San Diego is a major city in southern California and we were really excited to visit it as so many travellers had told us it was a great place to be in and we weren’t disappointed with our 7 days stay. With its all year round mild climate, smart harbour, waterfront promenade, beach, great restaurants, green park areas, zoo and much more – what’s not to love – and we found the San Diegans to be ultra friendly! Our visit was mid November and we had super weather in the 70’s.
We stayed in the lively Gaslamp Quarter. Mostly this area is known as a popular hub for great nightlife, restaurants and cocktail bars. Walking among the colourful evening lights there is a real vibrant buzz of entertainment and at the same time a definite feel of a friendly community.
One of our favourite walks was strolling down to Embarcadero (Spanish for wharf) to the super smart Marina area and Seaport Village. Looking back behind us is the San Diego skyline. Below is the San Diego Bay, a natural Harbour and deep water Port.
Walking further along the waterfront we pass through Seaport Village with its chic stores, cafes, book stores, pretty eateries and at the weekend there is free good live entertainment. It’s lit up very prettily at night and an evening waterfront walk here really is a delight. A great place to dine or sip a cocktail while watching the sun going down. The sunsets here are quite spectacular reflecting onto the waters.
Also at the Seaport district is ‘The Headquarters’ – a spacious, open air designed space- it is the former headquarters to the San Diego Police Department and now an exciting new dining and retail destination. You can find speciality shops and world class restaurants. The buildings are a rich mix of designs – Spanish Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Pueblo Revival and Classical Revival .
In Downtown we came across Little Italy (it seemed to us more laid back than the Gaslamp area). Little Italy is a trendy, friendly neighbourhood, packed with restaurants – some high end gourmet, cocktail bars, gastropubs, and coffee shops and a great juice bar we found. Every Saturday there is an excellent Farmers Market.
On our last full day we walked to Bilbao Park. This huge green park space is totally free to roam and explore, no entry fee. The Park has lots to offer and was much bigger than we imagined. It is filled with museums – 15 in total we think, including the Museum of Man and The San Diego Museum of Art and the Fleece Science Centre. You can walk around the beautiful gardens, there are walking trails and 3 dog parks. The Botanical Garden building is beautiful and unusual, it’s located in the heart of the Park – it has a large lily pond in front of it. Apparently over 2,000 plants are housed here in the Botanical building.
You have to admire the gorgeous architecture in the Park (unfortunately for us, visiting in the quieter season, many of the buildings at this time were having work carried out so scaffolding was up). There are cafes and restaurants – we could see the Prado restaurant was popular. Below is The Japanese Friendship Garden, it is beautiful to walk through and visit the Tea Pavilion.
Dates of stay: 15th to 23rd November
Stayed at San Diego Downtown Lodge – priced at $632 USD for the week
Review: Comfortable accommodation, recently refurbished, coffee and ice in reception, good WIFI reception, daily housekeeping, microwave and fridge in room. Good location about 15 to 20 minute walk from Gaslamp District. A bit of road noise! We’d recommend it based on price and location.