We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

Which San Diego hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
miami
Destination Expert
for Miami, Miami Beach
Level Contributor
13,532 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

Coming to San Diego for a few days. Looking for a fun and a memorable adventure in late July. Will have car. Never been there before...

Need:

1. Pleasant & Reasonable Hotel without swank-i-tude... just a clean bright friendly place to R & R. Within 10-15 minutes of Convention Center on West Harbour Drive

2. Delicious Birthday Dinner Restaurant

3. Amazing Mexican Food any time of day

4. Your clever suggestions for a great 3 days. Like hidden spots for vintage finds (are there great outdoor flea markets?), cool shops for one of a kind discoveries (he's a cool hound), must see places or "only in San Diego" experiences?

Did I mention Amazing Mexican Food?

I am counting on the Trip Advisor Community for Great Tips!!

AG

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
21,945 posts
5,139 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

1) Definitely go to Old Town for Mexican Food (historic buildings, stores, restaurants in the area). Excellent Home made tortillas at several of the restaurants. For more upper end Mexican, we like El Agave http://www.elagave.com/; Very good.

http://www.bazaardelmundo.com/

2) For shopping, we like to head a little bit out of town and go to the premium outlet center by Viejas Indian Casino

http://www.shopviejas.com/

3) Try to get up to La Jolla -wonderrful shops, beach areas, etc. to explore. If you want to go kayaking La Jolla is good for that. Perhaps go to Brockton Villa for breakfast

http://www.brocktonvilla.com/breakfast.html

(Make reservations in advance and ask for a table on the porch).

4) Definitely visit Gaslamp District...

http://www.gaslamp.org/ its a good place to go in the evnings...

Perhaps Fred's Mexican Cafe (good for margaritas).

mooserestaurantgroup.com/fred/…index.html

Its inexpensive Mexican food - but fun to stop by.

5) Of course the 3 tourist attractions for San Diego are 1) The Beaches; 2) The Zoo and Wild Animal Park; 3) Sea World...however given you're from Florida - perhaps a day trip to Tijuana on the Tijuana Trolley would be more unique adventure..

http://world.nycsubway.org/us/sandiego/

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
59,061 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

I agree about El Agave for authentic Mexican food from all over Mexico(but pricey)Try cohnrestaurants.com look at menus for interesting eclectic assortment. I like Kemo Sabe(wonderful desert sampler and interesting tastes) I also like The Prado in Balboa Park. There is a series of cove beaches to see and use in La Jolla . One of them belongs to a colony of seals which are fun to watch. We have the only city park devoted to hang gliding. The gliderport on Torrey Pines road -watch them take off, go out in tandem with an instructor, walk down the cliff to a nude beach or just watch the sunset. Go north to Encinitas/Leucadia and visit swamis-a beach and a hindu ashram/sanctuary(you asked for unique experiences)Stop at the flea market next to the old La Paloma theater. Go up in a hot air ballon at sunset.Go on a sea kayak tour from La Jolla shores beach. More later.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
59,061 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

Try the Bristol Hotel downtown or perhaps La Pensione in Little Italy(don't know your price range)Lots of hotels but some expensive and others just have no flair. Read some of the reviews on this site. I'll let some others jump in now with more ideas. Have a great trip.

Texas
Level Contributor
1,984 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

Looks like you will just miss 2 of my fave evwnts in SD,PB Block party and the Carlsbad Village Fair(May 7)..The Del Mar Fair will be going on..Also there is the Sandcastle championship in Imperial Beach..As usual,I like the Hyatt or Marriott Marina..Old Town has a good choice of Mexican Rest's..Casa Bandini should be open(at a different location) by the time you visit...

North Zulch, Texas
Level Contributor
4 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

4. "only in San Diego"

Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. www.balboapark.org/museums.html#organpavil

idaho
Level Contributor
6 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

O.K. Just finished a great response and it disappeared. Trying again.

Some good suggestions for your 3 days in SD so far. I disagree, however, with Old Town for Mexican. I never did like the food anywhere. In my opinion, the best Mexi food in SD is at the drive up or walk up stands. Rolled tacos with guacamole and sour cream. Yum!

Kemo Sabe in Hillcrest is one of my favs for food (really fantastic) but lacking in ambience. For great food and locale, I always choose George's at the Cove. Ask for the patio, which sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Can be breezy so may need a jacket but if you can go at sunset? What a view!

