Last week I spent my last few days of summer with my family in San Diego. I love visiting there because the weather is so close to Orange County, but San Diego definitely has a different vibe there that feels different from home.
We stayed at the Westin hotel right in the middle of downtown SD, within walking distance of the Gaslamp District. This was my first time staying overnight in San Diego so I can’t really compare it to other hotels or areas in the city, but I really enjoyed the Westin. It was right next to the mall (can’t get a better location!) and had tons of restaurants and lounges just minutes away. There was also a heated pool on the third floor along with a small jacuzzi that we spent our nights swimming in. Even though we only had a short 3 day staycation there, we got a lot of exploring done! Now, on to my top 4 places to visit in San Diego while staycationing…
AKA the best Mexican food you will find in So Cal. We went to Old Town Mexican Cafe, which is well known for the workers hand making fresh tortillas in the front window. They also have a whole menu for vegetarians (caution fellow veggies: make sure to only order off that menu, because they cook almost everything else with lard. Unfortunately that meant no Spanish rice for me, but I still got chips & salsa so I was a happy camper.) Next time, I would like to try Cafe Coyote– it had a great outside atmosphere and my sister and I ended up grabbing a churro to go which was absolutely delicious! Afterwards, we got a chance to check out the stores and do a little shopping. There’s so many great shops throughout Old Town with fun souvenirs from keychains to ponchos.
After a long day of shopping downtown, we decided to hit the beach. Exploring the famous Hotel Del Coronado was pretty amazing… I hope to stay there one day! The hotel is literally right on the beach and the view is gorgeous. Down by the water there were a ton of rocks which made for a great photo shoot opp. Extra bonus: the water wasn’t too cold like it can be in OC. Definitely check out this beach if you’re in town!
There are over 200 restaurants, lounges, and shops in this three block district. After walking the streets and looking at so many menus, we were a little lost on where to go. With a little help from Yelp, we ended up going with Royal India on 4th street. I’ve only had Indian food a few times in my life, but I absolutely love curry (when it’s mild. My palette can’t handle a lot of heat!) They also had a vegetarian section with various options, which was a plus for me and my sister. I tried Paneer Tikka Masala for the first time- farmer’s cheese with a tomato curry- and let me tell you, it is a must try! All of our dishes came with rice and we got an order of nan to dip in our curries. The prices are a little high (it was about $20/person), but the food was filling and delicious so it is totally worth it and I would definitely come back.
Del Mar Racetrack
Just 20 minutes outside of San Diego, Del Mar is one of the most gorgeous (and expensive) places in California. My grandpa used to take my mom to the racetrack when she was growing up so it was a fun day of memories for my family. I haven’t been since I was younger so I was really excited to get to experience it again. My parents bought a Groupon for only $5 a person, and then when we got there the lady ended up letting me and my sister in for free (perks of looking under 17!)Figuring out how to bet can be a little confusing for newbies, but once you learn the basics it’s pretty easy to place $2 bets on the funniest or best sounding horse name. The summer season runs until September 7th, so make sure to head out there soon!
I had so much fun enjoying my last few days of summer here and can’t wait to be back soon. Hopefully you too will have a chance to visit this amazing place sometime and these 4 amazing locations!