Weekend Guide to San Diego

San Diego is considered “America’s Finest City” and let me tell you, it lives up to its reputation. There is so much to do in this great city whether you’re a foodie, history buff, outdoor explorer, or just want to relax on the beach.

pink, orange, and purple sunset with palm trees

Neighborhood Guide & Where to Stay:

Before you arrive: San Diego is spread out and public transportation isn’t always easy – I would recommend renting a car so you can see more of the city.

When you arrive in San Diego I suggest visiting the Gaslamp Quarter in the downtown area. This district is close to the airport and within walking distance to lots of restaurants, bars and local attractions such as the USS Midway Museum and Seaport Village. You can also take a short drive to the San Diego Zoo & Balboa Park, as well as SeaWorld.

woman standing next to a green trolley

If you are visiting during baseball season – be sure to catch a Padres game at Petco Park and come hungry because some of the best local restaurants have stands located inside the park. Prefer history over sports? Spend a few hours checking out Old Town, California’s first settlement back in 1769, now a historic state park where you can experience what life was like in the 1800s.

plate of nachos at a baseball game

Enjoy an authentic meal and traditional entertainment at Casa De Reyes. Be sure to try the Molcajete de la Casa – your choice of protein served in a sizzling stone molcajete bowl, tossed with salsa de chilemulato and topped with grilled queso panela.  Don’t forget a margarita with that!

Table set at Casa de Reyes

Next on my list is Little Italy where you will find tons of great restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and craft breweries – day or night, Little Italy is the place to be!  My favorite coffee shop has to be Lofty Coffee, the Aztec mocha is sure to put a pep in your step, or if you are looking for lunch or dinner be sure to try the weekly cheese wheel pasta from Bencotto. Visit the local Farmers Market every Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm to shop goodies from over 200 local vendors selling flowers, handmade crafts, fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, and local chef favorites.

pineapple drink and yellow sunset

Take a Ferry or drive across the iconic Coronado Bridge to reach beautiful Coronado. This stunning beachfront town on an “island” in the San Diego Bay is a perfect getaway for some R&R. Staying on the island for an entire weekend is a dream, or you can treat yourself to a fun day-trip. I suggest renting bikes and riding around the island for an ice cold beer at Coronado Brewing Co. or a scoop of ice cream at Moo Time. Don’t forget to make a stop at the Historic Hotel Del Coronado to enjoy a famous Jose’s Pina Colada at the Sunset Bar made by Jose himself. If you’re interested in a beach day, the white sandy beaches are expansive and a perfect place to get some Vitamin-D.

Woman riding a yellow bike

After exploring all day head over to the beautiful beachfront city of La Jolla with shops and oceanfront dining. You should consider going to La Jolla a few hours before sunset to enjoy Prospect Street. Be sure to make a dinner reservation at Georges with views that overlook La Jolla Cove, my favorite dish here is the fish tacos. Save room for dessert and grab a scoop of gelato at Bobboi Natural Gelato. La Jolla Torrey Pines is a great place to visit with stunning ocean views on a prestigious golf course, and wonderful hiking trails nearby at the Torrey Pines State Park. For those of you dare-devils looking for adventure – try hang gliding!

green cup with vanilla gelato

San Diego has plenty of funky little beach towns up the coast but in my opinion, Carlsbad is the best. The food & beer scene here is a foodies dream. Have a craft cocktail bite to eat at Campfire. The roasted broccoli is incredible and you cannot leave without roasting your own marshmallow for a gourmet s’more. Carlsbad has beautiful beaches and is very walkable. If long walks on the beach aren’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other fun outdoor activities to do like surf lessons, or bike rentals. For help on the hills, check out Pedego bikes to make your ride a little bit more leisurely.

s'more kits on a wooden board

As you can see, there is so much to do in San Diego. Don’t leave without watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean (at least once), putting your toes in the sand and ocean, indulging in a California burrito from one of the many Mexican restaurants around town and checking out some of the local craft beers. I hope you enjoy San Diego as much as I do!

To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in San Diego, visit our Destination Guide, or explore Hilton properties in San Diego below.

Know Before You Go

Lady Holding on to a local tram in Sand Diego

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Merlot T. Are you interested in traveling to San Diego? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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