With another long weekend coming up, I thought I would finally get around to writing this guide to how we spent a last minute holiday weekend in San Diego.
We went to San Diego for the Labor Day weekend and left on Saturday morning to save money on the hotel. Also, driving from LA to OC to San Diego on a Friday evening sounds awful. We stayed in Chula Vista which probably is not where we wanted to stay, but we booked last minute and it was decently priced, I always book on Hotels.com because we earn points. Chula Vista is a little out of the way, but the room was comfy and the parking was free. There’s also a taco place across the street that was poppin’ but we didn’t have time to try it. There’s a 7-Eleven next door which is great for forgotten toothpaste and snacks for the road. You can also book your next trip through my *Hotels.com affiliate link.
Saturday: La Jolla Beach and Little Italy
We drove straight to La Jolla from Newport Beach, we stopped for breakfast of course, but I can’t remember where. Once in La Jolla we parked the car, changed for the beach, and walked until we found a cove that we wanted to sit at. I wish we would have brought our inflatable kayak to use in La Jolla Cove. It’s a really entertaining area because there’s so many seals (sea lions? I don’t what kind they are!) to watch. We also witnessed a marriage proposal on the rocks which is always a sweet sight to see. But sweeter than that, was the golden retriever puppy we spotted playing on the grass overlooking the bluffs. I kind of wish we would have brought Havana, but since we were going to the zoo we couldn’t. (I called and asked, only service animals, but could you imagine taking your dog to see exotic animals? If only.)
After the beach, we looked up places to eat and landed at El Pescador Fish Market. We ordered the El Pescador sandwich and a piece of halibut with lemon butter. It was good, but what we couldn’t help but notice was the long line slightly across the street at a place simply called “The Taco Stand.” We had heard of it and with that line we knew we had to try it and put it on the agenda for the next day.
We were really tired so we finally checked into our hotel and took a nap. It was late when we woke up but we wanted to explore a little more and were craving dessert so we ventured into Little Italy. We ended up eating a second dinner. There was pizza by the slice and we couldn’t resist, and it was delicious. We picked up a slice of cake to take back from a dessert place called Extraordinary Desserts. I’m not going to lie, the presentation was beautiful, but I thought the slice of chocolate ganache cake was just ordinary. But it could be I ordered the wrong item. And with that we called it a night.
Sunday: The San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park
This zoo is massive! It’s also widely known for being a pretty great zoo, they have an array of animals and you can learn about their multiple animal programs. It was hot the day we went, but we spent hours there. We didn’t take advantage of the bus that goes around the park, we did it all by foot. Wear comfy shoes because there’s a lot of hills. And take a water bottle too.
I loved seeing the baby giraffes, big cats, and hippos! They have a neat area of elephants and gorillas too. We ate lunch at the zoo near the koalas — not good. But what is good at the zoo is the flora and fauna, the park has themed habitats for the animals and they don’t miss the details of what plants would be in those regions.
After the zoo we crossed over to Balboa Park, all the times I’ve been to San Diego as a kid, I don’t remember coming to this park. It’s beautiful — the architecture of the buildings are stunning and there was a lot going on. Weddings, a plumeria festival, a Hawaiian festival, more wedding photos, kids playing, it was lively.
Again, we needed a nap. See a theme here? We needed a long weekend to rest up. Later, we headed to The Taco Stand to waited 45 minutes for these tacos, but damn where they worth it! I had shrimp and fish, I prefer shrimp always so ignore my biased. We loved it so much we looked up the other locations and were happy to find there is one in the City of Orange. With full and happy tummies we wrapped up day two.
Monday: Brunch in Carlsbad and trying to beat the traffic
We didn’t do much on Monday, we wanted to beat the traffic so we checked out and planned to stop along the way for brunch to get ahead of some traffic. We stopped at Shorehouse Kitchen in Carlsbad (they also have a La Jolla location), it had a bit of a wait so we walked down to the beach while we waited for a table with coffees in hand. If you just want coffee they have a separate coffee bar. The place was really cute and the food was good too! It was a great way to wrap up this quick trip before heading home and back to reality for the week.
Let me know if you have questions or comments below! I always welcome suggestions on places to visit too!
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