PHOTO: The San Diego skyline at night. (photo via Flickr/Stephen Kruso)
The best place to get to know a destination is to talk to the locals but, just in case you don’t know one or you’re not into talking to strangers, here’s the inside scoop on the some of the best hangouts, artistic outlets and free stuff in the city of San Diego.
Hidden Foodie Finds
Foodies, rejoice. There’s plenty to love in California’s “beach city.” For food with a view, head to Toby’s 19th Hole Cafe, perched atop a hill and showing off San Diego’s beautiful downtown cityscape.
The budget-minded foodie will want to head to El Zarape Mexican restaurant to score 99 cent fish tacos and the barbecue enthusiast will want to head to Phil’s BBQ. Pro tip: order ahead for pick-up to avoid the lines at any of the four locations.
San Diego has a surprisingly big donut scene. Donut Bar in downtown is known for long lines but possibly the “best donut in the world.” Nomad Donuts in North Park offers up a vegan donut and StreetCar Merchants of chicken, doughnuts and coffee in North Park and La Jolla is known for specialty donut creations. Order like a local and get the Salted Nutella Stuffed or the Powdered Sugar Peach.
Beer and Bar Scene
If you want to get a taste of San Diego’s craft beer scene, take a free tour at Ballast Brewing & Spirits. Visitors can also score a free taste.
While well-known for craft beer, San Diego also has a happening dive bar scene. Check out Pacific Shores, a prime people-watching spot for locals that has a marine theme and cheap beer and well drinks.
In Mission Hills, visitors can check out the Lamplighter where they can sing along with the locals to pop and rock songs while enjoying stiff, inexpensive drinks.
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The Natural Side
Getting back to nature doesn’t have to involve a crowded beach. Escape to Sunset Cliffs, known for beautiful bluffs, sea caves and, occasionally, pods of California gray whales.
Visitors can also partake in oceanfront free yoga on the beach at the end of Law Street in Pacific Beach. The session takes place each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and is suitable for all levels.