The weather in sunny San Diego tends to be a dream year-round, which is why it holds the title as the “Weather Capital of the World.” Visitors from all over are discovering its attractiveness based on this aspect alone, escaping the heat or cold of their home city to spend time in this heaven on earth with an average year-round temperature of 70 degrees. On top of that, the city is loaded with world-class and world-famous attractions for you to enjoy during your stay and the hospitality is felt everywhere you go. With an abundance of hotels, restaurants, nightlife venues, and beautiful beaches, there’s something for everyone in San Diego. It is the one place where you can do everything, or you can do nothing, and have a fantastic time either way!
I was fortunate to visit a lineup of fantastic venues during my stay in San Diego. As many of us here in Nebraska enjoy making the journey to the beautiful coast to get away from being landlocked and avoid the weather extremes, here are some of my recommendations based on my most recent adventures! In a city with so much to offer and only one a few short days to pack it all in, I selected what I considered to be the “must see” attractions that San Diego has to offer.
As you might be aware, San Diego is home to a multitude of beautiful beaches! There’s something exciting about renting a house at the beach. Why rent a room when you can rent a whole house just steps from the ocean? We did just that and made an exquisite beach house from Mission Sands Vacation Rental our home for our recent trip to paradise in Mission Beach, which spans nearly two miles of oceanfront. Mission Beach is centrally located in the heart of the Golden Strand, between South Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.
The property was everything we anticipated and more. It was full of charm and beautifully decorated! From the moment we walked in the door, we felt right at home. Our three-story ocean view townhouse featured 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, as well as a private rooftop deck. It sleeps up to 12 people, so we had plenty of space, along with everything we possibly could have wanted at our fingertips. The house was ideal for our needs, as it was very well equipped with all of the essentials plus some. It offered all the comforts of home with the added benefits being on vacation. They even offer a concierge service to guests who want to walk into a fully stocked kitchen or want recommendations for activities in the city during their stay. There’s the convenience of three parking spots, a full kitchen, washer/dryer, grill, WIFI, bikes, and 3 balconies for guests to use during their stay, just to name a few!
Aside from all of the amazing amenities, the location of our rental was phenomenal. A few steps out the front door and down the walkway and you’re on the sand! We could walk and ride bikes all around Mission Bay on the Bayside Walk and cut over to the ocean easily. The unit had plenty of indoor and outdoor space for socializing as well as private spacious bedrooms and quiet sitting areas for anyone to go off on their own and have some alone time.
Perhaps our favorite spot on the property belonged to the rooftop deck. I loved spending time sitting on the top of the deck- during the day to take in the ocean breeze and in the evening underneath the stars.
Side note: I highly recommend making s’mores on the rooftop and taking in the sunset!
In my experience, the rental process with Mission Sands was very streamlined, which is appreciated by those who are new to vacationing here and unfamiliar with the location. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or quick getaway with your friends, you’ll discover why Mission Sands properties come so highly recommended! Mission Sands definitely sets the bar high with its services, property location, and especially its level of hospitality during your stay.
EAT: Parq Restaurant
Situated just a few short blocks from our house and also in the gorgeous downtown San Diego Gaslamp District lies Parq Restaurant & Nightclub. After a full day’s travel, we were thrilled to visit Parq Restaurant for an ultra trendy and stylish place for dinner that evening. Parq Restaurant serves farm-to-table eats in a truly unique Alice in Wonderland setting. The funky and electric decor makes you feel as if you are in a fairytale garden, transporting you to another world. We were definitely not in Nebraska anymore, that’s for sure! In the restaurant, tall beams open up to the sky, allowing for fresh San Diego air to complete the chic “secret garden” atmosphere.
This unique venue offers authentic dishes, all created using the freshest ingredients and homegrown techniques. We would recommend making a reservation and dining first, then head right over to the nightclub after dinner for the ultimate evening. The dinner crowd was a mixture of large groups, bachelorette parties, and couples so it’s apparent they’ve got you covered if you’re looking for an upscale experience all around while out on the town.
For starters, we began with the Dry Aged Ribeye Tatki, the Brussels Sprouts, and the Grilled Asparagus. The Brussels Sprouts were amazing and probably the best we’ve ever had! For dinner, we ordered the Short Rib, Halibut, Scallops, and Free Range Chicken. All of our dishes were favorable and the presentation was spectacular. The Short Rib was definitely the table favorite! It almost melted in your mouth it was so tender and juicy.
As a whole, our dinner experience was praiseworthy and we were impressed to say the least!
PARTY: Parq Nightclub
Following dinner, we were ready for some dancing! Chandeliers guide you through a dark brick tunnel and into the nightclub.
We reserved a luxury VIP table for our group which was well located on the dance floor so that we had the prime real estate for dancing. The sound, lighting, and design of the nightclub employ all of the latest technologies and entertainment, which gives you the feel as if you were in a Las Vegas nightclub. The decor was super swanky and sexy, with visual textures and colors all around you, distinctive upholstery, one-of-a-kind metal tree branch dividers and warm tones – every little detail is impressive.
