How to Spend A Long Weekend in San Diego

How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.One of my favourite Southern California cities is San Diego. I know majority of this is because of the ocean and La Jolla. I love the beach and this city doesn’t lack those. Curtis and I went to San Diego for a long weekend last fall and I wanted to share how to spend your time in San Diego.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.Between the natural beauty of the beaches, emerald parks, savvy shopping, dining adventures and a bustling nightlife, there’s a world of possibilities.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

How to Spend A Long Weekend in San Diego

1. Arrive!

Take the train from LA, drive or catch a flight into this city. The airport is literally right there, you can watch planes fly in 24/7, coming in for a landing right above your head.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

2. Check In

How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.
Besides the popular AirBnb route, stay on Coronado Island. We had an amazing stay at the historic Glorietta Bay Inn. I’ll be sharing another post of our stay here and more of it’s long history with the iconic Hotel del Coronado. The island is accessible by car or ferry, and is literally 8 minutes away from downtown. But those beaches!
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

3. Spend the Afternoon at the Beach

Slip on that swimsuit, grab your flip flops and head to the beach. These beaches are among the most beautiful in the US. The sand is soft and the views are spectacular. Curtis and I love watching the Navy boats and helicopters go by. It’s like being in Top Gun.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.Here, you can swim, play volleyball, build a sandcastle, collect shells, surf or simply relax.  The best part of the beach is right in front of the Hotel del Coronado.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

4. Grab a Bite

Eat a lobster roll or really anything on the menu at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar in Little Italy. Oh my gosh was it all delicious! Curtis and I both agreed it’s worth the trip to San Diego alone. Just a cool atmosphere and fresh seafood.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

5. Take in Some Art

Spend an hour or so at the Museum of Art or these other museums/galleries in the city. We stopped in there at Balboa Park and the Museum of Contemporary Art in the city. I preferred the contemporary art exhibit, it was really interesting.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

6. Explore Little Italy

A hip and historic neighbourhood located downtown San Diego covering 48 square blocks. I love all the patio cafés, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, shops, hotels, and the beautiful Amici Park in this neighbourhood.

A local farmer’s market takes place on each Saturday in the heart of Little Italy. Besides the local produce, meat and poultry stands, you’ll find purveyors with sauces and relish, oysters, coffee beans, spices and more, and plants including orchids, fresh flowers, and bedding plants.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

7. Shop Local at Liberty Station

A new public market in the old barracks. It has gourmet artisans, food stalls, art, jewelry, a full restaurant and more. I could have ate my way through it, but decided on empanadas that were to die for.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

8. Spend a day at La Jolla

The Jewel of the Sea. Spend the day swimming in the cove, snorkeling, watching sea lions bask in the sun and eat some great bites in the town. If you want to stay overnight, try Scripps Inn, where you’ll fall asleep to the waves. We stayed there a couple of years ago and it was the perfect place. You walk out the door and the beach is right there!

Besides the beach, there is great shopping, delicious eateries, bars and art galleries. Try Herringbone or grab something more casual at Puesto or Ohana Café.

La Jolla  also has quite a few murals popping around town, perfect for taking that Instagram photo. And… it’s also free art!
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

9. Go on a Cruise

How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.
Jump on a harbor cruise for 1-2 hours (depending on what you feel). Tour the skyline and navy base. It’s pretty interesting and gives you a great view of San Diego. We took the Hornblower cruise because of the time, but both options are equally good.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

10. Brush up on US War History

How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.
Spend a couple of hours exploring the famous USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. It’s right on the harbor, and has fantastic views all around.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

There are 60 exhibits with a collection of 29 restored aircraft. The self-guided audio tour, narrated by Midway sailors, brings the carrier’s history to life. I recommend grabbing those and walking around.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

11. Balboa Park & The Zoo

Balboa Park is the nation’s largest “urban cultural” park. Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo, the Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.I would plan on spending half a day here, the zoo opens at 9AM and can take a couple of hours. Then take time to explore the museums and park.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

12. Visit the Colonial Period at Old Town

Old Town San Diego marks the site of the first Spanish settlement on the U.S. West Coast and features 12 acres of Mexican heritage and historical sites, colorful shops, early-California-style restaurants, museums, a theater and the restored Cosmopolitan Hotel.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.

There’s also:
Take a quick drive up the coast to Ocean Side, Del Mar and Carlsbad.
You can watch surfers, eat tacos, walk along the miles of beaches and escape the city.
How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches. How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.


How to spend a long weekend in San Diego, the city of Top Gun, amazing seafood, lush parks and endless beaches.
Thanks to San Diego Tourism and Glorietta Bay for our stay. Even though activities and accommodation were sponsored, all opinions are my own.

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41 Comments

  1. Brenda
    February 21, 2017 / 10:04 am

    Fantastic post! Beautiful shots of San Diego and surroundings, and of course you look beautiful!
    🙂

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks mom 🙂

  2. February 21, 2017 / 10:59 am

    Great post, I love San Diego and you really captured some great things to do and see

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      Thanks so much Elise!

