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Old 01-24-2013, 09:52 AM   #1
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Default I need some Tips for San Diego Vacation

Hubby and I are heading to San Diego for a week in February. We decided to break up our wet gray Seattle winter with a treat to somewhere warmer. (hopefully) We will hit the Zoo, Seaworld, a few local museums...etc.
I've done research on Weather.com- I have an idea of what to expect. But would like some REAL input from people who either live there or have been there. We will be staying in Old Town... supposed to be central to where we want to go. (mainly due to the free shuttle to Zoo and Seaworld) We hope to avoid a rental car, although there might be a few days we get one just to explore outside the city, it will not be an everyday thing. We don't have kids yet and enjoy walking and don't mind public transit within reason. Neither of us are hardcore beach people- where I live you get brain freeze at the beach in June. lol ha .. seriously.
1.) Will I need a raincoat?
2.) What about a coat? Or will a light jacket do?
3.) How Humid is it there? I'm a wuss when it comes to humidity since I've acclimated to Washington from the midwest... (as long it's not like Missouri in August I should be fine)
4.) Any restaurants I MUST go to? Nothing uber-fancy, I'm referring to hole in the wall places
5.) Anywhere else we should check out? (museums- landmarks, etc?) oh and of course beading or scrap/stamp shops?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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Just wanted to say I hope you have a lot of fun. Wish I was leaving this dreary Seattle weather, too. Glad we're done with the pea soup, but I didn't really want the rain back, either!
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:24 PM   #3
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Thanks! We finally planned our vacation to break up the dreary stuff.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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1. Probably not
2. Coat and light jacket - it cools down at night
3. No humidity
4. Tons of those around Old Town.
5. Balboa Park, USS Midway, Harbor Tour

Have fun!
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:31 PM   #5
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Thank you so very much!
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
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The Gaslamp Quarter has many, many restaurants and entertainment.

Check out Paper Tales in Point Loma.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:04 AM   #7
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Thanks! I will definitely check that out!
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:16 PM   #8
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You're in a great location for walking around. There's a long walk along the water with shops, restaurants, entertainers (wish I could remember the name of the famous place, and someone will jump in with the name. If not, you can't miss hearing about it when you're down there. The convention center is there too), it's a bit like Pier 39 in SF. Love the Little Italy area.....there are plenty of casual (CA is low-key and casual so no worries about planning on dressy attire) places to eat. There's also a lovely wine bar where we like to get a half carafe of wine and antipasto platter for an early dinner/late lunch. Balboa Park is lovely for a long walk and spending the day outdoors. The trolley is easy and fun, but limited and I'm not sure you'll have the time and/or interest to use it. If you get a rental car, La Jolla is nice to walk, stare at the waves, and catch a bite to eat.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:29 PM   #9
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Gotta love casual... Thanks for the tips. I'm so looking forward to something warmer!
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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Riverturtle, have fun on your vac. I'd love to hear what you did and recommend once you go.

My DH and I plan to go to Ramona, CA in May. It's about 30 min from San Diego. We will fly into San Diego from FL. We plan to stay a week in a timeshare we have traded. We have 3 friends and my grown DS meeting us from there too. I have never been to CA. Maybe joining this thread can help me with places to explore also. We plan on the zoo, a drive along the beach, a day in L.A. and I have to go horseback riding one day.

If anyone has other suggestions, pass them along.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:42 AM   #11
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We had a blast! Here’s a basic run down…

SeaWorld- loved it… The Shamu shows are neat- loved it and the seals. It’s SeaWorld.

San Diego Zoo- HUGE! Take the double decker tour bus-it helps you figure out where you wanna go when it dawns on you how large the Zoo is. Take lots of quarters- they have these awesome coin operated foot massagers that will revitalize your dead dogs. I wish I had more quarters to do it more then once. (they are only 25 cents for about a min) but OMG! Silly? Perhaps but the zoo is massive! I got to see a rhino pee for a very long time… at least 2-3 mins- not even kidding. LoL


USS Midway- my hubby is a plane/history buff. Not my thing- but it was very interesting

Balboa Park- read up on the history behind this (I wish I had before) I had no idea about it’s history. If you go on the weekend- go early (before 10am) the parking fills up fast. Not sure about the weekdays. There is a lot of parking but there is also a free trolley that has set pick-ups, do a little research and figure out where those spots are and it won’t matter where you park. There are a ton of museums, some are free, some aren’t. Again- my hubby being a history/plane nut, we went to the Air and Flight museum. It had a great Ripley’s Believe it or Not exhibit. Other than that- depending on if you’ve been to the DC or Seattle museums- or the Midway- it’s thunder was stolen and kinda redundant.

