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San Diegans always seem to be smiling. And with good reason. Stunning beaches, over 250 days of sun a year and a chilled-out vibe will, like, totally do that to you. Boost endorphins with dolphins in La Jolla Cove or San Diego Zoo, then let the good times roll in the rocking Gaslamp Quarter. Right on!
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"I don’t wanna brag, but I’m kind of a big deal." Sun-kissed celebs splurge in Girard Avenue’s high-end boutiques. Bigwigs of science and politics stay classy in La Jolla Cove’s swanky seafood joints. And if you prefer starfish to stardust, don your snorkel and plunge into the teeming waters of La Jolla Underwater Park.Accommodations in La Jolla
Won’t you take me down to Funkytown? This busy area moves and shakes with the best of them. During the day, PETCO Park buzzes with baseball buffs and Little Italy’s pizzerias reverberate with clinking cutlery and delighted diners. At night, the clubbers come out to the Gaslamp Quarter, filling the dance floors at Onyx Room or Stingaree.Accommodations in Downtown San Diego
Livin’ is easy in PB. Happy youthful faces abound, welcoming you to their world of fun and sun. Join boarders in the surf or dangle your legs off Crystal Pier, shooting the breeze ‘til sunset. After dark, Garnet Avenue’s slew of bars keep the party going. Head to Tap Room for home-brewed ales, or Bub’s Dive Bar for good ol’ American fare. Far out!Accommodations in Pacific Beach
This place is a gas. Named after streetlights of yore, this historic district has come a long way from its days as a seedy pleasure-town for grog-swilling seamen. Today its quaint Victorian buildings are crammed with eateries and bars. Devour a juicy steak at Greystone, sample rare brews at Tipsy Crow and shake your moneymaker at F6ix hip-hop club.Accommodations in Gaslamp Quarter
Mamma mia! An influx of Italian tuna fishermen gave this neighborhood a splash of Old-World color back in the day. Though most have long since hauled anchor, you can still munch meatballs at Mona Lisa or Pappalecco. And don’t miss Little Italy Mercato, a street market awash with green smoothies, gourmet tamales and stuffed sea urchins. Buon appetito!Accommodations in Little Italy
Coronado’s a place for California dreamin’. Across the bay from the city, it’s got a family-friendly, small-town feel. Mamas and papas bring their rug rats to pristine Coronado Beach, famous for its gentle surf and fine, white sand. Stop into a hotel that you pass along the way – iconic Hotel Del has dominated the beachfront for 125 years.Accommodations in Coronado
Surf’s up dude! Once known as Mussel Beach, this chilled-out seaside paradise swapped mussels for muscles – these days it’s toned surfers who slink over the sands. OB’s still riding the waves of 60s far-outness; the bongos, hula hoops and amorous twenty-somethings speak for themselves. For that classic California sunset, head up to Sunset Cliffs.Accommodations in Ocean Beach
Avast, landlubbers! Rows of moored-up boats bob in Marina’s marina, while the SS Midway, a warship-turned-museum, looms over the waterfront. From watercrafts to handicrafts, the artsy New Children’s Museum gives the kids a space to create and play. Walk the plank and try the fish tacos at Pier Café, perched on stilts over the lapping waves.Accommodations in Marina District
The birthplace of California. In 1769, Spanish explorers set up camp in Presidio Park, firing the starting pistol on California’s colonization. In Old Town, you’ll get a glimpse of San Diego’s infancy. Budding prospectors can pan for gold at Mormon Battalion Museum, while thrill-seekers test their nerve at Whaley House, haunted since 1852.Accommodations in Old Town
This is definitive Sunday stroll territory. Families and sweethearts meander along Harbor Island’s sweeping coastal path, giving a contrast to the sun-splashed fitness fanatics that zip by in a blur of logoed lycra. Follow the path to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, where craft beers and sweeping bay views make that lazy lunch all the more tasty.Accommodations in Harbor Island
When she’s not boogie boarding in La Jolla, Kylie loves discovering good eats, drinks and thrifts.
If your feet get tired after bar hopping in the Gaslamp District, take a pedicab. The bike-pulled carriage is slower than a cab, but cheaper, and you'll get to see the historic downtown architecture while people-watching. It’s a good way to experience the hustle and bustle of Gaslamp.Accommodations nearby
Native San Diegan Lee enjoys Balboa Park, plays at the Old Globe Theatre and relaxing with family.
I love catching up with family members at Kensington area’s Clem's Tap House, a beer and wine bar with rotating local and regional brews. It’s located behind Clem's Bottle House on Adams Avenue, and has a friendly and knowledgeable bartender.Accommodations nearby
A self-proclaimed foodie, Paula continuously explores the different flavors San Diego has to offer.
