Adobe Falls

Adobe Falls

Listen up, I'm about to reveal you a secret place! Adobe Falls is the "Whaou" place that you won't find in guides. Why that? It's now prohibited to go to this waterfall spot owned by SDSU university. I've known this amazing landscape thanks to a stunning picture on Instagram. At this time I had no idea about the prohibition, so I decided to see this place with my own eyes. Don't be afraid to trudge to find the spot. It's really surprising to see how this place is that inaccessible.

In spite of prohibition, Adobe Falls gets popular (thanks to social medias ?) and you can meet numbers of curious people like me, including a lot of students. One must say, this place is really beautiful. This fall is the only active one in San Diego, covered by really colourful graffitis that makes it a real peace of art surrounded by nature.

Unfortunately, it's true that this place can be dangerous. That's why the police is more and more present there, so be careful... Finger crossed, let's hope this place will be refitted one day and open to public !

Take a walk on SDSU campus

While your here, enjoy a little walk on the campus of San Diego State University, second emblematic university of San Diego !

 


Embarcadero

Embarcadero

The Embarcadero is the boardwalk along the bay of San Diego. It's for me, one of the best symbol of my travel there. It's the first place I discovered with my french amazed eyes that had never seen anything else than Europe before. Only few minutes away from the place I lived in Little Italy, I used to walk there, just to feel the good atmosphere of San Diego.

Waterfront Park

Palmtrees, fountains, view on the bay and the must : the view of the Downtown skyline. Waterfront Park is located between Little Italy and the bay. It's also the place of the historical and symbolic building of the San Diego County Administration Center. Waterfront Park is the kind of place where families like to let their child play and bath in the fountains while sunbathing on the grass. Come and see it for yourself !

Embrassing Peace and USS Midway museum

There is a big military base in San Diego and you can find many symbol of it going further along the bay. First of all, the impressive USS Midway, former aircraft carrier of the US Navy that is now a museum. This must be on you to-do list if you are a history lover. The authenticity of the place is surprising. Then, probably the most famous kiss of History : the Embrassing Peace statue. Under this important symbol that marks the end of the war, there are big chances to see lovers redo the famous scene. "So Romantic" !

Sea Port Village

Still going further along the bay, we arrive at Sea Port Village : a really nice locality where you can eat, shop and also admire the view of the bay. If you are luck like me, you'll hear this Peruvian group and its remake of the song Hotel California, panpipes style. True story.

Take the Ferry

It would be to a shame to go to San Diego and not enjoy a moment over the bay. For example you can go to Coronado Island for a few dollars. There are also many guided tours like the Whale Watching tour that happened around February. At this period, you can observe grey whales migrating to the south. This is the occasion to watch San Diego on a new perpective.

 


Sunset Cliffs

Sunset Cliffs

Sunset enthusiasts, take notes ! Sunset cliffs, as its name implies, is clearly one of the best sunset spot. At the south of Ocean Beach, on few kilometres, the natural park of San Diego offers a panoramic view over the cliffs. Go down the beach until you find a little corner to stay cosy between two rocks and let's keep the nature play the show. Nothing to ad!

 


Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

First thing, Ocean Beach has a beautiful beach. Often compared to Pacific Beach, OB is more like a hippie place. Really chill, people are genuinely friendly, it's like a permanent euphoria atmosphere. One day on the beach, a woman was simply turning round and round for like 15 minutes, stopping few times just to feel the euphoria effects on her mind!

Wonderland Pub

On the top, face to the ocean, the view of the bar is purely beautiful. I spent literally an entire day watching the Superbowl there, more fascinated by the view and the atmosphere than the game itself. Special mention for the little tapas.

Hodad's

A burger institution in San Diego! I tested the one in Downtown, but the one in Ocean Beach is typical and recognisable by its VW van in the main street of OB. You think to be starved enough to take the big size burger? Don't, I swear those burgers are giant!

Beach Dog Beach

The cuty moment : to go on a beach dog! The Ocean Beach Dog Beach is not that beautiful but if you are fond of fluffy doggy you won't regret it. Depending of the moment of the week, there are dogs EVERYWHERE that won't be shy to lick you or beg you to throw their ball. Some of them are hilarious!

 


Normal Heights

Normal Heights

My second favorite neighbourhood! I spent a lot of time in Normal Heights and even lived there for 2 months. It's a residential area, full of life and multi-cultural, especially on the famous Adam's Avenue. Normal Heights has an interesting artistic side : street arts, open stages, a lot of tattoo artists. On the food side too, you can find some surprising places!