It was equally impressive how attentive and sociable the staff and management were throughout the evening. We’ve had subpar experiences across the country when it comes to bottle service and Parq sets the level high for VIP treatment. They checked on us numerous times throughout the evening, which is always appreciated. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering this popular hotspot was formed by bringing together the top leaders in the restaurant and nightclub industries, which was evident based on our experience.
EAT: Duck Dive
The Duck Dive in Pacific Beach is widely recognized as one of the best hotspots in San Diego. Beachfront and treasured by locals and tourists alike, if you are looking for a lively, fun atmosphere with an abundance of great people and brunch options, we highly recommend that you visit Duck Dive. This restaurant offers brunch, lunch and dinner menus, catering to all types of beachgoers. We quickly realized that bottomless mimosas or Bloody Mary’s, served daily, are all the rage in San Diego.
I couldn’t imagine a better way to start the afternoon than by ordering a selection of Duck Dives’ savory appetizers. We ordered the Baja Oysters Rockefeller, the Steamed Baja Bowl and the Baja Calamari for appetizers. Take Me to Mexico which is made with Los Altos Plata tequila (house infused with fresh watermelon), basil and jalapeño, shaken with agave, lemon and watermelon is a must. So refreshing!
What a truly memorable way to spend one of my last evenings in San Diego by hopping aboard a storied yacht also known as the Hornblower Cruises – one of San Diego’s most beloved attractions. The dock was conveniently located downtown and easy to find. From the minute we stepped foot on the dock, the customer service was above and beyond. The crew did an incredible job of making us feel overwhelmingly special.
Once we entered the ship we were greeted by very pleasant staff members and ushered to our table. The cruise was 3 hours in length and featured a 3-course dinner, dancing and spectacular sunset views. We ordered the Chicken, Salmon, Beef. The food exceeded our expectations! Every dish tasted great and fresh. The meat was tender and well seasoned. And we loved the complimentary champagne! Not to mention our waiter Sean Castro was exceptional!
Following dinner, the dance floor filled up with people having a great time. The decks were well designed with adequate seating for guests and to take in the views. We did want to mention that some of us easily get sea-sick, but not on this boat. It was smooth sailing for the entire group!
The views were perhaps the best part of the cruise if we had to pick one, which is tough indeed. The romantic setting and beautiful scenery would be ideal for all types of people and groups – couples, celebrations, weddings, and company outings like us!
Pueblo brings the best of Baja flavor to San Diego! Located just 2 blocks from the ocean, Pueblo offers a taste of the Baja coast without having to cross the border! Our group was longing for authentic Mexican fare on our last night of the trip so we were undoubtedly excited to dine at this upscale eatery!
The restaurant itself is airy and feels somewhat eclectic, yet with modern decor and contemporary details while still incorporating the more prominent architectural features you’d commonly find in the southwest and Central America that inspired the Pueblo name. For those unfamiliar with the modern Baja coastal cuisine, it can be described as not old world Mexican, but fresh Baja that incorporates local ingredients, prepared with global techniques and recipes that are rooted in the Baja culinary traditions.
The restaurant is decorated beautifully and boasts 2 bars, a rooftop deck, and an outdoor courtyard. To get started we ordered the Classic Pueblo Margarita (a must try), the Cactus Bloom, and the Oh, Dios Mio Mango!, which contains their house-infused red jalapeno tequila. For appetizers, we went with the Guacamole Y Chips and the Lobster Queso Fundido. Lobster and Queso – the perfect combination!
For the main course, we ordered the Carne Asada, Fish, Spicy Shrimp and Carnitas Taco Plates, and the Lobster. The taco plates were unquestionably the table favorites, but the Lobster was a show-stopper, with extraordinary presentation and cooked to perfection. We must admit that overall, our meals were some of the best we’ve had in awhile!
I had the pleasure of being introduced to Chef Eduardo Rosales, who has spent the last 20 years developing his culinary skills as chef, restaurant owner, and educator in South America and Mexico. Chef Rosales taking the time to meet us was a treat to say the least and ended our stay on such a high note.
As you can see, there’s a reason why San Diego is voted one of the best cities in the US and also on high up on my list of favorite vacation spots. With its gorgeous beaches, delicious Baja Mexican food, an endless variety of stunning views, and a buzzing nightlife, we’ve detailed many of the reasons why you need to put San Diego on your travel radar.
My stay in San Diego was truly nothing short of incredible. I didn’t want to leave but I knew I had to when the time came. Thank you for the escape to paradise – I highly recommend these venues as the best California has to offer!
Feel free to reach out with any questions or if there’s anything else you want to know about planning a trip to San Diego or let me know in the comments below. Also, stay tuned for more Travel Guides from my upcoming adventures.