San Diego needs to be on your bucket list. With spectacular weather, outdoorsy culture, amazing shopping, and food so beautiful you’ll spend as much time Instagramming as eating it, this southern Californian city is a perfect expression of that cool Cali vibe we all love. Here are our top ten reasons to love San Diego – and to move there for (at least) a month or two.
1. 10/10 weather
Guys, when packing for San Diego, leave your heavy winter everything at home. With low humidity in summer, winter-round sunshine, and one of the US’s most temperate climates thanks to a coastal breeze that stops the mercury rising, San Diegans are outdoors as much as they possibly can be. Which of course means the coast calls…
2. Beach culture abounds
That’s right, thanks to said excellent weather, the beach is a perfect place to spend your time in San Diego. And the city knows it: with 115 kilometers of coastline, it serves up a parade of perfect spots for every kind of beach fun, from surfing to stand-up paddleboarding and kite surfing.
3. Fabulous food
With Mexico just 25 kilometers away, San Diego has a strong Mexican food vibe going on (think fish tacos, carne asada, mole, menudo, and countless margaritas). Not so into la comida mexicana? Other cultures aren’t left out of the mix. In San Diego, you’ll also find simply delicious Asian, Middle Eastern, and Italian nooks to tempt your taste buds.
4. Craft drinks and city lights
A night on the town would hit the spot after all that great food, right? You’ll soon see that craft beer is big in San Diego, with more than 85 craft breweries making it one of the US’s major players in the scene. But whatever you’re ordering, a view is the perfect garnish. So, sit back and relax at one of the city’s many (many) rooftops, designed for everything from casual evenings to utter elegance.
5. Perfect base for onward travel
Thinking of heading elsewhere after San Diego? You’re in luck: it’s a busy port city with cruises leaving for Hawaii and the Pacific islands. It’s also close (you know, for a country as huge as the US) to Las Vegas, San Francisco, and LA. For more weekend trip ideas, be sure to explore the wineries of the San Diego County Wine Region, and in the San Pasqual and Ramona Valleys.
6. The Birch Aquarium
Budding marine biologists and anyone who adores the ocean will find a lot to love at the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; a smaller aquarium than other monster-sized sea worlds that give animal lovers the heebie jeebies. Head over to see sharks, sea horses, kelp forests, and see marine science in action as researchers study how our marine ecosystems are reacting to climate change.
7. Super-Instagrammable sunsets
Just, wow. This city’s purpley, bluish, pinkish, orangey sunsets are worth every second. Pack a leisurely picnic and set off for one of San Diego’s top viewing points. Top marks go to Ocean Pier, Crystal Pier, and Coronado Beach.
8. Kayaking and snorkeling heaven
Love kayaking? Think you just might? With so much coastline, San Diego was bound to have a few gems to visit. We take our hat off to La Jolla Shores, where you can kayak through sea caves or go snorkeling with (entirely inoffensive) leopard sharks as they flock to the area in preparation to give birth.
9. Creative urban planning
San Diego has found a way to revamp old vacant city lots into attractive urban destinations. Have a browse through SMARTS Farm for fresh produce, flowers, and urban gardening education, take a pooch for a play at the Quartyard, or cool off at the Waterfront Park.
10. Balboa Park
With its 1200 plus acres of green space, over 15 museums and cultural institutions, including the San Diego Zoo, gardens, a golf park, shops, and a replica of the Globe Theatre (yes, the one Shakespeare roamed), you’ll need serious time to properly explore Balboa Park. After all, it’s far larger than New York’s Central Park. The best way to get to know San Diego’s most famous urban park? Slowly, into the afternoon, and with endless coffees in tow.