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First time to SD, quick weekend trip

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First time to SD, quick weekend trip

Hi guys,

I have to be in LA on Tuesday, April 1st by 11 am. I live in Boston and I figured if I'm going all the way to the west coast, I might as well see as much as possible. I hear SD is amazing so here's what I was thinking - why not fly (from Boston) to SD on Friday, spend the weekend there, then head to LA! I found a very cheap directly flight I just can't say no to (only $129).

I will arrive on Friday 10:30 am (assuming no delays), I'd like to see as many of the touristic points as possible that afternoon. Tour bus a good idea? Any suggestions?

Should I dedicate Saturday to the zoo or can I pull it off on Sunday? How many hours do I need?

Beach recommendation? Saturday (assuming it's a nice day) would be great to spend lazying around the beach.

What is the weather like in the last week of March?

I work (remotely) both Sunday evening and Monday until 3 pm, so only Sunday day & late Monday are available for any more exploring although I will likely use that time for a nice walk around, nice dinner, or a place with outdoor sitting for a couple cocktails.

How do I get to LA? Found this train schedule on google:

San Diego Santa Fe Depot San Diego, CA

Pacific Surfliner 567 towards Los Angeles Union Station 8:24 AM - 11:16 AM

Los Angeles Union Station Los Angeles, CA

Is this the best option? Any suggestions? Thank you!

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1. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

HI,

Yes, the train is the best option unless you are driving.

Our airport is very close to downtown (maybe 2miles) so you can stay anywhere in downtown or Little Italy(just north of downtown ) and get around easily.

The zoo and Balboa Park in which it is located, is a short bus ride or taxi from downtown(maybe 2miles or less depending).

The hop on hop off bus tour is an easy way to get around to many spots including lovely beach in Coronado. IF you stay downtown you can also manage to get to all the places it goes(except La Jolla) by short public transit.

You can expect temps in the low 70s or high 60s. As you know all the weather this year has been crazy so who can really predict it?

Let us know if you need specific recs for hotel and if so what is your budget??

http://www.trolleytours.com/san-diego/

Edited: 20 January 2014, 16:14
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Boston...
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2. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

Thanks Riff! I haven't started looking for a hotel yet, but great to know that I should stay downtown. I will likely end up staying at a hostel, I like the community experience - haven't checked out any reviews yet though. And perfect! So good public transpo, and relatively short distances for cabs.

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3. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

HI Erica,

Welcome to San Diego.

There are a couple of events that may be of interest to you...

Every Saturday, there's a great mercato (farmer's market) in Little Italy from 8 AM to 2 PM. While it has plenty of fresh foods that you likely won't need, it also has lots of food stands where you can buy sandwiches, tacos, crepes, and various other items, as well as craft/artists stands where you can buy all sorts of other things. It's free and you can almost have a mini-breakfast by munching on free samples from various vendors.

On Sunday afternoons, there's a free organ concert at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park (about a 1/4 mile or so from the zoo). The Spreckels Organ is one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs with around 4,600 pipes. The concert starts at 2 PM and lasts an hour. You sit outside and get to soak up sun and music. If you don't like it, you can easily get up and leave and check out the rest of the park.

For the Zoo, unless you're a real zoo fanatic, you can see most of the major exhibits in 4-6 hours, but you can certainly spend the entire day there, too.

My thoughts for an itinerary might be something like this:

Friday afternoon

On the one hand, I can see the Old Town Trolley Tour as being a good intro to the city. But they normally stop running around 6 PM, and if you just stayed on the bus and never got off, the tour would take 2 hours to make the loop. So between noon and 6 PM, you'll have some time to get off and explore at some of the stops, but not all. But if you're okay with just riding the bus for 2 hours for an overview, then that may work for you.

OR

If you stay in Little Italy or Downtown, you could easily walk from your hotel or take the Green Line trolley (light rail) to places like the San Diego Maritime Museum, the USS Midway, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, or even the Gaslamp Quarter.

Maybe you take the Green Line trolley (light rail) to Old Town for dinner in one of its many Mexican restaurants.

