Monday, 7 July 2014

Frugal City Guide: San Diego

Looks good, huh? Well it is. This Hotel del Coronado, is where they shot 'Some Like It Hot' with Marilyn Monroe, Tony curtis and Jack Lemmon. And the beach is pretty good, too.

However, we won't be talking about this hotel because this is another Frugal City Guide, this time in San Diego.

I've been to San Diego numerous times, mainly because one of my best friends lives out there. The first time I was with my parents and we did the whole Road Trip from San Francisco to LA and then down to San Diego (it has the best climate as so close to Mexico), and we feel in love with its charm. So next time you plan a road trip, don't just stop in LA...venture a couple of hours further!

I've cheated a little bit, as I've asked a few friends who live out there to help keep this relevant, and mixed it in with a few of my faves...


El Camino

I loved this place in Little Italy, great food, good atmosphere and you can eat your tacos sitting underneath the stars as part of the restaurant is open air.


I went here with some friends a couple of years ago and I really liked the vibe, it felt laid-back and cool and served my kind of American dishes, as well as Craft beers. A classic burger is only $10 and the portions are BIG.

Menu at Neighborhood

Lucha Libre

Taco shop with cool decor, Mexican wrestling masks on the wall, and great food with tacos, gourmet burritos and quesadillas.

Hash House A Go Go

THE best place in San Diego for breakfast and brunch. However, everyone knows it so expect long queues! Frugal tip: the portions are HUGE so maybe go halves on a dish.

Hash House stuffed burger

Minimal menu of pizza and drinks, which helps keep the prices fun and the atmosphere better (and they do gluten free!). 



Hip cocktail bar with cool outside areas (think cacti and globe lighting), try a craft cocktail during their Happy Hour (which are most days!).

Altitude Rooftop Bar

22 stories up, a buzzing bar for great views of the city and Petco Park. It's in the Gaslamp district as well, so it's a good area to be in if you're thinking of continuing the drinking theme...

Craft + Commerce

Great place for drinks and hanging out, their cocktail menu is superb and just because you're there, you should probably try a beer cocktail...


Farmers Markets

There is a real buzz around Little Italy on the weekend, and not just for the great pizzerias: the Farmers Market is a great way to spend a Saturday, trying freshly made juices and admiring the flower stalls (as well as great people watching).

San Diego Zoo

If you have kids, there couldn't be a better place - they have baby pandas. That's possibly all you need to know - a great day out.

With friends a few years ago

I'm talking Target, J Crew, Anthropologie and all those American stores we love which we either can't get in the UK or they're ridiculously expensive over here. Well, they're all in San Diego and that's always a day well spent in my opinion.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is like walking around Spain, Moorish architecture and gorgeous landscaping make this a great pit stop. Not only is it great to walk around and grab an ice cream, it is also home to Museums and galleries, such as the San Diego Museum of Art. And in the summer, it holds numerous festivals and even has an open air theatre, holding a Shakespeare Festival over the summer.

Old Town

The Old Town of San Diego is possibly one of my favourite places in California. Traditional Mexican restaurants, historical charm and a market selling Mexican trinkets you'll never need but want (this is where I bought my neon Day of The Dead skull). Go late afternoon for a stroll amongst the old buildings (even visit the supposedly haunted 'Whaley House') and then enjoy some margheritas and burritos in Fred's (my favourite Mexican - if you go on a 'Taco Tuesday', all tacos are only $2 each - you might have to wait for a table but it's worth it).

Coronado Beach

Take a boat from the port over to Coronado, if you're looking for a wide expansive beach with the softest sand you'll ever feel underneath your feet, you won't be disappointed. There are also lots of great bars along the walk down to the beach - we loved stopping off at Burger Lounge.

Views from the boat on the way to Coronado
Coronado Beach
Micro Breweries

San Diego is home to a lot of start-up breweries and it's a great place to discover the microbrewery scene, there are 20 in Downtown San Diego alone, and even more if you venture upstate.

1 comment :

  1. Wow, I had no idea San Diego was such a cool, pretty place! I'm hoping to do a little American road trip with my two boys sometime in the future so this looks like a great place to spend some time. Thanks so much for the insider knowledge!


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