So it seems that this summer I will be working at UCSD in San Diego for a bit over six weeks from late June to early August, and then spending a week in Washington DC. Any readers live nearby, or have any tourist tips?


One Reply to “Travelling”

  1. I lived in San Diego for a couple of years, in an ecclectic, hippie, liberal, middle-class, surfing beach community called “Ocean Beach”. It’s a place that loves dogs and isn’t terribly fond of big business. It has been some years since my last visit, so things may have changed, but a couple of highlights bear noting.

    If you take highway 8 to it’s western-most point, it ends by spilling into O.B. onto Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Take Sunset Cliffs Blvd. to Newport Ave., hang a right and park. The 3 blocks of Newport from there to the ocean is the “main drag” in town. There are lots of antique shopping and leisurly dining/drinking possibilities in this sleepy part of town. Stop by on Wednesday afternoons for the Farmers Market, and pick of some of the best produce in the country from local farmers.

    San Diego sports an unusually high collection of dive bars, and Pacific Shores is one of the more interesting. There are no windows to disturb your hangover with pesky natural lighting. This cave-like atmosphere is highlighted by large cushioned booths with huge back-lit ocean themed murals hanging over them (partially clothed mermaids, etc.), brooding bartenders notorious for their short temper and warm hearts, and possibly one of the best jukeboxes in the whole state (and at 5 plays for a quarter, it’s a steal). I recommend a “Cape Cod” and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” for optimum effect.

    Next door is The Newport Bar & Grill, which is a hub of activity for the more light-inclined. The breakfast menu includes a spinach eggs benedict which is quite tastey, and a good collection of micro-brews for the beer fans. Across the street is the Strand Theater which may or may not be open (it seems to change hands every couple of years, and residents anxiously await the promise of a re-opening). There are several surf shops which provide rentals if you’re feeling particularly sporting.

    The Pacific Ocean awaits you at the end of the street. A magnificent pier stretches into the water, with a shabby little cafe towards the end, and a constant population of pier fishers. Some of the more exciting surfing is championed on the bigger breaks closer to the pier, but beginners can stroll north along the beach up to “Dog Beach” (a section where dog owners are allowed to let their pets off their leashes to frolic. It’s fun, as long as you watch your step.)

    After a couple of hours struggling with mother nature, I’d recommend to go back to Newport Ave and grab the best burger you will ever eat at the surf themed Hodad’s restaurant. You can also sample “real” mexican fair at the “El Rodeo” taco stand. Once you have a carne asada (with sour cream and guacamole), you will never be able to settle for what you’ve been calling a burrito your whole life. Or, if that’s too much meat for you, try a fish taco (sounds weird I know, but it’s really good).

    As the day comes to a close, jump in your car and hop back onto Sunset Cliffs Blvd heading south and see where it gets its name. Some of the most incredible views of the ocean are afforded from the road running along the top of the sheer cliffs that drop into the ocean. Some pretty impressive surfing can be seen from interesting breaks that seem too distant from the shore to be real. If you keep heading south, you’ll be driving through some pretty tightly secured NORAD research facilities, but at the end of the road lies the Cabrillo national monument, complete with lighthouse.

    Nearby tourist traps include Sea World (which is actually pretty fun), and the new LEGOLAND just up the road in Calrsbad, but the highlight is probably the monkey pavillion at the world renouned San Diego Zoo. I understand San Diego is a little piece of heaven for golfers, including the famous Torrey Pines course, which also happens to be public, but if you’re interested in trying something new check out one of the three frisbee golf courses in the area.


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