Saturday

Spend part of the morning at the Little Italy Mercato, and then hit the beaches in the afternoon. If you don't have a car and you're staying in Little Italy or Downtown, it may be easiest to get to Coronado's beaches using the #901 bus from downtown. But there are no commercial establishments on Coronado's beach aside from the Hotel del Coronado, so there are no hot dog stands, no beach chair rental places, etc.

Pacific and Mission Beach have the SoCal surfer vibe to them with a long walkway connecting the two. Plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars along Pacific Beach.

Dinner Saturday evening in Little Italy or the Gaslamp Quarter.

SUNDAY

Head to the zoo for its opening at 9 AM (animals more active in the morning). stay till around 12:30 or 1 PM and then grab lunch at The Prado, a great restaurant in Balboa Park with California cuisine, right between the zoo and the organ pavilion, and then hit the organ concert.

http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/theprado

http://sosorgan.com/

Between the Zoo and The Prado is the Spanish Village Art Center, a collection of art studios that you can visit.

http://www.spanishvillageart.com/

I just re-read your response and see that you want to stay in a hostel, and there's a hostel right around the corner from the Little Italy Mercato near Date and Front Streets:

http://ithhostels.com/

Finally, here's the link to the SDMTS website for how to ride the trolley. You may want to consider purchasing a 3 or 4 day pass. By the way, the Green Line also stops at the Santa Fe Depot for your AMTRAK trip to LA.

http://www.sdmts.com/

That should keep you busy. Enjoy!

Zed

Edited: 20 January 2014, 17:47
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4. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

Here are some hostels - I'm sure you'll look at reviews about them

http://bananabungalowus.com/sd/index.html

http://www.sandiegohostels.org/downtownhostel

http://ithhostels.com/

http://www.luckydshostel.com/

http://www.usahostels.com/

http://www.vantaggiosuites.com/

http://rkhostel.com/

Boston...
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5. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

Hi Zed,

So for accommodation I’m thinking Fri & Sat at a hostel and Sun & Mon at a hotel. I really like the hostel culture, meeting people from all over the world and just hanging out, but on Sun & Mon I have a lot of work to do and will likely get a hotel downtown for peace, quiet and comfort.

Friday - the Old Town Trolley Tour sounds like a great idea actually.

Saturday – fantastic idea! I would love to see the market, get some food and some walk around. As for beach choice, I’d prefer somewhere I can sit at a patio for a drink and enjoy the sun (with a bit of luck!). Pacific actually caught my eye already (and there is a hostel I am considering there). This is likely going to be my choice of beach. Thanks for dinner suggestions!

Sunday – Perfect! You just planned a lovely Sunday for me hehe… and yes I did see the hostel, tons of great reviews but the one on Pacific beach really has my eye now : )

And thank you very much for the trolley pass tip as well! I hadn’t even thought of that yet.

Elizzie, thanks! Let me remove my topic recommendation topic because it seems that you guys pretty much solved my problems!

Boston...
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6. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

ok now I have a silly question for you guys... does it rain often around the end of March? (say no, please : D )

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7. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

The hostel to stay in downtown would be :

http://www.sandiegohostels.org/

Some of the ones out at the beaches are just not convenient to public transport.

I had a friend stay in the one downtown from the web site above and she just loved it!!

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8. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

Most (maybe all) of the hostels I listed are either Downtown or Little Italy. NOT at the beach.

Boston...
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9. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

The two that really caught my eye were these:

Ocean Beach International Hostel Newport Ave., San Diego, CA 92107 (Ocean Beach)

Banana Bungalow San Diego 707 Reed Ave., San Diego, CA 92109 (Pacific Beach)

Boston...
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10. Re: First time to SD, quick weekend trip

Riff, I've stayed in a HI before. They are really good, well maintained, modern, etc. My problem with HI is their no booze policy. It takes away from the social scene (which is the best aspect of a hostel to me) and I find it offensive to not be allowed to just sit on a patio drinking a cold beer.

Edited: 20 January 2014, 21:09