5 Must-See Spots in San Diego, California

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5 must see spots in san diego, california

5 Must-See Spots in San Diego, California

It is shameful for me to say that I’m from Southern California and it took me 24 years to go to San Diego. I’d heard about it. I knew it was only a three hour drive from my hometown, but I never took an interest in visiting. This past weekend I went for the first time, and I was completely surprised by how awesome it was! Here are 5 Must See Spots in San Diego, California.

1. Coronado, San Diego’s Resort Island

Coronado is a beautiful little island off the coast of Downtown San Diego. In the late 19th century, Coronado was built-up to be a high-end resort city. To this day, it’s a vibrant, dreamy, beach-side vacation town, connected to the mainland via the Coronado Bridge and Silver Strand State Beach. The Hotel del Coronado, nicknamed The Del, it a definite must-see! This historic hotel has been maintained in its original 19th-century design, so walking inside feels like stepping into a history book. Perhaps the most famous movie to be filmed on-location at The Del is 1958’s “Some Like it Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis.

 The history and beautiful grounds of San Diego's Hotel Del Coronado make it a must-see for any tourist.

The history and beautiful grounds of San Diego's Hotel Del Coronado make it a must-see for any tourist.

2. Downtown San Diego

Downtown is the happening, cultural, urban center of the city. Overlooking the harbor and Coronado in the distance, it’s a scenic place to take a walk, have a meal, or do some shopping. There are lively restaurants and bars with diverse crowds of people to socialize with! Warning: As with most of San Diego, parking is hard to come by, and you might have to pay around $10 to park in a lot. My favorite place in Downtown was Little Italy. The wafting scent of Neapolitan Pizza was making me insane! My recommendation for a place to eat is Cafe Gratitude, which serves delicious, plant-based cuisines.

 Italy is my favorite country I've ever been to, so naturally I found Downtown San Diego's Little Italy to be incredible!

Italy is my favorite country I've ever been to, so naturally I found Downtown San Diego's Little Italy to be incredible!

3. La Jolla, San Diego

La Jolla is an affluent, cliff-side town in the northern city-limits of San Diego. Tourists enjoy the sweeping seaside views while shopping in high-end stores or going for a bite to eat. The La Jolla Cove is full of people either kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, or admiring the groups of seals who sunbathe on the rocks below. This is a great place to plan an afternoon walking through the tiny town, grabbing some yummy food, and hanging at one of the many lovely beaches!

 La Jolla Cove is a special place to enjoy San Diego's natural beauty as well as all the handsome kayakers.

La Jolla Cove is a special place to enjoy San Diego's natural beauty as well as all the handsome kayakers.

4. Old Town, San Diego

Old Town is the oldest settled area in San Diego, having been founded in the late 18th century, and the old-school, Western vibes of the area have been well-maintained! Old Town is a great walking spot to check out the old buildings, stores, Mexican restaurants, and also my favorite, the Mexican Markets! These Mexican Markets sell all kinds of eclectic items, most hand-made and hand-painted, for decent prices! It’s like thrift shopping heaven, but instead of old clothes, it’s beautiful jewelry, pots, decorations, mirrors, dream-catchers, and so on! There are plenty of tours you can take to learn more about the historic town, including ghost tours. I also recommend visiting the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

 Old Town San Diego and the Mexican Markets are way cooler than any thrift store I've ever been to!

Old Town San Diego and the Mexican Markets are way cooler than any thrift store I've ever been to!

5. Mission Beach and Belmont Park, San Diego

Mission Beach is a lovely little community built on a sandbar that has an array of restaurants, bars, and shopping stores. There is a two-mile stretch of boardwalk on Mission Beach that runs along Belmont Park, which is home to an awesome carnival! I don’t know about you, but I’ll never be too old to enjoy the magic of a seaside carnival. Having a bonfire at Mariner’s Point Park, which is right across the street from Belmont Park and sits in a scenic mariner’s bay, is a good way to spend time snuggling with your friends and having smore’s by the fire. And no, bonfires aren’t illegal; they have designated pits for it!

 San Diego's Belmont Park took me on a nostalgic trip through the fun of a seaside carnival.

San Diego's Belmont Park took me on a nostalgic trip through the fun of a seaside carnival.

Check Out these 5 Must-See Spots in San Diego, California!

San Diego completely outdid the expectations I had for it. I always imagined it to be a desert city with a lot of bland buildings. I didn’t know SD’s history is rooted in being a naval city. The ocean views are incredible (so is being able to see Mexico in the distance)! I was surprised by how many sweeping cliffs and hills there were, which makes for an exciting car-ride through town.

People were friendly and helpful, which isn’t always the case where I’m from (the LA-area). There were plenty of family-owned restaurants and businesses with good prices and great products! The beach sand was soft and the water was refreshing. I absolutely can’t wait to go back and re-visit this amazing place! Add it to your California itinerary asap.

5 Must See Spots in San Diego

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 Writer of this article is Heather, 24, co-founder of the Female Travel Collective.  She used to live in California, NYC, and Hawaii, and is currently traveling. Follow her along on her  Instagram !

Writer of this article is Heather, 24, co-founder of the Female Travel Collective.  She used to live in California, NYC, and Hawaii, and is currently traveling. Follow her along on her Instagram!

WRITE FOR THE FEMALE TRAVEL COLLECTIVE