San Diego is pretty similar to LA however it has a much more laid back, beach town vibe that just happens to have a major city located within it. It’s filled with tons of amazing restaurants, shops, places to relax, & sights to see. Below are the best of the best for all those categories & more!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK:
Holy Matcha: Without a doubt my first stop in San Diego is always Holy Matcha. After all, what better way to start your day than with a cup of the best matcha, delicious food & an insta-worthy restaurant. I highly recommend the iced lavender matcha & waffles that are covered in edible florals & fruit – SO delicious. If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, their ceremonial matcha is some of the best I’ve ever had.
The Goods: Located a bit north of actual San Diego, The Goods is a coffee & donut shop located in Carlsbad. It’s worth a trip for a different pace (Carlsbad has more of a small town vibe) & an amazing donut. The vegan blueberry passionfruit is my absolute favorite but you really can’t go wrong when it comes to good donuts.
Morning Glory: While I haven’t eaten here just yet, I have heard amazing things about this spot & their fluffy pancakes. Yes, fluffy pancakes that are about an inch tall each! I did pop in just to see the space last time I was in SD & it’s absolutely beautiful, totally Instagrammable & in such a cute part of town (Little Italy). Just make sure to get there early because the line goes out the door (hence why I haven’t eaten there yet!).
Communal Coffee: Part coffee shop, part boutique this once again insta-worthy shop is a great place to visit with a stunning interior, indoor & outdoor seating & a giant menu of breakfast, coffee & non-coffee options. PS make sure you check out their flower wall outside the shop!
Dark Horse Coffee: With four locations around San Diego, it’s likely you’ll pass one during your time in the city. It’s a great place to pop in for a quick drink & donut that they serve around the straw of your drink – GENIUS!
Hello Betty Fish House: This spot came highly recommended both for it’s food & for the views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Try to snag a seat on their outdoor patio & get there in time for sunset for the ultimate experience!
Other spots on my list to try next time: Campfire, DonutBar (they have a donut stuffed with a pop-tart), Blue Water Seafood Market (Guy Fieri said they have the best tacos), & Mike’s Taco Club (known for their late night burritos).
WHERE TO SHOP:
Native Poppy: Part boutique & part flower shop, this cute shop has everything from custom bouquets that you can pick out from their flower wall, the best smelling candles, sweet gifts such as seeds to grow your own garden & bath soaks & so much more.
Hi Sweetheart: Located a smidge North of San Diego in La Jolla, I fell in love with this shop & all the goodies they have to offer. From puzzles to keychains to La Jolla souvenirs, this is anything but your typical gift shop & it’s totally worth a trip. Plus it’s in a stunning shopping area that has tons of restaurants & is located right on the beach.
Pigment: From plants to candles, apparel to kids toys Pigment truly has it all. While they have quite a few locations in San Diego I highly recommend the Del Mar one as it’s absolutely massive & surrounded by tons of other cute stores!
Van De Vort: It’s likely you’ve seen this shop on Instagram but in case you haven’t it’s a clothing boutique with the coolest brands & style. It’s also located in the same outdoor shopping center that Pigment (see above) is located in. This new shopping center is not your typical outdoor mall. It’s absolutely beautiful, typically has live music, & has a ton of the best food spots & boutiques (think Blue Bottle, Salt & Straw, Tocaya, DryBar, Sweetfin, SoulCycle & more).
Shop Good: Ok my last must visit in the shopping center that both Pigment & Van De Vort are located in is Shop Good. Y’all know I loooove clean beauty & Shop Good has carefully curated the best selection of the best brands for the best clean beauty products. From skincare to makeup, bath products to facials, this place has it all.
WHERE TO UNWIND:
Spots on my list to try next time: Leo Nails Wellness Massage, The Chopra Center Spa, Rancho Valencia, & CurBar.
WHERE TO EXPLORE:
Ocean Beach Municipal Pier: A massive pier that goes way out into the ocean to give you amazing views of both the ocean & San Diego.
Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch: Only open from March 1-May 10, these amazing fields of flowers are worth a trip to SD themselves!
Balboa Park: Filled with museums, theaters, a zoo & much more, this park is a great place to explore for a few hours!
The Cave Store: This giant cave situated on the ocean can be viewed from above, on top of it or inside through stairs that take you through the entire thing!
La Jolla Tree Swings: This hidden tree swing can be accessed through the southernmost end of the Birch Aquarium parking lot through a trailhead.
WHERE TO WORKOUT:
Spots on my list to try next time: Riffs Studios for yoga, Trilogy Sanctuary which has aerial yoga outside, Belle & Bar, Mission Trails Regional Park, & hiking at Torrey Pines.
WHERE TO STAY:
While I did a day trip from LA to SD, if you’re looking to stay the night I’ve heard great things about: Hotel Republic, Tower23, Hotel del Coronado, & La Valencia Hotel.
HOW TO GET THERE:
San Diego is an easy drive from LA – typically about 2-2.5 hours depending on where in LA you are. If you don’t have a car or prefer not to drive, there is a train that runs right along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) from LA to San Diego so you’ll have ocean views during the train ride!
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