26904770_10156064948382640_4577788668481900442_n

A woman enjoying the beauty in La Jolla, which should be added on a San Diego city guide.

San Diego, California is one of my favorite cities in the United States because it offers beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, breathtaking mountains, desert, a fun city life and neighborhoods as well as delicious food and drink spots. Although I don’t like to travel to a city more than once, mainly because I like to see new places, San Diego is a destination I never get sick of. Check out my San Diego city guide!

Two women enjoying a sunset in San Diego - something to be added on a San Diego city guide

I have been to San Diego three times: once in October 2015, another time in late August/early September 2016 and then again in January 2018.

Even though I already have a blog post on the best things to see in Southern California, I put together a great city guide on the top things to do in San Diego itself so that you can experience the best of it during a week vacation, long weekend or even a day trip!

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

San Diego, California City Guide

Traveling to San Diego:

Hiking Torrey Pines - what should be included in a San Diego City Guide

By using Skyscanner, you could find great flights into San Diego. (I flew from Newark International Airport in New Jersey to San Diego International Airport in California.) You could also take Amtrak to get to San Diego from Los Angeles or even rent a car if you are traveling around California.

In regards to public transportation in San Diego, the city has a bus through the Metropolitan Transit System. There is also a waterfront shuttle as well as a trolley!

If you’re looking for an RV for your next trip, reserve it here!

Where to Stay in San Diego, California:

Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

During the times I’ve been to San Diego, I either traveled there from Orange County or I stayed with friends, so I never had the opportunity to stay in a hotel during my time in the city. San Diego does, however, offer a wide range of hotels that accommodates all budgets and you could also choose from a variety of Airbnb and Vrbo options as well.

Below are my recommendations for hotels in San Diego based on budget:

Luxury: Hotel del Coronado

Boutique: Hotel Marisol Coronado

Mid-Budget: Tower23 Hotel

Budget: Stay Classy Hostel

Best San Diego City Guide:

Things to do in San Diego, California:

A brother and sister at Seal Beach in La Jolla, California

Enjoy an Adventurous or Relaxing Day at the Beach:

A woman playing with the seals in La Jolla - a must-do activity in a San Diego city guide

Whether you are relaxing in Coronado, surfing in Mission Beach or hiking Torrey Pines, San Diego’s beaches offer something for everyone, even if you are not a beach person!

Below are a list of my favorite beaches in San Diego and everything they have to offer:

La Jolla Cove:
The seals in La Jolla in San Diego

One of my favorite places in the city of San Diego is La Jolla. This beautiful seaside village offers rugged coastal cliffs; sea caves on the beach and wonderful tide pools where you can hang out with the cutest seals.

In addition to the Cove, the town of La Jolla features posh boutiques, waterfront restaurants and so much more! No matter what, La Jolla in San Diego should not be excluded on your city guide!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve:
A woman on Torrey Pines beach in San Diego

Torrey Pines is a state park that preserves 3,000 of the US’ most rare pine trees, salt marshes and so much more! There are eight miles of trails that offer different experiences for hikers.

During my trip to San Diego in January 2018, I adventured along the Beach Trail where I was able to go under pine tree paths to a beautiful overlook of the Pacific Ocean. In addition, this trail offers cool canyon paths that lead you down the cliffs onto the beach. I had a blast! Once you are on the beach, there are incredible views of the cliffs!

Coronado:
A woman enjoying a beach day in Coronado, San Diego - a must do in a San Diego city guide

Although, the above two beaches are the most scenic in San Diego, I love Coronado Beach to sit down and have a relaxing and peaceful beach day.

The beach in Coronado is wide and flat and the ocean offers the best swimming area since there are no rocks and wild seaweed like what you’d normally see in La Jolla and Torrey Pines. I personally like to sit on the beach near the famous Hotel del Coronado because there is a beach bar and I think the hotel is so pretty!

In addition, I love the town of Coronado because it offers some of the best restaurants and shops. Along with the beach and cute town, I also enjoy walking around the neighborhoods and admiring the gorgeous mansions!

Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach:
Mission Beach in San Diego

If you are looking to enjoy a fun beach day with friends, watch a surfing competition or experience a “boardwalk” type of day, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach are the perfect places to go!

I personally love hanging out in these towns because there is so much lively action and you could even grab breakfast or lunch at a beach café that directly overlooks the ocean.

