Today is Wednesday, my last day of summer vacation. Which means, last weekend was my last weekend of ‘summer’ (in teacher terms, of course). It’s important, as an educator, to use my summer breaks well because I don’t have the liberty of deciding when my next break will be. Fortunately my friends Jenn and Shannon were available for a quick West Coast adventure.
Where we stayed:
We got a cute little airbnb bungalow near the Hillcrest neighborhood. I think I could live here.
What we did:
Jenn was coming from Brooklyn and Shannon from Northern Cali, both after work. I came from my home in PA with a flight first thing in the morning. This resulted in me spending the entire day exploring alone before my friends arrived, while carrying my luggage since we couldn’t check into our airbnb until 4:00 pm. I landed at 8:30 am, California time. I spent most of my morning hanging out in Seaport Village. It’s a little tourist shop hubbub next to the water. I rotated between reading a book, shopping, eating, and talking to strangers (I met a guy from Lebanon county, PA! Small world.).
I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to spend my afternoon so I actually took a poll in my instagram stories and did what the majority voted for, which ended up being a train ride up the coast (rather than a ferry across the bay). The coaster train was $10 round trip and was a leisurely way to continue reading my book, in air conditioning, while enjoying beautiful views. At the end of the line I got out, walked to the beach, and returned in time to catch the same train back to the city.
Friday night my friends arrived and we decided that Saturday would be our beach day. We started in Del Mar and swam in the Pacific Ocean, which was reportedly 80* that day! Ahhh, it was marvelous!
Next stop was La Jolla Cove. It’s home to an ‘underwater park’, caves, and sea lions. We heard there was a store that has an entrance to a cave, but we got there after it closed. So we enjoyed the cute, stinky sea lions and blue, blue views from land.
We got an afternoon snack and caught the start of the sunset on our way home.
Sunday was our zoo day. The San Diego Zoo is ginormous, housing more than 3,000 animals, including panda bears, koalas, and polar bears. (Seems like I’m really into bears, saying that.) Regardless, it’s an impressive and entertaining zoo and I would recommend it- just maybe not in the summer. If it’s too hot the animals stay in their little air conditioned rooms or lie immobile in the sun.
The last few hours of our day were spent chilling between each of our separate flight departure times. When Shannon left Jenn and I hit up Balboa Park and Coronado Island.
Where we ate:
Friday night we ate at In-N-Out Burger. I’ve heard it’s the West Coast rival of New York’s Shake Shack, which I love. All in all my vote is still for Shake Shack but Jenn says that In-N-Out burger is better for it’s ‘secret menu’ which I did not chose to order.
Saturday morning we had brunch at Fig Tree Cafe. I love brunch on vacation because nothing says luxury to me like waiting 45 minutes and paying a full meal value for the very first meal of the day. Also, I love brunch food.
Although I do love brunch, our favorite meal of the day was actually dinner. After the beach and freshening up, we headed to Little Italy on Saturday night to Ironside Fish & Oyster. To. Die. For. Well, maybe not die. But it was a beautiful restaurant and atmosphere and the best clam chowder soup to be had, anywhere.
Now, I have no pictures of this, but we went to Salt & Straw for ice cream after. It’s just down the block, has a super long line that moves fairly quickly, and is delicious.
Saturday morning we made a coffee stop near our apartment at Communal Coffee. It’s a coffee shop and a flower shop combined. So cute!
Why you should go to San Diego:
1. The weather. San Diego is technically a desert ecosystem, reducing humidity and shouting sunshine. It was such a wonderful break from the inches of rain and muggy air of Pennsylvania.
2. The flora and fauna. Tropical and dessert plants in their natural habitat grow to shocking sizes. It’s never-ending amusement and joy.
3. Transportation. San Diego is a technically a driving city, so we got a rental car. Due to unavailability of an economy car, we got upgraded to an Audi! Weee! But before my friends got there I downloaded the Compass Cloud app and was able to purchase a $5 day pass for the bus and my Coaster train tickets from my phone (handy!). I used these phone tickets to access public transit for the day and it got me to where I wanted to go, no problem. One thing we didn’t try that I wish we would have was the bike share program. Bikes and battery powered scooters are widely rode and parked throughout the city. It looked so fun! Lastly, the San Diego Airport is actually in the city. No 45 minute ride to your hotel. Also very handy and lends itself to beautiful landing and departure views.
Although short, it was a beautiful trip and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. But with that, my summer comes to a close. Tell me, how are you ending your summer?