"Stuck" in San Diego for a month. Help!

Jan 29th, 2009, 11:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 28
"Stuck" in San Diego for a month. Help!

Just kidding. My wife and I (we are in our early 60s and love to walk but are not into swimming, snorkeling, surfing, etc.) are renting an apartment on Mission Bay from Feb 4 till March 6th. We can't wait, but it would be really helpful to know of any day trips we can take that are within an hour or two drive (we'll have a rental car). Also, recommendations for restaurants (American, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican) in the San Diego area would be helpful. We like relaxed atmosphere places where we can dress down. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
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icdchess is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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I can't help you with restaurants, but there is a lot to do in SD. All the museums around the Zoo, the Wild Animal park, even the Nixon library and Crystal Cathedral..a bit north of SD I know, but not that far. You can take trips into the desert, and visit many of the California missions that dot the coast of California. La Jolla and the Scrips institute..the universities... Enjoy, its going to be a lovely time of year.
kleroux is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 04:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Don't miss a drive to Julian, an old gold-mining town in the mountains now famous for delicious apple pie! There are some great hikes in the mountains around Julian. Park in one of the campgrounds in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and go from ther.


Also, a visit to the Observatory on Palomar Mountain would be interesting.

Further afield, you can do the Getty Center in a day. It's about a three hour drive each way, but I've done it a couple of times.

Also in the LA area is the Huntington Library in San Marino. Fabulous place, huge, beautiful gardens and the best afternoon tea (make a reservation). It's also a longish drive, but you could always stay overnight and do the Getty one day and the Huntington the next rather than drive up and back twice.

San Diego is a very "dress down" town.
Barbara is online now  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:47 PM
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Take a drive out to the historic town of Julian, in the Cuyamacas mountains. It's a beautiful area, and Julian is famous for its apple pie.

We like the Anthony's group of seafood restaurants, especially the one at the wharf. For something fancier, there's Anthony's Star of the Sea.
Underhill is online now  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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For your excursion, I would highly recommend taking the Pacific Surfliner by Amtrak up to San Juan Capistrano....the ride is breathtaking with views you won't see any other way. In SJC, have brunch or lunch at Ramos House; their food is divine. A stroll around the town can easily occupy a couple of hours.
ncounty is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 10:03 PM
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Go to the Green Flash restaurant one night and just sit and watch all the human traffic walking, skating, dancing past while you desperately try to keep your eyes open for that magical nanosecond when the horizon flashes green with the setting sun:


If you go as far up north as Irvine, there's the Irvine Center as well as the South Coast Plaza Mall.

Further up north, take the Culver Street exit and go to the Sam Woo Restaurant. One of the best Chinese restaurants in Southern California. There's a takeout section with really good Chinese food for a very reasonable price or you can dine in the more expensive restaurant next door.

I haven't found any really good Chinese restaurants in San Diego, but haven't looked for several years, so something new may have opened up.

San Diego is really more a Mexican foodie town. Lots of great Mexican food all over. Try Old Town San Diego for starters. One of my favorite Mexican places was on the way to Sunset Cliffs Beach - hole in the wall with fantastic burritos.

One day when it's not too cold, drive out to Coronado Island and spend the day there.

You're so lucky! Have a great trip!
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 11:27 PM
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Hello, I live in San Diego, and I just bought a copy of the little book called "Zagat San Diego Restaurants 2009" from a local bookstore. I was pleased with the restaurant entries for San Diego, which included many of my favorites plus some new ones for me to try.

It also includes selections for Orange County, Palm Desert, etc. I'm taking it with me on our weekend away up to Laguna Beach!

Thee are a lot of good Asian restaurants in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego...try Convoy Street (take the 5 freeway to the 52 freeway, exit at Convoy.) On Convoy is Chilie's Thai Gourmet, a casual, tiny restaurant owned and run by a friendly couple...I especially recommend their appetizers and their home-made soups, which are a meal, not just a side. It's very informal. It is spelled either Chilie's or Chili's...sorry not sure which spelling is right...on Convoy in San Diego (Kearny Mesa neighborhood.)

My favorite Italian restaurants are Arrivederci (there are 2 of them...one for dinners and the other is mostly pizza...within a few blocks of each other). Also I like Barolo's, which is in the small Renaissance shopping mini-mall, behind the much larger UTC(University Town Center, La Jolla). Arrivederci has a festive atmosphere with always always a wait, even with reservations. Barolo's is good but usually you don't have to wait...

Have fun.

Melissa5 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 11:41 PM
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Hello. The correct spelling is Chilie's Thai Gourmet, and you will find that this place is surrounded by blocks of various different Asian restaurants, many of them small. Parking may sometimes be difficult in this area ...pay attention to the signs so you don't get towed away. Easy to park at Chilie's Thai Gourmet for dinner, but at lunch it's hard to find parking. Very good prices for San diego...inexpensive.

China Max on Convoy has great variations on shrimp...I believe this is an Asian fusion place...I couldn't quite pin it town...but it is tasty. Not the usual Chinese food...some specialties. A bit more expensive than the average Chinese restaurant, but good food.

Jasmine, nearby, is huge, and has dim sum if you go at the right time...I think it's from 10:00 or 11:00 til 2:00.

Day-trips: Wild Animal Park; Julian (if the weather is ok) with a stop at Dudley's for bread; explore Del Mar, Torrey Pines state park, Coronado, and La Jolla Cove; hang out at Balboa Park on Saturday or Sunday. Find out if the little cottages in Balboa Park are hosting any ethnic dances on Sundays.

Enjoy your visit.

Melissa5 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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I would strongly agree with the Convoy area between Clairemont Mesa Blvd and to south of Balboa....San Diego has a fantastic under the radar Asiatown tucked into these nondescript strip malls of this area. All are incredibly priced and tremendous value.

