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A College Girl’s Guide to San Diego

Are you going to San Diego soon but have no idea where to go or what to do? I’m here to help, and I encourage you to use this as a resource. This guide is full of fun things to do, must-see sights and delicious restaurants. It also includes some advice on places that are worth skipping, so you don’t waste your time.

Gaslamp Quarter 

If you’re looking for a fun night out, this is the place to go. There are so many restaurants, bar and nightclubs to checkout. If you don’t like one, there are plenty of other places to choose from.

  • Fluxx Nightclub: Fluxx claims to be San Diego’s favorite night club, however, I do not think that is true. We wandered into this place because they offered us free drinks. It seemed like it was trying to be more upscale than it actually was, and in reality, I felt like it was pretty trashy. We didn’t stay here long, and I was pretty happy to leave.
  • Oxford Social Club: This was my favorite out of all the “clubs” and bars we went to. I felt classy and wasn’t too crowded. The music was great, and I had space to dance and enjoy myself. It kind of felt like a place celebs might hangout.
  • Omnia Night Club: This place had a super long line outside, so naturally we decided we had to see what everyone was waiting for. Turns out, it was pretty crowded inside too. While it was a fun place, it was way too crowded for my liking. I couldn’t even move without being pushed into someone, let alone dance. They played hardcore EDM music which also isn’t my favorite. I think under different circumstances (a.k.a fewer people) I would’ve vibed with Omnia more. All that being said, I think it’s worth checking out.
  • Rustic Root: I do not recommend this place if you are under 30 years old. We had eyes on us the entire time we were there for absolutely no reason. It made me feel super out of place, even though there was nothing special about this place. Yes, it is a rooftop bar, however, it’s only two stories high. Not really a rooftop, in my opinion. There are plenty of other ~real~ rooftop bars to choose from. Honestly, the only good thing about this bar is that they have straws made out of hay, so at least they’re environmentally friendly. Then again, though, everyone in San Diego is.
  • El Chingon: This is a taco restaurant that markets itself as “San Diego’s badass Mexican restaurant and bar,” however, I thought it was just bad. All of their specialty drinks contain tequila, which I can’t drink. The waiter told us they could make any drink we like so I ordered a mojito. It was the worst mojito I’ve ever had. It was so sweet that I couldn’t finish it. The tacos were just ok and definitely overpriced. I also don’t like flour tortilla shells and that is all they had. With so many restaurants to choose from in San Diego, I’d recommend skipping this one. If you are looking for a good Mexican restaurant, though, checkout Puesto, which I mention later in this post.

La Jolla 

La Jolla is a little seaside area filled with tons of shopping, restaurants and other fun things to do. If you go to La Jolla Cove, you’ll see tons of sea lions and seals. You can get really up close and personal to them too! It also has a great view of the beach, so it’s the perfect place to take photos. I recommend going to watch the sunset and then head to dinner afterward. There are so many walkable restaurants. For dinner, we ate at the Crab Catcher, which is right along the cove. It has a super cute atmosphere with “a romantic patio on the cliffs.” We also had a super cute waiter, so I 10/10 would recommend.

Coronado

Coronado is a cute beach town with beachy souvenir stores, restaurants and plenty of other tourist attractions. We took the ferry there, which in and of itself was a great experience. We walked around a little and did some shopping and then ate Village Pizzeria. There were not a ton of restaurants to choose from in the area we were in, and everything had a pretty long wait, so we finally decided on this place. It was actually delicious though. Usually, I wouldn’t think a pizza place would be so good, but I would 100% go back here. It also wasn’t too expensive for San Diego, which is always nice if you’re on a college budget.

Little Italy 

We wanted to spend more time here, especially at night, but we just didn’t get the chance. We got a ton of recommendations to check out Little Italy, though, so we made time to get brunch there. We ate at Farmer’s Table, and it was just ok. The décor is adorable but the service was awful and the food wasn’t great. I honestly think our waitress just totally forgot about us after taking our drink order. We had to seek out another server just to order, and then after that, no one came to check on us. We never even got a refill on our water. I got the quinoa salad and it wasn’t great. It was too dry and needed more dressing. Overall, I would suggest finding another restaurant, considering there are so many to choose from.

Restaurants and More 

  • Unconditional Surrender Statue: Also known as the Kissing Sailor Statue was modeled after the “V-J Day in Times Square” photograph. Fun fact, the people in the picture didn’t even know each other. They were just so thrilled WWII was over they decided to kiss, and it became famous!
  • Harbor Tour: Doing a harbor tour is a great way to explore more of San Diego. We did ours through Hornblower because we found a Groupon deal for it. This little ship was beautiful and they had a little bar with snacks and drinks. It felt very luxurious and was a great time. It also docks right by the kissing statue, so it’s easy to do both in one day!
  • Fish market: The fish market has tons of fresh fish and also two restaurants to choose from. If you are a seafood lover like I am, this is a must. It’s right on the harbor near the kissing statue so it’s a great place to grab lunch after your harbor tour.
  • Harbor House: We wandered to this place because it was near our hotel, and it was delicious. It’s a little pricy but definitely worth it. I got the shrimp scampi (one of my all-time favorite foods) and it was absolutely perfect.
  • Puesto: If you like Mexican food, definitely try this place out. Their tacos were so delicious and everyone I went with loved their food. The service was awesome and the atmosphere has the cutest vibes.
  • Busters Beach House: This is a cute little restaurant right on the water and we found it because it was close to our hotel. The food was pretty good, but I found it to be overpriced. I spent $30 on soup, salad and a happy hour drink. While it claims to be Hawaiian cuisine, I didn’t think anything on the menu was unique. Maybe consider going here just for a drink and the view.
Rachel Rothstein is a Senior at The Ohio State University majoring in Strategic Communication and minoring in Psychology and Professional Writing. Rachel hopes to work at PR agency when she graduates. She is passionate about travel and wants to work in the travel and tourism industry someday! She even has her own travel blog (www.theblushingbrunetteblog.wordpress.com). When she's not dreaming about traveling, she enjoys reading, hanging out with her friends and binge-watching Netflix. Follow her on insta @rachrothstein.
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