It’s great to be able to attend big conferences like Social Media Marketing World right in my backyard because I’m usually traveling like you. And, looking for ways to get the most out of the trip and enjoy my destination. I figured if you’re staying over the weekend after attending Social Media Marketing World you deserve to experience San Diego the way locals do. Since I live in Downtown San Diego I thought I’d share my personal top ten list with you.
1. Have breakfast at the Broken Yolk
There are a few locations in Downtown, PB (what the locals call Pacific Beach), and Mission Valley (also close vicinity to the malls). They have a huge menu, huge plates, and long lines that are worth the wait. The earlier you get there the less time you’ll have to wait. We recommend arriving before 8:30am.
2. Take a walk in Balboa Park
San Diego’s pride and joy is Balboa Park. It’s like a city within a city, with so many museums that it would take days to go to them all. The San Diego Zoo. A beautiful Japanese Tea Garden where you can really sit down and have Japanese tea and a light lunch of sushi or rice bowls. You don’t have to spend money to enjoy the park. You can also spend time by the Koi ponds or adventure through the Botanical Garden, no admission. There are a handful of free admission museums like the Timken Museum of Art. Although it’s still nice to leave a donation.
If you’re looking for a grand museum experience you’ll want to check out the Museum of Man, Natural History Museum or Rueben H. Fleet Science Center.
3. Ride the Ferry to Coronado
For a few bucks each way you can catch the Coronado ferry where you will arrive at Coronado Ferry Landing on the other side of the San Diego Bay. You can even bring your bicycle with you. On the other side you will find shops and restaurants to fill your day by the Bay. But that’s not where the locals hang. Don’t be afraid to venture out to restaurants or one of the awesome local bars right outside the landing including Nicky Rottens or Coronado Brewing Company. If you do stay in the landing you’ll want to check out Candelas.
4. Have a Day on the Beach at the Hotel Del
You can get partway here using the Ferry and then cab over (or bike) to the historic Hotel Del. There you can enjoy lunch at the hotel’s Sheerwater Café where there is an ocean view and you can watch the tourists. You might even catch a wedding. Or, get closer to the ocean on their patio literally on the beach Splash Bar & Deli where you can grab good drinks, casual food, live music and catch the best sunrise view ever.
5. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in the Santa Fe Train Station
If you want to catch some culture look no further than Downtown. The MCASD is a short walk from the Grand Hyatt and they are currently showing Secrets and Lies, a series of disguises, ruses and revelations.
6. Take the trolley to Old Town
Old Town is a Spanish village (OK village turned tourist trap!) that will make you feel almost like you spend the day in Mexico. With gift shops selling Mexican wears to truly authentic Mexican restaurants, there’s a day full of fun that will make your mama yell “ay yiyi!” A few local tips:
- Eat at Old Town Mexican Café
- Drink at Fred’s
- Ghost hunt at Whaley House
Drunch = the drunk lunch n’ brunch
If you want to stick around Downtown to take it easy, drunching is a local past time. We have a ton of excellent brunch/lunch/drinking spots some with sports watching and others with bottomless mimosas or killer margaritas. Here’s @DowntownRob’s top 3 picks:
- Café 21 for their five different flavors of homemade Sangria and unique food options.
- Bailiwick for their bathtub of mimosas, craft drinks, and crafty small plates served up in a classy but casual East Coast inspired bar scene. (the ladies will especially love this)
- La Puerta for their Mexican dishes, early morning margaritas, and #carneasadafries.
8. Shop boutiques in Hillcrest
Hillcrest is one of my favorite spots to spend an afternoon boutique shopping. There are unique finds waiting for you fashion forward men and women in the many second-hand clothing shops right on 5th Ave. When I say second-hand I don’t mean thrift store junk. These are well curated and include Flashbacks, Buffalo Exchange and more. If you venture around the corner you can also find an American Apparel and Pinkberry. Of course you’ll want a bite to eat and a cocktail to make the shopping fun. Local Habit has craft brew and an organic (casual) gourmet menu with gluten free and vegan options. You have to stop by Baby Cakes, a cupcake bar… literally, for dessert and cake shot.
Hillcrest is 5-8 minute Uber ride from Downtown.
9. Crash the pool at the Hardrock
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the pool at the Hardrock. In fact, it’s another club-type party spot in San Diego. Drinking and fun happen early in the day through late night. On Sundays you can usually catch Intervention “San Diego’s Hottest Pool Party.” But, it doesn’t start up again until April 27. Until then you can enjoy Float open 11am-2am daily, weather permitting. And, remember to keep it sexy!
Downtowner tip: The Marriott Marquis is also a nice spot to pool crash. They typically do not check hotel guest credentials and you can sit in the sun next to the pool with full service food and drinks. The Marriott pool leans more toward a family atmosphere set right next to the yacht harbor with pool waterfalls. But if you are staying at the Grand Hyatt the pool isn’t too shabby, try it out! It’s high on a top floor with full sun and cabanas. It’s also in close vicinity to the Kin Spa!
10. Watch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs
End your trip by taking in the beauty of San Diego with a sunset that will leave you breathless. Every local knows about this. It will take a longer than usual Uber ride but it’s worth it, especially if you had your significant other fly out to spend the weekend with you. (By the way it’s located in Ocean Beach which is what the locals refer to as OB)
Bonus neighborhood tip:
Each Saturday a Farmers Market is held in Little Italy, right on the edge of Downtown and not too far of a walk from the Hyatt. You can taste food samples from vendors, buy fresh produce, flowers or enjoy live music with a tropical tea. The Little Italy Mercato happens through around 2pm every week and is quite the neighborhood event.
Have fun. I hope you get the rest and relaxation you deserve! Tweet @downtownrob for more local tips while you’re out. You can follow me @melonie.
Photo source: sandiego.planmygetaway.com