Places to Stand up Paddle Board in San Diego

Places to Stand up Paddle Board in San Diego

The TOP 11 Places to Stand up Paddle Board in San Diego

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

San Diego is known for its miles of public beaches and is becoming well established as a haven for stand up paddle boarding (aka SUP). And with warm weather year round and a diverse coastline it’s easy to understand why.

Stand up Paddle Boarding is a sport fit for anyone who is looking to get out on the water, but may be hesitant to try out surfing (like me!). With that in mind, I’ve put together a guide on the best places to SUP in San Diego.

Gear Needed:

Like any water based sport, there is gear needed for a fun & safe venture out on the water. Here is the gear needed for paddle boarding in San Diego:

  • SUP: you can either purchase your own if you live locally, or rent one. If you decide to purchase I would suggest an inflatable SUP, as it’s easier to travel with (especially if you have a small car like I do), however it’s a workout to pump up for every session.
  • Paddle
  • PFD, aka a personal flotation device
  • Leash
  • Sun blocking attire

Top 11 places to stand up paddle board in San Diego

FOR BEGINNGERS

1.) Ventura Cove at Bahia Hotel, Mission Bay

✔ Lots of free parking

✔ Calm waters, great for SUP yoga

✔ Paddle up to the Barefoot Bar & Grill for drink & appetizer mid-paddle session

2.) Shelter Island Bay

✔ Neighborhood parking

✔ Secluded small bay area with great views

3.) Fiesta Island

✔ Lots of places to park on the island or near Mission Bay Playground

✔ Calm waters

✔ Public restrooms near the Mission Bay Playground

4.) Mariners Basin/Bonita Cove, Mission Bay

✔ Lots of free parking

✔ Parking lot is walking distance to local restaurants & Belmont Park

✔ Calm waters

5.) Sail Bay, Mission Bay

✔ Large bay area with plenty of places to take off from

✔ Calm waters where you’ll see other paddlers

FOR EXPERIENCED & SEASONED PADDLERS

6.) La Jolla cove Marine Sanctuary

✔ Great for seeing marine wildlife

✔ Parking can be difficult depending on the day of the week & time of day

  7.) Del Mar Dog beach

✔ Huge perk being there are dogs on the beach, duh!

✔ Convenient parking

  8.) Tideland Parks, Coronado Island

✔ Great views of San Diego skyline

✔ Parking lot in the park

  9.) Harbor Island

✔ Great views of San Diego skyline & Point Loma area

✔ Option to have lunch or drinks at Coasterra afterwards

FOR ADVANCED PADDLERS

10.) Coronado Island, the Shores

✔ View of the famous Coronado Hotel

✔ Parking is farther away

  11.) Tourmaline, Pacific Beach

✔ Good for SUP surfing

✔ A local favorite, especially at sunset

✔ Rocky beach

✔ Parking lot fills up fast

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

Best San Diego Coffee Shops

Best San Diego Coffee Shops

San Diego

The best San Diego locally-owned coffee shops to work from

As someone who works from home remotely, I am always on the hunt for a great coffee shop to work from. San Diego has so many wonderful coffee shops, that it can be difficult to choose which one you should frequent.

While other west coast destinations, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have long heralded their superb coffees, San Diego has quickly come up in the rankings. Imagine enjoying your freshly brewed cup mixed with a SoCal beach lifestyle, house-made milks and pastries, and locally made housewares for your home? Gear up because San Diegans have a knack for perfecting their crafts before presenting it to the world, so these neighborhood spots are ones you shouldn’t miss.

Read on for what will be an ever adapting list of the Best San Diego Coffee Shops to work from:

Don’t forget to bring your remote work essentials:

What to look for in a coffee shop to work from

If I’m going to spend a few hours inside (and some cash on coffee & snacks), there are a few things that I look for a coffee shop to have, especially if I’ll be working remotely in San Diego.

  • Are there outlets?
  • Is there free parking nearby?
  • Do they have comfortable seating (or chairs at least with backs to them)
  • How is the internet speed?
  • Please Lord, let them have great quality lattes with non-dairy options (anyone else on the oat milk train right now?)
  • Do they provide sustainable materials for customers to use? (aka no plastic)
  • Is there a calm & bohemian interior atmosphere
  • Are the staff friendly & welcoming?
  • Is there vegetarian-friendly food available?

Ok, so this list of what to look for maybe a bit much. But frankly, I’m particular about the quality of my beverage, I prefer working in a place that has a cute aesthetic atmosphere, and I’m the type of person whose day can be made with a quick, friendly conversation with my barista.

