Tuesday, November 29, 2016

4 Days in San Diego: Sights to see

The Del, Parks & seals — oh my! 

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Adam and I hopped on a plane to San Diego to spend Turkey Day with friends on the sunny west coast. Pro tip: Fly on Thanksgiving morning to save beaucoup bucks. We ate some delicious things, saw some beauteous sights, and walked in Marilyn’s footsteps. It’s recap time! Today it’s the sights. 

*Note: I can only speak from experience, and that experience did not include everything under the San Diego sun. Not even close — not even the zoo! But here’s what we did that I loved.

Hotel del Coronado 
Or, as the locals call it, “The Del.” Now don’t you feel fancy? This luxury hotel dates back to the 1800s, when it was a destination for celebrities, as it still is today. Charlie Chaplin would release all his movies at the Del, L. Frank Baum would read excerpts of The Wizard of OZ to kids at the Del, and one of my all-time favorite movies — Some Like it Hot — was filmed there. 

PSA: If you haven’t seen the movie starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, you are missing out on an American slapstick classic. There’s crossdressing, gangsters, Marilyn being Marilyn, and zippy music that gets stuck in your head.

Sadly, unless you’ve recently won the lottery, you won’t be able to afford a room at the Del. If you’re like me, you will hardly be able to afford parking. $30 for the first two hours — are you for real!? But we found street parking and walked over, then strolled through the lobby, the little museum downstairs, and out to the beachside café area, where an ice skating rink is now stationed for the holidays. Yes, you can strap one your skates on minute, then go bounding into the Pacific the next. Rich people: They’re just like us! 

La Jolla & the Seals 
I took French, not Spanish, so in case any of you need a reminder like moi, that’s pronounced like “La Hoya” — though it is a jolly place. Cliffs, tide pools, beaches, and sunbathing seals — big fan! Parking can be a real pain though, so proceed with patience. 

Balboa Park 
Hi, I’m a giant, kinda-overwhelming park! Where to start? Set your destination for the Botanical Building. Its beautiful copper roof is very photogenic, as is the ajoining lily pond. In fact, when our friends and charming hosts, Joel and Vanessa, decided to pose for a pic, we thought we’d found a lull in the crowd. But then a troop of children ran into the frame, squealing as they excitedly pointed at the still water. Freaking adorable. 

Anyway, the Botanical Building closes promptly at 4pm, and the guard on duty will playfully threaten to lock you in at 4:01 as he reminds you there’s no food or bathroom inside. After scurrying out of the building in the knick of time, we headed across Park Boulevard to the rose and cactus garden. The rosy scent is just lovely, though the blooms themselves are hard to capture in a photo. 

While I’m more of a flower girl, I could have spent an hour or more in the cactus garden, no question. So many of the plants are unlike anything I’ve ever seen — like something from an alien planet, huge and tangled with spiky flesh. They’re just too cool! Especially having never been in a desert climate before. 

I know there’s probably lots of other cool things to see in Balboa Park — things I’d like to put on my list of must-sees for next time. If you have any ideas, please comment below! 

Old Town 
We didn’t spend a ton of time in Old Town, but it’s a charming stretch filled with colorful buildings and a myriad of Mexican restaurants. The smell of fresh-made corn tortillas wafted on the breeze as we bopped in and out of shops specializing in gems and minerals, soaps and bath salts, luminous tin stars, and more. 

North & South Park 
Just bumming around this area of San Diego was probably one of my favorite things. We happened to be out and about on Small Business Saturday, and the local shops were all about it. I’ll tell you which stores we happened upon in a later post, but let me just say: Drool. And speaking of drool, we ate two delicious Italian meals in South Park, too. Shopping and carbs — what else is there in life? 

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