Back again to share with you another day in San Diego and some fun ideas for your trip to the sunshine state. Today’s post is a day full of fun, experiencing Balboa Park which is definitely a tourist destination, and also includes a couple fun local favorites for food and drink. When visiting anywhere I love to not only see the normal tourist destinations but also check out some of the local’s favorite places. On my personal list always is 1) a local record store and 2) a speakeasy style bar.
A top spot on my list was Balboa Park.
Balboa Park is a 1200 urban cultural park with open space areas, museums, art museums, gardens, the Zoo, places to eat, theater and more! It truly is remarkable to look at it and really fun to walk around in. Historically it is also very incredible. Balboa was a spot for the 1915/16 Panama-California Exposition and the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition. Named a protected park in 1835, Balboa is the oldest parks dedicated to public recreational use and is also on the register of historical places. If you get a chance to visit this place, take out a chunk of time to really walk around and explore.
Also, got to hang out with my best friend’s brother, who was an amazing tour guide and got me to ride my first scooter! I know, I live in DC with them everywhere and I’ve always been too afraid to try. It was a blast and I absolutely recommend it!
We had the chance to check out the Botanical Gardens that are located within Balboa Parks. And apparently it is one of the most photographed areas of the park. It was built for the 15-16 Exposition and is actually the largest of its type of structure, which apparently is called ‘lath’ which is the tiny slats like a trellis, that is usually hidden under plaster. You can see it in my pictures below.
The buildings themselves are also part of the art!
Visit the cool restaurant and bar inside the grounds as well. They make a mean old fashioned, and have really cool art within the green space inside as well. Balboa Park is a visual treat!
A must visit is Extraordinary Desserts located in the downtown area of San Diego. They have a more extensive menu at their Little Italy location versus the Bankers Hill location, but both has amazing and super fancy desserts. It was pure heaven!! Their Vietnamese coffee is also excellent as well.
A quick Lyft ride away is Record City. I love checking out record stores in general. They make me happy and its exciting to see what will be in them. This one was a gold mine and I found some great stuff and the prices were really reasonable. The store staff was great. I was a little bummed they didn’t have a listening station, but the place was really packed full. They will play a record on the store record player if you want to listen to something as well. They have a good mix of new records and old, and probably the most soundtracks I had ever seen.
This might be the perfect time to pick up some in and out if you’re hungry (although you might still not be hungry after your treat at Extraordinary Desserts). I always get as much In and Out as I can whenever I’m in California because I never know when I’ll be back. If In and Out isn’t you’re thing, maybe Poke is. So, you get in your car and head over to Good Time Poke. You walk in and instead of sitting to eat the friends you’re with keep walking and head towards the large freezer doors. You’re confused about what is happening but you roll with it because why not?! You open the freezer doors and walk through into the coolest Tiki Bar/Speakeasy that you can’t get into through any other way. You’ve made it to The Grass Skirt, where they mix Mezcal and Absinthe like its no big deal. They have a small outdoor (but secluded) and the inside has some surprises as well! Definitely super fun and something that should be on your list.
One place I never got to get to was the Gaslamp area! I heard they have some amazing speakeasy, weird and cool bars as well! But the Grass Skirt is super fun and their drinks are amazing!!
Do you have favorites in the Downtown Area or Pacific Beach? I’d love to hear them!
Check out my first Visit San Diego Post here!! And stay tuned; I have one more post about my time in California coming up!!