Many people visit Coronado Island’s historic Hotel Del Coronado, but few experience the hotel’s Classic Roast. With comfortable beach chairs, cozy blankets, a delicious do-it-yourself s'mores kit and bonfires on the beach at sunset, this becomes the ultimate San Diego experience.Accommodations nearby
From longboarding in the OC to hiking at Torrey Pines Park, Kelly lives weekends to the fullest!
I’ll let you in on an insiders’ secret: rent a Cruising Hot Tub on Mission Bay! The easy-to-manage pontoon boat has a small grill, large hot tub, and a sitting area with a small table. One of the seats doubles as a cooler, so be sure to bring drinks, ice, food to grill, and sunscreen!Accommodations nearby
When not running at Balboa Park, James can be found biking in downtown or catching a Padres game.
To satisfy your morning sweet tooth, head to the San Diego Donut Bar on B Street. The fresh batches of specialty pastries attract a crowd even before they open, and they're only open until they sell out – which happens every day! Make sure to get there early!Accommodations nearby
Jaxton likes spending time in nature, especially when sailing his catamaran to the Channel Islands.
If you're here on a Saturday, definitely check out the Little Italy Mercato. This city market has a great selection of local foods, goods and produce. There are vegan and gluten-free options too, not to mention yummy free samples. Get there early and BYOB (bring your own bag)!Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...The beach means different things to different people. What did the beach in San Diego mean to you?
There are plenty of wide beaches everywhere for sun bathing or surfing. Waves seem to be quite big which makes swimming difficult.See all 26 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in San Diego while avoiding the crowds?
We visited during the week during Christmas break--the crowds were minimal.See all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How could the beaches in San Diego be made better for walking?
Too many skateboarding/bicyclists and drug addicts/bums.See all 8 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did your kids enjoy the most at the beaches in San Diego?
Going Swimming at night. Water was Excellent.See all 10 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Are the animals well taken care of in San Diego? What did you like and what didn't you like?
Fantastic to visit as so well kept and managed.See all 11 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Tell us about your most relaxing moments in San Diego.
Nice restaurants in La Jolla.See all 8 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the best way to deal with the warm weather in San Diego?
poolSee all 15 answers
San Diego International Airport is 3 miles northwest of downtown San Diego, and has 2 terminals. Taxis are available outside the terminals and cost about USD 13 to downtown. Travelers can also take the Flyer Route 992 bus to Santa Fe Depot Station, where they can transfer to the Amtrak and Coaster trains; bus fare is USD 2.25 each way. A number of car rental and shuttle services are also readily available.
Running parallel to the Pacific Ocean and connecting San Luis Obispo and San Diego (with stops in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles), the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner is a scenic way to travel to and from San Diego. Ticket prices vary according to destination, but cost between USD 11 and USD 24. There are 12 daily round-trip services. Guests can bring along a surfboard or bicycle, but must reserve a space beforehand.
San Diego MTS (Metropolitan Transit System) has 93 bus routes connecting downtown San Diego and the rest of San Diego County. Bus fare is USD 2.25 each way, and must be paid in exact change upon boarding. Regional Day Passes are available for USD 7, which includes a Day Pass and a reusable Compass Card. Day Passes are valid on most MTS buses and trolleys. Be sure to check bus schedules in advance, as some lines have limited service on week nights and weekends.
The 3-line trolley conveniently serves tourist sites such as Old Town, Mission Valley, PETCO Park, Qualcomm Stadium, SDSU and even the Mexican border. Purchase a one-way ticket for USD 2.50 or use your MTS Regional Day Pass. Tickets are available at ticket machines and are valid for 2 hours after the time of purchase.
There are several taxi services available throughout San Diego. The more popular taxi companies are Orange Cab of San Diego, Yellow Cab and AK Cab. Fares start at USD 2.80 and each mile costs an additional USD 3 – but don’t forget to add a 10-15% tip. You can either hail a cab on the street or call one for pick-up. A ride from San Diego International Airport to downtown costs around USD 13. Note: extra fees apply to taxis departing from the airport.
At San Diego International Airport, car rental reservation boards are located near the baggage claim areas of Terminals 1 and 2. Travelers can use courtesy phones to request shuttle transport to the car rental company of their choice. Driving in San Diego is relatively easy, especially with a GPS – but rush hour traffic can get heavy, so plan accordingly. Metered street parking or paid lots are generally available. Watch out for fast-moving highway traffic.
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