San Diego Girl's Trip in December

Oct 23rd, 2014, 12:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 28
San Diego Girl's Trip in December

My mom and I have planned a last minute girl's trip to San Diego Tuesday - Saturday the first week of December. We're staying in Escondido with a rental car so wanted to reach out to you all so we can maximize our trip since we only have 4 days. Need extra help as I typically plan are very active trips. My mom is a senior so I want to be sensitive to her needs and have her enjoy the experience as well.

We love fun sights and music, nature (i.e. when we were in Vegas, we took a drive out to the Red Rock Canyon), and great food (we'll likely eat cheap the whole time - feel free to leave any local eats suggestions - and we'll likely splurge on our dinners). Rough plan so far is the following:

Tues: Escondido:
Safari Park (?) - Need to know if this is more kid-oriented..if we should just skip it but it seems like that's the highlight of Escondido
Orfila Winery
Lounge at our resort

Wed: La Jolla
Misson Bay Segway Tour (Segway of Pacific Beach)
La Jolla Cove
Dinner in LaJolla - Stella Italianfare

Coronado Beach?
Old Town?

Gaslamp Quarter
Dinner: Bice or El Comal, or Paesano
Balboa Park December Nights

I pulled Groupon/Living Social/Travelzoo deals for all the restaurants listed, but if you have better recommendations, they are certainly welcome!

Thanks for your help and looking forward to hearing from you all,

heythererena is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2014, 01:45 PM
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Skip safari park, Temecula is about 20 min north on the 15 from Escondido, the Ponte Vineyards is gorgeous and has a wonderful restaurant; you are smack in the middle of many lovely wineries on a pretty, uncrowded road; Old Town Temecula cutesy but skippable. La Jolla - I'd have dinner at Piatti at La Jolla Shores, been there many many years, very reasonable and highly rated amongst 4,000 in SD. Another highly rated one is The Cottage in downtown La Jolla; we always have brfst or lunch there. We live outside NYC but go to SD couple times/year for last 18 as son and family are there in North County. Karl Strauss Brew Pub also in downtown LaJ, good option, fairly priced. The caves there would be fun to explore if not too cold. Coronado definitely a must for half-day, self-tour the historic and gorgeous Hotel Del Coronado, park along the beach and walk rather than valet. Lots of lunch options along Orange Avenue. Point Loma also worth the drive over from Ocean Beach if weather is clear, you can see the lighthouse from the Hotel Del beach. Balboa Park is fabulous, many beautiful buildings and multi-museums there onsite, it is large but you can re-park as necessary. Old Town & Gaslamp worth other half-day. I would drive north back to/fro Escondido via the 76 or 78 to Oceanside and then drive down the Pacific Coast Hwy via the 101, through Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, LaJolla, Pacific Beach as you get to/fro downtown San Diego. It will show you why there are 3MM people in San Diego County. The towns are quite distinctive and have their own personalities. Grab breakfast or lunch at Konos in Pacific Beach up on the 'boardwalk', best breakfast at budget prices found. You will love it all. Last four weeks had us at 70-85 with non-stop sun! My favorite restaurant chain in the city is Cohn Restaurant Group, they have a great one in Escondido should you wish to treat yourselves called Vintana, but others are all around SD.
aliced is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2014, 03:43 PM
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Why Escondido?

I liked the San Diego Zoo much more than the Safari Park. I would plan a day at Balboa Park for the zoo, museums and just to walk around and see the different gardens.

This place was great for dinner.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2014, 04:00 PM
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I would only stay in Escondido if I were getting a free room. You will have to plan around traffic and rush hour.
MichelleY is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2014, 04:35 PM
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Escondido has a resort?

Vintana is the upstairs of a Lexus dealership with a view of freeway and not much else. The food may be good, and expensive, but the location is poor.

If you go from Escondido to downtown San Diego via the 78 W and 101 S it will take you all day. If you actually want to get to downtown to do things there, or on Coronado, take the carpool lane on the 15 S'

The Safari Park is nice. It's a good place to visit.

Stone Brewing in Escondido has very good food.
Barbara is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2014, 08:06 PM
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Why Escondido ? I would not stay there unless it was free to echo Michelle...

Why Stella Italianfare?

You don't need a full day in Old Town...

I agree with a full day in Balboa Park and the zoo.
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 07:16 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Sadly, most of the time Groupons are for either new restaurants trying to get a foot in the door or ones on their last leg, struggling to stay afloat. There are so many great places to eat, I'd skip Groupons.

And if you stay in GasLamp area, you won't need to rent a car. You can get around using public transit easily. Not sure what your budget is, but if you act fast just 2 days left on a great sale for Kimpton hotels--

Join their free Karma Rewards loyalty club, then You can get the sale rate. $139 /night for Tues - fri: then $179 on Friday of that week in Dec. at The Palomar.
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 08:43 AM
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Our lodging is not flexible, wouldn't have been my personal choice as I’d rather be centrally located, but it’s timeshare that my mom has been waiting 4 years to acquire. Gotta make do with what you have. I’ve revised the itinerary as follows:

Tues: Escondido
101 to Escondido (so I can get the view)
Lounge at our resort
Stone Brewing
Orfila Winery

Wed: La Jolla
Brunch in La Jolla
Mission Bay Segway Tour (Segway of Pacific Beach)
La Jolla Cove

Thurs: Cornado Beach/Old Town/Gaslamp Quarter
101 to Cornado Beach (so my mom can get the view)
Old Town
Gaslamp Quarter

Friday: Balboa Park
San Diego Zoo
Dinner near park
Balboa Park December Nights

MichelleY I didn’t even think about rush hour! When do the am/pm rush hours typically die down?

