36 Hours in Sunny San Diego

Spoiler alert: it was sunny the whole time.


We managed to fit in quite a bit of sightseeing in our 36 hours in San Diego, after disembarking our cruise with no security checks whatsoever. While San Diego has never stood out to me previously as a must-visit destination, its mix of sunny Southern California weather, trendy restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter, and prevalence of history makes it the less glitzy but still super cool cousin of LA.

Having met so many animals on our trip (alpacas in New Zealand, koalas in Brisbane, pandas at the Shanghai Zoo, monkeys on Arashiyama in Japan), we decided to forgo the popular San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. We did visit the massive Balboa Park. We finally got to watch a game of lawn bowling being played; while we came across bowling clubs very frequently in New Zealand, there was never an active game being played. We also took the free tram around the park twice, just because it was a nice ride.


Further north in Old Town, the historical center of San Diego, we found lots of charming vintage-inspired stores, the fun and free Seeley Stable, and a really great churro.


It’s hard to visit Southern California, especially San Diego so close to the Mexico border, without consuming at least a taco or two. We went to Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill for fish, shrimp, and soft shell crab tacos. While they were great, we’re not sure that the half-hour-plus standing wait was worth it for us.


Just a couple of blocks from our hotel was one of the Extraodinary Desserts locations, serving beautiful desserts often topped with fresh flowers – a couple of Insia’s favorite things. Both the chocolate pithivier and the tiramisu scone were A+.


On the water front just a few docks away from our cruise ship landing place is the Unconditional Surrender Statue, which seems much larger than necessary. Somehow we were able to snap a photo clear of humans re-enacting the scene for their own photos.


A short Uber ExpressPOOL ride over the Coronado Bridge brought us to… Coronado. We (Insia) took in the architecture of the historic Hotel del Coronado, now a hotel in the Hilton collection. We walked through some of the interior while trying not to look out of place. It has a quaint but luxurious interior, although they probably don’t offer warm chocolate chip cookies upon check-in like the DoubleTree.


While our hotel was only one block away from Little Italy, we only managed to visit a burger joint for a quick bite before our flight, and a little place called iDessert. We created our own custom ice-cream filled meringue, served in a “Vegas Bowl” of dry ice for a smokey effect.


Thanks for the healthy dose of vitamin D, San Diego!


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