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Original photo by Maya Ordonez

Fun Things to do in Sunny San Diego

Moving to college in the middle of a pandemic may sound like a risky move, but I was determined to make the most of my new adventure and seize the day. I knew one day I would be able to call San Diego home, so from my 8 months of experience living in La Jolla, California, let me take you on a small tour of places I have ventured that make me happy! As a UCSD student myself, I of course had to start off with…


The ocean, picnics, cliffs, hang gliders, and a sunset spot all in one place? If someone from UCSD says they know a spot, I guarantee you they will take you to Gliderport. The sandy cliffs and grassy hills of Gliderport give you the most amazing view of the sky, the land, the waves and the shore below! On most sunny days, hang gliders are seen up above, soaring in the sky with their colorful parachutes. At night, there is no better place to sit and watch the sunset because Gliderport faces directly where the setting sun at the horizon meets the water. If you look down past the bluffs, you can take in the entire landscape of Black’s beach below you, from tiny people on the sand, surfers shredding, and dogs splashing in the water. Gliderport is the perfect picnic spot for a yummy meal with a sick view. Adventure is at your fingertips because the hike down to the beach is right there!

Little Italy

This little neighborhood is filled with cute places for brunch, trendy bars, and tons of irresistible pasta on almost every menu. You can’t go wrong with any restaurant, especially with the patio dining. The fun doesn’t stop once you stuff yourself with food. There are so many cute little boutiques and shops to walk through, plazas, photo opportunities, and don’t forget dessert! Little Italy has great nightlife, but you cannot miss the Mercato Farmers’ Market on Saturdays! The streets are lined with vendors with a variety of fresh produce, gourmet food, flowers, and small craft businesses, which almost transport me to Italy!

Birch Aquarium

The Birch Aquarium is the perfect glimpse of life in the ocean that is our backyard here in San Diego! It is the area of UCSD that is closest to the beach, and is definitely worth a visit! Even if you are not a marine bio major, or stem major for that matter, it is fun for everyone! From moon jellies and turtles, to baby sharks and seahorses, seeing these sea creatures up close never gets old! The Birch Aquarium holds a variety of exhibits that showcase ocean life all the way down California’s coast. It takes you to the depths of the kelp forest with giant glass tanks ensuring the best view possible, to newly reopened tide pools where you can touch sea anemones and hermit crabs and get a feel for the sea life. This is the perfect day excursion for the family or your group of friends!  

La Jolla Cove

My trips to the cove have all gone two different ways: either I stroll around and get a bite to eat, or I am full on in the ocean soaking up the sun in my wetsuit. There are activities for everyone in this picturesque beach town, from a variety of restaurant flavors and boutiques and tourist shops, to kayaking or snorkeling in the open ocean. Any day is a good day to go to the Cove, whether it is a full itinerary day or a spontaneous adventure. One of my favorite things about the beach area is that there are smaller beachers separated by bluffs which are home to seals and animals in the tide pools. The water and rocks are a beautiful place to explore nature with an extra splash! In addition, the opportunity to rent snorkel gear and swim with seals is an experience I couldn’t recommend highly enough and I think everyone should enjoy! 

The Secret Swing

In the part of the Cove that is most north, is a little pathway that winds around the green hills. Complete with a view of the bright blue ocean and sky stretching all the way down the coast, you may just think this path is a pretty walk down to the shore. However, if you know what you’re looking for, there is a small wooden swing nestled among the palm trees waiting for someone to hold onto the sketchy rope, climb down the hill, and swing on it! Once you make your way down to it, you feel one with your surroundings and at home in the trees swinging above the beach. This treasure hidden in nature is definitely worth visiting again and again!

No matter where you like to spend your free time, I encourage you to go out and find a new happy place (safely of course), and you never know what you will discover! 

Maya Ordoñez from Cerritos, CA. She is a second-year at UC San Diego majoring in Communications and double minoring in Business and Dance. She is currently on campus and is involved in Greek life and the UCSD dance team. She loves the San Diego area because of the nature, beach, food, and adventure!
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