Speaking of visitors, we had plenty of opportunities to play tour guides over the summer/fall. First, back in June, my Mom came down to visit me and my brother Will drove in from Highland (about 1.5 hours away) to hang out with us. Dave invited us to come to San Diego for the weekend, and even offered to let us all stay at his place. This doesn’t seem to weird unless you remember that our first date was April 30th. That means about 6 weeks after our first date, he was “meeting the mom” (and my 6’8″ older brother… no intimidation factor there, right?!), in the form of a giant sleepover at his apartment. For some reason it didn’t seem weird at the time, but HOLY COW, when I think about it now, that seems a little crazy. But clearly, we like crazy.
Then, in August, one of Dave’s good friends from college, Erik, and his wife Catherine came to visit. Somewhere in there my best friend from home, Joni, came for a week. And in September, Dave’s Mom and Aunt came to visit for a week, and although I had to go back to L.A. for a day, I otherwise got to spend the whole week with them down in San Diego. Then, in October, my Dad came to visit (although my dad’s trip was a little different as we spent most of the time obsessively playing Settlers, which is a topic for another post). With all of these visitors, we mostly entertained in San Diego because my studio apartment in L.A. wasn’t screaming HEY EVERYONE, COME STAY OVER! (We did spend a night there with Dave’s Mom and Aunt though, and it was fun!).
Through hosting all of these visitors, we’ve come up with some “must do” activities when people are visiting San Diego (I will recap must dos in L.A. in a separate post):
1) Lunch at Miguel’s in Coronado, followed by walking on the beach at the Hotel Del
Ok, I know Miguel’s is a chain, but they give you queso with the chips and salsa, and queso is so ridiculously hard to find in California. Another reason to move to Texas, y’all. TexMex is way better than this “Fresh Mex” garbage we have in California. I kid… sort of 😉
The Hotel Del is apparently on a list of 1001 things you should see before you die. I once stayed there for a work retreat, and I didn’t fully appreciate its fame or history (because I was completely unaware of it). It was built in 1888, eleven presidents have stayed there, it’s featured in the movie “Some Like it Hot,” among other things, and its allegedly haunted. And for some reason, whenever I walk inside it I feel like I’m on the Titanic. So there’s that.
2) The Children’s Pool in La Jolla
Ok, so the “Children’s Pool” isn’t actually a pool for children anymore. There is a man-made wall that creates a low tide/pool-ish area down on the beach, which used to be for children to swim. But it was closed to swimming in the 90s due to the seals. I’m not going to go into the dirty details, but you can read all about it here. It’s still called “Children’s Pool” though, and we go because the area is really pretty, and it’s fun to see the seals, even if they are crazy pooping machines.
(Also, for the non-Californian/non-spanish speakers out there… It’s pronounced “La Hoy-uh” not “La Joll-uh”)
3) Seaport Village
Ok, this place has a bit of a “tourist trap” vibe to it, but there are some great restaurants right on the water, and its fun to walk along the boardwalk up to Midway. We have yet to actually take anyone on a tour of the Midway (bought tickets when my Dad was here but haven’t used them yet), but it’s fun to see from the outside. Especially because of the “WWII Victory Kiss” statue nearby.
4) Balboa Park
We have yet to actually go in any of the museums, but for museum lovers, there are tons of them up there. We just love walking around. It’s a great place for some fresh air, easy walking, and picture taking. And sometimes there is a very toned man walking around who is basically just wearing a loin cloth, hoping that you will pay him to take a picture with him. True story. Dave is considering this for a post-Navy career. Stay tuned.
5) For the hikers, Torrey Pines
We went here for our first hike together. It’s a fairly easy hike with really pretty ocean views, so we love taking visitors here if they’re up for it. You start up on a hill, but you can hike down to the water if you want, or take it easy and stay mostly on flat ground. If you like cliffs and ocean views, this is a good place to hike. If you like trees and feeling totally secluded/lost in a forest, not so much. The closest this place gets to trees is the brush you see in the photo above. But still, a great place for a hike for the hikers who come visit. You can get your exercise on, and then go load up on mexican food and margaritas in Old Town guilt free! 😉
6) For the wine lovers, Temecula
Dave is a member of a wine club at the Ponte winery up in Temecula, which is about a 45 minute drive from San Diego. It’s really nice because it offers that “California Wine Country” experience without having to make a separate trip to Napa. The area is really pretty, and the restaurant onsite is really good. I’m always more excited to go there for the food and the views than the wine. And for visitors who would like to try the wine, it’s only $10 for 6 tastings, and you get to keep the glass. How can you say no to that? Well, if you don’t like wine I suppose you would want to say no. But the foooood. Remember the food.
Basically, the moral of the story is that if you visit San Diego, and we are your tour guides, you will eat lots of yummy things while seeing lots of pretty things.