With all of that being said, here are my top choices for San Diego coffee shops to work at:

Seven best San Diego Coffee Shops in San Diego to work at

(1) Better Buzz, Hillcrest

Better Buzz is an expanding local coffee brand in Southern California. With TEN locations and their own roasting headquarters, Better Buzz is on almost everyone’s radar. Each location is more aesthetically pleasing than the next, but if you’re looking to set up camp for a few hours of laptop work, I would suggest their Hillcrest location. There is plenty of seating, and bonus because they create seasonal beverages for those who are so inclined to delve into their pumpkin spice or flavored cold brew cravings.

 

801 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

(2) Holsem Coffee, North Park

Located in the ‘hipster’ neighborhood of San Diego, Holsem Coffee is home to some of the friendliest staff I’ve met. They focus on pure ingredients & fair sourced coffee beans, which create delicious lattes. I’ve also recently learned that they make their own hazelnut milk in-house… excuse me while I pause writing to go order a hazelnut milk latte!

 

2911 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104

(3) The Forum Coffee House, Clairemont

The Forum Coffee House is right in line with Holsem’s friendly staff. I always enjoy having conversations with the people here while I wait for my coffee (usually, to my heart’s delight,  in an oversized mug). The Forum Coffee House need background info on them. This place is gaining in popularity, so if you want to snag a good seat, show up early… who knows, maybe you’ll see me in there around 8 am- if you do, come say hello!

 

4340 Genesee Ave, Ste 110. San Diego, California

(4) Copa Vida, Downtown

Talk about a great atmosphere, Copa Vida is one of my favorite spots in downtown San Diego  to post up for a few hours of work (they have six locations in total). I love that it somehow effortlessly manages the hustle & bustle of downtown with a calm & relaxing environment. But maybe I’m biased… it’s the place where I quit my previous corporate job, where I embarrassingly shed joyful tears and swapped hilarious stories with co-workers upon my departure. Regardless, you can’t go wrong with Copa Vida and their authentic artistry to both coffee and tea.

 

905 J St., San Diego, CA 92101

(5) The Grounds Bean Bar, Pacific Beach/Crown Point

Chandler Bing 100% would be saying ‘Could it BE any cuter here?’ because The Grounds Bean Bar has some of the sweetest interior designs of a coffee shop. Imagine stepping into the cafes that Bali visitors brag about visiting. The Grounds was designed to be fun, inviting and colorful so that guests can have a visual wake-up to go along with their caffeine fix. Add that with a quick walk from Mission Bay and some high-quality beans to create lattes, and you have a perfect match up for where to spend your morning working.

 

1571 La Playa ave San Diego, California

(6) Moniker Coffee, Liberty Station

Part coffee shop, part bar, and a home goods store! If you haven’t been to Moniker Coffee you need to add it to your calendar ASAP. This Liberty Station staple, has a beautiful aesthetic to it – picture smooth marble & minimalist decor where the beverages are the stars. With plenty of seating, where you will easily find other professionals hard at work. And who knows, if you work at this coffee shop long enough you’ll be able to go from ordering coffees to ordering a glass wine to end your day.

 

2860 Sims Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

(7) Spill the Beans, Downtown

This catchy coffee shop name isn’t all just pun & games, Spill the Beans is another stellar location on the Verant Group roster (along with popular hot spots Barleymash & Mavericks). Known for their delicious coffee… and potentially even more delicious house-made bagels. While the interior isn’t as large as the other places listed here, it’s bright complexion is a perfect place to start your day.

 

555 Market St San Diego, CA 92101

For any remote worker who needs a few hours outside of their home, a coffee shop is an excellent place to post up to complete tasks. The San Diego Coffee Shops listed here are all places that I’ve personally frequented and truly enjoyed. And I’m always up for new spots to explore- have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

A growing list of the best vegan places to eat in San Diego

from a local!

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

I love to eat. Especially when I know how good I feel after I eat amazingly delicious vegan food. There is no shortage of Vegan restaurants in San Diego, but just like any other cuisine type, there is both crazy good and horribly bad. So, I’ve put together the top vegan restaurants in San Diego list for you to enjoy.

*I’ll be updating this post at least once a year to add new restaurants that open. Be sure to subscribe to be notified of any new vegetarian or vegan restaurant openings in San Diego.

Let’s dive right in to what I’m sure will be your favorite places to eat at in San Diego!

Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

In order of neighborhood/area

LITTLE ITALY & BANKERS HILL

Cafe Gratitude

‘I am infatuated’. This is how ordering at Cafe Gratitude is done, by making positive affirmations based on your menu item. And while infatuated may not be an actual menu item, I am always happy to eat at this bohemian & trendy vegan restaurant and cafe. They are 100% plant based serving brunch, lunch and dinner. Plus has spectacular wellness shots, healthy elixirs and smoothies.

