Author Topic: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego  (Read 8085 times)

NinetyFour

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Hi--

I will be in San Diego in a couple of weeks for work.  I will staying at the W San Diego.

I won't have a whole lot of free time, but will be looking for good coffee joints, restaurants with good vegetarian fare, hip independent move theaters, and inexpensive fun things to do.  I think going to the Timken is already on my list.

I will not have a vehicle.

Thanks for any ideas!

FuckRx

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 11:32:39 AM »
I live in SD and I think whole balboa park where Timken is located will be wonderful. The IMAX is right there with really wonderful movies (not block busters but these cool little movies about animals and human body etc). Evolution Fast Food is a vegan restaurant on 5th ave very close to there with awesome chicken salad and vegan burgers and their desserts are incredible.
Pappalecco coffee in little italy is great, matter of fact walking around little italy is awesome. I have an extra bike you are welcome to borrow. there are car2go vehicles which are electric and super cheap, you can park them pretty much anywhere for free and they are all over.
cafe 21 is a nice popular face in the gaslamp probably pretty close to the W.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 12:28:37 PM »
Balboa Park is nice. Some pretty decent places to eat in Hillcrest as well.

capital

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 01:43:32 PM »
Burritos are everywhere, cheap, and amazing.

The beaches are obviously quite nice. Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs are lovely. It looks like you'll want the 923 bus to get there. Or take the 84 bus to Cabrillo Monument, on a very prominent point out in the Pacific.

The Children's Pool in La Jolla (now a seal rookery) and La Jolla Cove are both beautful, and can be reached by the 30 bus. There are lots of good vegetarian Mexican options at Don Carlos up in La Jolla as well. The water's a bit chilly in winter, but if it's a nice warm sunny day that shouldn't stop you from taking a quick dip and bodysurfing a bit.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can take the trolley down to the border and go for a stroll through downtown Tijuana.

Catbert

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 01:59:23 PM »
For independent movies try Hillcrest Landmark.  Not w/I walking distance but I'm sure there is a bus straight up 5th Ave.  Hillcrest in general is a good bet for independent coffee shops and vegetarian restaurants.  I'd get out of the Gaslamp area (where the W is) if you're looking for inexpensive. 

Pick up a Reader (free weekly newspaper) for events happening that week. 

NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 02:04:31 PM »
Great ideas so far!  Thanks to all--and please keep them coming.

Mashori--thanks so much for offering me a bicycle.  I will keep that in mind and let you know!

beltim

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 02:06:50 PM »
The view from the bar at the top of the Hyatt is amazing, particularly around sunset. I highly recommend it since you're downtown anyway.

dragoncar

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 03:25:10 PM »
To be honest I wasn't a huge fan of SD

Mind boggling.  The sunlight must have made you sparkle too much, thereby exposing you as a vampire.  PNW much better for vampires :-)

dude

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 09:22:56 AM »
Burritos are everywhere, cheap, and amazing.

The beaches are obviously quite nice. Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs are lovely. It looks like you'll want the 923 bus to get there. Or take the 84 bus to Cabrillo Monument, on a very prominent point out in the Pacific.

The Children's Pool in La Jolla (now a seal rookery) and La Jolla Cove are both beautful, and can be reached by the 30 bus. There are lots of good vegetarian Mexican options at Don Carlos up in La Jolla as well. The water's a bit chilly in winter, but if it's a nice warm sunny day that shouldn't stop you from taking a quick dip and bodysurfing a bit.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can take the trolley down to the border and go for a stroll through downtown Tijuana.

Second this re: OB and Sunset Cliffs.  I used to live there many, many years ago, and have been back to visit a few times over the years.  OB is the "land that time forgot."  Stroll the OB pier and watch the local surfers ply the waves.  Stop at Hodad's for a beer and burger.  Go to Robero's Taco Shop (one in OB, one in Pacific Beach, one in Mission Beach) for the best tacos and burritos on the planet (open 24 hours).  Check out Sunset Cliffs.  Walk the boardwalk (okay concrete walk) down Mission Beach to Pacific Beach.  Stop at the Lahaina Beach Bar for a brew and awesome locals people-watching.

