It all started with my friend asking me if I wanted to join her in San Diego for a long weekend trip…Now this is me we are talking about, of course I was up for leaving the frozen tundra of Minnesota in January to the welcome arms of warm air and sunshine in San Diego!
A little pre-planning and we were set to go. We decided to stay at an Air Bnb and were very pleased with our choice; a cute little house in the Golden Hill neighborhood very clean, quiet, and quaint. Although probably outside of walking distance, the location was close to public transportation or a quick and inexpensive Uber ride downtown. It was also quite close to Balboa Park, home to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, many museums, some beautiful gardens, and more! In fact that was our first destination, and although we decided to explore some of the free options at the park including the Timken Art Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, Cactus and Rose Gardens, the Botanical Building, and the Artisan shoppes, I’m sure the admission prices to the other attractions are well worth the experiences. As a bonus I even came across a shop in the Artisan area featuring me as the painter! (haha okay just my name…but I tried).
For someone who studied abroad in Italy for a semester, Little Italy was first on my list for places to grab a bite for lunch and to sniff out some authentic gelato for dessert, YUMM! Although I was not impressed with the pizza joint recommended (definitely didn’t seem authentic to me), the gelato joint we picked to stop at was AMAZING! The rest of our day was spent wandering around Seaport Village and we closed out our day with a wine tasting from the San Pasqual Winery. I cannot say enough about their red wine…so GOOD. Every glass I tasted had a beautiful deep balance with a smooth finish and was neither too sweet or too bitter. I was very tempted to buy a case; however I did restrain myself and keep my pocketbook from feeling a little too empty. After all I had just started the vacation.
We were blessed to have some gorgeous weather full of sunshine for most of our days and we took full advantage of that. On one of the nice days we booked a Kayak and Snorkeling Tour through Everyday California and it was a blast! Not only did we get to kayak and snorkel, but our guide was very informative and entertaining teaching us about the history and ocean environment of the La Jolla area. Don’t get me wrong the water was still freezing even in the wet suits; the water temperature was only 56 degrees F, but it was definitely worth the experience. I didn’t get any pictures though because I was to afraid to drop my phone in the water. Later that day, we also decided to hop on a 3hr Whale Watching tour and we were lucky enough to see a few gray whales and some dolphins! If you look hard enough in the picture on the bottom, you can see a whale tail of one of the gray whales. Oh! I almost forgot both the kayak and whale watching tour were both Groupon finds and we were very pleased with our experiences (and got to save some $$$). I recommend checking out Groupon to see if there is anything you might get to save a few bucks on, but I always am sure to read the reviews first.
The rest our our trip we left up to just relax and go with the flow. I specifically knew I wanted some fish tacos, so we hit up a popular joint called Oscars in N. Pacific Beach. Many claim it is the best place to get fish tacos in the San Diego area and I have to say they were pretty darn good. After eating we made our way to the beach for some sun and surf, we rented some wet-suits, a surfboard, and a boogie board and spent the day enjoying the ocean. Although I had apparently forgotten how difficult surfing can be, 5 yrs removed from my last surfing experience was far too long for my muscle memory!
After a long day in the sun we dropped into The Baked Bear for some amazing ice cream cookie sandwiches! The cookies were so soft and amazing, highly recommend stopping by for a tasty treat. After our ice cream treat, we browsed some of the shops nearby and headed to the 710 bar for some drinks and appetizers. We got our beer and order of fried pickles and I swear it was the biggest portion I’d ever seen. I can’t believe I didn’t think to take a picture… We offered to share with the couple behind us because there was NO way we would have been able to eat them all, and can you believe we found that they had ties to Minnesota, such a small world! Making connections has to be my favorite part of traveling. Our night was full of fun and interesting conversation and maybe just a little bit of karaoke ;-P
Overall a fun trip to the Sunshine state
Until next time,