Local Tip: parking in this area is hit or miss depending on the time of day you go. I would suggest taking the SD MTS or a Lyft

Cafe Gratitude
1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Donna Jean

Who can say no to a comfort food restaurant that hosts its guests in a quaint outdoor garden? Donna Jean serves up some of the most popular vegan eats in San Diego. Known for their vegan pizzas, and fresh homemade breads (or maybe that’s just what I love about them so much). The chef, Roy Elam opened & named Donna Jean after his mother who passed away from breast cancer. His passion is to spread how delicious plant based food can be, and it radiates throughout all of their dishes.

 

Donna Jean
2949 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Evolution Fast Food

If you don’t have time for a sit down meal, then pop over to Evolution fast food, which is right next door to Donna Jean. Evolution Fast Food is a ‘fast-food’ establishment cooking up plant based american classics.

My suggestion, try their buffalo chicken french fries with their homemade ranch dressing. And bring it to Balboa park for an afternoon picnic.

 

Evolution Fast Food
2965 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103

NORTH PARK & SOUTH PARK

Ranchos Cocina

Mexican food conveniently can be made vegetarian pretty easily, but vegan not always so much. Which is why Ranchos Cocina is a vegan lovers dream. They have a massive menu, where anything can be substituted, which makes it very customizable for any picky eater.

 

Ranchos Cocina
3910 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
The Modern Vegan

The Las Vegas popular restaurant, the Modern Vegan, has landed in San Diego and she does not disappoint. Another dining option with a large menu, you can’t wrong with any of the items they offer.

 

The Modern Vegan
4332 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
Kindred

Look no further than Kindred if you’re in the mood for a funky aesthetic. With hand crafted seasonal cocktails and a brunch menu that will make any foodie drool over, Kindred is a San Diego locals favorite spot for vegan fare.

 

Kindred
1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS

Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant

Plumeria features some of the best tasting and healthy thai food in all of San Diego. With an extensive menu, you’ll more than likely have difficulty deciding on just one thing to order. They also only use organic, non-GMO & gluten free tofu that’s made locally.

 

Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant
4661 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
Grains Cafe

Grains is a family owned vegan restaurant featuring amazingly delicious appetizers and a crowd favorite of quinoa based pasta. Their unique interior provides a fun environment to enjoy their carefully crafted wine & beer selection. I personally think Grains is still a bit under the radar, but will quickly become a San Diego classic.

 

Grains Cafe
2201Adams Ave
San Diego, CA

Image credit: Yelp business listing

LA JOLLA

Green Door Cafe

Green Door Cafe is a tucked away gem. The restaurant is nestled between two storefronts in La Jolla. Their menu serves items with locally sourced ingredients, all made from scratch and catering to a seasonal menu making it a wonderfully sustainable establishment.

 

Green Door Cafe
7644 Girard Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037
Trilogy Sanctuary

Trilogy Sanctuary is such a unique and cherished establishment.  Inside there is a vegan cafe, yoga studio, boutique store, AND they have a naturopathic doctor & host events and workshops. You will always find something fun & exciting to do here. Enjoy their 100% organic, vegan & gluten-free cafe starting with their chocoholic bowls, because who doesn’t love a healthy but indulgent meal?

 

Trilogy Sanctuary
7650 Girard Ave, #400
San Diego, CA 92037

BEACHES

(Mission, Ocean, Pacific)

Peace Pies

Ocean Beach

Peace Pies in Ocean Beach serves up an entirely raw menu and practices a zero-waste policy (yes, I’m beaming as I type this because both are amazing! Go Peace Pies!). Spend an afternoon enjoying Ocean beach after indulging in their mediteeranean wrap or horchata milkshake.

 

Peace Pies
4230 Voltaire Street
San Diego, CA 92107
Soulshine

Mission Beach

It’s safe to assume that their vegan, organic & non-GMO menu is just as delicious as their name is beautiful & unique. Be sure to try their Viva Mexico bowl, maybe at one of their monthly community events!

 

Soulshine
3864 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
NoW Sushi

Mission Beach

Located in the Mission Beach area, NoW stands for the No Worries Movement. All of the proceeds go towards helping to end animal cruelty, and they’re currently building an animal sanctuary in Austin, Texas! I’m sold in, who wants to meet there this weekend??

 

NoW Locations

DOWNTOWN

(Gaslamp & East Village)

Spoiled Vegan Cafe

Spoiled Vegan Cafe is a pop up vendor based in East Village. They make vegan waffles with unique twists like vegan waffle dogs.  Check out their IG for their schedule

 

Spoiled Vegan

NORTH COUNTY

(Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido)

Eve

The interior of Eve in Encinitas provides one of the most calming places to enjoy a meal. Their ‘happy vibes’ emanate throughout their food as well, where you can enjoy bowls, flatbreads, sandwiches, burritos & more.

 

Eve
575 S. Coast Hwy
Encinitas, CA 92024

Image credit: Yelp business listing

Far West Lounge by Modern Times Beer

Who would’ve thought beer and vegan could go-exist so happily? Except when you consider San Diego’s craft beer scene. We’re all about local here and Modern Time’s Far West Lounge is a perfect combination of a stunning craft beer and mouth watering plant based food all in one place.