Ceviche House

I discovered this incredible dish that ceviche is, on this little colourful restaurant. Same colours that you'll find in this delicious and cheap meal! Ceviche is a typical dish from the Pacific Coast, made of fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spices. There you can find around ten different recipes with shrimps, different fresh fishes and fruits... It's good but also healthy! Spices lovers will be thrilled, others can choose a less spicy version. And I survived to this so you can do it too!

Lestat's Cafe

This coffee shop is my Normal Heights's symbol. Just like at Starbucks but way more authentic, I spent few long evening there enjoying wifi and good pastries. This place is perfect just to observe Normal Heights's life, students, board gamers, readers,... Further, there is also an open stage with a big variety of artist. This place is just perfect if you want to see the local life, you won't see any tourists there!

Zia Gourmet Pizza

Pizza again and again! This time I swear those are different : associations of unlikely tastes and fresh products only. Khaled the boss is exceptionally kind and has a gift to remember all his customers. Impressive! The pizza choice is often different but there's always his famous desert banana pizza, delicious!

Concrete Jungle Tattoo

Three months of obsession later, I finally crossed my limits and decided to fulfil my desire of palm tree tattoo on my ankle. Two blocks from where I lived, this tattooer worked wonder. So yeah I totally approve the experience : "get a tattoo in Normal Heights"!

 


Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

If you want to gain height, I recommend you to go to Cabrillo National Monument. On the height of Point Loma, this park is one of the highest spot to admire the view over San Diego.

In fine weather it's even better, the view over the city and the ocean is to die for. Coronado Island can be seen and even the beginning of Mexico. It's also the occasion to see how big the naval station is.

For information : there is a fee for the park access to ensure the maintenance (10$ for a car, 5$ on foot or bike. The 20$ annual pass might be good deal)

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery 

The way to Cabrillo National Monument worth as much as the place itself. When you are on the road of Point Loma, stop to the National Cemetery of Fort Rosecrans. This place is really poignant and absolutely beautiful. On the heights, the white graves are perfectly aligned to create an powerful scenery.

Cabrillo Statue

This place take his name from Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to direct an expedition to explore the US West Coast where he arrived in the San Diego Bay in 1542. At the point of the park his statue, symbol of the city, face the ocean. To know more about this story, a museum is also dedicated to this Spanish conquistador.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

On the highest point of the park, there is the Lighthouse of Point Loma. You can visit this little house where used to live the lighthouse keepers. The old decor has been kept intact. One room is also dedicated to the lighthouse's functioning.

The Secret Beach

What, a secret beach ?! In the cave of the point, secret wild beaches are hidden : the tide pools. It was too late for me but if you have the occasion to go find it, tell me how it is!


Little Italy San Diego

Little Italy San Diego

My favorite neighbourhood! The reason why is that I had the chance to live in Little Italy for 3 months.

So I can see you going, does it really looks like a little Italy ? Not really, you really are in the US. Little Italy is, above all, about a way of life where you you eat, not only pizzas and drink, not only wine. This place is the proof that cooking has also its place in the US! There is a special liveness in this area, like a lot in the US, but the friendliness and the lifestyle make you feel instantanely like home.

On top of that, how beautiful it is! There is no oppressive feelings by buildings and some streets are climbing perpendicularly to the San Diego Bay that is not far, offering a splendid panoramic view on the pier. Don't miss it for sunset of course...

Little Italy is one the nearest neighbourhood of Downtown. So if you are brave enough to live in San Diego without a car, it takes 20 minutes walking to get there (or, let's not lie, a few dollars with Uber).

To get you bearings in Little Italy, the principal street is India Street, where there are restaurants and bars. It's really identifiable thanks to its emblematic arch.

My favorite spots :

Little Italy Farmer's Market

For me the best Farmer's Market of San Diego is the one of Little Italy. There is nothing better than walking in Cedar Street on Saturdays morning. A lot of producers come to sell their products as french pastries, fresh fruits, beautiful bouquet of flowers, speciality from a lot of countries. It's so diversify that you don't know what to choose!

Monello

I tested many pizzerias in Little Italy and be careful to the americanised pizzas of some restaurant that are in fact brands that you can find everywhere in the US. The pizzeria where you can go on blind faith is Monello. They have many sorts of Italian dishes but pizzas are the best. Italy approves!

