A Long Weekend in San Diego

Palm trees in San Diego

It's hard to believe that just last month I spent a long weekend in San Diego, eating at so many delicious restaurants, getting gelato by the water, watching the sunset over Windansea Beach, laughing hysterically with two of my best friends as we drove through the canyons blaring Stupid Love by Lady Gaga, going for a hike that made me feel both exhausted and invigorated, and countless other wonderful moments. There was talk of COVID-19 when we were there, but as far as we knew, it was mostly in Northern Cali and Seattle at the time. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary in SoCal except for the occasional Wash Your Hands sign planted here and there. Things quickly changed though. California declared a state of emergency two days after we left Cali and Philly moved to stay at home order less than three weeks after that. It's safe to this entire trip to San Diego feels like a dream now.
  Parakeet CafeBird Rock CoffeeIced LattePannikin Coffee & Tea


Parakeet Cafe | We stopped here during our morning at the Little Italy Farmers Market for some caffeine and a snack before heading to brunch. I got a lavender matcha latte and a lavender chai scone (can you tell that I really love lavender?). And the best part? If you spend $10 you can order a glass of wine for $1. Which means that I had chardonnay with my breakfast!

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters | I typically don't go for flavored coffee but I ended up getting an iced vanilla bean latte and it was so good! And not overly sweet at all, which is always a plus for me when it comes to flavored lattes.

Pannikin Coffee | This is such a lovely spot to sit outside and enjoy a cup of coffee at. I mean, most places in San Diego are lovely to sit outside at, but still, this place was spacious and sunny.
  Cabrillo National MonumentCabrillo National MonumentCabrillo National Monument Hiking in San Diego La Jolla Sea Caves


Cabrillo National Monument | We made it to this National Park just in time to check out the tide pools and the lighthouse! If you go just make sure you plan ahead because the wait to get in can be long and the park is only open until 5pm.

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park | This hike consisted of a quiet trail that was a little bit challenging (haha for me) at times but there were easy routes, we just decided to walk up an extremely steep hill during our hike.

La Jolla Sea Caves | Okay, so the caves themselves aren't much of a hike. You only have to walk down and up 1 flight of steps but there are trails that surround the location of the cove for a nice walk or hike.
  Brunch in San DiegoMorning Glory SDMorning Glory SDUnderbelly RamenTacos El GordoCodys Brunch Cocktail


Brockton Villa | This was such a perfect place for our first meal in San Diego. We had brunch on the terrace overlooking La Jolla Cove and the view couldn't have been more perfect. We got a pitcher of chili mango mimosas and I ordered the grilled salmon BLT with fruit and everything was so fresh and flavorful!

Morning Glory | Ah. Morning Glory. The place where we waited for three hours to get in and it was actually worth it. The terrace and the inside of the restaurant is so beautiful! Every room or section is a little different and there was a mini champagne vending machine! I got the fried rice with eggs and pork belly as well as a massive pineapple brunch drink. 

Underbelly | I LOVE ramen so I'm so happy we made a stop at Underbelly which was recommended by Ashley of Tusks and Tails. They also had a fun beer list!

Queenstown Public House | An adorable New Zealand theme restaurant in the city, which was such a fun place to grab dinner. I was SO exhausted this night though so to be honest I barely remember eating! Haha. I got beef sliders and a beer and I definitely remember enjoying it though. 

Tacos el Gordo | We stopped here for a quick lunch when we were craving Mexican food and wow did this not disappoint. We shared a little of everything, getting a quesadilla, vampiro, mula and fries with beef, spicy pork, cheese sour cream and avocado sauce. 

Codys | Another great brunch spot with a pretty view of the sea. Everyone who worked here was SO friendly and chill, it might have been my favorite dining experience while we were in San Diego (although they were all amazing). I had huevos rancheros, a blackberry sage spritzer and lots of coffee.
  WineRaised by Wolves


La Valencia Hotel | Confession. Our wine could've been nearly half off if we sat at the bar in the La Valencia Hotel during happy hour, but instead we wanted a balcony seat so we paid the full price. And every ounce of it was worth it. 

Raised by Wolves | This speakeasy is tucked away in a shopping complex and you wouldn't even know it! When you walk in it just looks like a fancy liquor store but when you mention the bar you're led to a secret door and once you walk in you've found yourself in a massive old-world style bar with an endless cocktail list. 
  BobboiMexican Bakery


Bobboi Gelato | This little gelato spot is by La Jolla Cove and they had so many fun flavors! It was hard to choose but I ended up with moka and rose almond. Yum!

La Haciendita Mexican Bakery | We walked into this bakery looking for coffee and left with six pastries. Enough said. (Everything was delicious). 

Salt & Straw | I LOVE Salt & Straw. When I went to Portland a few years ago we literally went there every single day even though it was cold out. It still didn't disappoint this time around with a coffee & bourbon cone.  

La JollaLa JollaLa JollaLa JollaWindsea BeachCoronado IslandBalboa ParkCali SunsetCali Sunset

La Jolla Cove | Take a walk by La Jolla Cove to see so many animals! From pelicans to sea lions to seals to dolphins, you're bound for a sight of something other than a seagull.

Windansea Beach | We walked around this beach in the evening and it was so peaceful and calming. Seeing people perched on the rocks with glasses on wine, hearing the waves crash, surfers in the distance - all of it was so perfectly Californian. We sat and watched the sunset over the beach and I thought to myself how incredible it is that something so sweet and simple can be so special.

Coronado Island | We took a drive from Little Italy to Coronado Island during our three hour wait for brunch (lol) at Morning Glory. We were able to park and walk along the beach to the infamous Hotel Del Coronado where Some Like It Hot was filmed.

Balboa Park | Balboa Park is MASSIVE and we only spent a short amount of time there. The park is 1,200 acres and has dozens of gardens as well as museums, theaters and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

San Diego is special in so many ways and I had such an incredible time. One of my best friends is living there now so I'm really hoping to spend more time in this beautiful city soon! Have you ever been? If so, what are your favorite things to do in San Diego? If not, what would you want to check out first?