San Diego Travel Guide

San Diego Travel Guide, featuring 7 things to do the next time you visit beautiful, sunny San Diego!

After my wedding in September 2015, we took a trip to San Diego, California for our honeymoon. We originally wanted to go to The Bahamas, but it’s storm season during that time of year and we didn’t want to get caught in one. We considered going to Hawaii, but decided we wanted to go somewhere here on the mainland and “different” from where most couples choose to go for their honeymoon.

We chose San Diego because we got a really good deal when Southwest Airlines was a having a sale. We were able to get 2 round trip tickets for less than $500, which is pretty good! Neither of us had ever been to California, and I’ve wanted to visit for so long. Lots of people asked us, “What’s there?” because they just couldn’t get why we would choose to go there over Hawaii. We’re so glad we went though, because we had a fantastic time.

I took a lot of great pictures and I wanted to share what we did, so I put together this little travel guide!

View of San Diego from the sky!

Where to stay

Hotel Palomar San Diego

Hotel Palomar is probably the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. We chose it not only because of it’s location (it’s pretty close to everything downtown) but also because we stayed at a Kimpton hotel in Washington, DC and we really enjoyed it. So of course we wanted to try them again.

Let me tell you — this hotel is on point. It is trendy and stylish, but they don’t skimp on their service and amenities. They opened the door for us and gave us friendly smiles everytime we entered, they gave us free champagne and strawberries for our honeymoon, and they had a free wine hour every single night. Our room was spotless and so much better than we expected. We had a killer view, a huge closet for all of our luggage, and a balcony with a fold-up glass door so we could open it all the way. We asked for a nice view on a high floor but were still shocked at what we saw! Very cool.

Beautiful view from Hotel Palomar San Diego

Beautiful view from Hotel Palomar San Diego at night

Of course, there are so many other beautiful hotels to choose from, like the US Grant, Hard Rock Hotel, and Sofia Hotel. Hotel del Coronado is also really nice — it’s right on Coronodo Beach and it and has lots of history (Marilyn Monroe filmed a movie there once!).

Things to do

We originally said we’d go to San Diego and just relax. Just watch TV, eat, and get some rest. Yeah, that did not happen! The weather was perfect and we were so excited to be there that We ended up checking out lots of different things to do in the area.

1. Coronado Island / Coronado Beach

If you go to San Diego, make sure you spend some time in the beautiful town of Coronado! It had some really cute shops and stores, beautiful homes, and lush trees. We stopped for ice cream at MooTime Creamery and bought some clothes out of a few shops.

And then there was the beach. It wasn’t crowded at all and the wet sand had gold flakes in it! It was so gorgeous and we loved it there so much that we spent hours there and went back again the next day. I highly recommend coming to Coronado if you visit San Diego!

Coronado Beach in Coronado, CA

Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Beach in Coronado, CA

Coronado Beach in San Diego, CA

Coronado Island in Coronado, CA

2. San Diego Zoo

Even after we heard about how big this place is, we were still surprised that it was so HUGE. It was a lot of fun but if you go, make sure you set aside at least a half a day for it!

San Diego Zoo

3. Fashion Valley Mall

We stopped by the Fashion Valley Mall after we left the zoo, since it was on the way back toward our hotel. This outdoor mall was full of some of my favorite stores: Anthropologie, Bloomingdale’s, H&M, Free People, Kate Spade, Zara, Lush, and so many more. We went to Westfield Horton Plaza a few times because it was really close to our hotel, but Fashion Valley was a much better mall. Westfield is a lot cheaper though, so that’s why we went there when we needed things like extra swim clothes.

4. USS Midway

The USS Midway was really cool. It’s a HUGE naval ship that you can tour to get a glimpse of what it was like to live and work on. We toured it for hours and did a lot of climbing (up and down stairs) and learned a lot about the ship. We even discovered that one of Brian’s family members was previously stationed on the ship.

5. Harbor Tour Cruise

We hopped aboard a cruise ship for a tour around the harbor. We learned a lot about the area and we got to see several Naval Ships. We actually wanted to take one of the night cruises where you can have a nice dinner and some drinks while you sail around the harbor. But this was fun too — you can still buy snacks and drinks on the ship.

San Diego Harbor Tour Cruise

San Diego Harbor Tour Cruise

6. Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is downtown San Diego’s hotspot for restaurants, live music, and events. We had dinner in the area a few times and it’s pretty cool. The next time we go back I’d like to check out the live music.

7. Seaport Village

Seaport Village is a cute little area near the water with lots of restaurants, shopping, and events. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time here either, but it’s really nice to walk and look at everything the area has to offer.

Places to eat

We didn’t get a chance to eat at very many restaurants because Brian is a super picky eater. But the places we did try were really good:

1. Beer Co.

This is a really laid-back bar with lots of TVs and a really friendly staff. We went there twice and it wasn’t too crowded either time. The food was better than expected and decently priced.

2. Brians 24

Brian’s 24 is a 24 hour restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day. We came in for dinner one night and ordered breakfast. Brian had pancakes that were seriously bigger than his head, and I had a waffle. They have really good food and a great menu selection.

3. Saltbox

Saltbox is the restaurant inside of Hotel Palomar. We ordered breakfast from them and had it delivered to our room our 2nd day there, and it was SO GOOD. Everything tasted so fresh and I love how they put unique twist on classic favorites. If you stay at the Palomar I recommend you try this restaurant before you leave!

4. Seaport Village

I’m listing Seaport Village again because there were tons of places to eat in this area. It was pretty expensive (we paid $30 for lunch at a small Mexican food shop) but so convenient.

Would I go back? Yes!

San Diego was absolutely beautiful and we would love to go back one day, especially since there are lots of things we didn’t get see. I also have on my travel list to visit LA, San Francisco, and a few other spots in California, but San Diego was a perfect vacation spot. I recommend it to anyone who wants to spend some time in a beautiful city with lots to do.

  • I’ve been wanting to visit San Diego for awhile now! What a great travel guide! Definitely saving it for the future. The hotel where you stayed sounds fabulous!

    • You’d love it! So beautiful, and a great place for creatives like us 🙂

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