Travels, West Coast US

Where Desert Meets Ocean – San Diego, California (part II)

My next couple days in San Diego were mostly filled with conference-y stuff; attending talks and poster sessions, presenting my own poster, etc. But we did still manage to find some excellent restaurants. The Gaslamp Quarter is full of places to eat, so you’ll never go hungry. For breakfasts/brunches, we ate at Chocolat, Opera Caffe, and The Broken Yolk, all of which served a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and brunch options. For dinners, I drank from a coconut at Sai Lab, a cute little Thai place, and had a burger and beer at The Knotty Barrel.

My sister lives in LA now, so she was able to head down to visit for about a day and a half. My aunt was also attending the conference, so on our time away from the conference, we were able to do some exploring. For dinner, we hopped on the Coronado Ferry ($10 per person round-trip) out to Coronado Island off the coast of San Diego. The San Diego waterfront is very pretty, and we were afforded beautiful views from the short ferry ride. We ate dinner at Il Fornaio, a delicious Italian restaurant located right on the water. And we were able to watch the sun set and the city light up as we finished dinner and rode the ferry back to the mainland.

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San Diego waterfront
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San Diego from the Coronado Ferry
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View from the Coronado Ferry

The next afternoon, before my sister had to head back to LA, we spent a few hours exploring Balboa Park. Balboa Park is located in the middle of the city and is home to museums, trails, gardens, restaurants, and the San Diego Zoo.

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View from my aunt’s hotel room – San Diego, CA

Balboa park is named for Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who was the first European to cross America. He accomplished this feat in southern Panama, which is just about the narrowest part of the continent.

Nevertheless, he did technically travel all the way across the continent.

The park, designated in 1835, is a National Historic Landmark and is one of the largest urban parks in the nation.

The main entrance to the park is via the Cabrillo Bridge, which crosses Cabrillo Canyon. This is where we entered the park, crossing the bridge on foot. From here, we meandered past many museums and other beautiful buildings, stopping for lunch at the Galileo Café on our way to the Rose Garden and Desert Garden.

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Balboa Park – San Diego, CA

The architecture of the buildings in Balboa Park was incredible, the open spaces were beautiful, and the gardens were full of colorful roses and unique species of cactus and other succulents.

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Balboa Park – San Diego
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Balboa Park cactus garden – San Diego
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Balboa Park rose garden – San Diego
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Balboa Park – San Diego

I wish that we’d had more time to explore Balboa Park, but it’s so huge that we probably could have spent all day there and not seen everything. It’s wonderful that the city of San Diego has preserved all of this space, and next time I visit, I’ll be planning an entire day in the park to explore and relax in the shade of a palm tree.

Well, this concludes my time in San Diego. There was so much of the city that I didn’t see, but that just means I have a really good reason to go back someday soon!

2 thoughts on “Where Desert Meets Ocean – San Diego, California (part II)”

  1. We’ve spent a fair amount of time in San Diego and we feel like we’ll never see it all. It’s just such a great city! We haven’t been out to Coronado yet, but it’s on the list. Love your idea of an afternoon ferry ride and then dinner out there. We did wander through Balboa Park one day and loved it, but you’re right…. it’s huge! San Diego is actually on our short list for eventual landing places, but it’s so expensive, I don’t know that it will be possible. But it’s certainly a fantastic place to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely super expensive. Five of us stayed together in an AirBNB because hotels were so expensive. But I agree, it’s a great city and a place I think most people would like to live. Hope you make it back soon 🙂

      Like

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