10 Things to Do in San Diego, California in June.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If you plan a trip to San Diego, California, here is what you can see and do at this time of the year. My first visit to San Diego was in September for a couple of days. Last time I was there in mid June for a week. That is why my to do-list is so long as I could see and do a lot of things. I was walking a lot, with the camera in my hands, capturing those beautiful views of West shore. I even revisited some places from the last time like La Jolla, the Balboa Park, the Desert Garden (Cactus Alley), and the Coronado Beach. Among new activities, I took a bus/boat tour from the Seaport Village, drove to Sunset Cliffs, and visited the San Diego Zoo. Getting used to a year-round Florida warmth (and heat), I was very careless to pack my luggage with mostly shorts and tanks! It can be chilly in San Diego this time of the year (low 60s to mid 70s F). However, it does get warmer at noon. Carrying long sleeved dresses and blazers/jackets would be the wisest thing to do. Despite lack of heat, you may still get a sunburn! So, remember to grab some sunscreen before exploring outdoors.
Based on my two trips, my to-do list in San Diego includes:
1. Visiting Historic Gaslamp Quarter. It features a lot of restaurants, theaters, art galleries, retail shops, hotels and historic buildings. You can just roam along its streets with multiple restaurants to pick up one to enjoy outside while watching the crowd. There is an outdoor mall, Horton Plaza, for your convenience. It is also easy to get to other famous tourist attractions from Gaslamp Quarter. Seaport Village is at a walking distance from it.
2. Having a stroll along the Bay in Seaport Village. Nice waterfront and yacht views! Lots of trees are in blossom in June. Check souvenir stores and cafes. If you have spare 90 minutes and would like to see more of San Diego, by land and by sea, take a SEAL tour. I truly enjoyed it! You will board a boat on the wheels that would take you through the Downtown to the Bay. You will enjoy great views of the Bay and cute sea lions in the wild! It may be very windy, so some jacket or a scarf to cover your shoulders would be a great idea. From the Seaport Village you may extend your stroll to a scenic San Diego Harbor, where you can visit maritime museums and take a Harbor Cruise.
3. Visiting Shelter Island, which features nice views of San Diego skyline and marina. It is a few minutes away from the Downtown past the Airport. It is another place for fresh air, great views and nice meals. During the day I really enjoyed the Point Loma Brigantine seafood restaurant with its oyster bar. At night, my husband and I indulged in fine dining at The Fish Market Seafood Restaurant. They sometimes serve a rare gourmet Abalone dish (was $70 in 2012). Another popular waterfront place with great views and outdoor seating is Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, where you can get burgers and fries.
4. For all nature lovers the Balboa Park is the place to relax. It is also perfect to enjoy long walks. It has ponds with lilies and koi fish, gardens, beautiful buildings, art exhibitions and museums. It occupies a vast territory. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes! It is a photographers’ paradise. Must-sees are the Desert Garden (also known as Cactus Alley) and the Rose Garden. Cactus Alley has a lot of old big cacti and other succulents that are impressive to be preserved well in one location. If you keep looking at some trees with red flowers and shrubs with white flowers, you could spot humming birds! They are attracted to nectar in those trees and shrubs. Take a bigger lens, be patient, and you will get the photo of a lifetime! Parking at Balboa Park is not a problem during weekdays; it gets more challenging on weekends.
5. At the far end of the Balboa Park is the famous San Diego Zoo. I was mostly impressed by a Polar Bear swimming in a clear glass tank, where you can see him as close as your nose! Do not miss this surreal experience -a real fun to watch! Red panda is another miracle to watch and to photograph!
6. Trying to get a good shot of the Cabrillo Bridge. A very tall construction with arches, connecting the Balboa Park and the Uptown area of San Diego. I saw it while driving on the highway, and it turned out to be the only way to get a photo of it. It could be seen from the San Diego Zoo, but I could not get a good shot due to the fence. You can walk or drive along it, but to get a decent photo of it may be challenging. If you find out how, please share below for other travelers.
7. A visit to San Diego could not be complete without shopping;-) Fashionistas – get ready! San Diego outlets on the boarder with Mexico are waiting for you. A big selection of discounted designer items at BCBGMaxazria, Michael Kors, Juicy Couture – just to name a few. My finding was a white BCBGMaxazria dress and black T-strap wedges, that I constantly get compliments on. I also spotted a rose gold purse by Michael Kors there, which I purchased later at a different place. You have only that much space in your luggage for new shopping items, right?;-)
8. Even if you do not plan on swimming in the ocean, it would never hurt to breath in a fresh ocean air walking at the beach. Just put on comfortable shoes and head to the Coronado Beach, where you can see one of the most beautiful hotels in the world – Hotel del Coronado, where rooms start at $300 per one night. The whole area is so pretty! If you walk away from the beach towards the streets, you will enjoy cozy nooks and manicured lawns with motley flowers. Further from the beach into the depth of the residential area, you may see absolutely charming exteriors of regular houses. Well, it is probably wrong to call them ‘regular':-)
9. This should be number one on the list – the first thing you should visit when in San Diego. La Jolla, translated as ‘jewel’ from Spanish, was named like that for a reason. A small city, that has a combination of European and Southern Californian charm, La Jolla has the most expensive real estate in the USA. You can enjoy incredible views of the rocks and the ocean, sea birds, a close encounter with wild sea lions and a walk along one of the most beautiful coastline in the world! If you feel adventurous and do not mind some exercise, take a kayak tour to one of the caves. Remember to take off all your jewelry and not to take your regular camera – the waves are ruthless there! If you decide to skip kayaking, you may still enjoy the cave on foot. There are a lot of nice boutiques, restaurants and art galleries in the area.
10. Sunset Cliffs is another sight not to miss. It is a long coastline, which extends for 1.5 miles, just a few minutes from Downtown. It has striking views of shore cliffs, caves, rocks, ever changing skies and the ocean. The spot is popular for watching sunsets. There are several parking lots for your convenience.
Since everyone is looking for something different while traveling, see what others are doing when visiting San Diego : http://www.sandiego.org/. The website has a good list of free activities for adults and kids.
I wish you a nice summer and please check back with me soon. I look forward to my new trip, and I will reveal just as much: there are some fancy trips and exotic destinations, and there are destinations where a part of your heart will always belong.:-)
The Amateur Expert.
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Author: Elena White