Trying to keep costs down as much as we can since I’m getting married next year…so far the restaurant suggestions are very reasonable and sound tasty!

Thank you for all your input and suggestions!
heythererena is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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I don't know specifically for that area, but before 3 and after 7.
MichelleY is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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A.M. rush hour will typically die down by 9:30 or so. P.M. rush hour typically starts around 3:30 or so and can last until 7:00 p.m. (I drive between North Park/downtown and La Jolla Shores every day). For dinner on your Balboa Park day, I recommend The Prado, right in the park, if you want a sit-down meal rather than eating from stands at December Nights (I haven't been to December Nights in a while, but I think there should be food stands). You will need to make a reservation at The Prado, particularly during December Nights. I recently took visiting family to Coronado and had lunch at The Brigantine on Orange Avenue, just a couple of blocks from the Del. Everyone enjoyed it.
auntie_raine is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 11:37 AM
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Have not been in a few years, but this place is very close to the Welk Resort in Escondido, you can visit and taste their wines as well as visit their museum, which mainly features classic cars but has other collectibles. As a female with not a lot of interest in cars, I enjoyed it very much, they appear to only be open on the weekends:
jamie99 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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Hi - I am not sure but you are having lunch in La Jolla and then going to Mission Bay and then back to La Jolla doesn't make a ton of sense. If you can time it so that you spend the morning/early afternoon in La Jolla and then head to Mission Bay it makes more sense.

I am not sure on your budget but my favorite go-to place in La Jolla is the patio @ Georges on the Cove. You cannot beat the views. They do take reservations - ask for a table by the water/glass wall.

I understand free and timeshares. We have two, and use Marriott points most often so I do get it. Just plan for traffic - Escondido is pretty far "Out there" but you will be fine. Cannot beat free.

I am curious about your 101 to Escondido. It doesn't make a ton of sense just so you know... look at a map and rethink that. You can spend a ton of lovely time by the water without doing that drive it is out of the way from the airport.
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 02:24 PM
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Momddtravel2: Yes, I actually realized that after I posted that the La Jolla day was wrong. We're renting Segways so I think we'll do that first then La Jolla for the afternoon and lunch/dinner.

We actually drove the 101 from San Francisco to Seattle last October so if anything at all, we'll drive it once from the airport coming in and then decide whether or not we want to do it again another day or not. I think it's a personal interest to drive the 101 - the last leg will hopefully be with my future husband on another trip traveling from L.A. to San Diego!

This is so great everyone, appreciate all the help!
heythererena is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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While Safari Park isn't the Zoo it's still nice.
I also agree with Barbara about Stone Brewery

If you want good take out in Escondido go to Jimbo's it's a natural foods store but they have a good deli section.

Downtown Escondido has some nice little cafes and the last time I was up there they had a burgeoning little art community in the downtown. Probably sprouting from the Nikki de St Phalle installation, Queen Califa's Magic Circle, in Kit Carson park. Nikki had given this as a gift to the city and when it first opened it was a quarter of an acre of mosaic in semi precious stones.

Unfortunately vandals ruined some of the work and they had to fix it, I haven't been up for a while to see the repairs.

Coronado is lovely and it's about an hour from Escondido.

There are some pretty country drives from Escondido.

It depends upon how much energy you're mom has. December nights is pretty crowded and not easy to park.

How much walking and going can your mom take? I don't want to pry but "senior" can mean anything. Is she a spry 75 year old or is she a bit slower 80+?
LSky is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 03:50 PM
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Wow! I did not know there was a Niki de Saint Phalle piece in Escondido. Need to put that on the list.
MichelleY is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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I would re-arrange Thursday.

Old Town is a collection of historic sites (some with with entry fees), along with some shopping and dining.

Coronado is a lot about the beach, looking at the historic homes and the Hotel Del, plus the local atmosphere and businesses.

Beside the fact that Old Town is on the way between Escondito and Coronado, I recall that some of the sights in Old Town close early in the winter. Go there first. When you are done, head to Coronado (about 10 minutes drive), as Coronado's attractions are "open" into the evening.

Just don't try and cross the bridge back to downtown between about 4 and 5:30 pm as that's rush hour for the Navy people leaving Coronado.

From Coronado to the Gaslamp is less than ten minutes of driving, plus parking. It is best in the evening.
lcuy is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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Oh Michelle! I'm happy that you've discovered it, I'm sorry to report that they are still closed for repairs. (I recall they were going to be finished this month but it's intricate work and hopefully they are doing it correctly.)
LSky is offline  
Oct 25th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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If you go to the zoo, arrive when they open and sit on the upper deck of the bus that takes you around the zoo. The animals are more active in the morning and you will get an orientation of the lay out. Enjoy!!!
deladeb is offline  
Oct 25th, 2014, 02:16 PM
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Good advice from deladeb, plan to walk over to the Prado for lunch.
LSky is offline  
Oct 26th, 2014, 05:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 28
Thanks for the help everyone, really appreciate it. Mom is 70 and she is fine walking but not for an extended period of time or short hikes, which is how I typically plan my trips. What about checking out Sunset Cliffs/Point Loma instead of Old Town before Coronado?

We'll definitely take your advice deladeb, regarding the zoo. That seals the deal going to San Diego Zoo and skipping the Safari Park.

Very excited about this trip!
heythererena is offline  

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