 

Far West Lounge by Modern Times Beer
470 S. Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Plant Power

Another fast food join, Plant Power serves up easy to order sandwiches, like my favorite, the Buffalo ‘66. And bonus points for them as they don’t use any artificial ingredients and are non-GMO.

 

Plant Power
3 of 5 locations are in SD; Ocean Beach, Encinitas & SDSU area
Native Foods

Native Foods is great for quick place to enjoy a great plant based meal.  We love trying their new seasonal menu additions every few months, and are hooked on their california burrito.

 

Native Foods
Point Loma, Clairemont Mesa & Encinitas
Loving Hut

Loving Hut has become the largest vegan chain in the US, and what makes them even more stand out is that each location has a unique menu. Here in San Diego there is a location in North Park and Mira Mesa.

 

Loving Hut

With San Diego’s progressive way of life, I can’t wait to continue adding more vegan restaurants onto this list. But if you’re not 100% vegan and enjoy a vegetarian diet too, then check out these Best Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in San Diego.

Don’t forget to pack these items:

No matter where you’re going out to eat, it’s always smart to keep these sustainable items on hand to avoid any plastic use

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

Vegan Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

Vegan Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

The Best Vegetarian & Vegan friendly Restaurants in San Diego

A growing list of the best vegetarian & vegan friendly places to eat in San Diego

from a local!

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

As a traveling vegetarian, I understand how it can be difficult to find delicious vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants in the midst of being in your ‘in-the-moment’ vacation mode. Luckily, San Diego is bursting with delicious restaurants that offer vegetarian and vegan friendly menu options! More & more people are enjoying plant-based foods so I dug through my long lists of best restaurants in San Diego (yes, I keep a running list on my phone. Never will my boyfriend & I have the awkward ‘where do you want to go to eat’ conversation), and put together San Diego’s best vegetarian friendly restaurants!

*I’ll be updating this post at least once a year to add new restaurants that open. Be sure to subscribe to be notified of any new vegetarian or vegan restaurant openings in San Diego.

Best Vegan & Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

In no particular order

Civico 1845

Located in the heart of Little Italy, Civico 1845 serves authentic italian food set in a comfortable setting of white brick & pristine bar. They offer a special vegan menu for both lunch and dinner.

My suggestion, try their Gnocchi Violetta. *Be sure to call ahead for parties of 4 or more. Civico 1845 is a hotspot in Little Italy, so becomes busy quickly.

Civico 1845
1845 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

Image credit: https://www.civico1845.com/

Muzita Abyssinian Bistro

One of my favorite hidden gems of San Diego, is Muzita Abyssinian Bistro. This Ethiopian restaurant was once a home that the owners retrofitted into a cozy dining experience. They have amazing vegetarian & vegan menu options that follow traditional Ethiopian cuisine. The owners mother was the original chef and the recipes are all hers. Which I think makes them taste even better. That and the incredibly friendly staff and mouth watering food.

My suggestion, try the fall seasonal Duba (braised pumpkin) with the Timtimo side (lentils), then thank me afterwards.

*fun fact- Marcus brought us here on our first data & we go back on our anniversary every year

Muzita Abyssinian Bistro
4651 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA92116

Image credit: https://muzita.com/ 

Buona Forchetta

You may already know how my soul belongs in Italy, so it’s no surprise that I’ve been to quite a few Italian restaurants in San Diego. And Buona Forchetta is always on my mind. Not only will the staff chat with you in italian (which I fall right back into after two glasses of wine), but they have a handful of the most delicious vegan menu items. Including a traditional vegan pizza.

My suggestion, the Donnatella pizza with their vegan cheese

Buona Forchetta
Located in South Park, Liberty Station, and Encinitas
Tocaya Organica

With an upbeat, modern interior draped in blooming plants and comfortable couches, Tocaya Organica takes the cake for some of the best modern mexican food that is vegetarian and vegan friendly in San Diego. They have a stellar seasonal menu and focus their ideals around making healthier choices, starting with locally sourced produce.

My suggestion, their vegan horchata to go with whatever you order to eat!

Tocaya Organica
Gaslamp/Downtown San Diego & UTC Mall in La Jolla
Ike’s Sandwiches

For those times where you don’t want to follow a vegetarian bunny rabbit diet of leafy greens, Ike’s Sandwiches will hook you up with an intense vegan sandwich. Ike’s is now a West coast chain (they originated in San Francisco) with locations all across California, Arizona & Nevada. Which bears an impact on how great their sandwiches are. You’ll notice that each sandwich has a unique name, and comes with their special sauce – which you can order a vegan version of!

My suggestion, the Sally Ride on their famously known Dutch Crunch bread.

