Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Must Do Things in San Diego

I've decided to merge my love of travel and love of making lists and create a guide of best/most fun/can't miss things to do in each of the cities I've been to. Seeing as how I live in San Diego, I thought I'd start right here and work my way out.

The first thing anyone coming to San Diego has to see is Balboa Park--it's our version of Central Park. All the buildings are done in the Spanish Colonial Revival style and were built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

The carving is amazing and so ornate. There are several museums in the park, including the Natural History Museum (has good traveling exhibits), The Museum of Man (beautiful building but so-so anthropological museum), the Timken Museum of Art (free and has an amazing collection of Russian icons and old European Masters, including many of the famous Flemish and Dutch painters--Rembrandt, Hals, Rubens and Brughel the Elder).

There is also a model Railroad Museum, a Photographic Arts Museum, the San Diego Art Museum, the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center and the world famous San Diego zoo.

Also in Balboa Park are many gardens, including a Japanese Tea Garden. As an English major, the most interesting thing to me is the exact replica of Shakespeare's Old Globe Theater. As a lazy English major, I'm ashamed to say I've yet to see a play here.
Residents of San Diego County and active duty military personnel (along with dependents) get free admission on rotating Tuesdays to several of the museums.
I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon except to go to Seal Cove in La Jolla. This is a protected cove where a seal colony and their descendants have taken up residence (although some evil people have been lobbying to chase away the seals and turn it into a children's swimming area, as if there aren't enough of those anyway).

La Jolla is very beautiful, although very expensive. You wil have to drive here (it's about 15 miles north of downtown) but so worth it. The downtown area is filled with art galleries, expensive boutiques and fancy restaurants. But it's fun to walk around and see how the other half lives. For me, the seals are the best part. They are so cute and fun to watch (but a little stinky).

After that, you'll want to swing by Pacific Beach, which is a collegey, hard partying neighborhood. It was one of the last beaches in San Diego to ban drinking alcohol on the beach and there was a huge uproar about it.
In fact, one group decided to collect signatures to try to get a measure on the ballot to overturn it and they did get the required number of signatures, but when the county tried to verify them, they found out most of them were fake or were from out of town people (who can't vote in SD).
It turns out the volunteers were going to all the local bars (of which there are many) and asking people there to sign the petition. Which seems like the right target market, but unfortunately drunks who make up fake names and out of towners don't qualify.

This is a view of the Pacific Beach Pier (you can rent these bungalows over the water).

The main drag in Pacific Beach (or PB as the locals call it) is Garnet Avenue. This is lined with bathing suit shops, restaurants, bars, clothing stores and hair/nail salons.

There are so many Brazilians who live in PB that it's sometimes called Brazilian Beach.

There's so much to do in San Diego. More to come!

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