San Diego with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and tropical yet chill vibes has always been one of my favorite places to visit. For my birthday last September, Kevin and I spent two nights and three days exploring San Diego.
Our day started bright and early on a Saturday morning, just the way I like it for most of my trips. I'm a big fan of early flights, they're a great way to make the most of your day without having to book an additional night's stay. Plus, I'm pretty good at sleeping on the airplane as long as I have my Bose noise-canceling headphones.
One of my favorite feelings when traveling to a warmer climate is when I walk out of the airport and the warm air engulfs me. San Diego in the middle of September, temps in the mid-70s. It was perfect.
Where To Stay
For this trip, we stayed at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront which overlooks North San Diego Bay. The hotel was beautiful and bright, surrounded by palm trees and lush plants. There is also a large resort pool area. At night the water gets lit up, and the pool stays pretty lively. We ended one of our nights hanging out in the hot tub. I wish I had snapped a few pictures but due to my excitement, I completely forgot. Here's a clip from my IG stories though!
Where To Eat
When I'm on vacation, my favorite meal is always brunch. Boozy brunch to be exact. After dropping off our bags we headed in Coronado Island to have brunch at the very instagrammable The Henry.
The one mistake I did make was forgetting to make a reservation, doh! It was a busy Saturday and wait times for actual tables were over an hour long. Lucky us we found a spot at the bar in under 20 minutes, I would highly recommend making reservations in order to score one of the cute marble tables!
My favorite restaurant of the entire trip though had to be this little brunch spot in Little Italy called Morning Glory. Walking into Morning Glory felt like entering a whimsical yet glamorous parallel universe. Imagine Alice in Wonderland's tea party with a millennial twist. It was funky and fun and I immediately fell in love.
Again, I made the same mistake of not making a reservation, but we had some good luck on this trip because once again, in less than 20 minutes, we found ourselves some seats at the bar. I honestly think we had the best seats. From the bar, you had a great view of everything. The bartenders were fun to chat to and I loved watching the drinks get made. I even met my birthday twin there! Did I also mention they had the coolest cocktails?! I even got a boozy Thai tea with boba.
Morning Glory also has one of the best eggs benedicts I've had! I always get eggs benny if it's on the menu, it's my go-to brunch dish.
Where To Go
San Diego is known for its beaches, and we literally hit up ALL the beaches. My top three though? Coronado Island Beach and La Jolla cove & La Jolla shores.
Coronado Island Beach is beautiful. The sand is soft and clean, there are LOTS and LOTS of room to roam and layout. It's hard to imagine this beach ever feeling crowded, there is just so much sand! Coronado Beach shares its sands with the majestic Hotel del Coronado. This gives the beach lots of amenities like a bar that serves drinks and snacks, bathrooms, and a rental shack that rents out beach umbrellas and chairs! This beach has very little shade, so renting umbrellas and chairs or bringing your own is a must.
La Jolla Cove (Left) and La Jolla Shores (Right) are minutes from each other by uber. At La Jolla Cove, you can occasionally find seals playing by the rocks (which we did!) and there are lots of places to explore and walk. But if you're looking to layout and get some sun, La Jolla Cove can get really crowded. The tides are higher here and there is less real estate, it can also sometimes smell fishy due to the active sea life there, and it's loud. But that's okay! La Jolla Shores is just a short uber ride away.
Aside from the beach, we spent a lot of time exploring Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter.
Balboa Park was breathtakingly beautiful. You can spend the whole day there, and you really should! One of the biggest regrets I have was not planning in enough time to fully be able to explore every nook and cranny of the park grounds. There is a museum for almost any interest at Balboa, some are free while others charge a small admission. If you get overwhelmed as we did, there are helpful park employees that will happily make suggestions on which museums to visit. So much art, architecture, nature, and history!
At the heart of San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter is known for its vibrant nightlife. Here you can find the street filled with all sorts of people from young college students to parents with strollers to older couples out for a drink. While I'm not a huge fan of clubbing or bar hopping, it was a fun place to people watch. One thing that was really interesting and different was that many bars and clubs had girls standing outside trying to hand you menus and lure you in with free drink tickets or discounts. Many bars operated as though they were clubs, even if the bar wasn't packed and there were tables to sit at - you had to have made a reservation ahead of time or get drink service. We went around to quite a few bars, I couldn't remember their names, but each had its own unique theme and drink specialty.
I loved everything about San Diego from the food, the beaches, the people, the vibes, to how clean and accessible the city was. Three days felt like it was not enough, but everything felt perfect from our hotel with its really comfy bed to being able to relax on the beach and soak in the sun. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday getaway! <3