San Diego – America’s Finest City

San Diego is one of the few places in the U.S. with good weather year round.  It also happens to be where I live so it seems like a good destination with which to start.  Locals like to call San Diego “America’s Finest City”.  Whether you agree or not, it certainly is near the top of the list.

Between tourist attractions like the world famous San Diego Zoo and it’s sister the San Diego Safari Park, beautiful beaches, mountains an easy drive away, sailing, whale watching, good food, Mexican culture, and classic hotels, there’s little you can’t do in San Diego.

As a water baby, sailing and whale watching are favorite activities of mine.  San Diego is great for both.

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Sailing is a year-round activity.  Crewed and uncrewed charters are available.  For a crewed sail around the bay and possibly out to the ocean, a great company is Sail San Diego.  They have very comfortable sailboats and experienced, friendly crews.  They are, though, rather pricey for a single passenger.  Other fun options are to go out on the Californian is a 19th century revenue cutter that’s part of the wonderful San Diego Maritime Museum or one of Next Level Sailing’s America’s Cup boats.  All have single tickets available at reasonable prices.

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San Diego is one of the best places in the world for whale watching. From December through April, gray whales migrate through on their ways to and from their mating and birthing waters in Baja Mexico.  Year round, several kinds of dolphins fill the water.  In summer, the largest of the whales, the mighty blue whale, makes its appearances.  Unlike sailing, which can get expensive for the solo traveler and which carries its own risks, whale watching is relatively inexpensive and provides a great adventure from the safety of a good sized boat.  Watch for a post on recommended companies coming soon, but for now let me say that my favorite company is San Diego Whale Watch.

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No trip to San Diego would be complete without a visit to the world-famous San Diego Zoo or its sister facility, the San Diego Safari Park.  Both are state-of-the art facilities.  Check out their many special tours, some of which include up-close animal encounters.  At the Zoo, my favorite is Backstage Pass at which you can close to and be photographed with a wide variety of critters.  If you’re in San Diego in summer, both parks are open late, providing a safe environment for an evening stroll.

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Amid a wealth of choices, one hotel stands out as special and that the Hotel Del Coronado, known locally as The Del.  Away from the bustle of the city on the island of Coronado, this is where they filmed the classic movie “Some Like it Hot”.  The property is full of old world charm and has great food choices.

Nightlife in San Diego centers on the Gaslamp Quarter downtown.  Lots of restaurants and bars.  One of my favorites is Croce’s, owned by the widow of the late, great musician Jim Croce.  It offers a combination of great food, good music, and fantastic people watching.    Unfortunately, it looks like they’re going to be leaving the Gaslamp.  I’ll update this when they do.  The Gaslamp is one of those places where a woman alone should use caution.  While it is nowhere near as dangerous as parts of other large cities, it is still a crowded area and has lots of folks who are under the influence.

With a temperate climate year round, there is some variation in weather.  Winter can be a bit rainy.  Spring brings Gray May and June Gloom, periods when the coastal layer of clouds may last all day.

This now being home, it’s a place I’m frequently out and about in alone.  I’ve always felt welcomed.  San Diegans are a friendly lot and will gladly help with directions or chat with you in a bar.   Safer than many large cities,  watch your belongings and keep alert and you’ll be fine.

Whenever you come, you’re sure to have a great time!