San Diego – everything you need to know

me and my shadow :)

Old Town

San Diego is an amazing city with the perfect climate.  The weather seems to stay average 70’s year round.  Between the beach and great restaurants, proximity to the airport and driving distance to Big Bear, Los Angeles and Mexico its a good place to base yourself while you visit places.  For living however its extremely expensive.  Even the salaries don’t seem to justify the cost of property.  Gas is also very expensive in the state of California.  Its worth considering this as it was double the price of Texas I visited, as was the rent.  The sales tax, state taxes etc were all higher also and its always in drought.

Dim Sum with family

Dim-Sum

That said there is something magical about California and I hope one day to call it home.  Strong Hispanic and Asian influences make it a great place to find fantastic restaurants.  Dim Sum is a favourite of ours which makes San Diego extra special as I have friends there to go with.  When eating Dim Sum you need a lot of people to make it a perfect experience.  In San Diego one my friends happens to be Asian so the task of  picking and choosing is left to her.  Most of the staff here only speak Chinese and she can converse in her native tongue.

The people are just great.  I think its the sunshine. They get so much natural vitamin D, they are always nice and mellow 🙂  Compared to grey Ireland its so nice to get an overdose of Vitamin D into my skin.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

San Diego Organic Market

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

San Diego Organic Market

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

San Diego Organic Market

Out of all the states I’ve been to California seems to have the most European influence.  I love the trendy artisan markets with their love for organic home grown items.  It feels really that it has the best of all worlds.

The area’s of San Diego can be so diverse from La Jolla to University Heights to Coronado and many more.  All vastly different in vibe and price.  All offering something completely different depending on your lifestyle and taste.  Personally I like a community where you can walk to great bars and restaurants.  Yet I’m not a a college student anymore so I also like the neighborhood to reflect that.  San Diego has many neighborhoods that would fit into this description especially University Heights.  I like an eclectic feel and I’m always open to finding a new place that offers this.  The Old town is quaint and nice to see but its overrun with restaurants and tourist stores.  It isn’t a bit authentic in my opinion and can easily be avoided in fact I will in the future.  San Diego has so much to offer why waste time here.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Train to San Diego

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Sitting outside in February

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

breakfast al fresco in February

Happily San Diego has trains, buses and trams and its an easy city to get around if your driving.  The city is small as cities go but has a lot of offer in terms of nightlife and entertainment, with theater, movies, comedy venues, live music etc.

A really cool plus to San Diego is the proximity to Mexico.  You can drive if you can get insurance as most rental car companies forbid taking the car into Mexico and did you know GPS doesn’t have Mexico??? well it didn’t when I was there at least.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

road San Diego to Tijuana

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Making Margaritas in San Diego

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Perfect Marguerita

I drove and walked over on 2 separate occasions. I would say that walking was easier due to the very long queue and wait while trying to cross the border.  Coming back was longer for cars as border control are very vigilant in their quest of preventing illegal immigration.  The heat was so intense and the wait about 3-4  hours.  There are many vendors walking up and down selling everything from food and drinks to tourist trinkets.  With the search of the perfect margarita constantly ongoing you feel obliged to purchase tequila and bring it back so George can get the shaker out and do his magic.  I have to hand it to him, he makes a mean margarita.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Rosarito

If you want to venture further outside Tijuana.  You can jump in a local taxi in the town which by all accounts is only a minivan.  You wait until it fills up and then pay about one dollar and it will take you on the route its travelling.  Tijuana has mixed reputation for safety as do many border towns.  It is kind of seedy looking and you do get the feeling as a Caucasian female traveling alone you are being watched.  I defiantly would not have walked around here alone at night.  I went to Rosarita about 30 mins away.   Rosarita is a small town with nice beaches and restaurants making their money from tourists.  I only stayed one hour as it wasn’t that impressive but it was nice to see, if I had friends with me I would have probably had stayed for lunch, my friends rave about the lobster here.  I did however go into a new looking bar as I wanted to have an authentic margarita, it turned out the owner was a an investment banker from New York and the staff he had convinced them they had bar experience.  The Mexican bartender didn’t know how to make a margarita.  He kept pushing long island ice tea and other cocktails on me.  In the end I showed them how to make one.  There I was behind a bar in mexico teaching locals how to make their own drinks ??? I’ve worked in bars since I was 16 years old and owned my own for a while.  I knew that talent would come in useful eventually.  If I were a gambling woman Id bet that the bar didn’t survive.  I never cease to be amazed by how many people with no experience want to own a bar and invest their savings into it only to have it fail.

After that experience I returned to Tijuana and made my way through the long immigration line all trying to cross the border to San Diego.  This itself is an eye opener as you are constantly under scrutiny and being watched by armed police in a very small area.  It can be quite intimidating to say the least and brought back memories of when I was immigrating and dreaded the questions of these officers.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Mexico to San Diego border traffic

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Mexico to San Diego border traffic

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Mexico to San Diego border traffic

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

A trip to San Diego wouldn’t be complete without a day at the Zoo.  San Diego is famous for its wonderful zoo and it wont disappoint.  You can purchase tickets in advance and plan your itinerary.  It has so much to see one day really wont cover it.

San Diego is home to a US Naval base and a marine base and you often see many military around with just adds to the young vibe of the place.

Will I return to San Diego? absolutely, I cannot wait, I’ve had 3 trips now and I’m looking forward to my next.  Would I live here? doubtful.  I think the cost of living is too expensive for the salaries offered in San Diego.  It does  offer a great lifestyle  and my friends who live here love it.  I am however considering other parts of this great state.  As the song says “go west young man” and I’m so glad I did.

Next Stop San Francisco and San Jose, lets see what I think of those.


Related Posts:

About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
This entry was posted in America's, California, North America, San Diego and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
Loading Facebook Comments ...

You must fill in your Livefyre SiteID in the Comments Evolved plugin options.

Loading Disqus Comments ...

One Response to San Diego – everything you need to know

  1. Pingback: SAN FRANCISCO what to see and how much it costs - Sandra O'Rourke-Glynn