A Tourist's Guide to San Diego
Seaport Village: A waterfront Village on San Diego Bay
Seaport Village was built on a landfill. Construction began in 1978 and was completed in 1980.
If you enjoy shopping and dining, Seaport Village is a great place to spend the day. This 14 acre village is located right on the waterfront and boasts 50 plus boutique shops and 17 restaurants that range from casual dining to more upscale dining. There is also outdoor entertainment. Several hotels are located within walking distance.
Some of the best places I ate at and highly recommend:
The Pier Café, which is built right over the waterfront and is famous for their fish tacos, which were excellent. Very reasonably priced.
The Fish Market on Harbor drive, just a block or two before the entrance to Seaport Village. I ate there several times. They have excellent seafood and are known for their raw oyster bar, which feature a variety of oysters they fly in daily from up the coast (Washington, Oregon and Vancouver). It is a reasonably priced restaurant. Try the mixed grill kabobs, they are excellent!
For more information on Seaport Village: www.seaportvillage.com
The Gaslamp district was established in 1850 as a commerce site and had a huge real estate boom through the 1880's. When the economy fell on hard times, the commercial business all moved north and established a new business district. The places that remained ended up turning into an area of prostitution, gambling and eventually a very unsafe, high crime neighborhood until about 1913.
In 1974, the Gaslamp district got approval to rehabilitate the entire area which included restoring the old ornate Victorian buildings back to their original luster. In 1980, the Gaslamp district was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The area currently is a hip and eclectic neighborhood, featuring entertainment, theatres, shops and restaurants. It is 8 blocks long and is located close to the San Diego Convention Center. Take a walk through the district or you can view from a trolley tour. It is a great place to visit if you enjoy Victorian era architecture.
For more information: www.gaslamp.org
Are you planning a trip to San Diego in the near future?
Coronado Island: The Crown City
Coronado, meaning the crowned one in Spanish, is not really an island at all, but a peninsula because it is surrounded by water on only 3 sides.
Founded in 1885, this upscale town is home to one of the top 5 beaches, Coronado Beach and a very famous hotel, Hotel Del Coronado. The neighborhoods are vibrant and well-manicured. The homes are historic and Victorian with some modern homes thrown into the mix. People who live there are wealthy and it shows in their homes and their property.
The main source of income on the island comes from tourism and the town boasts a wide variety of shops, restaurants and art galleries. It is easy to walk the island, rent a bike or take a trolley tour. Orange street is the main thoroughfare and you can start from the ferry landing and walk along Orange street right to the Coronado Beach and Hotel Del Coronado.
Getting to Coronado is easy; take a cab ride over the San Diego/Coronado Bridge, take a trolley tour starting at the San Diego Pier or you can catch a boat ferry ride. The ferry runs all day, but there is a cutoff time in the early evening, so plan accordingly.
Coronado beach is a sparkling white beach thanks to the heavy concentration of mica crystals in the sand. It was rated one of the top 5 beaches by the Travel Channel.
The beach is perfect for surfing, body surfing, sunbathing and wading in tide pools during low tide.
On the beach you will notice something interesting; there are these sand and seaweed berms that when viewed from overhead spell out the word Coronado.
Hotel Del Coronado
Built in 1888, this famous upscale hotel resort is located right on the oceanfront, just steps from Orange Avenue. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built only a few years after the town was founded. You can see this famous hotel in several movies. One of the most notable is the Marilyn Monroe movie Some Like It Hot. This old hotel is also rumored to be haunted.
Do you enjoy viewing public art?
San Diego: A Great Place for Public Art
All along the Pier, where the cruise ships dock, you will find an eclectic collection of rotating public art. These installations are sponsored by the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, where their mission statement is "Vibrant Culture, Vibrant City."
San Diego Zoo
Located in Balboa Park which is just north of downtown San Diego, the San Diego zoo is the cleanest zoo I have ever been to (and I've been to a lot of zoos)! It is also a very large and hilly zoo, so be prepared to do a lot of walking and wear comfortable shoes. What makes this zoo stand out from some of the other zoos across the nation is that they have some animals the other zoos don't; namely Galapagos Giant Turtles, Koalas and Pandas.
The zoo's summer hours are: 9am to 6pm. Rates are $46 for anyone over 12 and $36 for 3 years to 11 years. The price may seem a bit steep compared to other zoos, but it is definitely worth it. Be prepared to spend the entire day there; there is a lot to see!
Little Italy: A Taste of Home
One of the last remaining authentic ethnic Italian neighborhoods in the country, Little Italy offers a ton of restaurants, shops and events throughout the year.
When I visited, Columbia Street was closed off because they were having their Stick Ball Championship Exhibition games. They also host several festivals, including a Taste of Italy, farmer's markets and Bocci Ball tournaments at Amici Park.
Little Italy is just north of the downtown district and not very far from the Zoo.
Little Italy, San Diego
Spending a Few Days in San Diego
I was able to do quite a bit in about 4 days time. I'd love to go back and experience some other things because there is so much to do in this wonderful city. I hope you enjoyed my photographic journey and hope it has inspired you to do some traveling to San Diego.
© 2014 Lisa Roppolo