A path along the beach on Coronado Island is one of the many places to play in San Diego.
For those who live in San Diego, there is always a reason to get out and play, but for those who are only allowed short visits, how do you pack all of paradise into a single weekend? Below are five ideas on how to get the most out of a weekend of play in San Diego.
1. Take a tour with Another Side of San Diego
If Another Side of San Diego doesn’t have a tour to fit your interest, time frame, and preferred mode of transportation, it doesn’t exist! Whether you’re in the mood for history, art, nature, food, or even beer, they’ve got a tour for it. Not only that, but you can pursue your interests by Segway, on foot, in a hot air balloon, on horseback, on a bike, or even in a boat! As long-time resident of La Jolla, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) said, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”
To explore their tour options, visit their website. To book a tour, you can use their website or call them at 1-619-239-2111.
Another Side of San Diego tours has tours by land or sea. In La Jolla you can walk, Segway, or kayak to learn about this jewel of a town where seals and sea lions call home.
A tour of Balboa Park will introduce you to the natural wonders of Southern California, but you may also catch a concert at one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs!
2. San Diego Botanic Gardens
To get outside and get away from it all, head up to Encinitas and visit the peaceful San Diego Botanic Gardens. There you can walk to the music of nature: birds chirping, lizards rustling in the brush, lacy bamboo swooshing in the breeze. Find a bench alongside the waterfall in the Tropical Rainforest, close your eyes, and listen to the sound of water carry all your troubles away.
San Diego Botanic Gardens brim with life in all shapes and forms. Some shapes have more form than others, like this incredible statue made up of succulents.
On Saturdays at 10:30am, the gardens provide docent-led tours of the splendid variety of plants living in each section. Also, check their calendar for classes and other events, such as making your own succulent art work or cooking with an opera singing chef.
3. Take in a play at the La Jolla Playhouse
If you’re in San Diego to explore the beauty of their outdoor paradise, but you wouldn’t mind taking in a play while you’re there, you can combine the two by attending a Without Walls play through the award-winning La Jolla Playhouse. Over the last year, their Without Walls program has literally led audiences out of the theater and through garden paths or into the intimate surroundings of cars and martini bars.
“The Car Plays: San Diego” was a part of the Without Walls program and one of many brilliant plays hosted by the La Jolla Playhouse.
If there isn’t a Without Walls program running when you visit, it is still worthwhile to see one of their plays with traditional-style seating. It should be stated, however, that none of their plays can be considered “traditional”. Better words might be provocative, cutting-edge, soulful, and unforgettable.
4. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
With two locations to choose from and plenty of docent-led tours available, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego you can discover just how much you have in common with contemporary art. Take, for example, the current exhibit downtown by local artist Margaret Noble entitled “44th and Landis”. If you’re used to art being oil paintings hung on walls, you may wonder what you can get out of her paper dolls hanging from the ceiling and the wild noises crashing from her handmade speakers. But stop and look at the paper dolls. Listen to the sounds. Suddenly, you see familiar things, like the logo of a Peeps Marshmallow box or the chase of Ms. Pacman through a maze. You hear familiar sounds that take you back to 1982, when you lived for Space Invaders and chased the ice cream truck on your bike until it stopped.
If you didn’t grow up in the 80s, you may still connect with the artists that use light and space to evoke a feeling. Whole rooms are devoted to the sensations and emotions light can have on us. And, if that doesn’t do it for you, then perhaps you will marvel at the wall that breathes or connect with the massive iron heart that looks like a prison.
This Light and Space piece by Doug Wheeler is one you participate in simply by showing up and experiencing what shifts within you as a result of this space and its lighting.
San Diego is not only charmed with sunny weather and stunning ocean views, it is home to more than its share of talented chefs, fresh produce, and inspired craft beer brewmasters.
If you only have time and budget for one special restaurant, go without delay to Georges at the Cove in La Jolla. Chef Trey Foshee has won tons of awards for his California Modern cuisine, including the San Diego Chefs Hall of Fame and the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”. There’s a reason for all these accolades. His food is consistently knock-your-flip-flops-off delicious; the kind of delicious that you remember and dream about weeks and months later. Even vegetarians can get in on the making of great food memories because they offer an entirely vegetarian menu and many of the dishes can be made vegan.
Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling 858-454-4244.
Georges on the Cove is definitely high-end food, but you gotta love a place that rolls up its sleeves with The People by serving donuts and coffee for desert.
If you go to Encinitas to visit the San Diego Botanic Gardens for an afternoon of peaceful retreat, spend your evening having dinner at Union Kitchen and Tap just down the road. They offer a variety of high-end tavern food (including vegetarian and vegan options) and they offer about 20 craft beers on tap, many of which are locally crafted.
Depending on what time you go, reservations may not be necessary, but if time is of the essence, it may be worthwhile to secure a table by giving them a call at 760.230.2337(BEER).
Where to stay
Hotel Parisi in La Jolla offers elegant and convenient accommodations for almost any sized group and any length of stay. The main sights, restaurants, and shopping opportunities are located just beyond the doorstep of this hotel.
Hotel Parisi also offers Parisi Apart, corporate apartments decked out with full-sized refrigerators, microwaves, silverware and dishes for travelers needing extended stays or those wishing to eat meals in the comfort of their own apartment.
The convenience of this hotel does come at a price, however. Prices start around $300 a night for a basic room and go up to over $400 a night for the extended stay apartments. Parking is an additional $15 per night and other fees may apply.
These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are endless.
How do you like to spend time in San Diego? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas! With your help, we can put together a comprehensive list that will help others plan their weekend at play in San Diego!