San Diego is one of my favorite cities, with a laid-back beach feel combined with the amenities of a great city. The best way to get to know a city is by walking it, making sure to stop frequently to try the local faire. According to my girls, you are also supposed to check out the shops. We spent a wonderful day exploring downtown San Diego by walking a 6-mile loop starting at the Embarcadero, strolling through Seaport Village, eating authentic Italian in Little Italy, meandering through the Gaslamp Quarter, and finally back to where we started for a sunset dinner.
Embarcadero Marina Park
The Embarcadero Marine Park is a perfect place to start your walk. It is a trail along the San Diego Harbor with views, restaurants, and shops. When we arrived, firefighters we getting in a morning run, people were walking their dogs, and some even flying kites (okay...our perfect day would have been less windy). We grabbed a coffee and a bite at the Harbor House enjoying the stunning views and a bit of people watching.
While certainly touristy, Seaport Village has shops, galleries, and light food options. It is located on the waterfront, near the entrance of the Embarcadero, so worth strolling through. While still under review by UNESCO, it is perhaps the only place in the world where you can get your picture taken on a cow bench.
USS Midway and Maritime Museums
Continue your walk along the Embarcadero and you will come upon the 150-year old Star of India as well as the USS Midway, the longest serving aircraft carrier, and likely a massive cruise ship. You can actually visit the USS Midway Museum and the Maritime Museum or just admire them from the shoreline as we did.
Per TripScout (don't leave home without it), Little Italy is the hub of one of San Diego's most dynamic and fastest-growing food scenes. The lively neighborhood is packed with distinctive eateries, craft brew pubs, urban wine bars, cocktail hotspots and casual cafes, helmed by old-school Italian families and Top Chef alumni alike. We had pizza and gelato at Solunto Ristorante & Bakery, that felt just like we were in Napoli (in fact, their oven was from Napoli).
Check out my TripScout review and get your promo code for a city guide of your choice here.
The Gaslamp Quarter, while known for its nightlife, is also quite pleasant in the day, with sidewalk cafes, trendy shops, and Victorian style architecture. We were impressed with how clean and well-maintained the city was.
We circled back down to the Embarcadero for a another walk along the water before our reservation at The Fish Market. While the food is mediocre, the views are unparalleled, and we relaxed with the sun setting over the Bay as a cruise ship pulled out.
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