A weekend in San Diego
Wishing I could close my eyes and be back in San Diego with unlimited sunshine, beaches and palm tree-lined streets. Tristan and I were lucky enough to escape for a weekend away after a few busy months in a row of work! Only a two-hour flight away from Seattle, San Diego makes for the ultimate weekend vacay when you’re craving some Vitamin D!
We both hadn’t visited San Diego since we were young so it was a fun opportunity for us to explore the area with fresh eyes. Before we left, I ventured onto Pinterest for some travel guide tips and recommendations, I instantly felt overwhelmed with everything there is to do in this SoCal city. However, we were able to prioritize what we wanted to see and do by day so it made each day an efficient day full of exploring with some R&R in between — which is much needed on vacation after all! I already can’t wait for my next visit (especially since one of my best friends recently moved there!)
So here, in a nutshell of a blog post, I’m sharing my highlights with you. How to spend a weekend in San Diego soaking up the sunshine and cramming in a lot of fun in between!
Thanks to Grand Pacific Resorts we had the most accommodating stay at Coronado Beach Resort located in the resort city Coronado, located on a peninsula in San Diego Bay. I was shocked how close Coronado was to the heart of downtown let alone the airport. We’re talking a 10 minute drive, people! Coronado is a special place because you feel like you’re in a different world by just venturing over the bridge from downtown San Diego. Coronado is so walkable and has a lot to do — in fact, if you wanted to remain in Coronado for just the weekend you totally could! I felt extremely safe walking around in Coronado because it is more residential. It can lean more touristy depending on the time of year. It’s definitely worth a day visit if you are staying in San Diego.
The Coronado Beach Resort resides on Orange Avenue, the main drag in Coronado lined with shops, restaurants, beaches, hotels and watering holes. We loved how walkable everything was from the resort! Not to mention, you can soak up a killer sunset from the rooftop of the resort while hot tubbing.
The resort is also conveniently located across the street from the Hotel del Coronado which is a prominent resort with amazing grounds. I would highly recommend staying at Coronado Beach Resort due to its convenient location whether you’re spending most of your time in San Diego or Coronado, its extremely accommodating staff and its overall room layout and resort amenities.
Grab lunch at Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill - Since we were heading to Coronado after the airport to chill and get aquatinted with the area before checking into our hotel that afternoon we knew we wanted to stop off for some food! Look no further than Bluewater Boathouse for a hearty lunch with lots of delicious seafood options (seriously, get the chowder). We were able to sit out on the deck to soak up the sights of the marina during our meal.
We decided to stay on Coronado the first day since we would spend the entire next day in the city and at various beaches. Some of our Coronado highlights included:
-Stroll along Orange Avenue. Visit the cute shops and stop off for a beer flight at Coronado Brewing Company.
Stroll through the Hotel del Coronado grounds. Beautiful white sand beaches and stunning views!
Grab dinner at Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge. After sunset we decided to venture over to Leroy’s for dinner. I highly recommend grabbing a reservation on the weekend, it fills up fast! We were pleased to find out upon arrival it was San Diego Restaurant Week so we were able to indulge in three courses for less than $50 a person! Seriously the best way to end our first night in SoCal.
Brunch at Clayton’s Coffee Shop. We eased into our morning by finding a local brunch spot everyone raved about online: Clayton’s Coffee Shop. Anticipate a wait (we waited for about 30 minutes for a table but some waited for an hour). It’s a classic Coronado diner establishment just blocks from the resort. And because it’s never too early for a milkshake when you’re with Tristan and I, you best believe we started off our morning with a chocolate and Oreo milkshake while soaking up the funky 50’s vibes of the diner before kicking off our explore day!
Grab coffee at Communal. Next on my list was to grab coffee at none other than Communal. This coffee shop came highly recommended from friends and travel bloggers so it was a must on my list. Maybe it was the Coffee + Flowers mural outside the shop that intrigued me or maybe it was the amazing interior filled with a California coastal vibe and outfitted with the Native Poppy floral shop. Flowers and coffee are quite literally the best combination.
Holy Matcha. Another must-visit Instagrammable spot is Holy Matcha. While I’m not a huge matcha fan, I was willing to guzzle one down for a pic until I spotted the specialty hibiscus lemonade on the menu! It was a done deal and I got some snaps. If I lived in San Diego this would be most definitely my place to blog/work.
Pigment for some shopping! When you’re fully hydrated and in need of shopping off some brunch (because, why not?) definitely be sure to add Pigment to your list. This is the CUTEST store! I kept telling Tristan I wished we had one in Seattle. From their floor to ceiling succulent wall inside (and the one outside) to their pink mural wall on the exterior of the shop that’s just screaming for a photo to all of their incredible curated goods inside: jewelry, clothing, home goods, paper goods, etc. It’s a must visit.
Road trip the various beaches! After our morning spent visiting some Instagrammable places, we decided to venture out in the rental car to the nearby beaches and drive along the coast back down to San Diego. We drove up to La Jolla and worked our way down the various beaches: Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Mission Beach.
If we had more time we would have stopped off and explored each beach but we decided to drive through until we got to Ocean Beach. This was more the locals’ beach hangout so it was fun to experience what it would feel like to be a local in SoCal. We watched a surfing competition, strolled the boardwalk and pier and stopped off for beers and street tacos before hopping in the car to catch the sunset.
Visit the Sunset Cliffs. We wanted to soak in a California sunset during our stay and there’s truly no better place in San Diego to do that than at the Sunset Cliffs! Just a little drive away from Ocean Beach, we got there just in time to watch the sky fade into a beautiful ombre and the sun dip below the ocean. It’s a truly magical place to experience a sunset.
Experience San Diego nightlife. Tristan and I decided we wanted to venture out to San Diego to experience the nightlife a bit. We went to the Gaslamp District and Little Italy — both came highly recommended as the places to go out at night and are within walking distance of each other. Honestly, you can stumble across other gems along the main drag. We grabbed drinks and loved the vibe at Craft & Commerce, ventured over to Kettner Exchange and ended the night with pizza in Little Italy.
It was our final day in San Diego before heading to the airport that evening and we decided what better way to end our trip than at the San Diego Zoo? This zoo is INCREDIBLE and if you’ve never been you have to make it a priority when visiting San Diego. It’s also huge so come prepared with water, sunscreen, a camera and good walking shoes. It’s definitely ambitious to get through it all in one day, but we did it!
We got to the zoo early (an hour after opening) to spend hours exploring before a quick pitstop to IN-N-OUT and the airport.
My biggest takeaway from San Diego? I was happily surprised with how easy it was to get around. Although the city is fairly large, it’s not spread out like LA so if you’re feeling ambitious to go from one side of the city to another it is totally doable.
Overall, our trip was just what we needed to feel rejuvenated and fulfilled. We were able to experience such a gem of southern California that I can’t wait to explore more of the next time I visit! …you stay classy, San Diego!
*Collaboration note: Thank you Grand Pacific Resorts for collaborating on this travel sponsored blog post! All thoughts and opinions expressed on West Coast Aesthetic are my own and every collaboration is done with absolute integrity.