Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Enjoying San Diego

I recently had an assignment that put me in San Diego for 10 days.  I was excited about visiting a place that has always been one of my favorites and I only got to see briefly before heading on my cruise is May. The assignment ended up taking much more time than I expected and I didn’t quite get to do, eat, drink and see as much as I would have liked to, but I still wanted to give a shoutout to some things I discovered and others that are on the top of my list for the next trip….

Accommodations. San Diego has hotels in every area (beach, city, and even a place called “Hotel Circle”), in every price range. I spent my time at the Hilton Mission Valley and would highly recommend it. It’s within ten miles of just about anywhere you’d like to go; the rooms are a decent size and recently renovated;  there’s Wi-Fi throughout the rooms and common areas; and the pool and Jacuzzi are as welcoming at the end of the day as the fitness center is at the beginning. 
While I was at the Hilton, I had quite a few opportunities to have eat there, with a morning breakfast buffet that included lots of healthy options, and dinner menus (available at the bar and by room service) that went from steaks to “build your own burger,” with the option to do veggie burgers. They also happened to stock some Chilean Sauvignon Blanc by the glass, available for the late night happy hour at the bar, which includes cocktails, beer, wine and appetizers (try the homemade potato chips with blue cheese, yum).

Foodie Haven. Speaking of food, San Diego is becoming a foodie city with restaurants come in all shapes, sizes and varieties, on the water and in the city. The Gaslamp District has become a popular place to eat and I hope to get there on the next trip.   I did make it down to Little Italy, where I had a perfect meal at Bencotto Italian Kitchen. There were five of us for appetizers, dinner and dessert and there wasn’t a dish on the table we didn’t love. We mostly ordered specials, but if you can’t find something you want, you can put together your own dish with the sauce and pasta you want.
Waterfront Music. It was a special birthday for Mom and we celebrated with a concert by one of her favorite composers, Burt Bacharach. The Embarcadero Marina has an amazing selection of musical performances in a great venue. I loved the idea that  -- even though we were on the grass – we had our own little table and chairs. There’s also plenty of food and drinks available if you’d like something while enjoying the concert.
Old Town Trolley Tour of San DiegoThe Weather. Can it get any better? After spending the better part of four months in record-breaking, 100 degree temperatures everywhere, it was nice to spend some time not sweating. The weather it San Diego was 70-75 degrees every single day I was there. There was never a passing thought that it would rain. In fact, I was told by a native that it hasn’t rained there in August since 1982!

Family-friendly. San Diego is full of things for kids of all ages to do (translation: things I like to do with or without my six year old nephew, Jake). Take the Old Town Trolley and you can see most of them. Everyone needs to make a trip to the San Diego Zoo at least one and – though I didn’t make it there yet –LegoLand is not only Jake’s favorite place in the world, but my mom enjoyed it too. One place I did make it to this trip is Old Town. This public historic park has always been a must for any trip I make to San Diego (it’s also a stop on the trolley). There is no admission charge to wander through the museums, check out the shops and look at the art galleries. And, you will find some of the best Mexican food – and Margaritas – right here. Check out some of their special events. In a few weeks (September 11th), Old Town will be the home of the Tequila Trail, kicking off the Spirits of Mexico Festival. Music, 33 varieties of tequila and 75 degree sunshine, what more could anyone want?
Check Out Great Deals in San Diego on Groupon!

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