From the surf to the city and everywhere in-between, our local aficionados give you the inside scoop on San Diego. Watch their videos as they each dish on everything from burritos, hikes, their favorite spots and secret hangouts—all so that you can experience the good stuff like a local.
San Diego's GUIDES TO THE GOOD STUFF.
With near-perfect weather year-round and 70 miles of beautiful beaches, it's no wonder San Diego is the quintessential California vacation destination. But San Diego also has a lot to offer beyond the beach. From world-famous attractions and professional sports, to an acclaimed arts scene, to a large array of swanky rooftop lounges and chic al fresco dining spots—ideal for basking in the city's sunny atmosphere and casual laid-back vibe. The opportunities for fun and relaxation are endless. Scroll down to learn about what to see and find great deals on places to stay. So start planning your escape to San Diego.
Nothing beats summers in San Diego—from perfect weather to world-class attractions to endless activities that are fun for the whole family. Take in miles of beautiful Southern California coastline while the friendliness of San Diego's locals welcomes you to relax and make unforgettable memories.
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The beach is more than a boundary dividing land from sea, more than a place to swim or sunbathe. In San Diego, the beach is a way of life, a source of pride and joy, a defining influence in people's lives. For some, the mere memory of a mid-summer sunset melting into the Pacific is reward enough. Others have a more intimate relationship with the sea—surfing and sailing, biking and running, swimming and diving along 70 miles of San Diego's pristine beaches and coastal bays. Whether you're a first-time visitor or life-long resident, suit up and enjoy.
Beaches throughout San Diego have their own unique personality. Here are a few of our favorites:
Bordered by San Diego Bay and Harbor, downtown San Diego has it all: soaring skyscrapers bustling with big business, turn-of-the-century architecture housing trendy new nightclubs, and peaceful parks perfect for a short stroll or a relaxing rest.
From restaurants with old-time charm in Little Italy, shopping at Horton Plaza, taking in an opera at the Civic Center, exploring an aircraft carrier at the Harbor, and dancing in the Gaslamp Quarter, you can experience San Diego all within the space of a few dozen city blocks. Close to Lindberg International Airport, the cruise ship terminal, Balboa Park museums and world-renowned San Diego Zoo, downtown San Diego is the perfect place to get a taste of San Diego.
Home to more than 100 of the city's finest restaurants, 35 pubs and nightclubs, and 100 retail shops, as well as theaters, art galleries, offices, and residential/work lofts, is the Gaslamp Quarter. When the sun sets, this downtown San Diego neighborhood attracts thousands of diners, shoppers, theatergoers, and nightclub patrons.
The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation offers a vivid re-creation of the Gaslamp Quarter's history with a guided walking tour. Foundation guides share stories from the late 1800s when the area flourished as a red-light district.
Shopping in San Diego is a treasure hunter's dream! Expand your wardrobe with luxury apparel for men and women or hip, urban clothes. Adorn yourself with wearable art and Indonesian-inspired fashions. Discover the latest fashions in clothing, jewelry; and accessories. Decorate your home with unique pieces of beautifully crafted contemporary lighting, exotic ceramic ware, imported furniture and accessories, and unusual gifts.
Mardi Gras in The Gaslamp Quarter on Fat Tuesday is the largest Mardi Gras party on the U.S. West Coast and features a Mardi Gras parade and outdoor block party with several stages offering live musical acts.
The annual Monster Bash in the Gaslamp Quarter on Halloween weekend is an outdoor music festival in the streets featuring bewitching live bands and an extreme costume contest.
Occurring Every St. Patrick's Day, shamROCK is an evening of Irish food, live music, and lucky libations including "green beer" and pints of Guinness.
Mission Valley is the center of town—where all roads in San Diego lead. Home to some of the best shopping centers in San Diego, including luxury shopping mecca Fashion Valley, the area also houses a major university, big-name hotels, and the NFL Chargers football stadium. Enjoy recreational activities like nature walks by the San Diego River and a game of golf on nearby courses, or a night out at a happening restaurant. Conveniently located and close to all San Diego locations, Mission Valley is an ideal home base during your vacation.
Just as the early pioneers came west looking for a better life and remained in San Diego when they found it, visitors who come to Old Town to see the sights often make a day of it when they discover the wonderful shops and excellent restaurants. Needless to say, Mexican cuisine is the specialty in Old Town, and you'll find authentic fare at Casa de Bandini, the Old Town Mexican Café, Café Coyote, or any of the other local cantinas. The unusual is the norm, with most of the shops selling one-of-a-kind items and exotic imports. You'll also find an assortment of art galleries and watering holes around the Plaza and all along San Diego Avenue.
The northern region of San Diego County has a wealth of opportunities for relaxation and exploration. From chic resorts offering exclusive amenities like golf and spa packages, to more family focused hotels, North County San Diego, encompassing spectacular neighborhoods like La Jolla, Del Mar and Carlsbad, is a great central location for the perfect Southern California vacation. Plus, staying in North County allows for easy day trips to SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo (only 30 minutes) and Disneyland in Anaheim (less than one hour). Also in very close proximity for fun recreation are the beachside Del Mar racetrack, LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND's Waterpark and SeaLife Aquarium.
With its dramatic coastline and spectacular views, it's no surprise that La Jolla is known as "The Jewel of San Diego." Surrounded on three sides by the sea and backed by the steep slopes of Mt. Soledad, La Jolla has a Mediterranean feel and enjoys a unique microclimate which rarely drops below 50 degrees or exceeds 90 degrees.
La Jolla's shopping district includes one-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries, and oceanfront restaurants, and the surrounding residential community is a charming mix of turn-of-the-century Spanish architecture, eccentric modern designs, and everything in-between.
La Jolla's big draw, for locals and tourists alike, is the sea. In the summer and autumn months, the surf is relatively gentle, the water warms into the 70s, and the beaches at La Jolla Shores, The Cove, and Windansea are busy with swimmers, scuba divers, and surfers. For those less adventurous, the soft-sand beaches are also perfect for soaking up the rays while gazing out at the panoramic ocean views.
The northern region of San Diego County has a wealth of opportunities for relaxation and exploration. From chic resorts offering exclusive amenities like golf and spa packages, to more family focused hotels, the north county is a great central location for the perfect Southern California vacation.
The region includes the beachside Del Mar racetrack, LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND's Waterpark and SeaLife Aquarium, plus the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, where rare and exotic animal roam over large open enclosures. Staying in north county also provides easy access for a day trip to Disneyland.