3 day trip ideas for visiting San Diego
I finally was able to go on a day trip to San Diego and play tourist! It’s been on the to-do list for a while, and I am happy to report my findings. I explored a couple places I’ve always wanted to see and was introduced a great hangout spot. When you work a desk job, it’s so important to maximize your weekends appropriately. I spend a lot of time during the week (ahem, when I should be working) planning what to do on our weekends. It’s always fun to explore new places. Or in this case, an oldie but goodie.
San Diego is so beautiful, and I sincerely love the vibe when I go down there. It’s so different from Los Angeles, and it’s nice to know that it’s only 3 hours away without traffic. Because you know traffic… it can suck up at least 1 to 6 hours (yes, 6, see my rant of LA here) if you’re unlucky. And we’ve all been there. The funny part of this though is that I don’t think I could live in San Diego. It’s too picturesque and cheerful and I worry that I would get bored of it, you know?
I like knowing I can visit and then leave, to always stay in awe of how lovely and relaxed it is as a city. If we ever settle down, I feel like there are other cities that may fit my personality more, but who knows? I really did enjoy my visit down there; I went with Eric and my sister-in-law Rachel.
Now I feel like I can share some of my experiences with everyone and hopefully some may find them helpful! We went to the San Diego Zoo, Liberty Station, and Balboa Park. I’ve never been to the zoo or Liberty Station, and I had a blast.
The San Diego Zoo
When you get to this zoo, you see why it’s world-class. These animals are probably some of the best cared for in the world. There’s so much to explore, so I felt it was necessary to get an annual pass. They have a special that allows you unlimited entrance to the zoo AND Safari Park that’s further north. The special came out to $135 for both Eric and myself! The zoo happened to have kept his old address from when he was a kid, and they applied a couple discounts on top of the special. So… we made out like thieves.
So what did we see?! Well, the first stop was to see the flamingos and OMG they were beautiful. I LOVE FLAMINGOS. I could watch them all day, and I got tons of pictures of them and even a video of them all chattering. They’re such interesting looking birds, and they sleep with one leg tucked up and their heads burrowed into their back feathers. I can’t get enough of them. Oh and we saw monkeys, they were cool too but not as cool as the flamingos. You have to do a huge loop around the park to see the monkeys, birds, fish, hippos, giraffes, lions, jaguars, polar bears, antelope, and elephants.
I will say that although I loved seeing all the animals, it made me sad to see them in cages. I know, what did I expect? Thankfully, they are well cared for, so at least there’s that. I’ve been told that in the San Diego Safari Park, all of the animals are able to roam with more space. The San Diego Zoo was a special experience, and I can’t wait to go back!
Rachel took us to see Liberty Station, which is about 20 minutes away from the zoo. Ever since Eric and I went to London and walked around the Borough Market, I’ve been itching to see more market-type places. Liberty Station has that vibe. It’s a mix of artsy shops, restaurant stalls and coffee shops. Rachel ate at this place called Roast which makes very tasty meat sandwiches and salads. Eric and I ventured into the group of restaurant stalls to try something else. My Pad Thai wasn’t exactly thrilling, and he got some sort of sub sandwich. Needless to say, we missed out by not eating at Roast.
There were a couple places that showcased beautiful desserts and honestly there was quite a display of different cuisines. I would definitely go back to give some other places a try. Too many choices normally overwhelm me because I just want to eat everything. So it makes me sad when I choose incorrectly.
We went to Moniker Coffee afterward and hung out on a patio next to a bonfire area. It was peaceful and if you’re a fan of watching airplanes, it was a great spot to watch the planes go by.
Another great place to visit in the San Diego area is Balboa Park. It’s rich with Spanish architecture, museums, street performers, and a giant koi pond. For my bachelorette weekend, my wedding party took me there for a scavenger hunt. It was so much fun, but I had bronchitis and I was out of it, so it was nice to return and see the park again – this time healthier! You can hear several people playing different instruments, both the talented and the learners. There are street artists and people hula hooping for money if you’re excited by that.
Oddly, there are dozens of different religious booths set up to answer any questions you might have, and if that’s not your thing, don’t stop there. The koi pond is right there. It’s a giant pond with some of the most beautiful koi I’ve ever seen. They’re HUGE. You can walk along the side and watch as the almost dolphin-sized (slightly exaggerated) koi swim with you.
The other fun perk about Balboa Park is that it’s literally next door to the San Diego Zoo. Like same parking lot. You could feasibly plan your whole day around the two places. Balboa park also has several festivals year-round and so much to see that I would highly recommend making a day of seeing both places.
I truly enjoyed playing tourist down in San Diego. Can’t wait to go back!