on, hop off bus that passes everything you would want to see in the city including all those listed below.
2. Gaslamp District
Don’t worry, the area is not as seedy as the name suggests; it is called so because of the Victorian styled lamposts that light up the streets after sundown. The 16-square blocks in the Downtown district feature Victorian buildings alongside skyscrapers which together, offer an interesting visual. And amid them are boutiques that line the streets and a mall – the multi-level West field Horton Plaza – designed as an outdoor shopping centre.
Of course there’s plenty on Fifth Avenue is a sure thing with wholesome food including gluten free options served throughout the day. At night there’s live music with some acrobatics thrown in. Some of their double as meals sometimes served with vegetables and even prawns. Far less wholesome is the raunchy Coyote Ugly Saloon (named after the film) next door where women are invited to strut their stuff on the bar alongside scantily clad dancers.
3. Old Town
The Old Town is pretty much the birthplace of California and was where the first Spanish settlement was created. The 19th century history of San Diego is brought to life in the Old Town’s shops – in effect it is a tourist trap. But it’s still worth visiting. It’s fun to look at the jewellery, especially in the Covered Wagon – Pala and Kumeyaay were the pre-Spanish native population. Browse the 40 speciality shops and the properties that house them. Just a short walk down San Diego Avenue is the Whaley House known as the most haunted house in America. They say even the ghost of the family dog has been seen.
If you like Mexican food, there are several Mexican Coyote has a great location and fun atmosphere both indoors and on the heated alfresco terrace where you can watch the tortillas being made. There are others such as Casa Guadalajara where the most joy is in the atmosphere rather than the food.