A few of my best friends from college (Texas Christian University- Go Frogs!) are all from San Diego! I’ve been so excited to share this guide because SD feels like a second home to me. I’ve visited so much over the past 7 year that I’ve had an ongoing list of places I’ve been each time I visit but, I also had my two girlfriends help out with this guide! These are all the best places according to local cali girls so you know it’s good! We just took our first trip with Temple there and it was amazing. It’s such an easy flight and having all our friends there to help out was amazing. San Diego will definitely be a regular spot to take Temple as she gets older.
Feel free to leave comments or message me with any specific questions for traveling to San Diego!
Where to Stay
Rancho Valencia Hotel– this luxury resort is beautiful. I love going just to see their gorgeous interior design. They have the Pony Room restaurant which is farm-to-table and delicious. It overlooks the beautiful golf course, a view you won’t want to miss. Make sure to ask for a table outside and go around sunset for drinks and appetizers/dinner.
Hotel Del Coronado- this hotel is definitely more family friendly and I highly recommend it if you have younger kids traveling with you. It’s minutes from downtown San Diego and right on the beach. If you aren’t staying here, it’s still a great spot to grab a drink outside.
The Pendry- Downtown in Gaslamp district. Make sure to look into going to The Pool House on Sundays!
exterior of La Valencia Hotel
La Valencia Hotel– a La Jolla staple with amazing views in every room! Perfect place to stay and explore downtown la Jolla!
L’Auberge- when I think of California I think of this hotel, it’s in the middle of Del Mar the cutest town and walking distance to the beach, restaurants and shops. My friends have told me that the spa is amazing!
Where to Eat/Drink
cabbage salad from Fidel’s
Fidel’s- delicious Mexican food and margarita’s in Solana Beach! I have friends that live in San Diego and this is a favorite spot for them! You’ve gotta order the cabbage salad as your starter-it’s so good! Great for lunch or dinner but I’d probably do lunch.
George’s on the Cove– in La Jolla. We honestly go for the sunset view on their rooftop overlooking the ocean. The food is good but not great. Worth it for the view and vibes! This spot is great for groups.
Eddie V’s- great spot in La Jolla to pop in for pre-dinner drinks. Overlooks the ocean.
Craft and Commerce- hip gastropub with fancy cocktails.
Trust- locally sources ingredients so menu changes frequently. The food is delicious!
Board and Brew- my California friends LOVE this sandwich spot and I must agree it’s “dank” as the Californians say. This is where you go when you want to eat with the locals. A great sandwich and cold beer!
Brigantine- love this place for lunch. Sit outside for a great view overlooking the Del Mar horse races and order a plate of oysters.
Temple and I at Viewpoint Brewery
Viewpoint Brewing Co– it’s a new-ish brewery in Del Mar with great food. The charcuterie board was next level! My friend who lives in San Diego said you’ve got to order the Naan Mi sandwich. She has it when we were there and it was really good.
Pacific Coast Grill– dinner spot overlooking the ocean. All of the sushi rolls here are great! This has become a regular spot when we visit SD.
sunset on the rooftop at Pacific Coast Grill
The Pony Room– Go for drinks outside at sunset before dinner. Amazing view on the golf course of the Rancho Valencia Hotel. The interior of this hotel is stunning.
Farmer and the Seahorse– brunch/lunch spot that is all locally sourced.
cocktail from Born and Raised
Born and Raised– in Little Italy. Glitzy decor with a great rooftop patio!
Madison– The cutest mediterranean spot with great design and yummy cocktails. I obviously love that it’s called Madison!
fish tacos from C Level
C Level– waterfront brunch in Downtown San Diego. Recommend for lunch or dinner.
Piatti’s– A MUST for most authentic, delicious Italian food. Get the “crack” sauce and thank me later! Definitely a dinner spot.
Beach Grass– yummy, casual breakfast/brunch spot.
margaritas from Puesto
Puesto– local Mexican food with great vibes!
Cloak + Petal– trendy spot with Japanese tapas.
avocado toast from Lofty
Lofty Coffee– yummiest coffees and the gluten-free avocado toast is to-die-for (pictured above)
Pressed Juicery- make sure to go to a location that does the freeze! Pretty much it’s a juice made into soft serve! No dairy and only fresh ingredients.
Holy Matcha– this spot is a must for the pictures alone! Think pink and palm tree décor, it’s the cutest matcha tea room!
Naked Cafe– a delicious healthy restaurant for breakfast or brunch. I love going here after hiking Torrey Pines for a yummy, healthy brunch. Very casual.
Matcha from Cafe Gratitude
Café Gratitude– healthy, organic plant-based restaurant that everyone loves! It’s very casual so I recommend this for brunch or lunch.
Beaming– organic superfood cafe with delicious smoothies.
Parakeet Café- in La Jolla with all the best toast!
Things to Do
Hike Torrey Pines- I do this every time I come to SD. It’s one of my favorite ways to start the day. It’s a beautiful hike that ends on the beach with great photo ops throughout.
Take pictures at Flower Fields- I haven’t been but heard it’s a bloggers dream for great photos! I’ll definitely be taking Temple there for some pictures next time we visit.
San Diego Zoo
Hang at the beach- my favorite beach is Del Mar!
Paddle board in Mission Bay
Liberty Station– it has a market, restaurants, art district, etc. Great area to walk around and explore.