With glorious SoCal sunshine and generous stretches of beaches, San Diego is known for its laid-back vibes. Catch a flight for a relaxed vacation to hit the waves or browse the neighborhoods for some of the best Mexican food this side of the border. Pack these style picks and you’ll be on your way.
Surf and Turf
With mild temperatures to match its mellow mood, choose airy fabrics cut into simple shapes like this cotton button camisole in lagoon blue ($34 by Cali brand RVCA) or roll-up lavender shorts ($19.99). There’s also a hot surf and skate scene, which bleeds into the fashion culture, so bring a few sporty pieces, too, like this cream and blue logo hoodie ($44), white watch by Nixon (a locally based favorite for $175), and Vans slim-cut classic sneakers in a watercolor blue-green pattern ($55). To hit the beach, slip into these turquoise-lime flip-flops ($40) and two-piece, like this bandeau top ($26) with matching bottoms ($16). Or if wave-riding is in the cards, cover up in this wetsuit for the brisk Pacific Ocean waters. This style by designer and avid surfer Cynthia Rowley is functional yet feminine in a pale blue dot ($235).
Aside from a few downtown venues in the Gaslamp district (where a little white dress might do well, $118), San Diego is casual long into the evening. Try a tiered maxi dress, which can double as a cover up for day, in a light mustard yellow ($54). Or go long and lean in high-waisted bell bottom denim ($215) paired with a cream open-stitch short sleeve sweater for a touch of added texture ($39.95). Swap in a floaty floral tank ($46) for more options, and finish with leather buckle sandals with a wood sole ($110) and a versatile taupe cross-strap bag in vegan leather ($50), handily available at Dolcetti boutique on 5th Ave in the Gaslamp area.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
Beach and Boardwalk
Hang out at Pacific Beach, strolling the boardwalk in Westward Leaning shades ($180, the style is fittingly named "Children of California") faded teal shorts ($40), and a striped surf hoodie ($49.50). Or hit the water in fresh mint board shorts ($39), while peeling off a simple slate blue t-shirt ($5.94). To cover up from the SoCal rays, throw this slightly drop-crotch “Happiness” sweat pant ($98) and a San Diego Chargers baseball hat ($34.99) into this jute market bag ($68) from hip local shop Aloha Sunday.
Explore La Jolla’s mix of upscale and college-town-style joints, in a blush short-sleeve cotton shirt ($70), brown leather strap chronograph watch ($165 by Timex), blue jeans ($106), and gray and brown Vans ($85). The classic skater shoes will go with plenty of pieces including these linen pants in faded red ($118) and double-layer short-sleeve henley ($125). If you’re up for playing with patterns, this floral print shirt by old school surf brand Lightning Bolt ($99.99) livens things up. Finally, tuck your pesos into this sterling silver hook money clip ($95).
Where to Stay
Beach lovers should head to the contemporary Tower 23, right off Pacific Beach. Along with to-die for ocean views, the hotel has a lively bar. Chances are you’ll still need a car to get around, especially if you’re staying for a few days.
Those looking to stroll out of their hotel and into a happening hood will love the Gaslamp Quarter. Book a room at the swanky Andaz hotel for a cool rooftop pool scene, great nightlife options, and truly plush rooms.
And any travelers hoping to be spoiled rotten should head directly to Del Mar. The Grand Del Mar, the long-standing favorite, has all the top-notch amenities you could wish for. The location, in the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, is out of the way, but the convenient on-site restaurant, Addison, is a winner. For spa-lovers, you can’t go wrong with L’Auberge Del Mar, an open and airy property with beach access, gorgeous views, and, of course, an extensive menu of face, hair, and body treatments in their full-service spa.
For more on travel and fashion, follow @beeshapiro.
Photo Credits: Women Day: Courtesy of RVCA; Nordstrom, Inc.; Target Brands, Inc.; Topshop; mimi & red; Cynthia Rowley; Vans.com. Women Night: Courtesy of The Aldo Group inc.; mimi & red; AEO Management Co.; Dolcetti; Seven for All Mankind; Ann Taylor; Nordstrom, Inc.; RVCA. Men Day: Courtesy of SWELL.COM; Eastbay, Inc.; KITSON; Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.; ALOHA SUNDAY SUPPLY CO; Quiksilver, Inc.; Gap Inc.; Westward \\ Leaning. Men Night: Courtesy of ALOHA SUNDAY SUPPLY CO; Dolcetti; Vince.; Vans.com; Bonobos; STAG; Bloomingdale’s By Mail Ltd.