San Diego tour guide

August 5, 2014
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I’ve been wanting to do the perfect tour guide of San Diego but really… it has taken me way too long! I mean, I had this in “draft” mode for about a year haha. No joke. Well, It’s now Summer and I think this is as good as any other time to finally post this! Ugh, it’s just so hard to make a short list! There is just so much I love about this city! I guess I will just keep it as simple as I can and write everything that immediately comes to mind. If you are planning on coming down, I hope this guide helps you have an amazing trip! Here are my picks of what you need to see and do in SD!
Wine & Dine:
  • Burger lounge: if you aren’t from SoCal you need to try this restaurant! It’s a few steps above fast food only it has the freshest quality ingredients. It’s not too expensive and oh sooo sinfully delicious! I love the baby turkey burger and veggie burger… mmmm. They also have beers if thats your thing 😉
  • Muzita Bistro: This is one of my favorite exotic restaurants. Ahhmazing Ethiopian/Eritrean food. It’s casual, friendly and unique. Check out this post here where I talk about how much I love this place. Super quirky area! This place is unique and really delish. There is an amazing vintage shop right across the street also (La Loupe). Ps food is super spicy here! So, if you don’t like spice (like my sad horrible Mexican ass) make sure you let them know!
  • Alexanders on 30th: This Italian restaurant is in the heart of North Park (san diego’s hipster and foodie area) . This is a great place for the family or on a date. If you go at night and sit outside its pretty romantic. They have outdoor christmas lights and a movie projected onto the wall if you’re into that sorta thing (just make sure to google what day they do this). They have all kinds of food and it’s all yummy.
  • Craft and Commerce: Fun atmosphere, good drinks, cool decor and damn good sweet potato fries…(my weakness). Their Mint Juleps hit the spot on a hot day during happy hour. This is in the center of LIttle Italy where there are so many good restaurants to choose from.
  • Polite Provisions: A great place to go with a small group of friends to get punch bowl or try out the craft cocktails. The interior is pretty cool and the drinks are amazing. The interior is inspired by the soda fountains of the early 20th century and it’s just a cool vibe overall. If your going for happy hour and with 3 friends or more get the punch bowl!! If It’s more of a one on one QT situation I normally go for anything with Ginger Beer.
  • Cantina Mayahuel: This place is another favorite of mine. It looks like you just stepped into Mexico the moment you walk in only you have white waiters with beards. They have amazing carnitas and the margs are kinda deadly but oh so good! Also, if you like Mezcal (like my boyfriend) this is your spot. This is just across the street from Polite so you can check this out then walk across the street.
  • Pappaleco: One of my favorite places for brunch. There are several locals around SD but I love the one in Hillcrest. It’s super casual and I love how simple it is. Their breakfast is basic but has that italian flare. You know… how those italians do. Everything just tastes better. I love how they add rosemary and thick rich balsamic to their scrambled eggs.
  • Noble Experiment: I absolutely love this place. I mean Love. I’m kind of over the whole CLUBBING thing… those days are long gone. But this place has a cool environment, it’s super exclusive so you might have to make your reservation a week in advance. If you are lucky you might be able to get in during the week. It’s a small bar hidden behind “Neighborhood” restaurant (which bee tee dubs is also a good place for dinner.) The bartenders know their shizz here so you can order from the drink menu or tell them what you like and they will make something special.
  • Gelato Vero Caffe: This place has my favorite gelato. I love going here pre lunch. they have the best flavors including pistachio (ah I wish I had a cup of that in my hand right now).
Outdoors & Sight Seeing
  • Windansea: This is a local favorite spot. One of the most beautiful beaches I have been to located in La Jolla. There are a lot of Europeans, South Americans and La Jolla locals here. Expect tiny bikinis, lots of surfers and good looking people. The ocean here is kind of harsh so make sure you know how to swim and don’t just go in to swim anywhere! No really… the waves are kinda intense sometimes.
  • Coronado: The beach here is gorgeous as well. The ocean is pretty calm and easy to swim in. The great thing about this beach is that it’s situated right in front of the historic Hotel Del Coronado built in the late 1800’s. It’s so beautiful and a must see if you’re in San Diego. Plus, it’s just great to wander around Coronado. You can bike around the city, go kayaking or just have lunch. 
  • Old Town. Old town is always fun. I even go there every once in a while to play tourist. It’s the oldest settled area in San Diego and a lot of buildings are still there from when it was first founded. It’s a fun time to stop by the restaurants, have a margarita, continue onto the native american shops (lots of crystals and turquoise) and look at all the mexican nick knacks. Also home to another Haunted house: the Whaley House (go in this one!! It’s creepy but also super interesting…. Im such a sucker for haunted houses)  The Whaley House is supposedly the “most haunted house in the world”.
  • Balboa Park: This place is beautiful and super picturesque. I always take blog photos here. This is right next to the San Diego Zoo, home to a lot of the best museums and contains some of the most beautiful National Historic Landmarks of Spanish Colonial buildings . A great place to just spend a day walking around and wasting time. Plus you will get a good dose of SD’s history.
  • San Diego Zoo: DUH! World Famous San Diego zoo?! I have been dying to go all summer and it still hasn’t happened. Mind you I have been a lot already haha, but it’s always really cool to re-visit and see all the new exhibits. They really do have some of the coolest animals here.

Shopping:

  • Fashion Valley: Fashion Valley is located right off the 8 freeway and has a really great selection of stores. Plus it’s purdy. Anthropologie, Freepeople, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Oliver People, Nordies, Bloomies, Neimans… I heard they are opening up a Topshop too? Anyway, the list goes on!!
  • Hunt & Gather: One of my favorite stores in SD, this place has little vintage gems and my favorite part is their Jewelry made by local designers. Lots of bohemian jewels, crystals, silver, hand pieces and feathered earings. Located in North Park (right by my casa!!)
  • Pigment: This store is just heaven to me. If my house could look like this I would die happy. Very “pinterest”. Cacti in little glass orbs, farm tables, coffee table books about skulls, furniture, cocktail kits, candles, “organic pomegranate bitters”, pet teepees…you get the picture.
  • LF: LF has been my guilty pleasure and also a place that I can not walk into unless I really do have money to spend because… it just evaporates there. Cute, trendy clothes thrown all over the store. It kind of looks like a messy closet but so worth rummaging through. Lots of lace, Jeffrey Campbells thrown throughout the store, boho bags, Carmar ripped shorts and jeans and sheer oversized tops with cool cut outs. Located in La Jolla
  • Van de Vort: My favorite SD boutique by far. They carry all the gems: Spell, For Love and Lemons, Cleobella, Novella.. need I say more? Check out this video for an inside look at the clothes and small boutique. This place is located in Del Mar.
  • La Loupe vintage: Another favorite vintage store of mine. This place has really groovy assortment of belts and bags. They have great turquoise rings and awesome vintage denim and leather jackets. I really love to buy my sunglasses here. The John Lennon type ones I always wear. Well… this is the place and they are only $10.
  • Junc Life: This store is pretty cool. Located in South Park. They have a lot of tragically hip stuff. I can’t even explain this place. They have a little bit of everything including the Gypset Travel coffee table book, random furniture, and like they say on the website… an assortment of “unusual and unique gifts”. It’s just fun to poke around and see what you find.

Ok well it certainly hasn’t been easy for me to make this list!!! Hope it was somewhat helpful! Have you been to any of these places?  What are your favorite places in SD? Feel free to comment below if you have questions or watn to add to my list!!! XO Francesca

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