Escondido / Rancho Bernardo
Local Expert Tip
"Going late in the day makes hot days bearable and the animals are more active than you might think at dinner time! Check the schedule before you go to see if there are any must-see behind the scenes activities happening on the day of your visit."
Things to Do In San Diego
San Diego Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in San Diego
Where to Stay
Downtown San Diego offers visitors the most convenience. Walk to the city's best restaurants, shopping, PETCO Park, and more. Hotel options range from budget to trendy, high-end with the Manchester Hyatt and Hilton Bayfront representing some of the larger chains. The airport is about a 10-minute taxi ride away with the trolley connecting guests to other attractions. Guests wishing to spend their holiday with toes in sand may want to choose a hotel on the beach, such as the Hotel Del Coronado or La Jolla Shores Hotel.
Caution: With beachfront hotels, make sure the beach is walkable and not a cliff.
Avoid: Downtown hotels with bars, on the weekends.
What to Eat
Despite the ever-present casual beach vibe, the culinary scene in San Diego is hot. Buzz words such as sustainable, local and artisan grace menus of all cuisines and price points. Two high-density spots include the Gaslamp Quarter, home to Brian Malarkey's Searsucker, and downtown La Jolla where favorites like the Steakhouse at Azul and George's at the Cove offer up stunning ocean views and outdoor dining options.
Hot Tips: The sunset at George's at the Cove is unbeatable.
Be Sure to Sample: The artisan cheese and meat cutting board at Whisknladle.
Things to See
With year-round sunshine, San Diego's attractions are all about the outdoors. Enjoy rides, shows and characters at both SeaWorld and LEGOLAND theme parks with kids (or without). It's easy to spend an entire day wandering the gorgeous grounds and museums of Balboa Park, so pack a picnic or dine at The Prado. Around the corner, the famous San Diego Zoo entertains all ages between the cuddly pandas, Skyfari aerial tram, polar bears and more.
Caution: LEGOLAND seems to attract younger kids versus tweens and teens.
Hot Tips: Arrive at Balboa Park a bit before the museums open in order to secure parking.
Places to Party
San Diego's best nightlife runs the gamut from uber-casual beach bars to swanky downtown clubs. While there aren't too many opportunities to get dressed up and dance until dawn, you'll find them in the Gaslamp Quarter. Try FLUXX, which changes theme every few months, offers bottle service and plenty of eye candy. Alternatively, the younger beach crowd tends to gather in Pacific Beach on Garnet, at the likes of Pacific Beach Bar and Grill.
Caution: Taxis can be tough to come by outside the Gaslamp. Have a number handy.
Hot Tips: For a mix of beach casual with an upscale vibe, try JRDN in Pacific Beach.
Where to Shop
San Diego does outdoor malls particularly well. Fashion Valley offers the most high-end designer shopping mixed in with the likes of H&M. Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach offers a nice mix of clothing, home design and jewelry boutiques. Little Italy and the Gaslamp offer small strips of neat stores, but other than that, most boutiques are spread out all over the county.
Caution: Parking at lunchtime or on weekends at Fashion Valley is tough. Prepare to valet.
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San Diego Is Known for...
Five of San Diego's most unique features and characteristics.Near-Perfect Climate
San Diego is blessed with one of the world’s most temperate climates, making it an excellent vacation choice any season of the year. The average year-round daily temperature is 70.5 degrees Fahrenheit (21.4 degrees Celsius), and humidity is generally very low, even during the summer months when the rest of the nation is sweltering. The region is kissed by the sun all year round, with just a few exceptions. May and June may bring sporadic overcast skies, a result of the “marine layer” that develops as the ocean warms in early summer. August and September are normally the hottest months, and fall and winter bring crisp temperatures and azure blue skies. San Diego’s rainy season begins in late December and lasts through mid-March, and while there may be a few rainy days during this period, the skies normally return to their sunny selves in a day or two. It is always a good idea to dress in layers when visiting San Diego, as early mornings and evenings can be chilly, even in summer.Glorious Beaches
Over 70 miles of beaches line San Diego’s coastline, from Imperial Beach on the Mexican border to Oceanside in San Diego’s North County. What makes the San Diego beach scene so remarkable is its...
Read the full list of five »