January 9-11, 2016 – So what did we do on a long weekend in San Diego? Balboa Park is the perfect spot for a morning stroll. We parked over by the zoo, and had no trouble finding a spot – even in the middle of the afternoon there was plenty of parking on that side of town.
San Diego has fantastic food. We enjoyed the egg and potato dishes at Hash House a Go Go, but it was so loud inside that it felt like we were at a concert (literally – we had to yell across the table). We got the food to go and ate a picnic lunch in Balboa Park, which was much more enjoyable. There are fantastic dessert coffee drinks at Cafe Bassam. The space is funky inside, with lots of found objects on the walls and tucked into nooks and crannies.
We drove by the mission of San Diego de Alcala, the first mission in that area. We checked out the mission through the gates, and decided we really wanted to have a leisurely afternoon drink. Enter Benchmark Brewing Company. They’re located in a small office complex. Don’t let the nondescript entrance fool you, there are picnic tables and a funky factory vibe inside, and some very good draft beer. We enjoyed their IPAs more than their darker beers, they seemed more balanced overall.
Joshua Tree National Park is a day’s drive from San Diego. It is a beautiful park, we drove in a little bit and parked and took a walk though a dried riverbed. We also did the trail by Skull Rock. If you’re looking for food we recommend you go back to the south entrance; we got Chinese food in Twentynine Palms, but would recommend you try the pizza at Pie for the People in Joshua Tree itself.
Mission Trails Regional Park has hiking trails going up the hill, but if you’re not in the mood for a brutal hike (like we weren’t) you can walk along the closed road, and enjoy the views and the creek. It started to rain, so we cut our walk short, but this is a really beautiful park particularly at sunset.
What would a trip be to San Diego without sushi (assuming you like sushi)? Ahi Sushi has great sushi, very fresh, fair prices (helped by the strip mall location), and good service – perfect for dinner after a trip to the Mission Trails Park.
We parked across the street from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, which gave us a pretty walk along the water until we got to the cliffs. We walked along the road and then up another short trail which gave us a fantastic view. There’s also another shorter trail that leads to a bench and an overlook by the ocean. If we had more time there are trails curving all over the park, and it would be a great spot for a walk.