Also agree that Brockton Villa in La Jolla for breakfast is a must. Order "Coast Toast" for great orange flavored french toast. Just up the hill from Brockton Villa to the east is the La Jolla Cave Store (www.cavestore.com). You pay a small entrance fee and then take the 100 or so steps down under the cliffs into a sea cave. Very interesting but not always open. Call in advance to get hours.

One of my favorite "locals only" experiences is taking Sunset Cliffs drive all the way to the end. Take I-8 West to Sunset Cliffs exit, stay right. The road winds through Ocean Beach (great antique stores) and then winds around the ocean side cliffs south of Ocean Beach. The homes are gorgeous and if you go at around sunset the views are incredidble. There are turnouts for viewing but drive all the way to the end for the best part. The road seems to end and curve left. Take the turn and go about 2 1/2 blocks up and you will see a dirt road on the right. It looks like you can't go in but you can. Drive about 150-200 feet and you will see a small dirt parking lot on the right. Park anywhere (lock your car) and then just wander the many hiking paths. Gorgeous views and photo ops in a very uncrowded place. You won't believe you are in San Diego!

As far as loding goes, lots of choices in San Diego. Pacific Beach actually has quite a few small boutique hotels right on the ocean. Some are even fairly cheap. But staying downtown has its perks. The nightlife in downtown (Gaslamp Quarter) is quite the scene. Lots of street activity and many, many restaurant and clubs. If you stay downtown, you can easily cab it to your hotel. I would avoid the Hotel Circle hotels. They are cheap and accessible but no atmosphere at all. Located in the north and south commercial/industrial areas flanking I-8 going East. Pretty sterile.

Good luck!

miami
Destination Expert
for Miami, Miami Beach
Level Contributor
13,532 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

: ... )

i am WEEPING with joy!!

i love you guys!

let me know if you're coming to miami - i am ALWAYS here for you

xxx

AG

San Diego, CA
Level Contributor
899 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

soujourner1 Nailed it, as did the person before that. Advisorgirl, you strike me as someone who would want to avoid the "typical" tourist trap places, and find the Hidden gems of San Diego. Im just going to ramble off a few of my favorite things to do -- from there, do your own research and find out if they are things you would like to do.

Balboa Park is truly one of the gems of San Diego. It's huge, and is more than just a "park" -- it's a cultural roadmap. There are many wonderful museums, lovely flower gardens, a massive koi pond, a cultural center, Japanese gardens, and as stated, an organ pavillion which frequently puts on free shows. Smack in the middle of the park is one of my favorite restaurants - The Prado. Great food under the stars in a park. What could be better than that?

Hillcrest is a wonderful community filled with art stores, used book stores and boutiques. (Think North Beach/Normandy Isle) There are several great restaurants in the area. I could spend half a day just walking the streets wandering around. TONS of vintage clothing stores.

La Jolla - yes, it's swanky, yes it's expensive, but it's also a must. It truly is a beautiful area, and also can provide a wonderful day of sightseeing. Georges at the cove, Brockton Villa & Roppongi are all great restaurants.

Torrey Pines State Beach - it's just a great beach, with a lot of scenic beauty. If you find the time, it might be something you'd enjoy. You can hike through the cliffs with a wonderful backdrop of the pacific ocean amist Torrey Pine trees.

Sunset Cliffs/Ocean Beach - spend the day wandering around Ocean beach, a quirky, laid back beach that will make you think you're right back in 1969. The hippy lifestyle is still alive in O.B. Head down to sunset cliffs, park and sit and enjoy some wonderful sunsets.

Gaslamp - it's trendy, crowded and "swanky" but it's fun. Dress to impress, find a nice restaurant (there are zillions) and then head over to Thin, Onyx, Stingaree, Deccos, Jbar or Sidebar for a cocktail. It's very south beach, but it's all part of the experience.

Have fun!

San Diego, CA
Level Contributor
899 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

Oh, finally, for Mexican food: Places in Old Town are great, and I also like El Agave, BUT for the real experience, you need to go to the "mom and pop" shops. My absolute favorite place is Las cuatro Milpas, but it can be hard to find for someone not familiar with San Diego. I also like Javier sombrero's -- this webpage has some GREAT mexican places listed on it!

http://www.all-baseball.com/ ducksnorts/archives/018297.html

San Diego
Level Contributor
124 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Best 3 Days in San Diego Ever?

I agree with Naven.

Local Mexican eateries are best.

Try Maritza's on Mt. Acadia Blvd

If you like chicken burritos, they'r ethe best - just shredded chicken, spices, juice, and a tortilla - no filler.