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San Diego, California: Your Essential Weekend Itinerary

It’s known as ‘America’s Finest City’, and while there are plenty of people who will argue that title (especially if they are from New York!), it’s easy to see how San Diego got that name. This coastal California city is famous for sun, sand, and surf, not to mention incredible attractions like the world-famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, Petco Park, and Legoland. With year-round sunshine and a laid-back vibe throughout the entire city, this is a perfect place to spend a relaxed weekend enjoy some of those truly Californian beach vibes.

 Grab A Bite At Carnitas' Snack Shack

There are plenty of great options for cheap eats in San Diego, and for meat lovers, Carnitas' Snack Shack is a must-visit. While there is more than one location, the Embarcadero Shack sits right on the water, giving diners a fantastic view (and often live music) as they chow down on delicious burgers, tacos, and plenty of pork options (including pulled pork, pork belly, and chicharrones - crispy pork skin). Enjoy the cocktail bar and outdoor seating without having to pay more than 12 bucks for any item on the menu. And although this is primarily a lunch spot for carnivores, there are options for the veggies, too – including cauliflower and cabbage tacos.

More To Balboa Park Than The Zoo

While the most famous attraction in San Diego is undoubtedly the zoo, there’s so much more to see and do in Balboa Park. Multiple museums and live experiences like the San Diego Youth Orchestra and the Old Globe Theatre are dotted throughout the park, in addition to the Botanical Building and 18 gardens. To really feel connected to California while you are here, check out the California Native Plant garden, the Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve, or the Desert Garden and Cactus Garden. It’s the perfect way to step out of the city and get a sense of how the area looked before it became a thriving city.

The USS Midway: A Unique Museum

On the downtown waterfront, this Museum was once a functional aircraft carrier and the longest-serving U.S. Navy carrier of the 20th century. Now, it’s a military museum with over 20 aircraft on display on the main flight deck, and a huge range of exhibits from tours of the ship and cabins to interactive displays and recordings. Many of the docents are also retired veterans, which means getting truly first-hand information about the ship and the aircraft that it carried. If you want even more time on the water, check out the nearby Maritime Museum of San Diego, with historic sailing ships and even the opportunity to go aboard some of them for harbor tours and whale watching.

Finish The Day With ‘Japanese Social Dining’

All kinds of Asian cuisine are huge in San Diego, and it can be hard to choose between the dozens of great Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, and Fusion restaurants that you can find here. However, Cloak and Petal has been making a serious name for itself since opening in 2017. In San Diego’s Little Italy, Cloak and Petal is inspired by the concept of ‘hanami’ – enjoying food and drink with friends and family under the cherry blossoms. Decadent small plates keep fresh seafood front and center, and these perfectly shareable morsels are complemented by a creative cocktail menu.

San Diego is the kind of city that you can even enjoy simply strolling around, from Mission Beach to the Gaslamp Quarter. Try surfing or stand up paddle boarding, check out the food trucks and just sit back to people-watch if you want a more relaxed day or head to the many art museums and galleries for a classic ‘cultural’ experience. What’s your favorite thing to do in America’s Finest City? Comment and let us know!

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