I like Emerald for dim sum which is at the far south end of this Convoy strip. I also frequent Tapioca Express and Yogurt world for fantastic milk tea drinks and smoothies and snacks and at yogurt world they have amazing flavors of yogurt such as asian peach tart or mango tart. There are many Vietnamese restaurants as well and I find it is hard to go wrong with any of them although I frequent Pho Pasteur due to old loyalties.

If you do venture north to South Coast Plaza, a great splurge is Mastro's Steak house. Decadent fantastic food. I like to eat at their bar and just make a meal of their appetizers which makes it affordable for me.
ncounty is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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Cabrillo Natl Monument at the tip of Point Loma.
Awesome view and a great little lighthouse.
Kal is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Holy Cow! What a tremendous resource this is. I am dazzled by the quantity and quality of responses to keep Ann and me busy for the month we will be in San Diego. I will be printing out the entire thread just before we leave on Feb 4th so we can use it as reference and will access the site while we are there to pick up more hints. THANK YOU ALL!!
icdchess is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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Coronado Island is a delight...try the Brigantine ... rent bikes and have an ice cream cone!
onemoneygirl is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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Spend some time in the North Park neighborhood near Balboa Park. Have dinner at "Urban Solace" on 30th Street (excellent comfort food with a twist) and then check out a live show at the Birch North Park Theatre. If you find yourself in North Park in the morning or at lunch time, stop at "Cardamom Cafe" on the corner of Upas & 30th Streets (great pastry & sandwiches)

Balboa Park is a great place to spend the day. Check out the visitors center for a discount museum pass that will get you access to all the museums in the park. Have lunch or dinner at "The Prado" inside the park. Two of my favorite Thai restaurants are in the Hillcrest neighborhood. (5 minute drive down University Ave. from North Park) "A Taste of Thai", right on University & "Lotus Thai" on 6th st. in Hillcrest or Market St. downtown.

Coronado is a must! Check out the Hotel Del for high tea. Walk behind the hotel along the amazing beach. A few blocks away are a bunch of shops and restaurants on the ocean side of the city. Head across the island for great views of the San Diego harbor & city views.

Do the Hornblower harbor cruise or the USS Midway carrier tour, both on Harbor Dr. downtown.
Drive along Harbor Dr. to Harbor Island (right across from the airport) park the car and walk along the bay, have lunch outside at "C-Level/Island Prime" overlooking the bay.

Keep an eye out for some free publications; "The SD Reader" and "San Diego City Beat". These free magazines offer discount coupons and tell you what is going on in the city & surrounding neighborhoods.
TMP is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 07:47 PM
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You'll find out that a month won't be enough time!

Also, please be aware that now, the timing is not right for a border trip into Mexico - you'll have plenty to do right here. Have fun!

sheri_lp is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7
San Diego has an excellent rail system centrally located downtown in the old Santa Fe train station. Trolleys, Amtrak and Surfliner commuters all stop there. A nice alternative to the busy traffic.

Good restaurants in SD:
The Prado in Balboa Park
The Fish Market next to the USS Midway
The Brigantine across from the Del
Fresh in La Jolla

Day trips
Pacific Beach
La Jolla
San Juan Capistrano and San Luis Rey missions
jj728 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Thanks everyone. I am now noticing that the first three days we will be in San Diego it will be likely be raining (nothing like good timing). Aside from going to the movies and eating (both which we can do in NY), what can keep us busy in San Diego while it is raining outside?
icdchess is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 10:44 AM
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go the Torrey Pines this weekend for the big golf tournament..
It really is something to walk the course whether its raining or not..
also, hiking right next door later in the month at Torrey Pines state park is stunning..

ksucat is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 10:48 AM
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If it rains, and you have no idea how happy we would be if it did, that might be a good time to visit the museums in Balboa Park.
Barbara is online now  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Dinner: Kemosabe up in Hillcrest-- best of 'fusion' where every meal is delicious and a work of art-- try the Arizona roll.

See: Aquarium and view at Scripps Institute in La Jolla, breakfast or lunch at The Cottage in La Jolla; dinner at Piatti or Aqua Trattoria on Prospect or (LJ Shores for Piatti). Walk down into the cave that fronts LaJolla Shores, accessible down off Prospect; drive up to Mt. Soledad from Garnet off the 5; have lunch or drinks at the Hotel Del or ferry and bus over there from downtown; drive to Laguna and have margaritas at Las Brisas, continue up to LA to the Getty if time permits (whole day); if warm and clear, ferry over to Catalina from Dana Point, Julian is a lovely little town; go winetasting in Temecula, get lost amidst the horse ranches in Rancho Santa Fe, go to the Delmar track (if open); get crabcakes at Jakes in Delmar on the beach at sunset; for 5-star dinner Pamplemousse in Delmar near track, go shopping in the design district of South Cedros in Solana Beach, have breakfast at Konos in PacBeach or the Pipe in Cardiff with all the surfers (but what a breakfast). Let me know if you still have time............. enjoy
aliced is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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A few more thoughts:

Go to Seaport Village, but even better, just walk along Harbor Dr from the Village - right along the ocean.

Best San Diego brunch is the Sunday brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado. Not cheap but may be worth the splurge.

If you go to La Jolla, try George's at the Cove, a very in place. Dine on the terrace. May be cold, so bring sweater or sit under one of those outdoor heaters.

When in the La Jolla area, definitely hike Torrey Pines!

One of the most unusual and best tours we ever did was a water tour of San Diego harbor. We did it years ago, but I'm certain you'll find some boat operator who still does this tour.

Thanks to those who recommended the Asian restaurants! Now i have something to look forward to on the next trip to SD!
easytraveler is offline  

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