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5 days san diego- too many choices!!

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Nashville, Tennessee
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5 days san diego- too many choices!!

I am struggling narrowing down choices of activities for 5 days the end of march for my family (Me, wife, daughters age 10,13). We will be staying in the grand del mar. We are huge zoo fans, so we can't miss the number #1 zoo in the world. After that, it gets a little crazy. We have decided no to spend to much time in theme parks. We have narrowed down a short list and appreciate other suggestions:

USS midway, balboa park, beach, coronado island, lego land, seal tour.

What else? I know there are a ton of choices, but I am getting blurry eyed bouncing back and forth with what not to miss. Sorry for the indecisiveness. Any help is appreciated. We like museums (which ones at balboa park), history, botanical gardens, animals, shopping, classic old architecture.

San Diego
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1. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!


With daughters of 10 and 13 I think they will have opinions on which things interest them the most!

I would make sure they get a chance to look at the Legoland web site to make sure they really want to go there. IF they choose that then that would take care of 1 day.

The zoo is located in Balboa Park so you could go to the zoo and see how much time it takes. You can get your hands stamped and take a break to go out into the park where there's an interesting desert garden +others),buildings with ornate Spanish architecture(from the Panama exposition in 1915)an interactive science museum with IMAX theater,and other museums with changing exhibits that you'll have to just decide on your own.

See: www.balboapark.org

There's also an area with artisan shops and on Sundays some free concerts and lots of outdoor performers.

The USS MIdway is located at the downtown harbor front and the seal tour would be in that area too. You could also spend a little time on Coronado perhaps riding bikes along the shoreline or at the beach there near the historic Hotel del Coronado.

I'd take it easy and pick one big thing to do each day and then just see how your energy levels are going.

Nashville, Tennessee
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2. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!

thanks riff

I didn't realize how much there is to do at Balboa park. Thanks for the link. That certainly sounds like a full day (especially if you add in the zoo).

Will there be plenty of places to eat around the area as the day ends? Also, if we do the seal tour and USS midway, I assume there are plenty of places to eat in that area too.

Thanks again

Chula Vista...
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3. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!

Hi Stephen and welcome to San Diego,

There are several restaurants within the zoo itself, but they are rather on the pricey side (captive audience). You are allowed to bring food into the zoo and have a little picnic of your own, so perhaps buying lunch at a deli and a cheap styrofoam cooler may help out.

There are a couple of dining opportunities in Balboa Park:



If you happen to be in Balboa Park at 2 PM on a Sunday, you can catch a free organ concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion:


Near the USS Midway and the Maritime Museum, there are a few restaurants along the Embarcadero or further down in Seaport Village (there are a number of shops in Seaport Village, too):



You may also want to take the ferry across to Coronado and dine and shop at the Coronado Ferry Landing:


Once in Coronado, you can rent bicycles and ride the harbor trail to the Hotel del Coronado and the beach.

Another place of historical interest is the Mission Basillica San Diego de Alcala, the first Spanish mission in California:


Not far away is Old Town and Old Town State Historical Park:



A "must see" place in San Diego is Cabrillo National Monument atop Point Loma. It has an amazing view of San DIego harbor and the Pacific Ocean from 450 feet above the water. (Get there before 3 PM as the tidal pools close at 4:30 PM and the park closes at 5:00 PM.)


You can go to the La Jolla Children's Pool and sea the wild seals on the beach. Here's a link to the recently installed Seal Cam:


I hope that didn't confuse you further... :-)

Enjoy your trip!

San Diego, CA
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4. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!

A couple of thoughts ...

* If you are staying at the Grand Del Mar, you will be VERY close to the absolute best hike in all of San Diego County at Torrey Pines State Park. Pay the admission price ($10 or so), drive up the hill, park near the ranger station, then hike the "Beach Trail" which will take you along beautiful sandstone cliffs with terrific views of the coastline. The trail then descends to a beautiful beach -- walk along the beach to the south (left as you descend onto the beach) - then turn back whenever you're ready. It's a great hike -- plan on about 2 hrs altogether. You could even pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the beach.

* Your kids may be a bit too old for Legoland.

* Definitely do Balboa Park since you all love museums, history, architecture. Good lunch options: 1) Sculpture Court Cafe (moderate); 2) Tea Pavilion near Japanese Garden; 3) The Prado (fancier; pricey; lovely). If it was me, I'd do this on a separate day than the Zoo.

* La Jolla (seals; rocky coastline; picturesque) and Coronado (historic Hotel Del; fun downtown, great skyline view on Ferry Landing side) would also be on my must-do list.

Edited: 19 February 2013, 06:27
Nashville, Tennessee
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5. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!

Thanks for all the great advice!

I appreciate the help. I will re-examine legoland. It is something they had seen years ago and has stuck with them. Sounds like they might have outgrown it.

We will add the hike at torrey pinces, the martime museum and the mission basillica. I will plan more time at Balboa park and I now have great restaurants to plan on!

We will be in balboa park on sunday, so even more opportunities there. Thanks. I will look at La Jolla and Cabrillo National Monument.

Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the help!

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!

Take the advice, subtly given, that your kids may be too old for LegoLand.

It is usually recommended for 10 and under. You could save them a lot of boredom and you a fairly long drive if you dropped LegoLand.


Nashville, Tennessee
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7. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!

Thanks Puter. I think we will drop legoland. It gives us another day to fit in better things.

Thanks for the advice.

8. Re: 5 days san diego- too many choices!!

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