Recently I flew into San Diego for a travel conference – WYSTC. I had not been to the USA for over 10 years, so naturally was thrilled to be back in sunny California to blend business with pleasure.
WYSTC is held once a year and attracts all sorts of companies and people connected to the wider travel industry. A few intensive days of meetings, seminars, networking and partying with clients ensued… this was my intro to San Diego!
While all the events of each conference day unfolded at the Sheraton Marina Harbour Hotel, the nights were pre-organised and included events at Fiesta De Reyes in the Old Town, Hard Rock Cafe in the Gaslamp District and the Wave House in Mission Beach. Overall a great few days, which set me off to a good start for the rest of my trip!
After WYSTC finished, I had the weekend to enjoy the rest of the sights before heading to San Fransisco (see other post). The guys at Hi Hostel San Diego looked after me for private accommodation. Great location, right in the heart of the action of downtown and all its bars, restaurants and clubs. The best restaurant i ate at was actually out of downtown though – the very cool Starlite up in Mission Hills…. funky staff, tasty dishes and great cocktails… the Mosow Mules went down a treat!
I was blessed with sunny weather on my weekend of free time in San Diego, so naturally took in as many of the sights as possible… in hindsight, i wish i had of just laid on one of the beautiful beaches for a day and worked on my tan! I do miss the ocean…. its not to say there are not great sights to see in San Diego though. Balboa Park was my first stop, where i soaked up the relax vibe and all the musical buskers.
There is a plethora of museums up in this area and you can easily spend a whole day up there. I opted to keep outdoors though and headed to San Diego Zoo for a few hours. If you don’t like zoos, there is also the Safari Park in another part of San Diego, which comes highly recommended – or SeaWorld!
San Diego is a huge navy town – there is a base there. So naturally, I had to visit the USS Midway Museum. This was actually a pretty cool attraction and im suprised at how much time i did spend there. Very Top Gun – great models of fighter jets and choppers all on the upper landing deck of the aircraft carrier.
You get pretty much full access to the carrier and can walk around on a self guided audio tour. There is a lot of history and it really puts into perspective what its like to work on these ships while defending your country. This history is really woven into its locals.
While i did eventualy get to the beach, it wasnt until much later in the afternoon when the sun was almost about to settle for the day. The best option of beach for me was Coranato – a quick ferry ride over the bay, with the ferry leaving close to the USS Midway. The ferry ride allowed for an excellent perspective of the city landscape from the water. Once docked in Coranado, its about a 20 minute walk through middle class patriotic American suburban streets to the beautiful stretch of beach. It has even been voted as one of the best and cleanest beaches in California. To top it off, one of the major micro-breweries is located here also (Coronado Brewing Company). The perfect place for a great dinner and some brilliant brews… a great end to the day and start of the night with new friends!
On recommendation, we caught the ferry back over and headed on to Double Deuce in the Gaslamp / downtown area. They have dancing rodeo girls and bucking mechanical bulls – pretty funny to watch drunk guys losing out every time and being tackled to the floor (by the bull – not the girls!)…. this bar is promoted a lot by the hostels in the area, so its a good place to generally meet other travellers and the younger locals.
There is acually enough to do in San Diego to keep you busy – and the lifestyle itself does seem pretty chilled. My favourite stretch of beach was about 40mins away and is easy to get to by bus. If here for a few days, be sure to check out La Jolla – maybe after spending time at Seaworld, as they are close by. Good start to the American visit – next stop San Fran!