San Diego is probably my favorite city in America.

adesertsky

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 10:15:48 AM »
I 'm originally from San Diego (right now I am kicking myself for moving to Chicago) and I have to agree to the Cabrillo National Monument.  A beautiful place with a great view.  If it is whale watching season, which I think it is soon, you can sometimes see them from there.

I highly recommend El Indio among the zillions of great Mexican joints- it is close to the airport.  You'll find plenty of vegetarian options and be sure to grab a bag of their cinnamon sugar coated chips.

My favorite beaches are in Carlsbad- Tamarack and South Carlsbad are the best (maybe I'm biased- grew up in North County).  You can get to North County via the Coaster.  There are great beach communities in Encinitas and Carlsbad that you can just bum around in.

The Zoo and Balboa Park are simply amazing.  Everything is super beautiful.  For a free time, just walk around Balboa Park.  For a little more money, stop by some of the great museums there (I like them all).  The Zoo and BP are right next to each other, BTW.

I can't help myself anytime someone asks... it is a bit of a hike but a drive out to the Anza Borrego State Park is worth it.  I absolutely LOVE the desert and there are a lot of great hikes out there in some stunning landscapes.  It does take a couple hours to get to and you have to drive over the mountains to get there.  In the early spring, the desert is covered in wildflowers... it doesn't last long but you could get lucky.  My favorite trail is the Borrego Palm Canyon trail which is approx 3 hours out and back, the pinnacle of which is a real life palm tree oasis.  There is some small stream crossing depending on the time of year.

Enjoy your trip!

NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 10:50:27 AM »
Wow.  I love it already.

Not sure I will have the time or the transportation to do all of these things, but I really appreciate the suggestions!

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 10:53:02 AM »
La Jolla Cove has got to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.  We snorkelled there (rented gear in town).  I have no idea if such a thing is possible in winter, but if it is, it's amazing.  It's worth seeing even if you don't snorkel.

We stayed at the Hyatt downtown.  I got the deal on priceline for something like $89.  Anyway, I accidentally entered my name incorrectly (first name last, last name first).  So they couldn't find my reservation.  It took about 15 minutes.  So once they finally found it, they upgraded us to an awesome suite. 

Catbert

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 12:10:46 PM »
This probably won't work for you because of the transportation problem, but a great (and free!) thing to do in SD is visit the Taylor Guitar factory.  Free tours every week day.

http://www.taylorguitars.com/contact/factory-tours




somepissedoffman

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2014, 12:59:23 PM »
These are all great suggestions!

If you're into beer, check out Monkey Paw.  It's somewhere on the outskirts of downtown.
If you get your hands on a bike, you can ride out to Coronado on the Silver Strand bike path, that's a rather pleasant ride.

Have fun!


zinnie

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 01:19:45 PM »
From downtown, I would recommend just doing some walking and seeing the neighborhoods! You can go from downtown up through Banker's Hill to Old Town or Hillcrest pretty quickly on foot. Hillcrest is a great place for vegetarian. For craft beer, check out North Park. The bus is convenient, too, as others mentioned.

The new downtown library has a top floor reading room and observation deck, and you can see the mountains, bay, Coronado, the city, etc. from there. It is a nice place to hang out if you are just killing time. They have free concerts there, too.

You can also walk to the ferry that will take you across the bay to Coronado. The beach there is beautiful. If you rent a bike, you can take it on the ferry with you and ride around when you get there. The ferry is a popular way to get across the bay for cyclists.

NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2014, 01:59:48 PM »
Wow--I may never come back to Colorado!

Thanks so much everyone!

Poorman

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2014, 03:40:07 PM »
San Diego county has more micro-breweries per capita than any other place in the nation.  Get in some beer tasting, if you're into that sort of thing. 

Really, you can't go wrong with any of the suggestions in this forum.  San Diego is one of the best places in the world.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 03:47:03 PM by Poorman »

NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2014, 04:04:00 PM »
Right now (actually since January 2012), I am not drinking alcohol.  But thanks for the beer suggestions anyway.

Any cool coffee shops I should be sure to visit?

Thanks!!

$200k

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 05:33:17 PM »
Walk from the W to the Santa Fe train depot.  Hop on the "Coaster" and ride it up to the Encinitas station.  The train starts inland, but as you head further up, you'll get nice views of the Pacific as you pass Torrey Pines State Beach, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff, and then to Encinitas. 