The M Whinehouse

I have to talk about the M Winehouse! Go say hi to my friend Julia, a french bartender that will be pleased to serve you good wine! This place is so cute, you can spend hours there reading winelovers quotes on walls.

Waterfront Bar

The other headquarter of Little Italy locals, is the oldest bar of San Diego! This place is perfect to have a drink (or two) thanks to its old pub atmosphere. At 1 o'clock on week-ends, when the bell rings, don't miss the Cookie Monster that gives his delicious melting cookies out!

Glassdoor Restaurant

It's the only restaurant with a panoramic view in Little Italy and no doubt the best view on the San Diego Bay. Up to the last floor of the Porto Vista Hotel, on Colombia street, it's the ideal sunset spot with a cocktail!

Ballast Point Brewing

For bear lovers, there is a lot of breweries in San Diego. Those breweries are kind of a speciality here, given the number you can find. One of the most famous is Ballast Point, you can find those in many bars but the best is to go directly on their brewery-restaurant of Little Italy. Bears are made directly there so you can see the brewer and taste their new flavours. By the way, everyday the bear menu changes!

 


Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach

Dreamy name, young neighbourhood, surf and party, this is what awaits you in PB, one of the most student neighbourhood of San Diego! Let's go to Garnet Avenue, the main street of Pacific Beach.

Surf-shops, Californian brands, a bit of tourist-traps, it's really cool to go shopping here. And it's even cooler to go party, at the Firehouse PB for example or many other bars, in rooftop or even in front of the ocean.

During the day, active chill-mode, and enjoy the beach, go swim in the Pacific Ocean and watch surfers playing on beautiful waves. Always palm trees as a background of course! On top of this, walk over the unmissable Crystal Pier, an other must-have of every Californian beach.

 

Taco Tuesday in Pacific Beach

On Tuesday, there is no way to miss Taco Tuesday! All is an excuse to party in PB so let's go to one of the many bustling bars of Garnet Avenue. Cabo Cantina is the perfect example. 2$ tacos, Corona and giant margaritas : it's how you celebrate Tuesday nights in PB!

 


Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego, buildings, palm trees and various architecture made the charm of this part of the city. I loved to do shopping, go out on bars, restaurants or just walk there. Away from the hustle and bustle of a big city like New-Work, Downtown San Diego is lively without being oppressive.

Gaslamp Quarter

When you go out in Downtown San Diego, it's surely for its historical neighbourhood : Gaslamp Quarter. During the day, appreciate its calm and enjoy look at those historical buildings and nice little shops.

When the sun goes down, its another side of San Diego that is revealed. Around 6pm, it's time to begin after-work parties. Bars and restaurants get busy. You can feel the hustle in the streets, particularly on the 5th Avenue. You have to know that in California, drinking alcohol is very controlled. After 2am no sell of alcohol is allowed, so that's the time nightclubs closed and the party goes on in houses. Californian get used to start the party earlier.

The restaurant choice is big, so even if it's tempting it's impossible to test all of them. Possibilities are infinite!

Here are my favorite places in Downtown :

Mc Fadden's 

The place to be on Thursday nights for international students. The reason why might be the 1$ bear of Thursday night... I recommend this place for a real American nights!

BarleyMash

This place is really cool. The decor : beautiful. The atmosphere : awesome. The food : delicious. The speciality you have to test is the Iron Fries to share with a lot of toppings.

BIGA

Simply real pizzas and fresh products!

Le Parfait Paris

If you are missing France, go to Le Parfait Paris : for its real croissants, pastries, baguette sandwiches and the nice owner!

Horton Plaza Park

This place located near Horton Plaza Mall, has been rebuilt recently. I'm super fan of the awesome big fresco of the artist Kelsey Montague (go see her work, really!) and the architecture of the Balboa Theater.

 


Balboa Park

Balboa Park

In the middle of San Diego there is Balboa Park, a wide park where you can find both nature and cultural attractions. It's so big you can get lost but also discover something new at each corner.

Balboa Park is the heart of the cultural life of the city, the kind of place to take a walk on Sundays, visit its many museums, simply laze or even to go jogging.

It's a dreamy scene where it's not rare to see many groom during a photo shoot. By the way, if you want to play the perfect-date-by-night card, just go there. There is nobody and lights are splendid...

Here is my selection of best things to see in Balboa Park :

The Spanish style

Something recognisable at first sight about Balboa Park are those spanish-style buildings. Arriving by the main entrance of Cabrillo Bridge, follow the main avenue of El Prado to discover the emblematic buildings : the San Diego Museum of Man and the Casa de Balboa amongst others.

