Insider Guide to San Diego
How to spend the ultimate weekend in this fun beach town
“We might be biased, but San Diego is truly America’s Finest City,” says Casey Specht, Paradise Point’s Marketing Manager. Whether she’s referring to the glorious year-round weather, thriving culinary and craft scene, or the countless beaches, Specht believes “San Diego has something for everyone.” Below, she shares the best things to do in San Diego over the weekend.
Brunch at Hash House A Go Go
If you want a memorable brunch, you have to go to Hash House. Known for their gigantic portions, it’s impossible to leave feeling hungry or without a hundred Instagram photos of your food. (Pro Tip: Order the The Big O Sage Fried Chicken and Waffle Tower. Trust us.)
Explore San Diego Zoo
After a big brunch head to the San Diego Zoo, which is a must for anyone visiting. It’s continuously named one of the best zoos in in America with more than 3,700 animals spread across 100 acres. (Pro Tip: They sell San Diego craft beer throughout the zoo so grab a beer and spend the day exploring.)
Soak Up Arts & Culture at Balboa Park
Located next to the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park is home to the best museums in San Diego. From the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego Museum of Man to The San Diego Museum of Art there’s a museum for every taste. (Pro Tip: The San Diego Museum of Art is home to an amazing gem – Panama 66. This laid-back restaurant features locally sourced food, craft beer, craft cocktails, and is attached to the Sculpture Garden. Enjoy light food and drinks, spread out a provided blanket and lounge among sculptures.)
Shop, Eat and Drink in Little Italy
Just a short drive or Uber from Balboa Park is Little Italy, which is the hub of some of the best restaurants and boutiques in town. On Saturday mornings, Little Italy’s Mercato is the perfect place to buy unique items from local artisans, experience local food vendors and enjoy the neighborhood’s lively atmosphere.
For a classic Italian dinner, Mona Lisa is your go-to with huge pizzas, the best antipasti, and a market where you can buy your favorite goodies to take home. If you end up in Little Italy on a Tuesday or Thursday, you have to experience Monello’s cheese wheel. Imagine your fresh pasta getting tossed in a cheese wheel tableside so it gets covered in a warm layer of melted cheese. Amazing, right? (Pro Tip: Don’t let the name fool you, Little Italy isn’t just full of Italian restaurants. For a special dinner, Herb & Wood is a no brainer. For a fun family-friendly meal, The Crack Shack is perfect, and if you want a sexy date night or night out with friends Kettner Exchange is the place to be.)
No San Diego day is complete without a nightcap at a unique bar. False Idol is a “secret” tiki bar in the back of Craft & Commerce where you enter through the kitchen freezer and end up in a tiki cave. Order the Panther’s Fang, which is their interpretation of Barefoot Bar & Grill’s original cocktail when Paradise Point Resort & Spa was Vacation Village back in the 60’s.
Breakfast at Kono’s Cafe
Start the day with breakfast and coffee at Kono’s Cafe. Located in the heart of Pacific Beach, it’s the perfect way to begin a beach day.
Pro Tip: Enjoy breakfast and take your coffee to go as you walk down Crystal Pier to capture the perfect San Diego photo and explore the beach.
Play Around at Belmont Park
After breakfast bike or walk down the boardwalk until you end up at Belmont Park. Full of rides, games and shops it’s a fun spot to spend the afternoon. (Pro Tip: You can’t leave without taking a ride on the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster that was built in 1925.)
Shop, Eat and Drink in North Park
Home to unique boutiques, craft breweries, and delicious restaurants you can easily spend an early evening exploring this bustling neighborhood. Start at Holsem Coffee for one of their flavored cold brews, like the Colada with cold brew, cream of coconut, evaporated cane sugar and a toasted coconut rim or Holy Matcha for an Instagram-worthy matcha latte.
For memorable keepsakes to take home, stop at Pigment or Casa Artelexia. Pigment features everything from air plants and build-you-own terrariums to jewelry and home goods, and Casa Artelexia is a dreamy shop full of handcrafted gifts and art from Mexico.
After shopping around the neighborhood, head to Waypoint Public for dinner. Not only do they have amazing food and drinks, but they’re also very family-friendly and have monthly story and movie nights. For a fast casual dinner and to get your Mexican food fix, don’t miss Lucha Libre for their legendary Classic Cali burrito that’s packed with carne asada, French fries, cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo. (Pro Tip: To make your Lucha Libre experience extra memorable, reserve The Champs Ring so you can enjoy your food in an actual wrestling ring inside the restaurant.)
If there’s one thing that makes San Diego so San Diego, it’s our craft beer scene. Walk to one of North Park’s many craft breweries including Modern Times, Mike Hess Brewing and Thorn Street Brewing Co. to experience some of the best beers around.