Lofty Coffee Co. is two blocks north on the coast highway.  Grab your coffee and stroll down to Moonlight Beach.  Go back to the coast highway, walk south towards Swamis and check out the surf.  Or walk the garden at Swamis.

Darshan Bakery Cafe has great pastries and coffee.  Blue Ribbon Pizza is excellent. 

Zette

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2014, 07:27:15 PM »
This probably won't work for you because of the transportation problem, but a great (and free!) thing to do in SD is visit the Taylor Guitar factory.  Free tours every week day.

http://www.taylorguitars.com/contact/factory-tours

The factory is within walking distance of the trolley.  It'd take you about 30-45 min to get there on public transportation, but it can be done. 

Zette

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2014, 07:29:24 PM »
You can also take the Coaster to either Solana Beach or Carlsbad and get excellent CA style pizza (think crazy toppings) at Pizza Port.

Zette

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2014, 07:31:57 PM »
Take the Coronado Ferry from downtown to the island.  Much cheaper than a harbor cruise and just as pretty. 

capital

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2014, 11:17:22 PM »
I lived in La Jolla. It wasn't my favorite. But it's great to visit.

NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2014, 01:09:59 PM »
I will probably want to buy some basic groceries, so that I won't have to pay W prices for any meals.  Are there any Whole Foods kind of stores within walking distance of the W?

Thanks!

T-Rex

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2014, 09:33:49 PM »
Good restaurant: Khyber Pass (Afghani)
Good museum: USS Midway (WWII ship)
Good beach: La Jolla Cove (To look at the cute seals, but it is a little weird because there seems to be an ongoing war between people that want to walk right up to the seals, and people that think the beach should be closed off to people... I just look at them from above.)

dragoncar

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2014, 09:36:05 PM »
I will probably want to buy some basic groceries, so that I won't have to pay W prices for any meals.  Are there any Whole Foods kind of stores within walking distance of the W?

Thanks!

It's all fine and good to ask for recommendations, but in this case I think Google maps will be more helpful.

T-Rex

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2014, 09:37:18 PM »
There is an indie movie theater in Hillcrest at about 5th and University, you can park behind the flower stand next door. It is hidden upstairs by the 24 Hour Fitness gym.

ginastarke

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2014, 01:48:18 AM »
3  generation family favorite: Chicken Pie Shop 633 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104 My family loved it so much that my grandmother brought home a cooler of frozen pies every time she went down there.




NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2014, 05:53:08 AM »
Thanks, ginastarke, but I am a vegetarian.  No chicken pies for me.

Dragoncar--I did google Whole Foods and found that there doesn't seem to be one right downtown.  I found, with google, other grocery stores downtown, but it's hard for me to know what kind of selection they have (mostly processed crap or actual food?).  That's why I was asking for the input of local folks.

adesertsky

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2014, 07:40:15 AM »
The closest to WF in the area is Jimbo's, which is in Horton Plaza down the street.  I believe it is pricey but definitely has that natural foods vibe.  Your other option is Ralph's, which is a run of the mill supermarket with fresh and processed foods.  Keep in mind that California produce sections, even in the regular markets, are often spectacular.

NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2014, 08:44:14 AM »
Thanks so much for those ideas, adesertsky!

cbgg

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2014, 10:47:13 AM »
I used to live in SD.  I'd suggest Balboa part - especially on Tuesday because a few of the museums are free each Tuesday.  The botanical garden is always free (and gorgeous) and the coy pond outsides is a lovely place for a picnic.

The beach is always a great bet in SD.  La Jolla cove is probably the most unique beach (unusual, grainy sand, beautiful sea life, carved cliffs) but Ocean/Mission/Pacific offer more in the way of surfing or body surfing. 

Hiking is a great free activity as well.  Try Mission Trails or Kyle's Mountain (spelling?).

If you want great cheap food - burritos! 

Catbert

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2014, 01:11:48 PM »
For a funky movie theatre, take the #11 bus to Kensington neighborhood and go the Landmark's Ken theatre - the only single screen movie theatre left in the San Diego area.   Adams Ave is about 3 miles long and goes through Normal Heights and Kensington (the #11 bus runs the length of Adams).  On that 3 miles there are by my count 6 independent coffee shops (and 2 Starbucks) plus a huge range of (mostly) inexpensive restaurants.  Lestat's is the longest tenured coffee shop there.  It's a block away from a vegetarian restaurant with a name I can't remember (we just call it J-B's).  Several tattoo parlors if you want a permanent reminder of your visit to San Diego.

