I’m a little biased when it comes to San Diego. I lived there for six months (which wasn’t long enough) and I got married there too. Now that my parents are living in the area, I find myself down there at least every couple of months, which is certainly enough time to craft a well-worn list of favorite activities in and around the area. Here are my top five:

The cactus garden at Balboa Park: Yes, Balboa Park itself is fantastic, from the world-class museums to the incredible architecture to the shady pathways just perfect for strolling. I’m partial, though, to the outdoor cactus garden right at the back, which you can explore for free. Take tons of pictures!

Brunch and browsing in Hillcrest: Park at a metered spot on the side of the road, then wander around San Diego’s vibrant Hillcrest neighborhood, home to a large proportion of the city’s gay community. Stop in at Bread & Cie for a loaf of the incredible fig and anise bread.

The drive-in cinema in Santee: For those of us who didn’t grow up in the 50s and 60s, the novelty of a drive-in cinema never gets old. The best part? Every showing is a double bill! Can’t beat that for a bargain.

Swami’s Gardens, Encinitas: If you’ve got a car and you’re in the mood for a little om, whiz up the coast to charming Encinitas, where you can explore the stunning Encinitas Gardens at the Self Realization Fellowship. A wander through the foliage is beyond therapeutic: and the backdrop is the Pacific Ocean!

Apple pie in Julian: Think you’ve had good apple pie? You ain’t had nothing until you’ve tried the pie in Julian. It’s a charming little gold-mining town, just perfect for a Sunday afternoon drive. Only one rule: come very, very, very hungry.

Want to experience San Diego for yourself? Head over to Visit California and enter for the chance to win a trip.

6 Responses to “5 Great Things to Do Around San Diego”

  1. Ardyss

    The cactus garden at Balboa Park is a beautiful place to visit. It has been around since 1935, and is an absolutely marvel worth visiting.

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  2. Sarah Harris

    I’ve grown up in and around Los Angeles my whole life, so spent a fair amount of time in San Diego. Not enough apparently, because I don’t know any of the things you posted! My favorite thing when I was a kid was of course Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. I also loved staying on Coronado. My parents have a time share there and it’s always lovely.

  3. Bev

    Sea World and San Diego Zoo are definitely worth visiting for the kids.

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    Thanks for the tips. I would love to win that trip and be able to see all these places.

  5. Okey oyna

    This article is very nice. Thanks. a lot.

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    Apple pie in Julian, delicious. So much better than store bought.


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