In addition to foodie spots, these beaches also offer great breweries with live music. If you have little kids and are looking for a place where they can go on rides, Belmont Park in Mission Beach is the perfect place to go!

Have Fun in Downtown San Diego:

A woman in front of a mural in San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter:

The Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego offers some of the best nightlife in California. Easily accessible by car, public transit or bike, this great area is where modern architecture meets the Victorian-Age. Besides nightlife, the Gaslamp Quarter has great shops, gastropubs to watch a sporting game and amazing restaurants and candy stores.

Little Italy:

Years ago, a large group of Italians came over to make their living by the Pacific. They lived in a specific neighborhood (now called Little Italy) that is currently flourished with cute patio cafés, the best Italian restaurants, urban wineries, Italian art galleries, boutique hotels and so much more!

Plenty of our nation’s top chefs have created restaurants in Little Italy and I highly recommend putting at least one of these amazing eateries on your San Diego city guide!

Seaport Village:

This cute little area is the perfect place to shop with a view. As you search for the perfect souvenir, watch sailboats and U.S. Naval ships sail on by!

Petco Park:

Known as The World’s Best Ballpark in America, Petco Park is home to the San Diego Padres. Not only can you watch the Padres and another one of your favorite U.S. sports teams play in the stadium, but you could also catch stunning views of San Diego Bay and the city’s skyline.

Explore Balboa Park:

A woman exploring Balboa Park in San Diego - something that must be included in a San Diego city guide

Balboa Park is known to be a place where culture, science and nature blend together. I love how this gorgeous park features beautiful Spanish architecture; it gave me a déjà vu of being back in Spain. In addition to going into the museums, Balboa Park is a great place to picnic, hike, bike ride and so much more!

Go on a Hike in the Desert:

A woman hiking the Palm Canyon Oasis Trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

When I visited San Diego back in January 2018, my friend and I went on a desert hike in the beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Wintertime is the best time to visit a desert since the weather is perfect for hiking. If you decide to go during the summer, expect to be hiking in 100-degree weather.

A woman exploring Anza-Borrego - a must do on a San Diego city guide

As the largest state park in California, Anza-Borrego is located in the Colorado Desert and offers 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and many miles of hiking trails. The drive into the desert was spectacular and it made me feel like I was on Mars.

An oasis in Anza-Borrego, California

If you are looking for a cool adventure, I definitely recommend doing the trail my friends and I did called the Palm Canyon Oasis. This 3.25-mile, easy loop trail begins in the heart of the desert with floral cacti and ascends into a magical oasis with waterfalls and palm trees. It is truly an alluring desert canyon! You can even catch unique animals hanging out in the canyon. (Make sure to download the AllTrails app if you plan to hike in Anza-Borrego.)

Wildlife in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California

About an hour south of Palm Canyon Oasis is the Borrego Springs. Surrounded by the beautiful marble rock of the canyons, enjoy relaxing in Anza-Borrego’s geothermal pools. It was the perfect way to end the day after a great hike.

Anza-Borrego, a day trip from San Diego

In addition to hiking and relaxing in the geothermal pools, Anza-Borrego is a great place to also find the perfect camping ground!

Cabrillo National Monument - a must visit on a San Diego city guide

Other great hikes in San Diego County are Mount Laguna, Mission Trails Regional Park, Cabrillo National Monument and so much more!

Sip on the Best Craft Beer:

Breweries in San Diego

San Diego is considered to be the “Craft Beer Capital of America”. Beer in this city is embraced with the local food.

A few of my favorite places to sip on a delicious brew are Barrel Republic in Mission Beach, Pizza Port in Point Loma, Ballast Point Brewing Company in Little Italy and Knotty Barrel in the Gaslamp Quarter. In addition to beer, I loved Madison, a fancy cocktail bar with a cute courtyard located in University Heights.

Taste Your Way Around the Different Neighborhoods:

Korean ice cream in San Diego

In addition to beer, San Diego is also known for its crafted food made by renowned chefs from all over the world. In fact, California ranks second, behind New York, as having the best food (in my opinion).

