Travelling in the USA has always been my dream and so I had big expectations, especially for huge and famous cities like LA. Surprisingly (or not) I wasn’t amazed. Masses of tourists, only few interesting spots, and not much to do, because of that Los Angeles was one of my biggest disappointments (except for the movie studios - those were fun!). However, there is a place in California I fell in love with and it’s not far from LA – San Diego!
San Diego is a city situated on the US-Mexican border and enjoying yourself in this area has never been easier. The following is why:
Have fun in Old Town San Diego
If you love Western cities and movies, Old Town is the place for you! It is very easy to get here as there are plenty of trains stopping here (only about 10 mins ride from the San Diego Santa Fe Depot). This little village is an original settlement of the town, full of historical houses with museums and local shops inside of them. What I loved was that every house has its story. There is a Tobacco house, which is supposed to be haunted, or sheriff’s house with some cool attractions. Traditionally dressed ladies, music, smell of freshly made soaps, coffee tastings, and dust everywhere -this all creates the right atmosphere of the real Western city!
There is also another face of Old Town – Mexican. When you enter a part called Fiesta de Reyes, it is like a teleportation to Mexico! Amazing markets full of Mexican music, dancers, or singers. Amazing food and all these beautiful colours… Please, take me back right now!
Become a marine in the NAVY museum
When you are done here, you can on any train heading towards San Diego and visit new town. Ocean is very close to the train station, and by walking down for about 10 mins you will reach a promenade full of things to see and do. There is a port for huge holiday ships, as well as a huge marine museum on a NAVY ship. I am not such a big NAVY fan, but I did enjoy exploring this place because honestly, it is not often you have a chance to sit in an air-fighter! Right behind it you will see a big kissing statue that was inspired by the most famous kissing picture in the world (and dozens of people kissing beneath it).
Walking even further you will reach Seaport Village. It is like a food court – plenty of small restaurants, where you can eat everything you want from Greek to American. There are also many tiny shops with mostly local products. I love to hang around because this place says a lot about the people’s culture and way of living.
You will ´like it hot´ at Coronado Island
When you pass Seaport Village you will see a beautiful bridge that connects San Diego with a Coronado Island. Coronado is like a different world. Long straight boulevard lined with palm trees, old cars, vintage cafés, and the most important in here – The Coronado Hotel. This place is full of history, it still has traditional interior and style, just like when Marilyn Monroe was shooting ‘Some Like It Hot’ in here. If you are fan of either old movies, Marilyn Monroe, or both, you have to see this! And don’t forget to have a coffee!
Find out why everyone wants to live here!
Paradoxically, what I love the most about San Diego is not San Diego itself, but its area. There are reasons why this part of California is so expensive and why everybody wants to live here. There are beautiful houses, farms, greenhouses, restaurants, beaches, surfing spots (I can seriously keep going forever). You can take a public transport and go to Tijuana for lunch or a party if you want to. It’s all up to you! No matter what you are in the mood for, there is something for you ☺
Explore the coastline by train
My most favourite thing in the world is taking a Coaster train. It goes from Oceanside to San Diego and back, and the whole journey takes one hour. So, what is so special about this train? The whole time you are passing through small cities on one side, and beach with ocean view on the other! In some parts of the journey people on the train literally stop talking because those views amaze them. Also, what about stopping in each of those cities to surf or walk on those beaches you see from the train (that are mostly empty or with only a few people in there!).
Balloon rides in Kapaddokia are out – get a ride in Encinitas!
This is getting a bit touristy, but it is a wonderful experience. If you are after unique views of California, ocean, beaches, and super expensive manors in Rancho Santa Fe (including house of Bill Gates), taking a balloon ride is for you. I would personally love to take a balloon ride somewhere in Laos to see the temples, rather than over other people’s houses, but I believe the view of the ocean during the sunset must be spectacular. What I enjoyed the most was watching all those balloons taking off during the sunset from the hill above Encinitas 😊
Eat fancy at least once
I am a low-cost traveler and I am always keeping my budget as low as possible. However, when you are in this area and you will see all those amazing restaurants right at the beach, it is very hard to resist. Eating a nice meal with a glass of wine, while watching the sunset. There are some lovely places especially in Solana Beach! You only have to pick the one you like.
There is more
Surely, there is much more to do in this area, from water sports to sightseeing. You just have to go there to breath in the atmosphere and see how people live. All of this with more locals and less tourists. Enjoy! 😊