Ike’s Sandwiches
2 San Diego locations, Hillcrest & Point Loma
Tandoor

Another little gem of mine, Tandoor is a small indian restaurant near the Fashion Valley mall. My sister and I have now tried each of their vegetarian & vegan options and can happily approve of them all. I love coming here for a quick dinner to go – this family owned place features the most amazing homemade naan bread in a traditional Tandoor oven, and the family is so so friendly.

My suggestion, Chana Masala made vegan.

Tandoor
508 Mission Center Rd
San Diego, CA 92108
Kebab Shop

With almost 8 locations in San Diego, the Kebab Shop will be nearby whenever you’re in need of some fresh falafel. Seriously though, they make their falafel fresh for each order. And their serving sizes are big enough to be made into two meals!

Kebab Shop
RakiRaki Ramen

I think I’m finding a pattern here with my preferred hidden gems… Rakiraki is tucked away in a lesser known area to tourists, what I would call Convoy street. This area is known for top notch asian cuisine finds and Rakiraki is a star among many delicious eateries. They serve one of the best best vegetarian miso ramen in the city. But be warned, this is a busy spot. So, if you’re a hungry hippo eager to slurp down this top rated ramen be sure to arrive early.

RakiRaki Ramen
Convoy St, Little Italy & Liberty Station
View this post on Instagram

Convoy 💛

A post shared by RakiRaki Ramen & Tsukemen (@rakirakiramen) on

Bahn Thai

I love how the most delicious thai food is based on vegetables and tofu. Something that sounds so simple always comes out delicious, and Bahn Thai always delivers those mouth watering flavors. The restaurant is a bit small, so if you don’t want to wait, order to go, OR visit their soon to be opening location in Hillcrest that can fit larger groups.

Bahn Thai
4646 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(University Heights)
Sipz Vegetarian Infusion

Another asian cuisine eatery is Sipz Vegetarian Infusion. With 3 locations in San Diego, customers can enjoy a variety of asian cuisines including Japanese, Thai, Chinese & Vietnamese. The entire menu is vegetarian with a majority of it being vegan. Plus, they have crazy delicious vegan desserts.

My suggestion, start with their fresh summer rolls & homemade peanut sauce.

Sipz

Don’t fret, this list will continue to grow as I enjoy each place and find more vegetarian & vegan friendly restaurants in San Diego. If you’re interested in adding more dining options to your visit, then check out the Top Vegan Restaurants in San Diego!

Don’t forget to pack these items:

No matter where you’re going out to eat, it’s always smart to keep these sustainable items on hand to avoid any plastic use

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

San Diego Attractions at Night

San Diego Attractions at Night

San Diego

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

San Diego isn’t necessarily known for things to do at night, however, in conjunction with its warm, mild weather & long stretches of beaches are an equally fun amount of things to do and enjoy at night. Even for those who may not be into the club & bar scene.

Below is a list of San Diego attractions at night that you can’t miss!

Best things to do in San Diego at night

OUTDOORS

 

Host a campfire on the beach

A combination of smores, cozy blankets & good friends around a campfire is an ideal way to spend a night in San Diego. The best part is you can either bring your own campfire supplies or hire someone else to do all of the work for you!

The Beach Fire Guy is a great option when you’d rather just show up & have everything taken care of for you. They set up campfires in Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, Bay Park, La Jolla, & Coronado that last for 3-4 hours. They also offer chairs, tiki torches, s’mores with skewers, tables, coolers, tents, and games and the best part is they clean it all up for you!

Cost: starting at $80 with options for add ons 

Year-Round

Watch the city light up

While San Diego may not have the skyline imagery comparable to that of Manhattan NYC, there is quite a beautiful view of downtown San Diego and it’s neighborhoods that can bring a smile to anyone’s face.

My two suggestions to view San Diego’s skyline at night are from the top of Mount Soledad or from an evening Hornblower Cruise

Mount Soledad: Mount Soledad is a mountain landmark in San Diego that is known for its sunset views and the large cross that stands at the top of it (a Korean War memorial). There is parking available up here, and views on either side with grassy areas and steps to sit on.

Hornblower Cruise: Hornblower cruises are well known along the California coast (and in New York). Their evening & sunset cruises are a great way to view downtown San Diego at night. Plus being greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne isn’t a bad way to start your evening.

Cost: varies on the type of cruise you select, prices range from $28-$125 per person

Year-Round

Catch Summer fireworks

Every summer Seaworld hosts evening fireworks shows. The best views of this are from Fiesta Island where parking is free & there won’t be too many people to block your view.

Cost: free

Summer

Enjoy First Friday at Liberty Station market

The first Friday of every month, Liberty Station in Point Loma stays open late from 5-9pm where guests can enjoy live performances, artists work and visit museums & galleries throughout the area.