We were fortunate to find out about the Macy’s Museum month (for February only) which was a free pass you pick up at Macy’s and then get 1/2 off all the participating museums.

Gaslamp Quarter- near the baseball stadium- lots of pubs, eateries, trendy nightclubs, not our thing but it was neat to walk around. They were gearing up for Mardi Gras- so it was crazy with limited parking due to the impending parade. There is a Ghiradelli chocolate/ice cream shop there. There is also an Old Spaghetti Factory. Yeah- not local or known for culinary greatness- but sometimes the familiar is comforting when you are stuck eating out all the time and need food more than you want to try something new.

Old Town is where we spent a lot of our time. It’s a highly touristy area, but worth the visit. Our hotel was within walking distance so we didn’t have to deal with parking. It has a Historical State park, with lots of fun shopping and cute little souvenir shops and of course restaurants. The lady at the chamber of commerce highly recommended the Mormon Battalion Museum, it’s free and takes about an hour. I am not Mormon, but love history. It was a gem of a find! Wonderfully quirky way to tell history. You do not have to be Mormon to appreciate this chunk of history. The docents were genuine and knowledgeable and dedicated to sharing an important part of history.

We also went the other direction from our hotel and found a delightful row of international food restaurants. Our first dinner after we settled into our room- we ate at Shakespeare’s Pub and had amazing fish and chips. We also ate at the Rubicon Deli twice (amazing sandwiches). Supposedly the best Mexican restaurant in Old Town is Miguel’s. We ate there- it was very good. We also have our favorites back home that will rival it any day… lol

The weather was a bit on the cool side- about 60, but aside from one major storm, it was sunny. I liken it to Seattle in the Spring with a lot more sun.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:49 AM   #12
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I love San Diego. It is one of my favorite places! Hubby and I lived in CA in the early 80s and we visited SD every chance we could get. LOVE the zoo, aquarium, Balboa Park - just so much there. You got great suggestions.

Now I want to go back - it's been several years since we had the chance to visit.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:00 PM   #13
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I definitely have a new found fondness for San Diego... Granted I'm a wuss when it comes to heat because I live in Seattle now. But escaping for a late winter Vitamin D charge was perfect. I don't know that I would have wanted it much hotter then 60-65... lol

It's definitely a location I would go back to just for a long weekend.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:02 PM   #14
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Riverturtle - of course I find this thread AFTER you've come and gone from San Diego....

Glad to hear you liked your trip!

Sea World and the Zoo are pretty awesome. I went with my DS's class to Sea World a few months ago and we had a good time. I hadn't been there in many years and it was nice to see how updated and clean everything was.

And the Zoo.....yes, the foot massagers are wonderful! Lots of real estate to cover and you are so right to recommend the bus tour. We tell people to do that first and scope out the things you want to backtrack to and see.

There's a few of us "San Diego" girls on this site - I know of "lutheran" and "mybugandi" specifically who live local.

Smokiesgal - all of your plans sound fun! Yes, Ramona is about a 30-minute drive from San Diego. Ramona can get warm so keep an eye on the weather reports closer to your visit to plan out what kind of clothes to bring.

All in all, San Diego is a great place to live
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:19 PM   #15
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Thanks so much for the insight Riverturtle! Glad to know in advance about the zoo. We don't plan to do Sea World since we have that here in FL where I live. I read your post to DH and he definitely wants to see the USS Midway. We both love aviation. Also, even though he has never been to CA his mother was born and raised there. When I mentioned Balboa Park he said he remembered his mom speaking of that years ago. So, we will have to put that on our list of things to do as well.

Lorraine, thanks for your input too. Any suggestions for horseback riding or L.A. sights to see or do?
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:10 AM   #16
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I don't have any suggestions for horseback riding I would think there would be a few places in Ramona that may offer it. Definitely more rural out there and they have the land for it.

L.A. is so diverse, it depends on what you are interested in. It's not somewhere I ever go, so again, I got nothin'

As far as aviation goes, I know there is a museum near the Marine Corps Air Base in Miramar that is open to the public. The base is where they filmed some of "Top Gun".

Sorry I can't be of more help.....
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