Not only can you find the best Mexican and Asian Fusion food in this great city, but you can also find delicious Italian, Indian, Greek, Middle Eastern and American restaurants in San Diego. Below is a list of my favorite places to eat at in this city, which you should add to your San Diego city guide:

Watch the Sunset on the Pacific or Catch the Sunrise Over the Mountains

A woman watching a sunset at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego - what you must include in a San Diego city guide

No matter where you are on the Pacific Coast, you will be sure to catch an amazing sunset along the ocean and among the swaying California trees.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park offers intricately carved coastal cliffs, panoramic views of the ocean and you can even catch California gray whales from a distance (unfortunately, I didn’t see any when I was there).

Sunset Cliffs in San Diego during sunset

The moment we reached Sunset Cliffs, I felt immediate bliss! The views were incredible and the ocean mist felt amazing against my skin. Experiencing a summer-like sunset in the middle of the winter is by far one of the best feelings!

Sunset Cliffs runs 68-acres along the western edge of the Point Loma area and it is a place you cannot skip on your San Diego city guide. The cliffs are super steep and you definitely need to watch where you step because there are no fences or guard rails. One of the cool things you can do is walk down this staircase to the beach area where you can catch the waves crashing along the cliffs. It was truly a beautiful evening.

Beautiful Sunset Cliffs in Southern California

A few other places you can catch the sunset in San Diego is at Mission Bay, Cabrillo National Monument, Seaport Village, a rooftop downtown and more!

A happy women enjoying a sunset in San Diego

The sunrise is also amazing to catch early in the morning. Depending on where you are, you can catch it at Mount Julian, Cabrillo National Monument and Coronado to name a few.

Spend Mornings Drinking Coffee on the Beach:

A woman enjoying a beautiful day in La Jolla, California

Besides beer, coffee has also become a popular staple in San Diego. (Seattle is another great city for coffee lovers.) No matter what neighborhood you are in, you will sure find an amazing coffee shop!

What is cool about San Diego’s coffee shops are that you can find them in some interesting areas and even on the beach! There is nothing more amazing than sipping a fresh cup of coffee with a view.

Get Cozy at a Bonfire on the Beach:

A woman enjoying a bonfire in San Diego - what you must include in a San Diego city guide.

What is awesome about San Diego is that some of the beaches have fire pits lined up so that you and friends could get together and enjoy a cozy night snuggled up by the fire, while hearing the ocean crash.

Bonfire in Coronado, San Diego

During one of the nights I was in San Diego, we all enjoyed a bonfire on Coronado Beach. We had a blast sharing stories, making s’mores and drinking San Diego’s locally crafted beer.

What was cool about our bonfire in San Diego was that the weather went from being clear to foggy. We felt like we were out in limbo since you could not see anything except your shadow in the fog. It was definitely one of the most memorable times in San Diego.

Visit a San Diego Winery:

A woman at Bernardo Winery in Escondido, San Diego

You don’t always have to travel to Napa to taste great California wines; Southern California also has amazing wineries with gorgeous scenery like what you can find in Northern California.

If you are looking to do something different than going to the beach or taking a hike, visiting a winery is definitely a great idea! Urban wineries are booming throughout the region and you can find a few of them in San Diego’s downtown area. Since I was in San Diego though, I just HAD to go to an outdoor winery.

My friend and I found a great wine village in Escondido called Bernardo Winery. What is cool about this winery is that it is known as “Southern California’s Oldest Operating Winery”. As you taste your wine, you are allowed to walk around and enjoy the beautiful weather, head into the little shops and buy a souvenir, admire local art and even get a chocolate pairing with your tasting from the village’s sweet shop.

Stay Active in San Diego:

Torrey Pines in San Diego

Last but not least, San Diego is the best city in the country to stay active. Since the city has sunshine for over 300 days out of the year with an average temperature around 65 degrees (Fahrenheit), there is no excuse to not be outside.

In San Diego, there is something for everyone! Some popular activities to get involved in are hiking, surfing, cycling, yoga, golfing, swimming, beach volleyball, skateboarding, basketball, soccer, football, tennis and so much more!


A woman looking out at a sunset over the ocean in San Diego

I hope you all enjoyed reading my city guide on San Diego, California. If you have any questions about San Diego or California in general, please email me at [email protected]

Make sure to pin this post if you find it useful!

San Diego, California city guide

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United State Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., CA State Capital: Sacramento, Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

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16 Comments

  1. Marcel on April 22, 2019 at 3:42 am

    A wonderful report paired with very beautiful images. And I am happy, that I can zoom in sometimes (no reading glasses needed;))) Best wishes ?❤️

    • Taylor Deer on April 22, 2019 at 10:40 am

      Thank you so much Marcel!