Le jardin botanique

The other must-see : the botanical garden and its water mirror. As a palace, it reflected on the water where you can spend hours watching enormous coloured fishes and ducks. Don't forget to take a look inside the botanical garden, it's worth it!

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Inside the park, at the center of an amphitheater, there is a somptuous outdoor organ. Every Sundays at 2pm, enjoy an open-air show. The acoustic makes of it a really nice and peaceful show.

House of Pacific Relations International Cottages

If you are looking for multi-cultural meetings, visit on Sundays this mini-village of the world. Little houses are decorated in a traditional way, representing each one a country of the world. About 34 countries are represented. Volunteers are present every Sunday afternoon to welcome you, sometimes with their cultural specialities. So funny to see the house of its own country!

Cactus Garden

There is a lot of little gardens in Balboa Park : roses garden, Australian garden, botanical garden,... But the one that I prefer is the cactus garden. A bit on the heights, away from the center, so the view is awesome. It's not completely the desert but not far!

San Diego Zoo

Balboa Park is also the place of the famous Zoo of San Diego, one of the biggest in the world and an unmissable touristic place.

Palm Canyon

My palm tree passion obviously brings me to this canyon. In this hidden corner of the park, discover no fewer than 58 species of palm trees. Winding path will bring you over a shady but green place for a tropical atmosphere!

Spanish Village Art Center

An other little cute village in Balboa Park. Here it's dedicated to Spanish where you can visit few small artist galleries. The most beautiful : colours and colours everywhere!

 


La Jolla

La Jolla

La Jolla is a the stylish neighbourhood of San Diego, the kind of place you clearly would like to have a house with the beach view to gaze at sunset every evening. It's a pretty rich neighbourhood but also pretty chill with all the Californian cliché.

Surf to La Jolla Shore 

For me La Jolla Shore rythmes with surf. It's on this beach that I took my first surf lesson! By a nice summer Californian weather, on a Saturday morning, I've been to a surf meet-up. Meet-up is an app that allows people that doesn't known each other to gather for a meeting about a common theme. I recommend this app for those who travel alone or just curious ones. Every Saturday morning on the beach of La Jolla Shore, a group of passionate about surf share their passion for those who want.

"I've never surf before", the name of the meet-up event was made for me. You just have to arrive with a board rented few blocks away (Surf Diva!) et let's surf! This day it was baby waves, perfect for the chicken that I am. I even had the chance to have a personal teacher who was really encouraging and it's true that I needed it! My physical condition isn't the one of a big sportive, I discovered few muscles on my arms. Whatever, the pride to take-off on the surf-board for the first time on one of the most beautiful beaches of California worth all the ache of the world! Magic memory.

La Jolla Cove

The other symbol of La Jolla is the sea lion. One of the nicest place to observe them it's the Children's pool, a sort of a cave where they come to rest all day. Along the coast you can watch them very closely, without disturbing them of course! Less pleasant : sea lions are know for their distinctive smell...

La Jolla Cove has also beautiful landscapes along the coast, I suggest you to walk along the Cost Walk Trail, there is a crazy panoramic view! Go down the rock for awesome pictures of the declining sunlight...

Mount Soledad

Enjoy a moment of loneliness... As its name implies, "Loneliness Mount" almost makes me want to stay there for hours thinking as Rodin's The Thinker. Mount Soledad is the hill of the impressive Mount Soledad Cross, a memorial of the Korean war. More than an simple panoramic view, it's also a beautiful tribute to war veterans.

 


Old Town

Old Town

Let's go back on time in Old Town, the historic park where all the history of southern California inspired by mexican culture takes place. This neighbourhood is meant to be a reconstitution of the village from which San Diego was built. In reality it's a very touristic place full of clichés of the american life from 1821 and 1872. However that doesn't take away the charm and the conviviality of Old Town !

Old Town Market

Welcome to Mexico ! From music to restaurants, everything here reminds you the importance of the Mexican culture in San Diego. There is a lot of touristic gift stores but also pretty hidden stuff. A bit cliché, but the conviviality is here. It's nice and we love to listen mariachis and other mexican musicians. If you have the opportunity to, it's the perfect place to celebrate mexican holidays like El dia de Los Muertos or Cinco de Mayo.

American History Museums

In the second part of the park, it's a western atmosphere ! Every building tell the American life of these days. A lot of museum offers identical reconstruction of historic buildings as famous banks or candy shops. Even the entire staff is dressed back on time to make the place alive.

