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1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

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San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 10,811
reviews: 82
1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

Hey Everybody - I have a very nice "problem" about which I would like some advice. My husband and I are driving down to San Diego on Thursday, staying with family, and attending a wedding on Saturday in Tecate. We are then driving home (San Jose) on Sunday. So this will be a very quick trip. The "problem" is that due to everyone else's work schedule and last minute wedding preparations, we have Friday completely free. We hadn't planned on doing any sightseeing this trip, so I hadn't give any thought to it. We had planned to hang out with family, go to the wedding, and come home. But now we have free time and want to make the most of it.

Sooooo...what should we do with our day? We have both been to SD a few times before, but the last time we were down there was several years ago. We've done most of the major sightseeing things in the past, so I am looking for some ideas for secondary stuff that maybe people miss initially. It looks like the weather should be quite nice - clear, highs in the 70s - so we are thinking about outside activities, but would be up for museums and things if there are some good exhibits in town.

We have a pretty wide set of interests - art, food, beer and wine, the outdoors, the ocean, architecture, history, boating... not so much shopping but we will poke around a few interesting shops here and there and I am a sucker for a good museum gift shop.

So any recommendations?

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 24,255
reviews: 13
1. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

Well, have you explored the Old Town State Park area, and the Junipero Serra Museum in nearby Presidio Park.

And how about Balboa Park, plenty of great Museums to check out.

If you like the outdoors, you could head to North Eastern San Diego County and do a loop drive of Casinos, where you can get some good food and drink, some freebies for signing up for the slot clubs, stop at some farmer's market stands and check out some other sights along the way.

I would start at the Pala Casino, followed by Casino Pauma, Harrah's Rincon, and end up at the Valley View Casino, where they will give you a free Lobster Buffet just for signing up, then head to Escondido and back to San Diego.

Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 2,576
reviews: 102
2. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday


You may want to check out the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park. It's a collection of studios and galleries where you can see artists at work and what they have for sale.


You could go north of La Jolla to Torrey Pines Gliderport and Torrey Pine State Reserve.



Or, if you're up for a day trip, head east to the small 1850's gold mining town of Julian with its shops and apple pie. To get there, though, drive past the Julian exit (CA 79) on I-8 and go to the Sunrise Highway exit. The Sunrise Highway will take you through the Mount Laguna Recreation Area and you'll be up about 6,000 feet with great views to the Anza-Borrego Desert below. Then re-join CA 79 north into Julian. (You can take CA 79 back to I-8 through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.)




San Diego...
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 17,399
3. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

Have you been to Downtown San diego where the USS Midway, Maritime Museum, Seaport Village are? It's also where you can take a Harbor Cruise.

Where are you staying? If you'd like to enjoy some good beer w/o driving it would help to know so we can advise you where you can go.

La Jolla, California
posts: 120
4. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday


There are Jet Ski Rentals & Tours at San Diego Bay with San Diego Bay Adventures if you want to engage in an outdoor activity.

If you want to enjoy food & drinks, spend some time in Little Italy.

You can also enjoy your day in La Jolla - maybe go kayaking around the Cove then have lunch or dinner in The Village.

Dallas, Texas
posts: 39
reviews: 140
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5. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

Well, if money is no object I've been watching the Sail Stars & Stripes USA-11 sailing in San Diego Bay (while learning to sail on a much much smaller boat) and it looks like an awesome experience. Beautiful views from an America's Cup boat? Yes!

I second the idea of La Jolla Village. You could also consider driving up the coast a bit, through beach towns like Del Mar, Solana Beach (nice arts district) and Encinitas.

Renting bikes and cruising around Mission Beach area and the surrounding bays can be fun too. Good luck!

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 10,811
reviews: 82
6. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

Thanks for the great suggestions. I knew you guys would have good ideas :-)

We are staying with family in northern San Diego - near Rancho Bernardo. Their address is San Diego, but they are almost to Escondido. They moved to this neighborhood since the last time we visited and I am completely unfamiliar with this part of town. New stuff to see. So given their location, it might be a good opportunity to visit the north county beach areas.

I haven't been to Torrey Pines, so maybe a hike around there, visit to the beach, and then poking around Solana Beach or something would be good.

I've always wanted to get out to Julian and Anza Borego, but I think we will probably save that for another trip when we have more time. With the long drive down and then back home, I don't think we will want to spend much time in the car on Friday :-)

Restaurant recommendations are always good, most definitely. I suspect that there will not be anything within walking distance of our family's house though - so one of us will have to be the DD.

San Diego...
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 17,399
7. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

I would definitely head over to the coast. Carlsbad is a good place to start and drive down the coast. It's a scenic drive and you pass through the beach towns. Stop at Moonlight Beach and then Cedros shopping street in Solana Beach. You can spend several hours just stopping here and there.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 10,811
reviews: 82
8. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

Solana Beach sounds like it might be a good place to poke around for a little bit - I know I said we aren't really into shopping, but I might want to shop for some jewelry. I realized that I don't have a good necklace to wear with my dress to the wedding, so maybe I will find something good in our wanderings. I usually go toward artistic jewelry with natural materials - stone, wood, glass, metals - some gems, but not the really precious stuff. So any recommendations for places to find this type of jewelry would be great. Handmade stuff by local artists especially.

San Diego
posts: 37
reviews: 1
9. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

The Bernardo Winery, which is right by where your relatives live, has some neat little shops and restaurants. It's mostly antique-type stuff, but there are at least two jewelry shops so they might have what you're looking for.

Encinitas, CA
Destination Expert
for Encinitas
posts: 502
reviews: 10
10. Re: 1 free day in San Diego - this Friday

If you stop off in Encinitas, try the Offtrack Gallery in the Old Lumberyard Shopping center. It's the store for the San Diequito Art Guild, several of the artists do interesting jewelry.


I prefer downtown Encinitas shopping to the Cedros Design District, but of course I may be biased :-)