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I need tips on san diego

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1. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 6y

more than likely I'm going next saturday for a week.

where should I go?
what should I do?
what neighborhoods should I avoid?
should I rent a car or is it easy enough to get around without one?
should I go to tijuana?

thanks!

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 6y

Places to go:

Mission Bay
Pacific Beach
Old Town San Diego
Gaslight District
Sea World
San Diego Zoo (best in the world in my opinion)
Balboa Park
Del Mar
La Jolla

Areas to avoid: Areas out to the east and southeast of town

Should you go to Tijuana? Well, Tijuana is basically a gigantic tourist trap--but some people like that. Revolution Blvd has nothing but bars and tourist shops (and one Jai Alai betting place--which actually is worth visiting).

My suggestion is to go down to Rosarito Beach instead--using the toll road (routa cuota) where there are higher quality nightclubs and hotels--and maybe ride horses on the beach or go a few more miles south to Puerto Nuevo lobster village or visit the nearby FOX Studios Mexico amusement park

http://www.thestudiotour.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fox_Baja

Be aware that Rosarito is crowded during the summer, but fairly dead the other three seasons--so then Tijuana might be better to visit--(although the 1 1/2 hour drive on down to Ensenada is better if you are going as a couple--or if you plan to do some deep sea fishing on a boat offshore).

P.S. If you do plan to go to Mexico and drive across--be aware that you have to purchase Mexican insurance (which can be done either from your car rental place in San Diego--or at the US-Mexico border). The reason is that regular American car insurance is not valid in Mexico.

Enjoy

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 6y

Go to TJ at your own risk!

As for SD, summer is beach time - I like Coronado and Pacific Beaches

If you're into Mexican food, you can't beat Old Town

You need a car wherever you go in Southern California

4. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 284 posts) 6y

Renting a car simplifies your options, but do not overlook the San Diego Trolley system which has extensive connections.

If you like baseball, take in Petco Park and the San Diego Padres downtown during the MLB season.
Love great beer and food? Karl Strauss Brewery and Grill on Columbia between B and C streets.

5. Posted by LSucettes (Budding Member 5 posts) 6y

RE: Tijuana

Let's just get one thing straight:
Lower Revolution Avenue = Red District.
When most Americans go to Tijuana, they go there, to the red district, and then they go back to the states and talk about how wild, dirty and dangerous it was, well guess what, that's what happens when you go to ANY third-world red district just to get drunk. And honestly, getting completely wasted in the most sketchy area of a town doesn't seem like the brightest idea, but to each their own..

Tijuana is currently going through some interesting 'art' movement, taking place in the upper part of Revolution Avenue (between 6th & 4th). It's mostly just aimed at young locals instead of tourists.. you don't find any deported 'chicano' trying to get you inside a bar/selling you crap, underage Americans trying to take their clothes off because it's reeeeally fun to drink or weirdos over 40 trying bet at Jai Alai or buy drugs or children (yeah).. just local bands playing, late-night eateries, excellent music, interesting people and lots of drinks.

In case you're interested, a few recommendations:

La Mezcalera
6th street, Revolucion & Madero.
Small bar devoted solely to mezcal (raw, iced, flavored, creamy shots, you name it), it's a very strong drink but SO good, and the atmosphere is kind of cool.

El Burro Rayado
Madero, 6th & 7th st.
80s music and local bands playing. Good fun if you're bar hopping, wanting to dance and just coming out of La Mezcalera.

El Lugar del Nopal
5 blocks away from Revolution ave., in Privada 5 de Mayo, #1328.
Local artists playing (often troubadours), art performances, café, gallery and restaurant.
Writers and artists mecca. Probably the place to start off the night before moving on to some nice mezcal.

Tortas de la Sexta
6th st, Revolucion & Madero
Opened till 5 am. Easily the best place to sober up while having some good coffee and tortas (like a hamburger but wider, softer, and it has chicken and ham instead of red meat plus lots of veggies [avocado, mushrooms, lettuce, etc])..

If you're just visiting during the day, take a stroll around 6th street (from Madero to Constitucion) and you'll find some great second-hand stores and independent designer shops.

Yesterday I discovered this hole-in-the-wall Argentinian restaurant, I was in a rush so I only made it to one beef empanada but it was so good I feel like recommending it, it's called "El Tucumano", it's on Madero between 6th and 7th, opened till 10 pm.. definitely worth stopping by if you're looking for a nice, non-cliché Tijuana experience.


Back to San Diego.. aside from what's already been recommended, I'd add renting a kayak at La Jolla Caves.. it's so much fun, you'll absolutely love it.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jul-2010, at 22:20 by LSucettes ]

6. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 6y

Nice to have a local resident on the site to let us know about the true spots to visit. Welcome, LSucettes!

Just so people are aware, the population of Tijuana is about 3 million residents--making it the largest city on the west coast of the western Hemisphere. So, yes, discussing only its "sketchy" parts is obviously unfair--and doesn't reflect its many other upscale sections of town. About 18 years ago, I used to visit Tijuana regularly on business (my company had its maqueladora operation, there). But 18 years is a long time ago--and there is no way I can know anything about today's "new" Tijuana--so all the more reason to thank LSucettes for the input.

