Photograph by Chris A Selby, Alamy Stock Photo
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Sunbathers enjoy a La Jolla beach in San Diego, California.

Photograph by Chris A Selby, Alamy Stock Photo

Discover the Best of San Diego

Plan your SoCal vacation with these tips.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find an unfriendly soul in this city. Home to those who love to feel free, San Diego provides it all, from miles of coastline to hundreds of microbreweries, as well as a sun that shines 266 days of the year. You’ll leave San Diego, California, recharged—if you leave at all.

Wildlife

La Jolla Shores is home to some of San Diego’s most famous residents: sea lions. Living in their natural habitat, these animals will lounge, play, and squawk their way into your heart. Grab a kite and join locals at the grassy landing overlooking the Pacific.

Natural Wonder

Grab a bag of chips (and lots of water) and hike six miles up to Potato Chip Rock at the summit of Mount Woodson in nearby Poway. Cautiously wriggle to the edge of the thin slice to swing your legs over the valley below. Trust us, these views (and photo ops) are one of a kind.

Best Day Trip

Leave the West Coast in your rear view as you drive inland to the California desert. Joshua Tree National Park is a Dr. Seuss-esque world where trees sprout limbs in unpredictable directions. Sprawling across nearly 800,000 acres, the park is most comfortable in the spring and fall.

Off the Beaten Path

Skip the raucous partying at Pacific Beach and instead find some true serenity at the ocean. Bird Rock is San Diego’s hidden gem, providing a great alternative to the packed beaches. Grab a picnic basket and kick back at this well-preserved hideout.

Most Iconic Experience

Locals and tourists alike crowd Sunset Cliffs to watch the sun disappear over the horizon. Rugged cliff trails provide sweeping views of the Pacific. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park connects with nearby Point Loma Reserve.

Late Night

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is packed with bars, clubs, speakeasies, and most important, food. Located downtown on Fifth Street, it is equally as simple to stumble into a dive bar as it is to order a fancy cocktail on a rooftop overlooking Petco Park, home to the San Diego Padres. Make sure to check out Fourth and Sixth Streets for some off-the-beaten-path options.

Local Quirk

Shopping local is a huge part of the culture in this city, which is why you will find a local farmers market every day of the week. Swing by Little Italy on Saturday or Hillcrest on Sunday to grab a bite and #shoplocal. To kick it up a notch, stop by the Ocean Beach farmers market on Wednesday to join locals in sunset acro-yoga followed by a moonlight drum circle.

Neighborhood to Explore

North Park is the Bronx of San Diego, transformed from a crime-ridden neighborhood into a mecca of art and beer. Hop on a ride-share electric scooter and ride a few blocks to run into one of the many microbreweries lining the street here.

People-Watching Spot

San Diego is bursting with life, and there is nowhere better to experience the pulse of the city than the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. The connection point between Mission Beach to the south and La Jolla to the north, Pacific Beach is home to those who love to move: dancing Rollerbladers, dudes on low-ride bicycles with subwoofers and gold rims, pugs in strollers, and much more.

Amanda Halabi is obsessed with San Diego and spends all of her time treating the city like her playground. Follow her @gottabea_halabi and @_adventurebae_.