8   74
4   38
12   74
11   62
6   61
5   90
11   80
9   94

america’s finest city – what we love to do in san diego

San Diego is a wonderful place. The weather is pretty much always perfect and the people are just as nice as the weather… it’s amazing!

Greg and I have been to San Diego twice before and loved it, so it was a no brainer that we’d celebrate our 1st anniversary there.

so here’s what we did:

We flew into LA because there is no direct flight to San Diego from Columbus and I hate flying (one plane per day is the way) so connecting flights are never an option (LOL). Although, after being in LA for 5 minutes, I think I’d do a connecting flight just to land directly in San Diego and avoid the attitudes and the cluster at LAX.

ANYWAY, we got to San Diego around 11AM and headed straight to Firehouse American Eatery & Lounge for brunch. They have a great bottomless brunch (Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm). You pay $16 per person and get an unlimited amount of champagne… BOTTLES. Yep, its not your typical bottomless brunch where you get a bunch of “mimosas” that are mostly orange juice, this is the real deal.

I really love mimosas…

Where we Stayed…

We stayed at the Lafayette Hotel & Swim Club in North Park. This place isn’t super fancy or anything, but they have a killer pool and a great restaurant. Everyone who works here is a pleasure to interact with. Wilson was our GUY at Hope 46 (the restaurant in the hotel). He was absolutely amazing, never left us wanting for anything wether it be a drink or breakfast! If you’re in San Diego on a Friday in the Summer-time, they have something called Film & Float, you can swim in the pool while enjoying a movie on a huge screen!

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the pool at the Lafayette Hotel (I don’t own this image)
the peach mimosa at the Lafayette is DELICIOUS. I always ask for just a splash of juice because prosecco is too good to cover the taste up with juice!

gaslamp quarter

After that, it was too early to check into our hotel so we headed downtown (the Gaslamp Quarter) to walk around and people watch.

The Gaslamp is full of a bunch of great restaurants and fun things to do. FYI the best pizza in the Gaslamp is at Ciro’s Pizzeria. They have a few great beers on tap and a full bar if you’re hoping for a drink with your pizza.

Greg is afraid of heights but he loves this view!

One of our favorite places to visit downtown is the Altitude Sky Lounge. It’s on the 22nd floor of the Marriott hotel on K street. The views are insane. You can actually look right into Petco Park from one side (we went there during a baseball game and were able to look right at home plate).

WINE… OF COURSE

If you like Wine, Napa isn’t the only place in California to get the good stuff. Escondido and Temecula are home to some of the greatest wineries you’ll ever visit and they’re BEAUTIFUL. We spent a morning in Temecula and shared tastings at 4 wineries. YES, shared (drinking and driving is for losers). The tastings at each winery ranged from $15 – $30 per person, so it’s worth it to split them, unless you hire a driver and like both dry and sweet wine. Greg and I have very different taste in wine so sharing works well for us, I enjoy the semi-sweet/dry wines and he enjoys the super dry ones.

Wineries visited in Temecula: Europa Village (try the Pinot Grigio, you’ve never tasted one like it), Doffo Winery (if you like motorcycles, you’ll love this place), Chapin Family Vineyards (they have a nice outside seating area, but I can’t remember anything that really stood out to me aside from the man that helped us at the tasting bar, he was awesome!), Domaine Artefact Vinyeard & Winery was the last one we visited and I really enjoyed their Grenache Blanc (we both liked this one so much we bought a bottle).

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Cordiano Winery – 15732 Highland Valley Road, Escondido, CA
(I don’t own this image)

Escondido Wineries: We only visited two wineries in Escondido, we had been to both of them before during our first trip in April 2017 and we absolutely loved them so we knew we wanted to visit again! If you’re ever in San Diego and you like wine, you absolutely have to visit Bernardo Winery. It’s its own mini-village. You get your tasting, then take a 2 minute walk to their tiny chocolate shop for a piece of chocolate to pair with your wine, it’s the best!

Last but not least, Cordiano Winery. The Italian couple that owns this is serious about their wine and their food! You HAVE to get the breadsticks and the pizza here (It’s amazing!) and the views will take your breath away.

where to go & what to see

We were there during the fourth of July and did some research before hand to find out the best spots to watch fireworks. WELL, turns out there’s a few areas where you can go to watch FIVE fireworks displays going off at the same time. We chose Shelter Island, there was a display right over our heads and four others just in the distance to our left. It was magical.

coronado island & the hotel del coronado

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I mean… look at this place!
(I don’t own this image)

No, we didn’t stay here. Although, we will one day (I hope). The Hotel Del Coronado is located on Coronado Island and it’s BEAUTIFUL. They have a few restaurants and shops as well as stunning beaches. One of the things I LOVE about San Diego is that you can have a fire on the beach! We went at night and there were a ton of hotel guests sitting around their own fire pits. The bridge to get to Coronado Island is a little intimidating, especially if you don’t love bridges, but I promise it’s worth it. Coronado island is a great place to spend the day. Theres lots of great restaurants and shops. It’s worth going over the crazy bridge for!

bali hai

We love Bali Hai! We ate here for our anniversary and it was a real treat. Greg and I had been before with my mom on our second trip to San Diego and we loved the food. We ordered the coconut shrimp, Greg had the lobster stir fry and I went with the steak. This restaurant is also located on Shelter Island and the views are worth the price of the food!

boat tour

We didn’t do a boat tour during this trip, but I’m adding it to this because we did it on our first trip to San Diego and it was really cool. We learned a TON about the military presence there and got to see a bunch of super cute sea lions and seals!

my advice

1. Rent a car. Uber is expensive and adds up. San Diego is a great city to drive in, people are friendly on the road and everything is only a 15 minute drive. We stayed in North Park and could get to Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and Downtown in 10-15 minutes. Obviously it all depends on where you’re staying, but I definitely recommend getting a car if you want to spend your time in different areas of the city.

2. Explore outside of the beaches (if you’re staying at one). If you do get a car, Carlsbad is a 40 minute drive from San Diego and it’s worth the drive. The beaches are STUNNING and the town is quaint with super cute shops. Not to mention that you can drive part of the way on the 101 highway which is right next to the ocean!

3. Go to La Jolla! You can pretty much always see some seals or sea lions there. It’s a pretty town, you can spend a couple of hours exploring the cliffs or hanging out on the beach.

4. Eat seafood. I hate seafood. BUT I eat it in san Diego.

5. Don’t over-plan! I never over-plan my vacations because you’ll always end up seeing something else you want to do and if your whole day is rigidly planned, you won’t have time to do other random stuff! San Diego is that kind of place for us, we always end up doing a ton of different things when we only had one thing in mind.

6. The most OBVIOUS, eat In-N-Out. Listen, I love McDonalds (because chicken nuggets), but In-N-Out is the kind of place that doesn’t leave you feeling sick after you eat it because the food is fresh. French fries that aren’t frozen and have no preservatives (woot woot!).

7. GO TO LUCHA LIBRE (two locations) AND ORDER THE BASIC CALIFORNIA BURRITO. In my opinion it’s better without the cheese, but your call.

Please feel free to ask ANY questions about anything in the pictures or in the words!

with love & gratitude,

stef

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