This board was so helpful as we were planning our trip (we were in SD from Jan 7-15). Thanks, everyone!
We stayed at the Balboa Park Inn for half the week, Grande Colonial in La Jolla for the other half. Both were perfect and exactly what we needed. I recommend both places. I will post my reviews for those hotels.
Thanks to Chissis for the terrific restaurant recommendations. We enjoyed a lunch at the Prado so much that we went back for dinner. The kids (and parents!) had a terrific lunch at the Corvette Diner. We loved Taste of Thai & El Zarape. Breakfasts were mostly spent at Hash House A-Go-Go and Harry's in La Jolla (my grandparents used to go there ;-)) It was so nice to have recommendations rather than shoot in the dark!
During our week we went:
To Cabrillo/Point Loma - foggy and wonderful, exploratory fun. My daughter found a starfish in a tidepool.
On a whale watching tour with Harbor Excursions - breathtaking - one of the best whale watching days ever, according to the Birch folks).
To Coronado Island - the bridge was free (no tolls this time of year?), Coronado was fun to walk around, and we had a blast on the beach at the Hotel Del.
To the zoo - did the guided bus tour to get oriented and then spent a wonderful day there. The polar bears were a highlight, as were the pandas. The children's zoo was also a wonderful surprise.
To the Birch Aquarium - we met friends and spent the day at this spot, where we were in awe of the giant octopus, the sea dragons, the sea horses, the sharks, the list goes on! The kids were even able to participate in an experiment where they extracted DNA from wheat germ. The rest of the day was spent walking along the coast in La Jolla (spectacular).
Exploring La Jolla - we met so many nice people, loved all the resale shops that benefitted area animal rescue groups (near and dear to my heart), and loved the scenery and many park areas along the coast. We were staying so close to the Children's Pool, so our kids loved to run down to see the seals as often as possible!
To LegoLand - my concession to the kids, since they were dying to go. We had a great time and it was perfect for their ages (4 and 7). The Lego sculptures were amazing, the park was very, very clean, the shows were fun, the rides were a blast, and we just had a terrific time.
Hubby had to drag me away from the bench by the Cove on Sunday. I so wanted to stay, but our dogs and cats at home needed us ;-) Now I am happily planning our next trip back!