10 Things to Do in San Diego

Are you visiting San Diego this year? If you're looking for some fun things to do or delicious places to eat, look no further! Here are 10 things we did during our time in San Diego.

  • Take the ferry to Coronado Island. The white, sandy beaches on Coronado Island have been rated some of the best in the nation. You don't want to miss them! You can also walk through Downtown Coronado (there are some really fun shops and restaurants there), and explore the Hotel Del Coronado (which opened in 1888). If you don't like the idea of traveling by ferry, you can drive over the San Diego-Coronado Island Bridge and reach the same destination.
  • Walk around Balboa Park. We explored the greenhouse and spent time outside on the grounds. On a day with great weather, this is an absolute must-do. There were several families with young children sitting on park benches and eating packed lunches. It was adorable.
  • Grab lunch at Mission Beach. At Mission Beach, we walked on the boardwalk and grabbed a delicious lunch at Amplified Aleworks. Mission Beach wasn't much different than our boardwalk in Virginia Beach, but Amplified Aleworks was awesome. The food was great, and they played a constant stream of Led Zeppelin.
  • See the seals at La Jolla. This was the highlight of our time in San diego! We walked around La Jolla Cove, watched the seals bark at each other and bask in the sunshine like swimsuit models, and even explored a cave underneath the gift shop.
  • Watch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs. Pretty self-explanatory, right? We watched the sunset with friends here, and it was absolutely gorgeous. The scenery was breathtaking! The weather, however, was much colder than expected. If you decide to do this in January, bring a jacket.
  • Eat a burrito at Lucho Libre: Kyle got an authentic California-style burrito for dinner, and he loved it. There were french fries inside. Yup. Amazing.
  • Drive to the Cabrillo National Monument: We didn't originally plan on visiting this monument, but the view of San Diego Bay was spectacular. I highly recommend it! 
  • Explore the Point Loma Tide Pools: The scenery here was fantastic. It was a short walk from the parking lot to the tide pools, and the view was beautiful. The tide pools are literally right around the corner from the Cabrillo National Monument, so you can visit them together.
  • Walk around Downtown San Diego: We drove/walked around the Gaslamp Quarter and saw the infamous convention center (where Comic-Con is held every year). We also got breakfast for dinner at Brian's 24, which was delicious.
  • Eat dinner at Blue Water Seafood: Oh my gosh. This was my favorite restaurant in San Diego. Actually, I think it's my favorite restaurant of all time! When you order at Blue Water, you choose your fish, your marinade, and how you want it served. For instance, you could get bourbon butter halibut tacos. Or, you could get blackened grouper over a salad. You customize your order completely, and you're guaranteed a fresh, delicious meal. They also serve amazing, crispy waffle fries and homemade ranch.

Have you been to San Diego? Would you add anything to this list? Comment below!

3 Days in Los Angeles

Last month, Kyle and I visited California for the first time ever. The warm sunshine was a welcome relief from Virginia's freezing temperatures. The post-holiday blues were real this year, but they quickly disappeared as we cruised along the Pacific Coast Highway.

We spent a total of three days in LA. On our first day, we walked around the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Our AirBnB was right in the middle of Hollywood, so it only took us a few minutes to walk there. The Walk of Fame runs over a mile along Hollywood Boulevard and includes more than 2,500 stars embedded in the sidewalk. The coral-pink, brass-rimmed stars are essentially public monuments to celebrate successful men and women in the entertainment industry. (Some fun facts: 1. Anyone can nominate a celebrity for a star, but the star must provide written consent for the nomination. 2. Every nomination application must include a sponsor who will pay the $30,000 fee to create, install, and maintain the star. 3. Fictional celebrities are allowed! Mickey Mouse was the first to be inducted in 1978.)

While strolling along the Walk of Fame, we stopped at Grauman's Chinese Theater. The theater opened in 1927 and has since been home to several movie premieres, including the 1977 launch of Star Wars. In 2013, the owners partnered with IMAX to create the largest IMAX auditorium in the world. It seats 932 people! In front of the Chinese Theater are several concrete blocks with handprints, footprints, and signatures of popular motion picture personalities.

We ended our first day by grabbing dinner at Outlaws Cafe with a friend who moved to California to pursue writing/directing. The restaurant served amazing burgers with giant steak fries, garlic parmesan chips, and brownies with cayenne pepper. It was amazing!

On our second day, we explored Venice Beach and Santa Monica. We encountered some interesting souls at Venice Beach. We did a good bit of people watching as we made our way down the boardwalk! Kyle and I both loved Santa Monica. We really enjoyed walking around Pier 66 and riding the Pacific Wheel. Despite January being off-season, Pacific Park was flooded with tourists. The weather was absolutely perfect, though.

On our third day, we drove to Malibu and hiked Point Dume. Our walk to the peak of Point Dume was easy and fun. The scenic view was stunning. In the distance, we could see white sand beaches, gently sloping mountains, and an endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean. It was a cooler day, and the beaches were quiet and secluded. Apparently, from this point, you can sometimes spot whales along the coast.

My favorite part of our time in Los Angeles occurred that night, when we drove to the Griffith Observatory at sunset. It was really crowded at the top, so we parked half a mile from the observatory. The walk up was steep but relaxing, and there were several hiking trails leading down into the canyon below. 

The Griffith Observatory offers spectacular views of Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign, and the Pacific Ocean. It opened in 1935, and it's now renowned as a national leader in public astronomy. Inside the observatory, you can see a variety of things, such as astronomical tools and landscapes, planetary exhibits, a depiction of the history of the universe, scale models of the solar system, and meteorite displays. A small fee is charged for planetarium shows, but admission to the grounds and buildings is free.  

After walking around the building for awhile, we watched the sun go down. It was the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen. The colors were so rich and vivid, and the smog created a serene, hazy glow. We got lucky because it was pretty cloudy that day, and we didn't think the sun would peep through the clouds. In the beginning, it was hard to see anything, but halfway through, the sun exploded into a dizzying array of oranges and yellows. It was gorgeous. 

After three days in Los Angeles, we jumped on the Pacific Coast Highway and headed to San Diego.