I’m kicking myself for it now, but I spent most of the three years I lived in San Diego hating it. It was my first time moving away from home and Southern California was just way too different from everything I was used to. Only when people came from out of town did I realize how great San Diego actually was, and when I visited last week I found myself actually missing it. Although I only moved in April, I had the best time revisiting all of my favorite spots. I’m super excited to share some of those with you, and if you’re a crazy dog person like I am you’re going to find my list extra helpful because I practically take my dog everywhere with me.
We lived in Coronado the entire time we lived in SoCal, but there are so many awesome parts of San Diego that it’s hard to recommend where you should stay. It definitely depends on how much time you have, but no matter where you stay you should definitely rent a car (unless you have friends in town or plan on ubering everywhere) because you have to be willing to travel around to hit all the best spots.
Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):
San Diego has a killer food scene, so it’s hard to make a list that isn’t a mile long.
Harry’s Coffee Shop – Located in La Jolla, this awesome little diner is hands down my favorite breakfast place in all of San Diego. I love the old school feel and the food is amazing. My fiancé loves the BW Benny and I’m a sucker for their pancakes.
Buona Forchetta – A friend of mine introduced me to this little South Park gem when I first moved to SD and it has been one of my favorite restaurants ever since. If you’re looking for genuinely delicious/authentic Italian food and pizza, this place is a must. In my opinion it’s one of the best restaurants in all of San Diego.
Bencotto – Another great Italian restaurant located in the heart of Little Italy. I always start with their burrata and prosciutto and nine times out of ten order their penne pasta with Bencotto sauce.
Lucha Libre – Traveling to San Diego and not having a California burrito is pretty much a sin, and the best one can be found at Lucha Libre (the Mission Hills location is WAY better than North Park). This is where you go when you feel like being an absolute pig (in the best way possible). Little tip, adding refried beans will take it from a 10 to a 20.
***Most of these places are dog friendly 🙂
Coronado Dog Beach – Talk about dog HEAVEN. If you come here on a weekend there will literally be hundreds of dogs running around and it is ridiculously fun. We were lucky enough to live just a few blocks away so we were here all the time, but going back last week reminded me of how freaking awesome it is. My dog Atlas has an absolute blast and I can almost guarantee yours will too.
Coronado Human Beach – If you don’t have a furry friend and are just looking to have a beach day, I would definitely recommend Coronado. The beach is huge and always super clean. You can find a spot in front of Hotel del Coronado and grab midday drinks!
Hiking – There are like seven million trails throughout San Diego County so you definitely have plenty of options, but my favorite has always been Torrey Pines. It’s not very challenging, but the views of the ocean are beautiful. The famous Potato Chip rock hike is totally overrated, but you get a decent workout with it. If you’re a psycho looking for a full day adventure, give El Capitan a go.
Pilates – You knew this was going to be on my list. If you’re looking to get your ass handed to you, take a class from Adriana at Live Love Pilates in La Jolla. Go next door and refuel with a yummy smoothie from Beaming afterwards.
Balboa Park – You can spend an entire day here exploring the various museums and weaving in and out of the many gardens. Definitely not just a tourist trap. Worth a visit if you have the time!
Nightlife/Bars – I’m not as much of a partier as I used to, but San Diego has plenty to offer in terms of nightlife.
-The Gaslamp: I used to avoid this part of downtown like the plague, but if you’re looking for a legit club vibe this is where you’re going to want to be. The whole area is overrun with tourists, but I can’t say I haven’t had a good time here.
–The Beachcomber: I’m including this little beach bar as an homage to my fiancé because it’s his favorite place in the world. It’s a no frills dive bar located in Mission Beach, and depending on the day it’ll either be filled with college kids or old people. I talk shit about “The Comber” to piss my fiancé off, but I honestly have a great time every time I’m here.
–McP’s Irish Pub: This is an awesome spot for day drinking in Coronado. They play live music on Sundays and allow dogs on their patio!
Although I had a hard time adjusting to San Diego when I first moved there, I’m so happy I had the opportunity of living in one of the most awesome cities in California. There are so many great things to see and do so make it a point to head down to the whale’s vagina as soon as you can!
Stay classy, San Diego!