The #11 bus continues on to San Diego State University, it that's of any interest. 

NinetyFour

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2014, 01:49:05 PM »
Great info!  Thanks, mary w and cbgg!

MissPeach

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2014, 02:17:58 PM »
I will probably want to buy some basic groceries, so that I won't have to pay W prices for any meals.  Are there any Whole Foods kind of stores within walking distance of the W?

Thanks!

The W is just a few blocks from Little Italy.

Not sure when you are planning to go to SD but there is a grocery store planned for Little Italy called Hansens (similar to WF) a few blocks away but it won't open until this summer. There are some small independent grocery stores in Little Italy. Some are very overpriced. It will mostly be Italian foods being Little Italy. There are also a lot of overpriced 7-11s near your hotel.

Your closest large grocery stores currently in SD will be Jimbos (similar to WF) and Ralphs (similar to Safeway, Vons, etc.). They are about 3/4 mile but walking there you want to stay along Broadway because there are some rough areas in between at night. If you are there in a Saturday there is a great farmers market in Little Italy.

If you do plan to go out to eat there are some great restaurants in Little Italy. Little Italy is a date spot so many of them will be expensive, impress your date type places but most have good food. Buon Appetito, La Villa, and Prep Kitchen are some great places. La Villa is doing a $10 pizza promotion right now but everything I have tried there was great. There is also a Japanese ramen place that I hear is good. Another one if you want to go out for dessert is Cafe Zuccero. They sell gelato for $1.30 which is the cheapest place around if you want to go out and people watch. Extraordinary desserts is the trendy place but it's expensive and overpriced IMO. Prep kitchen has a huge pitcher of sangria for $15 until 7pm where you should be able to get about 8 glasses from it - it's the best drinking deal I have found Downtown. They also have great, cheap Papas Bravas for happy hour if you like Spanish tapas.

Some restaurants are very good and cheap. For example there is a little shack on India street that has great Mexican food for under $5 (but not a ton of vegetarian). My BF likes to order a taco for $2 and it's so big you can make it into several. There are a few good pizza places there too. One (NaPizza) uses mostly organic, local ingredients and is good. There is also an organic grassfed burger joint (with vegetarian burgers) called Burger Lounge. Kabab Shop is another good place for a cheap eat (they have veg options too). They also usually have spot and yelp coupons. Sometimes they are also running Groupons.

If you want to walk to the Gaslamp area there are a lot of overpriced tourist restaurants but there are a few good/cheap gems. For example Bice is a great Italian restaurant with $5 happy hour but I don't remember many veg options. If you want to work out the convention center stairs provide one of the best workouts if you want a Rocky Balboa type workout and there is a nice view when you finally reach the top.

If you are planning to visit Hillcrest, there is a Trader Joes and Whole Foods there. It's about a 3-4 mile walk. There is no trolley but there is a bus.

IMO Balboa Park is beautiful but all the food options there are overpriced tourist traps IMO so its best to bring your own food there.

If you have any non-vegetarian people and have some time I highly recommend visiting Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista. It's right off the blue line trolley just south of Downtown. It's a fast food style Mexican taco shop. They have the best Al Pastor tacos in southern CA IMO.

If you make it out to Kensington for that theater and want Mexican food, there is a great one right across the street but the name is escaping me right now. I think it's Ponces.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 02:25:57 PM by MissPeach »

Catbert

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2014, 12:16:39 PM »
Yep, "Ponces" is the Mexican restaurant in Kensington.  Personally, I've never been impressed; however, it is always packed, has been there for maybe 50 years and people come from all over the county to eat there.  I guess it's just me.

somepissedoffman

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Re: Looking for things to do and see (and eat and drink) in San Diego
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2014, 06:02:47 PM »
Lestat's is the longest tenured coffee shop there.  It's a block away from a vegetarian restaurant with a name I can't remember (we just call it J-B's). 

+1 for that vegetarian restaurant, I don't think anybody knows how to pronounce it.  Spelled 'Jyoti Bihangas'.  Everyone that works there is in a cult or something.  But it's a really nice cult, and the neatloaf is great.