  2. Marisa on April 23, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Such a great guide to San Diego! I visited there years ago and only for a short time. Your guide definitely makes me want to get out there again!

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you so much Marisa! San Diego is one of my favorite cities and I try to visit at least once a year if I can. 🙂

  3. World of Lina on April 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Such a great post about San Diego Taylor! I was there in February during my California trip and loved the city so much, way more than LA. I will definitely go back and visit all these places you mentioned ☺️

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much Alina! I definitely agree with you, San Diego is way better than LA in a lot of aspects. It’s also one of my favorite cities! 🙂

  4. Nicola on April 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    The sunset cliffs look amazing. Guess I’m going to have to add San Diego to my list.

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Oh yes, the sunsets on the west coast are so breathtaking and San Diego in general is such a great city. One of my favorites in the United States. 🙂

  5. Michele on April 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I’m so jealous! I’ve always wanted to LIVE there! Your photos are breathtakingly beautiful too! http://www.instagram.com/afitandfabulousmichele

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 9:42 pm

      Me too Michele! I still hope to live there at some point in the future. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Josefine on April 24, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    It really looks like San Diego has it all! I can’t wait to go visit in September. I’ll definitely be using your post for inspiration!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      It’s one of my favorite cities in the United States! There is so much to do. You are going to love it! 🙂

  7. Maria on April 25, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Great post Taylor! I’ve only been to California once and unfortunately I didn’t make to to San Diego. I had no idea that the scenery was so beautiful!

    • Taylor Deer on April 25, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Thank you Maria! You definitely have to go visit San Diego next time you go back. It’s one of my favorite U.S. cities. 🙂

  8. Cosette on June 10, 2021 at 5:42 am

    Great City guide for San Diego. I loved the vibe in San Diego. We didn’t get to do these things, we only visited Sea World and friends.

    • Taylor Deer on June 11, 2021 at 10:23 am

      Thank you so much Cosette! San Diego is such a great city. There is so much to do for everyone. 🙂

Leave a Comment





26904770_10156064948382640_4577788668481900442_n

A woman enjoying the beauty in La Jolla, which should be added on a San Diego city guide.

San Diego, California is one of my favorite cities in the United States because it offers beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, breathtaking mountains, desert, a fun city life and neighborhoods as well as delicious food and drink spots. Although I don’t like to travel to a city more than once, mainly because I like to see new places, San Diego is a destination I never get sick of. Check out my San Diego city guide!

Two women enjoying a sunset in San Diego - something to be added on a San Diego city guide

I have been to San Diego three times: once in October 2015, another time in late August/early September 2016 and then again in January 2018.

Even though I already have a blog post on the best things to see in Southern California, I put together a great city guide on the top things to do in San Diego itself so that you can experience the best of it during a week vacation, long weekend or even a day trip!

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

San Diego, California City Guide

Traveling to San Diego:

Hiking Torrey Pines - what should be included in a San Diego City Guide

By using Skyscanner, you could find great flights into San Diego. (I flew from Newark International Airport in New Jersey to San Diego International Airport in California.) You could also take Amtrak to get to San Diego from Los Angeles or even rent a car if you are traveling around California.

In regards to public transportation in San Diego, the city has a bus through the Metropolitan Transit System. There is also a waterfront shuttle as well as a trolley!

If you’re looking for an RV for your next trip, reserve it here!

Where to Stay in San Diego, California:

Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

During the times I’ve been to San Diego, I either traveled there from Orange County or I stayed with friends, so I never had the opportunity to stay in a hotel during my time in the city. San Diego does, however, offer a wide range of hotels that accommodates all budgets and you could also choose from a variety of Airbnb and Vrbo options as well.

Below are my recommendations for hotels in San Diego based on budget:

Luxury: Hotel del Coronado

Boutique: Hotel Marisol Coronado

Mid-Budget: Tower23 Hotel

Budget: Stay Classy Hostel

Best San Diego City Guide:

Things to do in San Diego, California:

A brother and sister at Seal Beach in La Jolla, California

Enjoy an Adventurous or Relaxing Day at the Beach:

A woman playing with the seals in La Jolla - a must-do activity in a San Diego city guide

Whether you are relaxing in Coronado, surfing in Mission Beach or hiking Torrey Pines, San Diego’s beaches offer something for everyone, even if you are not a beach person!