Having said that, I still recommend Rosarito Beach, Puerto Nuevo, and Ensenada as well--or take a trip into the "heart" of Mexico by visiting Mexico City, Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Guanajuato--or one of Mexico's beach resorts and then driving into the less touristy sections or towns nearby the resort.

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 6y

Quoting Calcruzer

Just so people are aware, the population of Tijuana is about 3 million residents--making it the largest city on the west coast of the western Hemisphere.

Is it bigger than Los Angeles? Or Lima?

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Jul-2010, at 13:00 by Utrecht ]

8. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 6y

You know I hate it when my data is out of date--and I'm totally wrong--as in this case. (But better to get the data right than be ignorant).

According to nationsonline.com, the largest cities on the west coast of the Americas are:

Lima, Peru with 5.4 million people (metropolitan area about 6.0 to 7.0 million)

According to the City of Los Angeles' own website, the city population (as of 2008) is 4.0 million (4,003,000) but the metropolitan area is around 10.0 million population.

The city of Tijuana, Mexico is estimated at 3.5 million (same for the metropolitan area).

P.S. Santiago, Chile (just the city of 7.4 million, not the metropolitan area which is the same size) is larger than all of these cities, but is not located on the west coast, but rather is about 50 miles inland. Los Angeles' downtown area is about 20 miles inland, but part of the city reaches to the sea on both the west and southern portions. Quito, Ecuador is about 2.1 million and Panama City, Panama is 800,000. Bogota, Columbia is larger than every city mentioned, but is no where close to the West Coast and Mexico City is the largest city in the western hemisphere--but is no way close to any ocean.

Thanks, Utrecht for helping me get it correct.

[ Edit: spelling ]

9. Posted by Peter (Admin 5811 posts) 6y

We just came back from a month there. The zoo is a definite must. Excellent polar bear enclosure. Stick around it until the bears go for a swim. An absolute terrific sight. One of the best zoo experiences you can have. And yes, this zoo is the best I've ever been to as well.

Also, the associated Wildlife Park is worthwhile. If you want to do both these things though, you should become a member of the Zoo. Membership is $89 for two adults ($69 single). A 2 visit pass is $70 per person, so $140 if there's two of you. And you get a few extra things thrown in with your membership that you would otherwise have to pay for at the Wildlife park. The line for memberships is somewhat separate to the main ticket line, so a lot of people miss it and I think end up paying more than they needed to!

Balboa Park would be the next major attraction (right next to the zoo btw). You'll want to allow a little while to wander around. There's quite a lot to see, particularly if you like museums.

We stayed in Del Mar while we were there and loved the area. Though we also seemed to constantly be heading to nearby Encinitas for various things. If you like gardens at all, I can *highly* recommend the San Diego Botanical Gardens in Encinitas. Really great place to relax and enjoy some garden scenery. Was a really nice activity with young kids - better for them than the tiring zoo. I like gardening though, so I can understand that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

Coronado Island is nice to visit as well. There's a hotel on the island that is famous from various movies.

Old Town is touristy, but still fun to have a look around.

I think you'll need a car once you're there, particularly if you want to head out to the Wildlife park or Del Mar. But maybe you can just get it for a few days rather than the entire time?

Not sure where you're travelling from, but you could catch a train to San Diego from LA quite easily. The second half of it is absolutely beautiful - travelling right along the coast. I highly recommend that over the freeway! It might save you a day or two car rental too.

10. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 6y

Quoting Calcruzer

You know I hate it when my data is out of date--and I'm totally wrong--as in this case. (But better to get the data right than be ignorant).

According to nationsonline.com, the largest cities on the west coast of the Americas are:

Lima, Peru with 5.4 million people (metropolitan area about 6.0 to 7.0 million)

According to the City of Los Angeles' own website, the city population (as of 2008) is 4.0 million (4,003,000) but the metropolitan area is around 10.0 million population.

The city of Tijuana, Mexico is estimated at 3.5 million (same for the metropolitan area).

P.S. Santiago, Chile (just the city of 7.4 million, not the metropolitan area which is the same size) is larger than all of these cities, but is not located on the west coast, but rather is about 50 miles inland. Los Angeles' downtown area is about 20 miles inland, but part of the city reaches to the sea on both the west and southern portions. Quito, Ecuador is about 2.1 million and Panama City, Panama is 800,000. Bogota, Columbia is larger than every city mentioned, but is no where close to the West Coast and Mexico City is the largest city in the western hemisphere--but is no way close to any ocean.

Thanks, Utrecht for helping me get it correct.

Well, actually you got me thinking! Sometimes there is a difference between like cities, municipalities, urban areas, or what they call it like. Might have beent hat Tijuana was the biggest official city or something. Like the core area of it.
Cheers for the info Calcruzer;)