SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA — It's not called America's Finest City for nothing! If you're lucky enough to be a resident of San Diego, then you know that the cool surf town is unparalleled when it comes to its constant sunshine, picturesque beaches and out-of-this world Mexican food.
But how often is it that you San Diego natives get to play tourist in your very own city? The answer is most likely not often enough — which means you're in need of a staycation!
Instead of shelling out tons of cash to travel the globe, consider having a stay at one of the city's enviable oceanfront resorts like the historic Hotel del Coronado, or spend the day exploring the famous San Diego Zoo. And why not book a relaxing massage or facial at the sophisticated Spa Kingston?
If you have a palate for fine dining and cocktails, you're in luck — the city is also home to some delectable eateries and nightlife options like the Japanese bistro Himitsu and the trendy tiki bar False Idol. And there's always room for some dessert at Extraordinary Desserts.
If we haven't sold you yet, check out our list of attractions and destinations that are sure to make your San Diego staycation a success. Some might be new to you, while others might be old favorites that you just needed a little reminder about.
Here are all the spots to add to your staycation checklist in San Diego:
Enjoy Some Delectable Dining
Juniper & Ivy's yodel (pictured below), the lobster roll at Ironside Fish & Oyster and birria-steamed clams at Galaxy Taco — just a few dishes that are absolute musts when diving headfirst into San Diego's restaurant scene. From over-the-top brunches to savory seafood dinners, we've got your appetites covered from morning until night.
Morning Glory — over-the-top brunch spot located in Little Italy serving a globally inspired breakfast menu in an opulently designed setting.
Ironside Fish & Oyster — renovated, nautical-themed warehouse serving seafood fare and cocktails, located in Little Italy.
Juniper & Ivy — elevated, modern restaurant located on the edge of Little Italy, serving New American fare and drinks in a relaxed, artsy setting.
Himitsu — Japanese bistro located in La Jolla serving a menu of traditional sushi and nigiri, along with Japanese style tapas and a carefully curated sake list.
Galaxy Taco — relaxed hangout serving designer tacos and other Mexican fare in La Jolla, as well as a large tequila selection.
Campfire — indoor-outdoor restaurant serving New American fare and cocktails in a rustic camp-like setting, located in Carlsbad.
Extraordinary Desserts — airy eatery offering show stopping cakes and desserts with locations in Little Italy and Banker's Hill.
Indulge In Crafty Cocktails
Who doesn't love to relax and unwind while sipping on a delicious cocktail? Whether you're into beer, wine or a fruity libation, San Diego has plenty of watering holes to quench everyone's thirst. Check out breweries like Gravity Heights or Tiger! Tiger!, or head back in time to swanky speakeasy Noble Experiment or apothecary-like bar Polite Provisions.
Gianni Buonomo Vintners — beach winery and wine tasting room set in a cozy and laid back ambiance, located in Ocean Beach.
Gravity Heights — brewery and restaurant that specializes in beer, located in Sorrento Mesa, serving New American cuisine and brunch in a comfortable atmosphere.
Polite Provisions — apothecary-esque bar located in North Park, offering craft cocktails and microbrews in an old-timey setting.
Noble Experiment — swanky speakeasy located behind a secret door in Gaslamp Quarter's Neighborhood restaurant.
Kindred — whimsical, eccentric space offering contemporary vegan food and drinks located in South Park.
Tiger! Tiger! — casual pub with communal picnic tables offering draught beer and creative bar fare, located in North Park.
Explore The Wonders Of San Diego
From its rich maritime history to its plethora of family-friendly attractions, San Diego has a little something for every staycationer. Explore the many wonder of Balboa Park which encompasses several acres of gardens, trails and even the San Diego Zoo. Or spend the day lounging on one of the city's scenic beaches, like La Jolla Cove.
Balboa Park — multi-attraction park covering 1,200 acres of land, home to more than 16 museums, multiple performing arts venues, gardens, trails and more recreational attractions.
Belmont Park — oceanfront amusement park located in Mission Bay, home to the famous Mission Beach Roller Coaster (aka Giant Dipper).
San Diego Botanical Gardens — botanical gardens located in Encinitas, featuring rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest, California native plants, Mediterranean climate landscapes and a subtropical fruit garden.
Torrey Pines Natural Reserve — coastal state park and wilderness island located in La Jolla, one of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast.
Cabrillo National Monument — monument commemorating the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay, located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula.
Sea World San Diego — animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium and marine mammal park located in Mission Bay Park.
USS Midway Museum — historical naval aircraft carrier museum located at Navy Pier.
Shop 'Til You Drop
A staycation calls for some well-deserved retail therapy. Luckily, San Diego has a vibrant shopping scene with several villages and centers filled with shops, boutiques, dining and more. Head to one of Pigment's locations if you're looking for the perfect gift for a stylish friend, or visit the Open Aire Market for a little produce shopping and snacking.
(Pigment and Thula Creative Co.)
Embarcadero — busy cruise ship hub with attractions, shopping and dining, also paying tribute to the region's rich maritime history complete with historic ships, museums and harbor tours, located in the Seaport Village.
Open Aire Market — farmers market open on Sundays with a selection of artisans, fresh local produce and savory bites, located in La Jolla.
Liberty Station — former Naval Training Center located in Point Loma — urban village offering shopping, eating and events.
Carlsbad Premium Outlets — outlet mall featuring premium brands and shops, as well as restaurants, eateries and services, located in Carlsbad.
Fashion Valley — upscale, open-air shopping mall located in Mission Valley.
Seaport Village — waterfront village home to diverse shopping, 17 unique dining venues and outdoor entertainment hosting festivals and celebrations.
Pigment — lifestyle shop with locations in North Park, Point Loma and Del Mar, carrying design-savvy gifts, flora, furniture and more.
Treat Yourself To A 5-Star Stay
While a staycation doesn't require an overnight stay, it would certainly kick things up a notch and make your treasured time off a little more luxurious. Plus, it's no secret that San Diego is filled to the brim with boutique hotels and luxury resorts, like the historic Hotel del Coronado or the Balinese-inspired Pantai Inn.
Hotel del Coronado — historic, beachfront hotel located on Coronado Island, with a wooden Victorian structure and luxury amenities.
Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa — luxury, Mediterranean-style hotel suites and villas set on 45 acres of gardens and olive groves with classic California character, located in Santa Fe.
Pantai Inn — relaxing oceanfront retreat with a unique blend of Balinese-inspired décor, luxurious comforts and contemporary conveniences, offering a lush garden setting and soothing water features, located in La Jolla.
Pendry San Diego — elegant boutique hotel located downtown in Gaslamp Quarter with refined, beach-inspired rooms and luxury amenities.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar — luxury golf resort and spa set within Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, embracing Mediterranean charm.
LEGOLAND California Hotel — Lego-themed hotel with kid-centric theme park, water park, aquarium and dining, located in Carlsbad.
Indulge And Relax
Relaxing is an essential part of your staycation, and when it comes to rejuvenating in San Diego, there are plenty of places to get primped and pampered. Soothe your body and mind at The Chopra Center Spa or plan a tranquil retreat at The Spa at Estancia La Jolla. You won't be disappointed!
The Spa at Estancia La Jolla — tranquil retreat near Torrey Pines offering San spa packages including massages, facials, body skincare, nail services, waxing and other services using primarily organic ingredients.
Spa Kingston — sophisticated and chic day spa offering entire body rejuvenation and an impressive spa experience, located in Little Italy.
Rancho Bernardo Inn Spa — premiere spa using fresh and nourishing ingredients like avocado, strawberry, yogurt and honey for a relaxing experience.