Whaley House

A haunted house, officially certified by the United States Commerce Department. It only happens in the US ! How many ghosts stories are reported there ? I let you see for yourself !

 


Mission Beach

Mission Beach

If you go to Mission Beach it's of course for the beach, but also for the boardwalk, which is really pleasant. It's exactly what you could imagine of a Californian boardwalk : it's vaste, the sand is soft and people simply looks happy ! Of course, add to that beautiful range of palm tree and cloudless sunset : here we go Californian happiness ! So let's bring some grilled food (burgers and hot-dogs of course !) and let's start a BBQ with friends. We all want our part of happiness !

Belmont Park

The second highlight of Mission Beach is Belmont Park : roller-coaster, cotton candy and all sort of attractions. It's the kind of fair, again, typically American, where you come to eat all kind of sweet and fat delicious things and stay amazed like a kid in front of all those attractions. What's get all the attention is the roller-coaster, made from wood and dating from 1925 ! Let's take a look at it between two beach sessions.

Wave House

It's impossible not to stop at the Wave House. First of all, the place is huge and perfect to have a drink on the terrace face to the ocean. Then you stop there for the wave simulator ! You might not be tempted to test that kind of attraction, but I swear you can spend hours watching others on this infinite wave. Sometimes surfers are great and it seems so simple, or on the opposite, how fun are the drops...

 


Torrey Pines State Park

Torrey Pines State Park

On the north of La Jolla, there is Torrey Pines State Park. One the rarest place in California that kept its wild aspect. There is a lot of things to see around, so here is a little route to follow.

To walk on the campus of UCSD

Around the park, there is the campus of the famous University of California San Diego. It's a must-do for every student that goes to the US. This mini-city is so vast and its community spirit is so strong, it's gonna make you dream !

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Before to go to the park, enjoy a stop to the Torrey Pine Glider-port, the cliff from where a lot of gliders take their flight. A beautiful show that is almost gonna give you vertigo.

Black's Beach

Going down the cliff, next to the glider-port, a dark sandy beach is revealing... You have to know that it's one of the rarest naturist beach of San Diego !

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Don't make the same mistake than me, don't forget your tracksuit and go hike on the height of the natural reserve. The view is worth the pain ! Take a map of the reserve because the place is wild and you can't find much information on the walk even if the path is clearly defined. But it's also really nice to get lost and discover by surprise wonderful hidden spots ! Some point of view are amazing. There the scene is not occupied by palm trees but pines that overlook the cliffs. Once the hike is finished, go down on the beach to go back to your starting point and walk along the Torrey Pines Beach, natural and wild !

 


Coronado Island

Coronado Island

In the middle of the San Diego Bay, there is a little Californian paradise named Coronado Island. Once the feet on the island, the motto is chic and style ! Welcome to the America of Desperate Housewife, the first reference that comes to me seeing those big houses with green gardens. Add to that some perfectly aligned palm trees and the scene is not far from the one of a movie !

A ferry ride

Before to talk about Coronado, the must-do of this visit is the ferry ride. It would be unfortunate to miss an occasion of a trip in the San Diego Bay and miss the view of the Downtown. Not to mention the view of the Coronado Bridge ! Departing from the Embarcadero, the ferry leaves every hours to cross the bay and join the island. Only for 4$, it's worth the price for an amazing panoramic view and to feel the wind in your hair in the middle of the bay !

Hotel del Coronado

« Some like it hot », it's my Marylin Monroe movie reference ! If you have seen this movie, you surely will recognised the famous Hotel del Coronado. All the American elite stayed there and no less than 11 presidents of the United States. If you don't have the opportunity to stay there, the hotel is accessible to the public so you can discover the exhibition about its history. Also enjoy a walk on the terrasse of the hotel, feel the great atmosphere, chic but casual and enjoy the view on the VIP events happening there.

The perfect family beach

A vast beach, soft sand and sweet waves, Coronado beaches are the one you imagine to go to with your family or just to chill.. The fresh air from the ocean is also nice to escape the stifling heat of the city !

Orange Avenue

It's the main avenue of the island : between chic restaurants and gift shops, there is everything. A good spot for a sandwich is Park Place Liquor & Deli, the liquor store front window is not really appealing but those sandwiches are perfect to take away and savour on the beach !

Coronado Bridge

And finally, when it's time to go back, take the road of the Coronado Bridge for a great view spot !