  3. February 21, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    for real??? is that what San Diego look like in the middle of February! What a great get away in the middle of a chicago winter

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      It does! Patio season all year.

  4. February 21, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    We will be heading to this area sometimes this summer! I can’t wait and it looks like we def picked the right plce to go base don your lovely pictures!

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:23 pm

      You’ll have such a great time!

  5. Theresa
    February 21, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    San Diego is such a beautiful vacation spot! It looks like you really had a blast there.

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:23 pm

      We did! can’t wait to go back.

  6. Debra
    February 21, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    Wow! Your post really makes me want t go to San Diego. I love the beach and my favorite was your picture with the sunglasses. What a great weekend.

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      Thanks so much Debra! That’s mine too!

  7. CourtneyLynne
    February 21, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    Omg so many lovely photos!!! San Deigo is definitely one fabulous city to visit!! It’s been a few years since I’ve been. I really should plan a trip.

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      So much has changed! Each time I go back, there’s something new. Plus you can’t get sick of the beaches

  8. February 22, 2017 / 4:47 am

    Your photos are gorgeous, it looks like you had a fabulous long weekend! I’ve been to San Diego, but only for an afternoon. I spent two weeks in LA with my aunt when I was 18 and she took me pretty much everywhere. It’s so beautiful there!

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      I’d love to live down there! I’m meant for the sunshine and relaxed vibes.

  9. February 22, 2017 / 6:52 am

    Wow, thank you for sharing us the glimpse of San Diego. It was really beautiful there and I absolutely love your great shots and photos of the place.

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:21 pm

      Thanks Angela!

  10. February 22, 2017 / 9:21 am

    I had no idea that there was so much to see and do in San Deigo!! What a beautiful place to go visit nad explore.

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:21 pm

      Right? It’s kind of coming to life lately! Lots of great places to eat, drink and see!

  11. February 22, 2017 / 9:48 am

    This makes me want to go back to San Diego. I’ve been there once before but for work and really didn’t get to explore too much of the city. We did eat in the Gaslight District, but I would love to check out more of what San Diego has to offer.

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:20 pm

      Definitely should return! So much to do, and if you explore the beach towns, the views are amazing!

  12. February 22, 2017 / 10:45 am

    You’ve got me really wanderlusting! The farthest south I’ve been in Cali is LA, and I’ve been dying to visit San Diego. I’ve heard so many amazing things and your stunning photos definitely have added to that! One day…

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:20 pm

      Thanks Alyssa! It’s such an easy city to navigate and the weather is amazing all year round (generally haha)

  13. February 22, 2017 / 11:41 am

    I spy with my little eye a new travel destination to add to my bucket list. Random question but what camera do you use, I like how you capture the sunlight in photos x

    • February 22, 2017 / 1:19 pm

      Yay! I use a Nikon D7000 🙂

  14. February 22, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    San Diego is deifnitely on my bucket list of Cali Travels! Looks so much fun and I have to go to La Jolla for the mosaic wall!

    • February 22, 2017 / 3:52 pm

      Yay! Yes you do! Plus the beaches are amazing

  15. February 22, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    I ADORE your photos! They make San Diego look even better than it is! And it’s pretty darn good. Would love to go back.

  16. rojielyn
    February 23, 2017 / 12:03 am

    My husband been there in San Diego for two years. And he said that it is totally amazing. I agree with him as i read your blog. The place is beautiful. I hope i can have an opportunity to visit there.

  17. rojielyn
    February 23, 2017 / 12:33 am

    My husband been there in San Diego for two years. And i agree with him as i read your blog. Your photos are stunning and beautiful.

  18. John Sinclair
    February 23, 2017 / 6:07 am

    You have some great pictures of San Diego.
    We love San Diego. Glorietta Bay Inn is a great place to stay. You can park your car and enjoy a weekend on the beach. With the local food there is no reason to drive.
    4th of July weekend is amazing. Incredible parade, music and fireworks.
    The Inn is our go to spot on the island.
    We stay at the Glorietta Bay Inn every time we go to the San Diego area.

  19. February 23, 2017 / 6:46 am

    We love San Diego and I wish we lived there! Our eight year old daughter is the SeaWorld kid blogger so we visit very often. Carlsbad is our very favorite neighboring beach town and we spend a lot of time on the beach. Such a beautiful place! Your photos are stunning!

  20. AMBER
    February 23, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Although I was born in San Diego, I don’t really remember much of it, but I’d love to go back one year for my birthday! So many things to do!

  21. February 23, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    Wow, looks like a totally amazing place to stay and so much to do! Its definitely somewhere I would like to go in the future. Totally loving your photography too, you got some amazing pics!

  22. February 23, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    I can’t wait to go back to San Diego! Your pictures are seriously incredible. Sounds like there’s quite the food diversity! Yum!

  23. February 25, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    I would love to visit San Diego. I visited San Francisco years ago and it was absolutely beautiful. I especially loved seeing all the palm trees.

  24. March 5, 2017 / 5:06 am

    Wow, what an awesome place for such a lovely weekend getaway. Love your pictures. Shows the absolute fun time you’ve had!!

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