San Diego on a budget: one week itinerary

What do you do in San Diego if you don’t want to go to The Zoo, Seaworld, or Legoland??? Let me tell you.

Day one: Monday

Drop off your things at your unreal Airbnb (that has dogs) (this one). Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this place, it was lovely. After dropping off all your things, go to Einstein Bagels, get an avocado bagel and a coffee, and then make your way over to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge for a walk. After that, rent bikes in Balboa Park and go for a bike ride. When you’re tired of riding bikes, go for beers. This city can’t get enough craft beer, apparently. For dinner, go to In n Out, and then to another brewery. This will be a trend, just wait.

Day two: Tuesday

Get picked up by the rental car company, we used Hertz. Pick up the car and then go to Vons to buy some groceries for the week and a breakfast burrito. Go to Mission Beach and walk along the boardwalk, go on the Belmont Park roller coaster, get a beer, and start to drive home. If you’re into golf, I recommend going to the golf superstore because they had a huge used golf club selection. On the way home, stop at El Zarape for .99 cent fish tacos. Just do it. Next up is Coronado Island. It’s super cute there so go explore, and then, go to the Coronado Golf Course. They have an amazing happy hour, and I adored this golf course.

Day three: Wednesday

Carlsbad. Carlsbad outlets. You need to buy things. The flower fields are here, but we were far too cheap to pay for that, so we drove around the back and tried to catch a glimpse. You’re probably not as cheap as us, though, so if it’s the right season, frolic in the flowers. Go to Senior Grubby’s for lunch and eat your burritos on the beach. On the way home, stop at the Oceanside Pier and the Del Mar race tracks, but unfortunately, there are no horse races in April, so we just walked around. In the evening, go to Soda and Swine for board games and appies and then check out Fall Brewing because they have great sour beers (my fav).

Day four: Thursday

Thursday is the day you make your way up to La Jolla and go to Torrey Pines. I realize this post says “on a budget,” and Torrey Pines isn’t cheap. R was over the moon excited about this, and it was most definitely not on his budget. After his round, we ate lunch on the beach in La Jolla and went shopping at Marshalls and Nordstrom. We were supposed to return our rental car, but we decided to extend it because San Diego is really tough without a car. Everything’s so spread out; Uber’s add up, and public transit is not really for me.

Day five: Friday

Go to Balboa Park and see the sculpture garden (it’s free). I had my heart set on going here, and we searched for parking for what seemed like forever. It was closed due to an event. I was not impressed. Then, go to Old Town and walk around, go to the carriage museum (it’s free) and get ice cream. If there’s a home game, buy last minute tickets to a Padres game.

Day six: Saturday

First, go to the farmers market in Little Italy. It’s so nice to just walk around, find some kombucha on tap, and try free samples. Since you’re in Little Italy, you need to go to the Crack Shack for lunch, it’s right there. Then, go to Mission Beach after stuffing your face with fried chicken sandwiches (no judgement here), and since you’ve already given up on health for the day, check out Baked Bear and get bomb ice cream sandwiches.

Day seven: Sunday

Sundays are basically a synonym for a bagel. Nomad’s Donut’s had great bagels. You can obviously do whatever you want, but we went to Golf Mart, drove to Sunset Cliffs Park, walked around the SDSU campus, went to Trader Joe’s, and played a little par three golf course. We had time, no direction, and drove around a bit aimlessly. I guess if you’re someone who likes The Zoo, Seaworld, or Lego Land, that’s something you could do.

Sunset Cliffs Park
Sunset Cliffs Park

Day eight: Monday

If you’re smart like us, you booked an evening flight so in the morning you can go to the USS Midway Museum. It’s so cool!!!! Go! Then you must get In n Out for the last time, look through Nordstrom Rack, and return your rental car and make it to the airport on time.

That’s it! We liked finding good food, laying on the beach, shopping, and golf courses. San Diego is such a fun city and there’s so much to do, even when you don’t want to spend a lot on activities.

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