Below are a list of my favorite beaches in San Diego and everything they have to offer:

La Jolla Cove:
The seals in La Jolla in San Diego

One of my favorite places in the city of San Diego is La Jolla. This beautiful seaside village offers rugged coastal cliffs; sea caves on the beach and wonderful tide pools where you can hang out with the cutest seals.

In addition to the Cove, the town of La Jolla features posh boutiques, waterfront restaurants and so much more! No matter what, La Jolla in San Diego should not be excluded on your city guide!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve:
A woman on Torrey Pines beach in San Diego

Torrey Pines is a state park that preserves 3,000 of the US’ most rare pine trees, salt marshes and so much more! There are eight miles of trails that offer different experiences for hikers.

During my trip to San Diego in January 2018, I adventured along the Beach Trail where I was able to go under pine tree paths to a beautiful overlook of the Pacific Ocean. In addition, this trail offers cool canyon paths that lead you down the cliffs onto the beach. I had a blast! Once you are on the beach, there are incredible views of the cliffs!

Coronado:
A woman enjoying a beach day in Coronado, San Diego - a must do in a San Diego city guide

Although, the above two beaches are the most scenic in San Diego, I love Coronado Beach to sit down and have a relaxing and peaceful beach day.

The beach in Coronado is wide and flat and the ocean offers the best swimming area since there are no rocks and wild seaweed like what you’d normally see in La Jolla and Torrey Pines. I personally like to sit on the beach near the famous Hotel del Coronado because there is a beach bar and I think the hotel is so pretty!

In addition, I love the town of Coronado because it offers some of the best restaurants and shops. Along with the beach and cute town, I also enjoy walking around the neighborhoods and admiring the gorgeous mansions!

Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach:
Mission Beach in San Diego

If you are looking to enjoy a fun beach day with friends, watch a surfing competition or experience a “boardwalk” type of day, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach are the perfect places to go!

I personally love hanging out in these towns because there is so much lively action and you could even grab breakfast or lunch at a beach café that directly overlooks the ocean.

In addition to foodie spots, these beaches also offer great breweries with live music. If you have little kids and are looking for a place where they can go on rides, Belmont Park in Mission Beach is the perfect place to go!

Have Fun in Downtown San Diego:

A woman in front of a mural in San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter:

The Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego offers some of the best nightlife in California. Easily accessible by car, public transit or bike, this great area is where modern architecture meets the Victorian-Age. Besides nightlife, the Gaslamp Quarter has great shops, gastropubs to watch a sporting game and amazing restaurants and candy stores.

Little Italy:

Years ago, a large group of Italians came over to make their living by the Pacific. They lived in a specific neighborhood (now called Little Italy) that is currently flourished with cute patio cafés, the best Italian restaurants, urban wineries, Italian art galleries, boutique hotels and so much more!

Plenty of our nation’s top chefs have created restaurants in Little Italy and I highly recommend putting at least one of these amazing eateries on your San Diego city guide!

Seaport Village:

This cute little area is the perfect place to shop with a view. As you search for the perfect souvenir, watch sailboats and U.S. Naval ships sail on by!

Petco Park:

Known as The World’s Best Ballpark in America, Petco Park is home to the San Diego Padres. Not only can you watch the Padres and another one of your favorite U.S. sports teams play in the stadium, but you could also catch stunning views of San Diego Bay and the city’s skyline.

Explore Balboa Park:

A woman exploring Balboa Park in San Diego - something that must be included in a San Diego city guide

Balboa Park is known to be a place where culture, science and nature blend together. I love how this gorgeous park features beautiful Spanish architecture; it gave me a déjà vu of being back in Spain. In addition to going into the museums, Balboa Park is a great place to picnic, hike, bike ride and so much more!

Go on a Hike in the Desert:

A woman hiking the Palm Canyon Oasis Trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

When I visited San Diego back in January 2018, my friend and I went on a desert hike in the beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Wintertime is the best time to visit a desert since the weather is perfect for hiking. If you decide to go during the summer, expect to be hiking in 100-degree weather.