Cost: free

Year-Round

Pretend you’re halfway across the world by taking a gondola ride

Yes, you read that correctly. The Gondola Company in San Diego gives gondola rides around the Coronado Cays (a small area apart of the peninsula of Coronado). These rides are both romantic & family friendly with options to bring your own wine & snacks or purchase them there.

Cost: starting at $95 for two people, prices vary depending on the type of ride you select

Year-Round

MUSICAL & LIVE PERFORMANCES

 

Catch a live musical performance

Each year more & more high profile artists are coming to perform in San Diego. Which means there are more opportunities to see awesome music shows at a handful of great venues in the city. There are also plenty of local talent that are hosted at these venues as well.

Here are my top recommendations for venues to visit for live music shows:

Music Box, Little Italy

The Observatory, North Park

House of Blues, Downtown: which also has a few free themed events throughout the year

Belly up Tavern, Encinitas

Cost: varies on the show & venue

Year-Round

If you really like live music, then check out

 

Enjoy your music on the water

The Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island hosts outdoor music performances year-round at their venue, Humphreys Concerts on the Bay. If you’re lucky to have a boat or brave enough to paddleboard your way out there, you can catch these performances live for free!

Cost: varies on the performer

Year-Round

Check out availability at Half Moon Inn HERE

Old Globe Theatre

If you’ve ever been to London then San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre may remind of something. It’s fashioned after Shakespeare’s Old Globe theatre in cheery old London. Guests can enjoy broadway-style performances here throughout the year.

Cost: $95-$134

Year-Round

Duel & Dance

For a unique & energetic evening out, be sure to check out Shout House in downtown San Diego. 7 nights a week there is a dueling piano performance that is driven by the audience requests. Enjoy a cocktail, or even dinner, all while singing along to the dueling pianos.

Cost: free reservations Monday-Wednesday, $5 reservation fee/person Thursday & Sunday, $12 reservation fee on Fridays

Year-Round

Enjoy the San Diego Symphony

The San Diego Symphony is a wonderful way to enjoy your evening in San Diego. They host unique performances year-round, I’m just bummed I missed the Harry Potter-themed nights!

In the summer months, the Symphony also hosts Bayside Summer Nights where guests can enjoy the West coasts only waterfront concert venue.

Cost: $23-$65, prices may vary depending on the show

Year-Round

See sunset & a show

Every summer the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla hosts a concert series on Wednesday nights from 6-9pm, called the Green Flash Concert Series. Enjoy a live performance with views of the sun setting over the Pacific.

Cost: $33-$150

May-September

MOVIE THEATRES

 

Jump back in time at a Drive-In movie theatre

Drive-in movie theaters always make me think of 1970’s Grease (do you remember the scenes at the drive-in theatre?), and while there isn’t nearly as much drama at our drive-in movie theatres as Sandy experienced, they are definitely great places to catch the latest movie releases under the moonlight, with the sound coming through your own radio!

There are two drive-in theatre locations in San Diego: South Bay & Santee

Cost at South Bay: $9 for adults, $7 for kids (5-9 years old)

Cost at Santee: $9 for adults, $4 for juniors (4-12 years old)

Year-Round

 

Rooftop Cinema Club

The Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego hosts the Rooftop Cinema Club in San Diego. A cinematic experience where you can enjoy a night under the stars watching your favorite feature films. With add ons like bottomless popcorn, love seats & student discounts this is sure to be a unique way to experience San Diego.

Cost: $15.30-$24

Year-Round

Cinema Under the Stars

Enjoy classic films, cult favorites & recent releases at Cinema Under the Stars. Their unique patio setting includes a 20 foot movie screen, THX surround sound, and open-air seating with zero-gravity recliners. Plus they show a classic cartoon before most films, how cute?!

Cost: $17-$20

Year-Round

Or turn your movie night into a stellar date night at The Pearl

The classic hotel, The Pearl, hosts a weekly Dive-In Theatre experience. Guests can either find free open seating around the pool or can dine in their restaurant while watching the film.

Cost: Free for open seating

Year-Round

Head to a schmancy pants indoor movie theatre, The Lot

Featuring reclinable chairs and full drinks and food menu inside of this sparkly theatre, The Lot is a perfect place to spend a night in San Diego. Be sure to find their vintage images of the space, which was previously used as a training facility for the navy.

Cost: $18-$22.50

Year-Round

UNIQUE BARS

 

Visit one of San Diego’s speakeasies.

A tradition from the 1920’s prohibition era, San Diego has quite a few hidden gems providing the highest quality cocktails and fun flair.

Cost: Depends on the location & your drinks, I’ve seen upwards of $18 per cocktail

Year-Round

Bowl with a beverage

Southern California has stepped up the average night out standards for many. This includes our bowling experiences. Instead of a typical bowling alley, why not have great music, neon lights, a full-scale restaurant & bar and a mix of other games at your service? Here are two locations in downtown San Diego that bowlers can check out:

Tavern & Bowl: Tavern & Bowl has lots of great happy hour specials!

