San Diego feels like a much smaller Los Angeles. The beaches, the sand, the palm trees are still here. The variety of neighbourhoods, each with its own distinctive vibe, which is so typical of LA is also a characteristic of San Diego, but gone is the horrendous LA traffic and the angsty attitude of the Angelenos (with that traffic, how can you blame them?). In San Diego there are (slightly) emptier freeways and a much more relaxed mood.
If in LA people live in sportswear and trainers and they are often chasing the dream, in San Diego they wear a vest, shorts, flip flops and they are often chasing nothing the waves. Of course I am exaggerating, but all in all San Diego is a pretty chilled affair. Yes, go and experience it for yourself what it feels like when 'You are on beach time' after all.
Both Mr H and I had visited the city before so this trip was all about going places that we knew we would love as well as making sure that Little G would have enjoyed them too. We rented a house with a couple of good friends and their little boy who is the same age as Miss G and her favourite Skype friend, so we knew the weekend would have been a fun one for everyone. In hindsight the kids loved each other's company so much that we could have basically not have left the house and the;d be happy. But leave the house we did and here are some of the places we went to
San Diego Zoo
One of the best zoos in the world, San Diego zoo is home to koala bears, tigers, elephants, polar bears and other 600 species of animals including two giant pandas (prepare to queue to see those though). It is a peaceful park and one that can't help but please both adults and kids alike. When it all gets too hot, you can ride on the Skyfari and appreciate the aerial view of the zoo and enjoy a bit of cool air.
Luckily for us the Mission Bay beach was on our doorstep and Miss G and her little friend B clocked on to this straight away and demanded impromptu visits to the beach. Mission Bay is a lagoon and offers warm and calm water which is just perfect for splashing around, playing with rocks and seaweed. Had we had more time, renting a bike to cycle around the bay would have been on the agenda too. Maybe next time.
San Diego is not only home to humans, but it is also home to some adorable seals. They like to swim and sunbathe in La Jolla cove. They are truly funny and wonderful animals to observe and the kids had plenty of fun looking at them. Despite the cold Ocean water, Little G and her little partner in crime decided it was time for a splash and another bit of playing by the sea.
Whilst La Jolla Cove and the seals are fun to look at, La Jolla village with its little boutiques and bars is also a good place to hang out in San Diego. And if you fancy a short 10 minutes drive the Birch Aquarium is a fun and educational place to visit. And surely much better than wasting money to see animals perform tricks at SeaWorld. What? You thought that SeaWorld would be a San Diego must-visit? I bet you'll disagree if you rent a copy of 'Blackfish'
There are plenty of other fun things to do in San Diego. The Gaslamp Quarter is one of my favourite spots in town to grab a nice dinner and drinks, whilst for the kids the huge Balboa Park with its 15 museums, rides and restaurants is a must-see. Of course we would have done all of this, but Miss G and her little friend B had no interest in much else beside each other so us adults took a leaf from their book and just took it easy. When in San Diego...
... walk to the beach with your best buddy
... climb on elephants with your best buddy
... splash in the ocean with your best buddy
... share a buggy, a bath and a bed with your best buddy
and make sure to have a rooftop dinner in your matching sheep PJs overlooking the bay.
Oh, the fun and games of young love...aww...