Jan 03, 2018 12:31PM ● Published by Ashley Madonna
The California coastal city of San Diego is known for its warm climate, attractions and beaches. Whether theme parks and museums are your go-to activities, or you’d rather relax by the beach or commune with nature, San Diego is a great destination for a family vacation with no shortage of things to do. We’ve selected a few itinerary options, and while you’re there, enjoy the local flavors of a nearby eatery.
San Diego Zoo
A trip to the San Diego Zoo should be first on your list of family friendly attractions. The Zoo is one of the largest in the United States and is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals. You can set off on a self-guided walking tour or take a guided bus tour. Either way, don’t miss your chance to see the giant pandas, three of which were born at the zoo in 2012. Admission is $52 for ages 12 and up and $42 for ages 11 to 3. Children under 3 years of age are admitted for free.
As for lunch, make things convenient — visit Albert’s restaurant located on Zoo grounds in the Lost Forest. With a menu that features a variety of dishes, from pasta and pizza to salads and seafood specialties, Albert’s also offers open-air deck seating. Parents will enjoy the selection of craft beers, wine and cocktails. Zoo.SanDiegoZoo.org
With museums, cultural institutions, performing arts, shopping and botanical treasures, Balboa Park celebrates San Diego’s history along with the history and culture of places and people across the globe. There are 17 museums and cultural institutions, 10 dedicated performance spaces, local artisans and shops, and myriad of gardens within the park. The city’s climate has a lot to do with the variety of trees and plants you can find at Balboa Park, including prickly cacti, lotus blossoms and orchids. BalboaPark.org
After your walk around Balboa Park, head southwest to the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego to enjoy dessert at Pappalecco. Influenced by Tuscany, restaurant fare includes pizza, panini, salads and wine. However, Pappalecco is known for its handcrafted gelato. Made locally in Point Loma, San Diego, the gelato is created from locally sourced ingredients when possible. Pappalecco.com
USS Midway Museum
San Diego is rich with America’s naval history, and a visit to the USS Midway Museum gives visitors a chance to experience this first hand. As the 20th century’s longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Midway is now home to more than 50 years of world history that features more than 60 exhibits on board. With a post office, sleeping quarters, and a jail, among other things, the ship had all the amenities of a city at sea. Museum docents are scattered throughout the museum and quickly offer up a personal story, anecdote or statistic. Midway.org
Bluewater Seafood Market and Grill is located about three miles northwest of the USS Midway Museum, and offers fresh local seafood. Ordering from the menu is simple: choose your fish, choose one of seven marinades, and decide how you want it prepared. Then enjoy it on a salad, sandwich or taco, or you can have it on a plate paired with jasmine rice. BluewaterSeafoodSanDiego.com
La Jolla Cove
Staggering sea cliffs, rocky reefs and sandy shores are the perfect backdrop for family bonding. Seals and sea lions also call this portion of California’s Pacific coast home. The tranquil waters found in La Jolla Cove not only make it a great location for swimming but also, since the cove is protected ecologically, you can enjoy snorkeling to see stingrays, yellowtail and even leopard sharks. SanDiego.org
Located near La Jolla Beach, Grater Grilled Cheese is a great place to grab lunch with the family. Offering a menu full of cheesy favorites, the restaurant serves specialties that include the Lobster Grilled Cheese and Lobster Pomme Frites (fancy French fries). There is a make-your-own feature on the menu allowing you to create your own grilled cheese masterpiece. Add a half of a cup of their Tomato Basil Bisque, enjoy the mac and cheese selections and indulge in a grilled ice cream sandwich for dessert. With three locations in San Diego, including one in La Jolla, Grater Grilled Cheese is close to many of the museums, attractions and beaches you plan on visiting. GraterGrilledCheese.com