UR TRAVEL: TheUrbanRealist’s Guide to San Diego

Photo from Google
  1. Cowles Mountain – Cowles Mountain is easily one of the most popular hiking trails in San Diego. The hike is only a mile and a half one-way and is known for its steepness and crowded trails. Once you’re at the top of the mountain, you’ll be able to catch a 360 view of the surrounding areas in San Diego and proudly say that you’ve reached the highest point in San Diego!
  2. Torrey Pines Hiking Trail – Aim to spend the day around the Torrey Pines Natural Reserves as you can cool down after your hike by splashing in the beach water.
  3. Kayak at La Jolla Coves – If you purchase the kayaking tour, the instructors take you along to the La Jolla Coves and allow you to explore inside the caves.
  4. Bike along Mission Beach Boardwalk–  For the low price of $5 per hour or $12 per day, you can rent a beach cruiser or bike near the beaches. One easy scenic route that you can take is from South Mission Beach to the end of the Pacific Beach Pier which is approximately 6 miles roundtrip.


  1. Hodad’s The burgers are to die for, the decor is quirky (license plates everywhere, fancy cab cars) and the vibes are laid-back and beachy. Yep, Hodad’s is the place to go.
  2. Phil’s BBQ – You won’t find any better BBQ place in San Diego. Expect to wait in line that wraps around the building because everybody loves Phil’s.
  3. RB Sushi – It can be hard to find a sushi buffet that tastes great and doesn’t break the bank. However, RB Sushi passes all expectations and is worth the price!
  4. Tacos El Gordo – It can be a trek to get out to the two locations in Chula Vista and National City, but the drive is definitely worth it. Who needs to wait for Taco Tuesday, when you can get Tacos El Gordo any day?!
Photo from Fluxxsd.com
Photo from Fluxxsd.com
  1. ALTITUDE Sky Lounge – If the view from the open air rooftop bar at the top of the ALTITUDE Sky Lounge doesn’t impress you, we don’t know what will!
  2. The Lips – Prepare for the best drag show you will ever see! The Lips is the perfect place for bachelorette parties and birthday celebrations.
  3. Karaoke 101 (7578 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111) There’s a reason why Karaoke 101 has received over 100 reviews on Yelp with a solid 5-star rating.
  4. Stingaree – Located in the Gaslamp District, Stingaree is perfect as it’s sandwiched in between a bunch of bars in Downtown San Diego.
Photo from Google
Photo from Google
  1. Fashion Valley – Fashion Valley has always been one of the luxurious malls in San Diego having top-tier stores such as Prada, Jimmy Choos, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. However, over the past few years it has added on more affordable yet trending stores such as Cotton On, Foreign Exchange and Urban Outfitters and even expanding the existing Forever 21 into a two-story department store.
  2. Horton Plaza – With 5 levels of shopping stores located in the middle of Downtown San Diego, you’ll have plenty of stores to keep you preoccupied.
  3. Las Americas Premium Outlet – Located next to the US and Mexico border, the Las Americas Outlet has everything from Nike, Banana Republic, Forever 21, J. Crew, Steve Madden and much more.
Photo taken by Rinda Sutrathada
Photo taken by Rinda Sutrathada
  1. Seaport Village – The best time to enjoy a stroll through Seaport Village is around night time where you’ll be able to see the lights from Coronado.
  2. Coronado Ferry Landing – One of the best ways to experience the Coronado Ferry Landing is by visiting the area in the daytime and at night. This is perfect for those who want a landscape view of the San Diego skyline!
  3. Balboa Park – A mini-vacation to San Diego would be incomplete without a trip to Balboa Park! Enjoy the park’s botanical gardens, the musical stylings at the Spreckles Organ Pavillion and over 17 museums (the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center and  the Natural History Museum are park favorites)!
  4. San Diego Zoo – There is a reason why the San Diego Zoo is well renowned throughout the world. Fun fact: The San Diego Zoo has 5 giant pandas – the largest amount in North America!


Photo from Wikipedia

  1. House of Blues – Tucked in downtown San Diego, the House of Blues is perfect for viewing musical acts that are rising to mainstream music.
  2. Valley View Casino Center – Originally known as the Kobey Sports Arena, the Valley View Casino Center is known for hosting a wide variety of events such as concerts, Disney on Ice and LED raves. Check out the line-up in advance for tickets here.
  3. Petco Park – Cheer on the San Diego Padres at the ballpark while chowing down on some delicious goodness from the Hodad’s and Phil’s BBQ stands!
  4. Viejas Casino and Resort – Thrillist dubbed Viejas as it’s own “mini-Vegas” as the casino and resort has a bowling alley and outlet shopping mall, buffets, restaurants and movies in the park during the summer.

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