Two days in San Diego

Posted January 30, 2014

I have had quite the business trip. From my home base in Detroit to Cancun to Toronto to San Diego and then off to Washington DC, it has been a challenge to keep up! Staring this trip down a few weeks ago, I resolved to travel differently. I would work hard when I worked and make a point of “living” in the cities where I was working.

For those of you planning to take a weekend after AESP, I thought I would share a few of my experiences.

Leave downtown

If you’re looking for a place to stay in San Diego and are tired of the hotel scene, check airbnb. You can find amazing condos for significantly less than hotels and support local people. I stayed in this adorable casita in North Park, which sits right on Balboa Park, a gorgeous and active urban park full of trails for running and hiking.

If you stay in North Park, I suggest starting your day at Caffe Calabria and get their Vienna Latte, a delicately honey and cinnamon-flavored latte.

If you love a diner breakfast, I suggest checking out Lucky’s. An old-timey neighborhood staple, Lucky’s has all the character you want out of a diner (formica counter tops, men who have been meeting each other there for 50 years) and many unexpected quirks: coi wallpaper, to-go boxes for your eggs (so endearing!) and fortune cookies for the road.

After you spend a day in Balboa Park, grab a light lunch at Veg n Out, which feels like the hipster staple you expect from similarly titled establishments. I loved this neighborhood for its mix of gritty city elements, gorgeous mission-style homes, and up and coming restaurants and cafes.

Hit the board walk

Take a walk along the board walk in Pacific Beach, where you will find the best surf in city of San Deigo, and as I learned, plenty of eager people looking to give you a high-five while passing you on their bikes.

Take in the coast

If you’re looking for something more touristy, you must rent a car (or a bike if you are exceptionally fit) and hit highway 101. It’s a California must-do no matter where you fall along the coastline. I took myself to Solana Beach, famous for it’s surfing and design stores. Not a surfer, I arrived Sunday morning to take in the design shops, the farmers market – and yes – admire the painfully fit Southern Californians cycling to and from the beach in wetsuits with surf boards in hand. I have dubbed this city the “the place where the happy people live.” I was taken aback by the generosity of the store owners. From Paul at The David Allen Collection, who referred me to Lucky’s and drew a personalized tourist map of North Park for my visit, to the ever-so-nice vendors at the Sunday Farmers Market.

I ended my design tour with the world’s best fish tacos (two for five!) at the Farmers Market and happily drove back to North Park for my last good, long walk before jumping headlong into the conference.