Travel to San Diego, California – Episode 848

categories: USA Travel

Things to do in San Diego (Podcast)

Hear about things to do in San Diego California as the Amateur Traveler talks to Maria Hasse from about her adopted hometown.

Why should you go to San Diego?

Maria says, “Because it’s the best city in the world. No, seriously. The weather’s always perfect. It doesn’t get much colder than 55 degrees in the winter. And it doesn’t get really hot in the summer. Usually, it stays around 75 to 85 degrees depending on where you’re at in the county. And the sun’s always shining except for this winter, of course. And there’s just so much to do. There’s so much variety. You can go literally surfing and skiing in one day and that is something that not a lot of places offer. It is one of my favorite places and I travel a lot, so that means something.”

Maria recommends you split a week-long itinerary spending part of the time downtown and part of the time at the beach. Families traveling with kids should consider some of the kid-friendly destinations like LEGOLAND California and Sesame Place San Diego, but people of all ages should see the San Diego Zoo and/or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. You will want a rental car to get to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which is located north of the city in Escondido, but Maria recommends that much of the rest of your itinerary can be accomplished with public transportation or Uber.

The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park which is not far from downtown. Balboa Park includes places to hike but also includes 18 world-class museums including museums about science, art, space, automobiles, model railroads, history, and natural history. Maria recommends the new Comic-Con Museum for fans of Comic art.

In the downtown area, Maria informs us that Little Italy has gotten a facelift. It has a new piazza and food hall. It has great events and a farmer’s market. There are a number of great restaurants in Little Italy, but some of Maria’s favorites… are not Italian.

On the waterfront, Maria recommends a visit to the Star of India sailing ship which is part of the maritime museum, and the USS Midway aircraft carrier. She also recommends a tour of the bay in an amphibious vehicle with the San Diego Seal Tour.

To get some time on the coast, Maria sends us north to La Jolla. Here you can enjoy the shopping and also their coastal walk where you are likely to see sea otters, seals or sea lions. She recommends taking a kayak tour there to some of the sea caves. 

Further up the coast, you can visit Oceanside with its surfing museum and the “Top Gun” House which is now a pie shop. You can also go hiking along the bluffs of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. In the spring, don’t miss the flower fields in Carlsbad. Seafood lovers can visit an aqua farm which is also in Carlsbad.

Take in a concert at the Rady Shell or a baseball game at Petco Park, then grab dinner in the Gaslamp District in the heart of downtown. The Gaslamp comes alive in the evening with a number of bars and high-end restaurants. 

Barrio Logan is a great neighborhood to connect with San Diego’s Hispanic roots. Get a hot dog at Barrio Dogg or street tacos at Salud Tacos and then explore Chicano Park under the 5 freeway.

Maria describes her favorite restaurants in all these neighborhoods including North and South Park where you can also find a few craft breweries. 

For side trips, Maria recommends a visit to Tijuana, and then wine lovers should consider heading further south into Baja to the Valle de Guadalupe where they can find Baja’s wine region.

She also recommends a visit to Julian and to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for a desert hike. Anza-Borrego also has a large collection of large metal sculptures. In the Julien area, you can also find the Endangered Wolf Center and a number of competing pie shops. See if you can pick a favorite apple pie. 

A week-long itinerary won’t give you time to see everything in San Diego, but it might give you enough time to fall in love with the “best city in the world”.



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Show Notes

San Diego Explorer
Europe Up Close
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Zoo vs. San Diego Safari Park
LEGOLAND California
Sesame Place San Diego
Little Italy Association of San Diego
Maritime Museum of San Diego
USS Midway Museum
Balboa Park
Comic-Con Museum
Piazza della Famiglia
Little Italy Food Hall
Filippis Pizza Grotto
Monello Italian Restaurant
Queenstown Public House
Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market
La Jolla by the Sea
Top La Jolla Kayaking Tours
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
La Jolla Kayak
San Diego Bay Amphibious Vehicle Seal Tour
Rady Shell at Jacobs Park
Gaslamp Quarter Downtown San Diego
Petco Park
Lou and Mickeys (Gaslamp Quarter)
Lavo Italian Restaurant (Gaslamp Quarter)
Dobson’s Bar and Restaurant (Gaslamp Quarter)
Lumi (Gaslamp Quarter)
Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop (Gaslamp Quarter)
Huntress Steak
Barrio Logan, San Diego – Food and Arts with Mexican Roots
Las Cuatro Milpas (Barrio Logan)
Ciccia Osteria (Barrio Logan)
Barrio Dogg (Barrio Logan)
Salud Tacos (Barrio Logan)
North Park, San Diego
Louisiana Purchase (North Park)
Soi 30th (North Park)
The Friendly (North Park)
The Smoking Goat (North Park)
Mike Hess Brewing (North Park)
Modern Times (North Park)
The Original 40 (North Park)
Rip Current (North Park)
Oceanside CA Things To Do: Surfing, Shopping, History and Food – California Travel
Farmers Market (Oceanside)
California Surf Museum
‘Top Gun’ House / Famouse High Pie (Oceanside)
Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen (Oceanside)
Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub (Oceanside)
Mission Pacific Hotel (Oceanside)
The Seabird Resort (Oceanside)
Carlsbad Village
Carlsbad Flower Fields
Carlsbad Premium Outlets
Carlsbad Aquafarm
Avenida Revolucion
Caesar’s (Tijuana)
Tijuana Taco Tour
Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley)
Valle de Guadalupe
Casa Pedro Domecq (Valle de Guadalupe)
El Cielo Winery and Resort (Valle de Guadalupe)
Casa Frida (Valle de Guadalupe)
Julian, California
Eagle Rock
Endangered Wolf Center
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Exploring the Metal Sculptures of Anza Borrego and Galleta Meadows – California Through My Lens
Apple Alley Bakery (Julian)
Mom’s Pie House (Julian)
Peohe’s (Coronado)


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Things to do in San Diego (Podcast) #san-diego #california #things-to-do #places #side-trip #travel #vacation #trip #holiday Things to do in San Diego (Podcast) #san-diego #california #things-to-do #places #side-trip #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

One Response to “Travel to San Diego, California – Episode 848”

Justin Barnes


I really enjoyed all of the great recommendations; she has suggested some of the best places in both San Diego and North County, both well-known and under-the-radar. I have only a couple additional comments and suggestions for San Diego. First, San Diego is renowned for its speakeasys, with several across town, including both Prohibition and Youngblood in the Gaslamp, False Idol in Little Italy, and Raised By Wolves in La Jolla. There is an excellent article on Eater that has a more comprehensive list around the county. Second, the single best place for eating and drinking in San Diego is in North Park, at the corner of 30th and Adams. You can choose from craft cocktails at Polite Provisions, Mexican food and mezcal margaritas at Cantina Mayahuel, ramen at Tajima, and southeast Asian food at Nood Bar (N-O-O-D, as in Noodles). Each of those places is top 3 or so for its respective cuisine. Third, related to second, the best bites, or individual dishes, in San Diego are the spicy sesame ramen at Tajima, duck confit at La Bonne Table in Hillcrest, the chicken fried steak at Waterfront in Little Italy, the Carni Miste platter for 2 at Rovino in Little Italy, and the Ribeye Taco at Coal Brothers in Downtown.

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