Looking for a Labor Day retreat? From hidden beaches to drool-worthy breakfast spots, there are an abundance of reasons to be excited about traveling to San Diego. Maybe so many that you’re overwhelmed with where to start. Let us help you out with our handy guide to San Diego, including what to do and where to eat, sight-see, and shop.
Hit the beach at Sunset Cliffs
Photo: Flickr, ovophoto
Soak up the sun on the sand, hit the surf, or watch cliff jumpers get their thrills. All are acceptable Saturday morning activities in San Diego’s most laid-back part of town, Ocean Beach. Sunset Cliffs is located just south, with 60-foot bluffs and a dramatic coastline that veers out to crashing waves below. If standing cliff-side isn’t your thing, venture over to the tide pools by taking the staircase at the foot of Ladera Street. // 4560 Ladera St.
Visit the ‘Kissing Statue’ & Seaport Village
Photo: Flickr, Shamus
The 25-foot statue, officially known as Unconditional Surrender, depicts the iconic embrace between a sailor and a nurse celebrating the end of World War II in Times Square. If you’re on vacation with your significant other, join the masses in recreating the kiss in the couple’s shadow. Perfectly placed adjacent to the USS Midway Museum, this stretch of waterfront land is a tourist destination you don’t want to miss. Follow the path in the other direction and you’ll find yourself in Seaport Village, a shopping plaza with regular street performers and stunning views of the harbor. // G St. & N Harbor Dr.
Go to the South Bay Drive-In
There’s something special about watching a movie at the drive-in. Whether it’s being able to wear your comfiest PJs without judgment or transforming your backseat into a cushy, pillow-laden bed, I much prefer the drive-in to sitting in a theatre. Not to mention, it’s cheaper than a regular movie ticket. For $9 a person, you can knock out two new releases from your must-see list. // 2170 Coronado Ave.
Breakfast: The Mission (or) Hash House A Go Go
The Mission serves up Mexican-inspired dishes for the health-minded foodies. Try their fluffy scrambled eggs, some chicken apple sausage, and a side of rosemary potatoes. With its ever-growing popularity, there are now three locations — Mission Beach, North Park, and Downtown in the East Village. // 1250 J St.
Or go for Hash House A Go Go, one of San Diego’s busiest breakfast spots. You’re sure to build up an appetite while waiting to get seated, but it’s well worth it. Try the sage fried chicken and waffles or brown sugar banana pancakes. As long as you load up on the griddled mash, you can’t go wrong. The Hillcrest location is the original Hash House, but it has now branched out across the country, including four restaurants in Las Vegas. // 3628 5th Ave.
Lunch: Carnitas’ Snack Shack (or) Lucha Libre
If you’re a bacon lover, pork enthusiast, or craft beer drinker, you’ve got to try Carnitas’ Snack Shack. Located in North Park, the Snack Shack is just that — a walk-up shack with fresh pork apps, tacos, you name it. Their menu changes daily, but try to stop in on a Monday for the pulled pork poutine. // 2632 University Ave.
Named for lucha libre wrestling, the theme is evident in this Mission Hills legendary taco shop. (So good that they opened a stand inside San Diego Padres’ Petco Park!) Most people opt for the larger-than-life surf and turf burrito, but I’d suggest trying the queso taco, which is loaded with avocado, secret sauce, and crispy cheese (!) And why not stock up on that salsa bar while you’re at it? // 1810 W Washington St.
Dinner: Buona Forchetta (or) The Joint
Indulge in warm oven-baked pies at this South Park pizzeria, Buona Forchetta. Likely San Diego’s most authentic Italian food eatery, stop in here for homemade pasta topped with flavorful meatballs or a plate of cheesy, tender lasagna. All swimming in a delicious marinara sauce. // 3001 Beech St.
Or, if you’re looking to try something different, check out The Joint in Ocean Beach. This sushi restaurant serves up some of the most creative tapas and sushi rolls you’re ever going to experience. From the fluffy omelette tortilla to the buttery-delicious spinach artichoke dip, I’d almost advise sticking to appetizers if the rolls weren’t equally as delectable. // 4902 Newport Ave.
La Jolla Shores
Photo: Flickr, swpars
Watch the seals pile up on the beach or explore the La Jolla Caves for one memorable day trip. Take Prospect Street past dozens of specialty shops and fine dining restaurants until you hit the shores. The seals sunbathe nearly all day, providing endless entertainment as you look on from the viewing dock. // 1100 Coast Blvd.
Photo: Flickr, SilvanaGh
Cruise across San Diego’s most iconic landmark whether you’re destined for Coronado or not. Expect spectacular views of the cityscape and Navy ships, two miles of toll-free driving, and a tiny freak-out session from anyone with acrophobia (the bridge rises to a height of 200 feet). // Glorietta Plaza, CA-75
Photo: Flickr, Anthonyvc
A cross marks the spot for this mountain peak, where you’re most likely to get the best views of San Diego (depending on how cloudy the day is). The military memorial site allows you to see for miles in every direction. There’s nowhere better for panoramic views from the ocean to the mountains, guaranteed. // 6905 La Jolla Scenic Dr. South
Las Americas: For the best deals
A slew of outlet stores mixed with all your favorite tried-and-true designer names makes this outdoor shopping mall a must-see for tourists from all scopes of the world. Not to mention, Labor Day is bound to serve up some great sales. (Stop by and see us at Designer Studio Store!) The mall is so close to the border of Mexico that you can easily spy the massive Mexico flag from the parking lot. // 4211 Camino de la Plaza
North Park: For vintage lovers
If getting lost in a sea of chiffon and polyester in search of that diamond in the rough is more your thing, head over to North Park. Vintage stores like Frock You are the norm in this up-and-coming, “alternative” part of town. And since 70s fashion is totally in-style, you’re bound to find original button-front skirts and bell-sleeve dresses to wear that will set you apart from the department store copy-cats. // 4121 Park Blvd.
Pacific Beach: For surf style
To really experience beach town vibes, follow Garnet Avenue toward the boardwalk. Along the way, you’ll stumble across a slew of bars, surf shops, and popular clothing stores like Buffalo Exchange and American Apparel. Take a turn onto Mission Boulevard for teen favorites Brandy Melville and Urban Outfitters. // 1079 Garnet Ave.
Weigh in on your thoughts below, and vote for your must-see destinations in SD!