The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss


Hello there! This weekend adventure takes place in the lovely San Diego, California. There are a variety of activities to do in this California city ranging from the Zoo to hiking, going to the beach or kayaking, visiting museums, food, parks, the list goes on and on. A few of my favorite stops on this weekend of exploring include hiking to potato chip rock, Ho Chi Minh Trail and Cabrillo National Monument. With the airport literally next to downtown, it is easy to get off the plane and get to exploring!

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California

Aside from visiting during June gloom, San Diego is a great destination to visit all year long! I recommend renting a car due to the distance between various activities around the city. Here are my 12 recommendations for a weekend getaway to mostly sunny San Diego:

1. Legends Gallery (Dr. Seuss Museum) & National Geographic Museum

Two smaller museums that are definitely worth stopping by when you visit La Jolla. If you want to be transported back to your childhood or you obsess over natgo on the daily, go ahead and drop by!

2. La Jolla Beach & Caves

The most basic San Diego thing to do is to visit the La Jolla cove and caves. You can check out the iconic cave, seals, plenty of birds, and brave the water if you can handle the chilly temps! You can even kayak into the caves if you sign up for a tour.

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - La Jolla Beach and Caves
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - La Jolla Beach and Caves
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - La Jolla Beach and Caves

3. The Colorwall, 7596 Eads Ave La Jolla, CA 92037

A great instagramable spot is the famous colorwall:

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Color Wall

4. Potato Chip Rock & Hike

About 30 minutes outside of town, you can go on a hike to see and stand on the famous potato chip rock! There are actually two ways to get to the top, but if you use google maps, it’ll take you up the shorter route where you just park on the side of the road and get to hiking! This was actually my first ever solo hike and it was very relaxing to not be distracted as I could be present and just enjoy the surroundings. I made it to the top and trusted a rando with my camera while I waited in line to stand on the terrifying-looking potato chip thin rock (sorry mom). The hike took me about 2 hours round trip, but depending how long you spend taking in the view or waiting in line for the rock the time could vary.

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Potato Chip Hike
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Potato Chip Hike

5. Balboa Park

Flowers, Japanese gardens, huge outdoor organs, museums, movie theaters, shops, fancy fountains, Balboa Park has something for just about everyone. With free parking available, it is relatively easy to visit and let the exploring begin! I was feeling lazy this day so I just walked around to check things out and here is was I saw along the way:

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Balboa Park
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Balboa Park

6. Unconventional Surrender Statue

It was fun to people watch at this particular location as couples shared similar PDA, bus tours filed in to take photos, I just kicked back on a nearby bench rather than snapping a pic and running to the next thing on the list. It was a good moment to just pause, which I think humans should do more often for many reasons. When you come check out the statue, head next door to enjoy dinner on the water! Also, if you arrive early enough enjoy boat tours or American history, I would recommend visiting the USS Midway Museum right next to this statue.

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Unconventional Surrender Statue

7. The Fish Market

Dinner on the water, yey! You are on the coast so that calls for seafood! This seafood market and restaurant has a variety of options: a more casual restaurant and sushi bar downstairs (these are two separate restaurants) and the upstairs fancier option $$$. While all three looked amazing in person and according to yelp, I opted for the downstairs option and sat outside to enjoy the water. Make sure you bring a jacket if you do, I got kinda cold since I visited during June gloom and it was breezy by the water. I ordered a salad and the fish tacos (recommended by my waiter because they have lots of flavor) and they were definitely yummy!

8. Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

Right smack dab in the middle of the city you can find this suspension bridge in local neighborhood. The bridge goes over a nonexistent river and served as a walking path for the locals getting their morning steps in.

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

9. Hillcrest Farmers Market

A great way to get to experience a city is by visiting a local farmers market to see what the locals have to offer. Being in California, this meant the produce was going to be AMAZINGLY fresh and yummy. Just enjoy these brightly colored peaches, cherries, succulents and more:

10. Sunset Cliffs

Come here for a nice stroll along the pacific coast, aside from a little bit of construction. Some of the cliffs are unstable and have been roped off for safety!

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Sunset Cliffs
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Sunset Cliffs

11. Cabrillo National Monument

If you are looking for a great view of the entire city of San Diego, make your way over to Cabrillo National Monument! Initially I was hoping to explore this secret cave, which I later found out the trail to get there was closed… but I ended up to be pleasantly surprised with some incredible views! You get a great view of the city and even a glimpse at Mexico, hola!

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Cabrillo National Monument
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Cabrillo National Monument
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Cabrillo National Monument

12. Ho Chi Minh Trail

I saw photos of this slot canyon online and knew I had to go. I checked out the trail on the All Trails app and it said it was only a 0.3 mile hike, easy right?.. Well jokes on me because the slot canyon got view narrow and steep at places real quick! I went as far I as felt comfortable, then decided to turn back since some other beach goers said it got tricky further down.

The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Ultimate Weekend in San Diego, California - Ho Chi Minh Trail

A few items still on the bucket list:

  • The San Diego Zoo
  • The strawberry field I saw too late passing by on my way back to LA
  • Secret Sea Cave

Overall, San Diego was fun to visit and explore, but I visited during “June Gloom” so the weather ended up being colder and cloudy most of the weekend instead of the sunny San Diego that I expected. If it is your first time visiting, I would recommend the San Fran area, Yosemite or other national parks, then LA then San Diego from my personal experience. I hope this inspires you to visit the beautiful state of California, to spend more time outside, to live your life to the fullest!

With wanderlust,

Haley

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