A woman exploring Anza-Borrego - a must do on a San Diego city guide

As the largest state park in California, Anza-Borrego is located in the Colorado Desert and offers 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and many miles of hiking trails. The drive into the desert was spectacular and it made me feel like I was on Mars.

An oasis in Anza-Borrego, California

If you are looking for a cool adventure, I definitely recommend doing the trail my friends and I did called the Palm Canyon Oasis. This 3.25-mile, easy loop trail begins in the heart of the desert with floral cacti and ascends into a magical oasis with waterfalls and palm trees. It is truly an alluring desert canyon! You can even catch unique animals hanging out in the canyon. (Make sure to download the AllTrails app if you plan to hike in Anza-Borrego.)

Wildlife in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California

About an hour south of Palm Canyon Oasis is the Borrego Springs. Surrounded by the beautiful marble rock of the canyons, enjoy relaxing in Anza-Borrego’s geothermal pools. It was the perfect way to end the day after a great hike.

Anza-Borrego, a day trip from San Diego

In addition to hiking and relaxing in the geothermal pools, Anza-Borrego is a great place to also find the perfect camping ground!

Cabrillo National Monument - a must visit on a San Diego city guide

Other great hikes in San Diego County are Mount Laguna, Mission Trails Regional Park, Cabrillo National Monument and so much more!

Sip on the Best Craft Beer:

Breweries in San Diego

San Diego is considered to be the “Craft Beer Capital of America”. Beer in this city is embraced with the local food.

A few of my favorite places to sip on a delicious brew are Barrel Republic in Mission Beach, Pizza Port in Point Loma, Ballast Point Brewing Company in Little Italy and Knotty Barrel in the Gaslamp Quarter. In addition to beer, I loved Madison, a fancy cocktail bar with a cute courtyard located in University Heights.

Taste Your Way Around the Different Neighborhoods:

Korean ice cream in San Diego

In addition to beer, San Diego is also known for its crafted food made by renowned chefs from all over the world. In fact, California ranks second, behind New York, as having the best food (in my opinion).

Not only can you find the best Mexican and Asian Fusion food in this great city, but you can also find delicious Italian, Indian, Greek, Middle Eastern and American restaurants in San Diego. Below is a list of my favorite places to eat at in this city, which you should add to your San Diego city guide:

Watch the Sunset on the Pacific or Catch the Sunrise Over the Mountains

A woman watching a sunset at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego - what you must include in a San Diego city guide

No matter where you are on the Pacific Coast, you will be sure to catch an amazing sunset along the ocean and among the swaying California trees.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park offers intricately carved coastal cliffs, panoramic views of the ocean and you can even catch California gray whales from a distance (unfortunately, I didn’t see any when I was there).

Sunset Cliffs in San Diego during sunset

The moment we reached Sunset Cliffs, I felt immediate bliss! The views were incredible and the ocean mist felt amazing against my skin. Experiencing a summer-like sunset in the middle of the winter is by far one of the best feelings!

Sunset Cliffs runs 68-acres along the western edge of the Point Loma area and it is a place you cannot skip on your San Diego city guide. The cliffs are super steep and you definitely need to watch where you step because there are no fences or guard rails. One of the cool things you can do is walk down this staircase to the beach area where you can catch the waves crashing along the cliffs. It was truly a beautiful evening.

Beautiful Sunset Cliffs in Southern California

A few other places you can catch the sunset in San Diego is at Mission Bay, Cabrillo National Monument, Seaport Village, a rooftop downtown and more!

A happy women enjoying a sunset in San Diego

The sunrise is also amazing to catch early in the morning. Depending on where you are, you can catch it at Mount Julian, Cabrillo National Monument and Coronado to name a few.

Spend Mornings Drinking Coffee on the Beach:

A woman enjoying a beautiful day in La Jolla, California

Besides beer, coffee has also become a popular staple in San Diego. (Seattle is another great city for coffee lovers.) No matter what neighborhood you are in, you will sure find an amazing coffee shop!

What is cool about San Diego’s coffee shops are that you can find them in some interesting areas and even on the beach! There is nothing more amazing than sipping a fresh cup of coffee with a view.

Get Cozy at a Bonfire on the Beach:

A woman enjoying a bonfire in San Diego - what you must include in a San Diego city guide.

What is awesome about San Diego is that some of the beaches have fire pits lined up so that you and friends could get together and enjoy a cozy night snuggled up by the fire, while hearing the ocean crash.

