San Diego is home to some of the friendliest Uber drivers I have ever met. I don’t know if this is a fact, but it’s definitely something that I noticed when I was there.
And besides the nice people that inhabit this city, San Diego is obviously a beautiful place to visit. Having had a rough start to 2017, I was looking forward to my spring break and escaping the East Coast.
I would’ve stayed longer had my schedule allowed it, but unfortunately, I could not. I’ll definitely take more pictures if I return one day, because there’s just so much to see in San Diego!
Until then, here’s a recap of my 3-night stay in “America’s Finest City.”
March 6, 2017
I had quite an interesting ride from San Diego International Airport to my Airbnb, as the Uber driver began recounting stories about his life abroad as a former military employee. Apparently, he had once witnessed a stampede of animals from a clifftop in Africa. Pretty cool, if you ask me!
When I arrived at my Airbnb*, I met up with my friend from college who had flown in from South Carolina. We sat down to chat with the Airbnb host before dropping off our bags and beginning Day 1.
*(If you use this link to sign up with Airbnb, you’ll get a $40 travel credit towards your next trip! I believe this credit never expires, so definitely take advantage of it if you’re new to Airbnb. Click here to claim your $40 travel credit.)
As the sun began to set, my friend and I took an Uber to the first stop on our itinerary: Balboa Park.
Museums had closed by that time, so we simply walked around and admired the architecture. My favorite spot at the center of the premises was the Botanical Building and Lily Pond, pictured below.
We then hopped into an Uber and made our way to Little Italy, with hopes of dining at The Crack Shack (a popular outdoor restaurant).
Unfortunately, it started getting really cold outside, so my friend and I decided to skip fried chicken. *Cries.* Instead, we looked for a place with indoor seating and wound up ordering Italian food at Solunto Restaurant & Bakery. (Not sure I would go back, but it wasn’t a terrible choice!)
March 7, 2017
Starting the day bright and early, we rented a car from the Enterprise at Hotel Circle and drove for less than half an hour to La Jolla.
After stopping by Vons for snacks and drinks, we made our way to Torrey Pines Gliderport, a flight school situated on top of some enormous cliffs.
Good news: plenty of free parking here! Bad news? Nada.
^Take a moment to admire the beauty of Torrey Pines.
After soaking in the view from Gliderport, we took a stairway path that led from the cliffs down to Blacks Beach.
I should mention it’s a clothing-optional beach.
But don’t let that deter you from visiting this beautiful, secluded area! It was easily one of the highlights of my trip.
Next up on the list? La Jolla Cove!
We found a free 2-hour parking spot in the Prospect Street shopping area and stopped by Ellen Browning Scripps Park. At the park, there were lots of students relaxing on the grass and enjoying the sunny afternoon.
On our way to go see the sea lions, we took a flight of steps down to the Shell Beach tide pools. It’s a pretty small beach, so I’d recommend checking it out while you’re at La Jolla Cove.
Afterwards, we made our way to the Children’s Pool and saw a bunch of seals and their pups resting on the closed-off area of the shore. Obviously, I had to take photos.
We then rushed back to George’s at the Cove: Ocean Terrace, a popular rooftop restaurant on Prospect Street. Luckily, we made it in time for our lunch reservation and even switched our table to one right by the glass pane. I thoroughly enjoyed the view of the ocean as I stuffed my face with my overpriced fish sandwich. Yum!
After lunch, we made a quick stop at La Jolla Shores Park and hopped back in the car to visit Mt. Soledad.
Plot twist: we didn’t make it! My friend actually missed the exit on the highway so we ended up driving to Sunset Cliffs instead.
I watched the sunset, as my friend climbed down from the viewing point to take photos by the water. Call me a scaredy-cat but the area below seemed a bit dangerous to me.
Once the sun set completely, I told my friend it was time to bounce. (AKA stomach-ache. Bad night. No follow-up questions.)
March 8, 2017
The roads in San Diego are pretty chaotic, so my friend (who did all the driving) happily dropped off our rental car. From the Enterprise at Mission Valley, we headed over to Snooze AM Eatery for a heavy brunch in Hillcrest.
While filling up on eggs benedict, hash browns, and other breakfast foods, we caught up on life and talked about our post-grad transitions.
After brunch, we called another Uber and hopped into the car of our favorite driver from the whole trip: a gregarious man in his late fifties. The two of us bonded over Key & Peele, talked about the film industry, and discussed the movie “Get Out.” A fun conversation overall!
Upon arriving at Point Loma Peninsula, our driver showed us around the area—completely free of charge. He drove by Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, all the way up to Cabrillo National Monument, and then back down to the Point Loma tide pools.
With sweeping views of the ocean before us, my friend and I snapped lots of photos of sea critters (i.e. hermit crabs, sea urchins, and sea slugs) and observed the tide pools like little kids.
If tide pooling is your thing, this is the best spot in San Diego!
*TIP 1: Be sure to wear pants that you won’t mind getting a little muddy or wet. And DO NOT wear flip flops! Even with proper shoes, you might slip and fall like my friend and I both did.
*TIP 2: Have your ride sorted out beforehand! You won’t get any cell reception here, so Uber is a no-go for the drive back up.
Luckily for us, we were able to hitch a ride back up the hill with three kind women who dropped us off at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Here, we took in the ocean view at a whale-watching viewpoint and explored the neighboring museum.
After a quick photo in front of Cabrillo National Monument, we took a bus from the museum back to the Point Loma entrance gate. From there, we Ubered to Ocean Beach.
As we walked along the pier at Ocean Beach, we hovered over the railing to watch a few surfers and paddle boarders having the time of their lives.
I also had the time of my life…eating a Snickers ice cream bar and cooling down from the San Diego heat.
From Ocean Beach, my friend and I headed over to Mission Beach, while having another great chat with the Uber driver that picked us up. This guy was from Minnesota and hadn’t lived in San Diego for more than a few years. Still, he seemed to know a lot of random facts about the city and had some great stories to share with us.
Once we arrived at the beach, my friend and I found a spot on the sand and sunbathed for about an hour tops. We then walked over to the oceanfront amusement park and ended up rock-climbing in the area by the arcade. Totally on a whim!
We quickly befriended the employees there, and they cheered us on as we struggled to reach the top of the wall. My arms felt like jello by the end of the night, but I honestly didn’t care. The experience was completely worth it.
Catching a morning flight meant having to wake up super early. Thankfully, we were able to make one last stop at the San Diego Airport. And obviously, it involved food!
Despite the pricey menu, we decided to have breakfast at Pacifica Breeze Café before saying goodbye. It was definitely a great way to end the trip.
Overall, what a short but memorable time in this beautiful city! Tourists of all ages will find plenty of activities to do here so, I would recommend a San Diego vacation to pretty much anyone.
If you enjoyed reading or (skimming) through this photo diary, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your past or future adventures in San Diego! 🙂
*P.S. All photos were taken on my Sony Alpha a6000. It’s a great camera!