Punch Bowl Social: These guys really stepped up their game and not only provide bowling, but private karaoke, a classic arcade, and all of the table games you could want

Cost: depends on what activity you choose

Year-Round

Speaking of beverages…

 

Cheers friends with a local brewski

San Diego is one of the country’s leading local brewery cities. We are boasting with fresh, unique styles of beer to try at one of our local breweries. Rub on some hops for perfume & share a conversation over a pint.

Cost: varies on location

Year-Round

Dine at a drag show

Look no further for an epic dinner & show experience than Lips. For an adult outing or even a bachelorette activity, you can experience San Diego’s premier drag show here. *Reservations are required

Cost:$5-$10 cover charge & $15 per person minimum food purchase.

Year-Round

Step back in time & enjoy a shot of tequila in Old Town

Old Town is San Diego’s historic center where visitors can soak up some Hispanic culture and charm. At night, Old Town has plenty of fun Mexican restaurants, performances and shops to walk through.

Cost: varies on what you decide to do

Year-Round

Spend a night in the wild

The San Diego Safari Park hosts an adult sleepover camping experience inside of the park called Roar & Snore. This is an actual slumber party at a safari park, how cool! There are campfires, hikes & animal viewings, plus the adults-only version has a cash bar.

(While I may not be a huge fan of zoos, I have personally visited the Safari Park and can say that 90% of the animals have crazy large ‘enclosures’ and that they do so much wonderful conservation work.)

Cost: $145 per person

Year-Round

Experience something new & enlightening at Trilogy Sanctuary

Trilogy Sanctuary is part vegan cafe, yoga studio & event space. A bohemian dream! They host monthly events and are a great place for La Jolla sunsets.

Cost: varies on your activity

Year-Round

SPORTS TEAMS

 

Catch a Major League Baseball game at the Padres stadium

The Padres stadium is definitely worth a visit. MLB games are always more fun in person, and the Padres stadium guests have access to so many San Diego food & drink options. Plus multiple wine bars and a mini grocery store. There is also outdoor space for open seating, kids activities and more!

Cost: varies on your seat

March-October

Chill out at a San Diego Gulls hockey game

Did ya’ catch my pun there?

The San Diego Gulls are our local hockey team apart of the American Hockey League. Always a fun game to attend for reasonable ticket prices.

Cost: $22-$103

September-April

Cheer on our newest sports team, the San Diego Seals

Part of the National Lacrosse League, the San Diego Seals is the newest addition to our sports team line up. Check out these fast-paced games when in town!

Cost: $15-$90

December-April

 

ACTIVE

 

Take a burlesque class!

Ohh La La has weekly classes to help bring out your inner sassy-self. Check out their schedule & consider joining them in their annual showcase.

Cost: $25/class

Year-Round

Try your feet at salsa dancing

Cafe Sevilla in the gaslamp district of San Diego hosts FREE salsa lessons & open floor dance times every week. It’s also a restaurant where the chef has proudly been making traditional & delicious Spanish dishes for years.

Bonus- they have a secret vegan menu you can ask for when you’re there for dinner beforehand.

Cost: free

Year-Round

Salsa under the stars at The Headquarters

The Headquarters is located in Seaport Village near downtown. They host free salsa dancing once a month with live music.

Cost: free

Year-Round

Vent out your pent up energy with some axe throwing

What started as a Canadian backyard pastime, has turned into an exciting outing for many Americans, and now San Diegans can enjoy it as well. There are a few axe throwing locations in the city:

Bad Axe Throwing, Pacific Beach

Axeventures, North Park

Cost: varies on location & group size

Year-Round

With so many things to do in San Diego at night, what are you doing still reading this? Go check one of these out!

Have any questions? Leave a comment below & I’ll answer.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

How to use the CBX Bridge

How to use the CBX Bridge

San Diego

Fly from the Tijuana airport easily & save yourself money on your flights!

Did you know that American based travelers can fly to Mexico for cheap? This alone is one of my favorite conveniences for using the CBX to get to the Tijuana airport.

By using the CBX Bridge in San Diego, California passengers can book a flight to Mexico with a Mexican airline for nearly half the cost (if not less) than it would cost to fly out of San Diego or Los Angeles directly.  However, there is a lot of confusion on what this bridge actually is, where to go to cross it and if it is safe for travelers.

Read below for my experience and all of the information that you will need to use the CBX bridge at the Tijuana Airport.

What is CBX?

        CBX stands for Cross Border Xpress.  It is a pedestrian facility located on the San Diego/Tijuana border that allows people to walk straight into the Tijuana airport from the United States.  People call it the CBX bridge, as it is technically a covered, indoor, pedestrian walkway.