Bonfire in Coronado, San Diego

During one of the nights I was in San Diego, we all enjoyed a bonfire on Coronado Beach. We had a blast sharing stories, making s’mores and drinking San Diego’s locally crafted beer.

What was cool about our bonfire in San Diego was that the weather went from being clear to foggy. We felt like we were out in limbo since you could not see anything except your shadow in the fog. It was definitely one of the most memorable times in San Diego.

Visit a San Diego Winery:

A woman at Bernardo Winery in Escondido, San Diego

You don’t always have to travel to Napa to taste great California wines; Southern California also has amazing wineries with gorgeous scenery like what you can find in Northern California.

If you are looking to do something different than going to the beach or taking a hike, visiting a winery is definitely a great idea! Urban wineries are booming throughout the region and you can find a few of them in San Diego’s downtown area. Since I was in San Diego though, I just HAD to go to an outdoor winery.

My friend and I found a great wine village in Escondido called Bernardo Winery. What is cool about this winery is that it is known as “Southern California’s Oldest Operating Winery”. As you taste your wine, you are allowed to walk around and enjoy the beautiful weather, head into the little shops and buy a souvenir, admire local art and even get a chocolate pairing with your tasting from the village’s sweet shop.

Stay Active in San Diego:

Torrey Pines in San Diego

Last but not least, San Diego is the best city in the country to stay active. Since the city has sunshine for over 300 days out of the year with an average temperature around 65 degrees (Fahrenheit), there is no excuse to not be outside.

In San Diego, there is something for everyone! Some popular activities to get involved in are hiking, surfing, cycling, yoga, golfing, swimming, beach volleyball, skateboarding, basketball, soccer, football, tennis and so much more!


A woman looking out at a sunset over the ocean in San Diego

I hope you all enjoyed reading my city guide on San Diego, California. If you have any questions about San Diego or California in general, please email me at [email protected]

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San Diego, California city guide

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United State Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., CA State Capital: Sacramento, Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

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16 Comments

  1. Marcel on April 22, 2019 at 3:42 am

    A wonderful report paired with very beautiful images. And I am happy, that I can zoom in sometimes (no reading glasses needed;))) Best wishes ?❤️

    • Taylor Deer on April 22, 2019 at 10:40 am

      Thank you so much Marcel!

  2. Marisa on April 23, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Such a great guide to San Diego! I visited there years ago and only for a short time. Your guide definitely makes me want to get out there again!

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you so much Marisa! San Diego is one of my favorite cities and I try to visit at least once a year if I can. 🙂

  3. World of Lina on April 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Such a great post about San Diego Taylor! I was there in February during my California trip and loved the city so much, way more than LA. I will definitely go back and visit all these places you mentioned ☺️

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much Alina! I definitely agree with you, San Diego is way better than LA in a lot of aspects. It’s also one of my favorite cities! 🙂

  4. Nicola on April 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    The sunset cliffs look amazing. Guess I’m going to have to add San Diego to my list.

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Oh yes, the sunsets on the west coast are so breathtaking and San Diego in general is such a great city. One of my favorites in the United States. 🙂

  5. Michele on April 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I’m so jealous! I’ve always wanted to LIVE there! Your photos are breathtakingly beautiful too! http://www.instagram.com/afitandfabulousmichele

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2019 at 9:42 pm

      Me too Michele! I still hope to live there at some point in the future. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Josefine on April 24, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    It really looks like San Diego has it all! I can’t wait to go visit in September. I’ll definitely be using your post for inspiration!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      It’s one of my favorite cities in the United States! There is so much to do. You are going to love it! 🙂

  7. Maria on April 25, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Great post Taylor! I’ve only been to California once and unfortunately I didn’t make to to San Diego. I had no idea that the scenery was so beautiful!

    • Taylor Deer on April 25, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Thank you Maria! You definitely have to go visit San Diego next time you go back. It’s one of my favorite U.S. cities. 🙂

  8. Cosette on June 10, 2021 at 5:42 am

    Great City guide for San Diego. I loved the vibe in San Diego. We didn’t get to do these things, we only visited Sea World and friends.

    • Taylor Deer on June 11, 2021 at 10:23 am

      Thank you so much Cosette! San Diego is such a great city. There is so much to do for everyone. 🙂

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