Marina at San Diego
California, Destinations, North America, Travel, USA

San Diego Guide Part II: Exploring

Last week, I wrote about all of the fabulous food that I ate while in San Diego. Now this week, you get to hear what we actually did during the hours that we weren’t eating.

In researching the city prior to my trip, I just wasn’t finding many things that I was interested in doing or seeing that were plan-able. It turns out that you can’t really approach a trip to San Diego with that mentality. I found that the best approach was to just going with the flow, spending a lot of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring parks and beaches that sprinkle the city.

Nothing but blue skies ahead

The sky was bluer than I had ever seen. There were no clouds. It was almost like in heaven (because you are in the clouds there, right?). Being from Rochester, NY, and even having lived in places that don’t have gray skies all the time, I still feel like it’s a novelty to have a starkly blue sky all the time. I heard whispers that people think the blue sky gets BORING? Clearly, they are taking their beautiful weather for granted and they are just looking for something to complain about.

Underbelly of Plane

Oops! Your underside is showing! San Diego’s airport is very very close to the city, so I was able to snap this pic as a plane was flying in for landing. Also note: no clouds.


They should spend a winter in Rochester and THEN we’ll see about how “boring” they think the blue skies of San Diego are.

Running Along the Marina

We were feeling adventurous and motivated on our first day in San Diego, so we decided to explore the area surrounding our hotel in the fastest way we knew how: by running.

Marina at San Diego

It was a perfect day for running!

Along the way, we got to soak in some of the sun and check out what was around us. The way down to the marina was mostly office buildings, but then we got to the real beauty: palm trees, blue sky, and boats.

Serene water on the marina and a relic from times past: a telephone!

Exploring Balboa Park

After our run, we decided we would venture out to explore Balboa Park. Located right in the middle of San Diego, Balboa Park is nearly 2 square miles of green space that includes various shops, museums and landmarks.

Balboa Park

The buildings in Balboa Park were beautiful. Also note, there are no clouds. BORING!

The thing that I loved most about Balboa Park was its architecture. The buildings were so ornate and evoked this sense of Spanish-meets-Islamic-meets-Californian. We literally spent hours walking around the park. We tracked our route on DailyMile and found out that we had walked nearly 7 miles!

The park was a great place to explore on whim. There were a ton of different museums and cultural centers in the park, so we picked a couple to explore.

In our explorations, we found ourselves at the San Diego Automotive Center.

Automotive Center at Balboa Park

I like the bling bling door handle. If I had a car, I would totally retrofit it to include a door handle like this car has.

The Automotive Center had an interesting exhibit with some old trucks. It also had classic cars and motorcycles. We even got to see a DeLorean, complete with creepy Back to the Future cutouts.

Colorean with Creepy Cutouts

DeLorean with Creepy Back to the Future Cutouts

We then made it over to the San Diego History Center. I like going to museums that you can’t really find in other places and this museum hit just that requirement!

San Diego History Center

Unfortunately, they didn’t allow pictures within the exhibits… so you are left with this door photo.

They had a thorough exhibit about the history of the San Diego area, which I found to be quite informative. I didn’t really know much about the history of this area before I arrived, so I thought it was a great history lesson. The History Center is also currently hosting an exhibit about the tuna trade in the San Diego area. Needless to say, it fed our already existing desire to get our hands on some seafood.

San Diego’s Coronado Island

When I was on my flight from JFK to Phoenix, I mentioned to the woman next to me that I would later be traveling to San Diego. She immediately started gushing about Coronado Island and Hotel del Coronado. She gushed about the beautiful beaches and about drinking cocktails at the bar overlooking the ocean. Not one to pass up the opportunity to sip on a drink while looking out at the ocean, I set my mind on figuring out how to get there.

Besides, what sounds better than going to the beach and getting a drink at a hotel bar that overlooks the Pacific?

Hotel del Coronado

This hotel looks like something that would be in a movie. Oh wait, it is! Marilyn Monroe filmed parts of Some Like It Hot here.

Hotel Coronado was about 15 minutes away from our hotel via bus. We didn’t go in the hotel, but we did spend quite a bit of time walking around the beach (and I had the sunburn later to prove it).

Beach People on Coronado Island

People on the beach soaking in the rays.

This was my first time experiencing the Pacific Ocean, so I was even more excited to see a beach than usual. Well, let me rephrase that: I’m not always that pumped to go to the beach, but I was that day.

You see, in the past few years, I’ve discovered that I have some allergy to something that happens to be near beaches… so I’m not usually as enthusiastic when I know I’m going to be dealing with a potential allergy issue.

Yes, I said it, I’m allergic to the beach. Luckily, I was able to take one of my trusty fake Claritins from Target and it was smooth sailing the rest of the day.

Self Portrait at Coronado Island

Me, not having an allergic reaction to the beach.

So there you have it. Sun, beach, and beautiful blue skies. Check back next week for a review of getting around and where we stayed during our 4 days in San Diego (complete with my very scientific five-star rating system).


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