To clear away some confusion: NO, CBX is not an outdoor bridge. The facility is entirely indoors. You purchase your ticket to cross (read below), check in to your flight and walk down a hallway that marks where the border of the United States meets the border of Mexico. Once you exit this hallway you will be inside the Tijuana Airport.

Where is CBX & How to get there from the United States?

        Surprisingly, the CBX bridge facility is not the same border that you drive across when trying to get to Baja California.  It is located in San Diego and is approximately a 15-minute drive from the border patrol area into Tijuana.

From central San Diego (Mission Valley/USD area) it will take approximately 20 minutes to drive to the Cross Border Xpress.

It is very easy to park or drop off travelers as it has a clearly marked entrance and roadway to the front doors. And offers large open parking lots with security driving throughout.

Photo credit: CBX Website

Preparing to use the CBX bridge & the costs of crossing

  • Make sure you have a boarding pass available; this proves that you have a reason to be crossing into the airport
  • Purchase a ticket to cross through CBX in advance; this can save you time by not having to purchase in person at a kiosk (really it’s not that much time saved, but more convenient for ease of access)
  • Tickets for CBX are $30 for a round trip crossing, $16 for one way, or $105 RT/$55 one way for families (four to six people)
  • Just like any other trip to the airport, prepare how you will get there.  Whether that is having a friend drop you off, parking your car (see detailed information below) or a ride share service.
  • Parking is $17/day, and you pay when you return.  It will most likely be cheaper to order a Lyft or Uber to take you to CBX rather than park a car.

[New to ride-sharing?  It is one of the most convenient ways to get around if don’t want to or cannot drive.  Use these links to receive discounts on your first ride with them! Lyft // Uber ]

How to Cross the Cross Border Xpress

        Walk inside the set of doors that are closest to the drop off area (if you drive past the cross walk speed bump you’ve gone past the correct doors).  With your boarding pass and CBX ticket in hand, walk to the tables inside to complete immigration forms. At the inside entrance, an agent will scan your CBX ticket, ask if you have your passport and boarding pass then will allow you to walk across the pedestrian sky bridge.

        Every staff person we spoke to/with spoke English and was kind, friendly & efficient. Which makes any travel anxiety lower quickly.

        The bridge itself is modern and covered, and there is an official line marking where you actually cross from the United States into Mexico!  At the end of the bridge you enter directly into the Tijuana airport terminal. Find your airlines ticket counter if you need to check any bags.  If not, head to security as you normally would at any other airport. Except this time you’ll be walking over with a smile of satisfaction that you not only very easily crossed into another country, but that you most likely saved yourself a lot of money flying out of Tijuana to your destination!

What airlines fly into & out of the Tijuana Airport?

       These are the airlines that fly into and out of the Tijuana Airport. Travelers who live near San Diego and Los Angeles in Southern California can search for flights with these airlines to save some serious money when flying to Mexico or Central America.

  • Aeromexico
  • Interjet
  • Volaris

Flying into the Tijuana Airport, to cross back into the United States

        Almost identical to how you can cross from the United States into the Tijuana airport through CBX bridge facility, you cross back.  After the baggage claim area, there is a clearly marked area for the CBX bridge. Show your CBX ticket to an agent and then cross back over the pedestrian bridge.

*Do NOT exit the airport into Tijuana– an airport agent will guide you to the CBX exit, however, be present and aware regardless.

        Customs at the CBX bridge facility has little to almost no lines to wait in.  They scan your luggage, but you don’t have to take anything out.  Declare anything you bring back with you, and then walk across the bridge and outside to your ride back home.

Utilizing the Cross Border Xpress in San Diego is a wonderful way to travel for cheap to and from Mexico.  It is set up to be convenient and easy for travelers, and as someone who has used it, i can attest to its convenience and ease of use.  Have any questions — feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Happy travels!

Related: Interested in planning a trip to a Mexican destination?

Check out my travel guides for Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende to gather some inspiration!

TIPS for Using the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) in San Diego, California

  • Flying out of Tijuana airport is cheaper than another US based airport if you are flying to a location in Mexico or Central America.  This isn’t always 100% true, but 90% of the time you will find a much better deal
  • People often say to leave time for traffic, however I drove down to the CBX facility a couple of times (different days of the week and different times of the day) and never had a traffic issue.  It is almost in the middle of nowhere so is not a traffic heavy area. And with there not being much to do in the airport I wouldn’t suggest showing up very early as you’ll arrive and go through the facility quickly and then be bored at your gate.
  • The security lines are much shorter here, so no need to stress the time spent waiting to go through
  • Currently there are not many food options in the airport (this also depends on where your gate is/which airline you are flying), however we saw signs stating that new eateries are being added in 2019.
If you’re curious about the CBX bridge being at the Tijuana border crossing, I captured screenshots of the distance between the two.  It’s about a 15 minute drive between the two.

Pin me for Later!

Follow Along