How to spend 12 hours in San Diego

The first time I  went to *sunny* San Diego was 2 years ago in April. It just so happened that it was raining the ENTIRE time…BLEH. When I went back for work the second time a few weeks ago I basked in that damn SUN and lived it up as much as possible.

One of my main MO’s when I go somewhere knew is to try and go places the locals hang. As much as I love being a tourist (who doesn’t?), it’s so much more fun to see how the locals do things!

So, I got all of the recommendations below from the locals, put on my walking shoes, and went to check it out…my main objective was beach time. DUH.

Here’s what to do with 12 hours in San Diego like I had!

1st stop.

Seaport Village. This is NOT a local spot, but it’s got cute little touristy shops and is somewhat fun to walk around. It was right behind my hotel (Manchester Grand Hyatt). It reminds me of a classier and smaller version of Fisherman’s Wharf in SF, which may or may not be a good thing.

2nd stop.

Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. I needed a beach badly so I ubered all the way to Pacific Beach. It was worth it!! I first stopped to shop in a tons of shops on Garnet. The clothes were perfect for festivals and summertime it was just  too bad we don’t get much summer  in SF! I still stocked up on some goodies for Hawaii 🙂

3rd stop.

Pacific Beach. I laid out for a bit and enjoyed people watching and getting a sunburn. *side note: does anyone work or go to class? There were people everywhere and it was a Wednesday…

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4th stop.

Lahaina’s. I grabbed a beer here and sat on the deck and LOVED it. A good mix of locals and tourists were on the deck  and it was a great place to people watch and chill by the ocean.

5th stop & 6th stop

Taco Surf. Rolled up. Ate a burrito. Almost died and went to heaven.

The Baked Bear. Needed an ice cream sandwich with two different flavored fresh cookies on each side. Done. Died again.

7th stop.

Mission Beach. I needed to walk off all of the food so I strolled down the boardwalk to Mission Beach. This took me about 30 mins, but it was so worth it! It was so fun for me to see the houses and little beach town ally ways. This stuff fascinates me. I also got a MAJOR sunburn walking for that long. Mission beach was bumpin’ and I got a little more of a Hippie vibe vs. the collegy/frat vibe of Pacific Beach.

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8th stop & 9th stop.

Davanti Enoteca. This was my first time to Little Italy and it was SO cool, I can’t wait to go back. This restaurant had a rockin’ vibe and their food was stuff I wanted to lick the plate for.

Craft and Commerce. Can’t end the night without a little nightcap! I came here with some co-workers and enjoyed endless amounts of craft cocktails. Can’t say no to that!

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{^^The Baked Bear Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich }

Here are some other places I’ve been in the Gaslamp and really enjoyed: 

Searsucker restaurant. This place is AMAZING mainly because of the ambiance, but the food rules too.
Vin De Syrah bar. This is a speakeasy type restaurant that looks like Alice and Wonderland. The door to get in is also hidden.
Union Kitchen & Tap. I had lunch here and really liked the food and the outdoor patio.

Would love to hear more tips from local San Diegans for my next trip!!


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How to spend 12 hours in San Diego