Starting Our California Visit In San Diego
We were happy we left the snow behind on our 3 week road trip along the California coast. A stay in San Diego was the perfect way to start our trip.
This was not our first visit to San Diego, so we planned to take it a bit easy on this first stop. A great luxury hotel helped to make our stay great. We wandered around the city. And one day we took a day trip to La Jolla. The locals thought the weather was cool. But we were happy that the only white stuff we saw on our stay in San Diego was sand!
A Great Base At The U.S. Grant Hotel
As soon as we walked into the hotel we were met by Demi with a hug and a smile. The U.S. Grant Hotel was definitely ready for us. Demi took us up to our sweet suite. And surprised us with chocolate truffles and champagne. We love it when hotels definitely know our tastes!
The U.S. Grant Hotel was part of the Luxury Collection in the Marriott group. It was our first visit to a Luxury Collection hotel and we were excited to explore. Everywhere we looked we found beautiful details and art. The lobby was large and elegant. Even though we had lots of room in our suite, the lobby was a wonderful spot to hang out in. A great lobby is definitely one of the things we love to find in a new hotel.
The hotel had a fascinating history. All around the hotel there were details of this past. There was a self-guided walking historical tour. And the hotel even had a weekly guided tour. It was too bad we were not there for the guided tour. In the floor, there was a time capsule. All good reasons to spend time in this hotel.
The hotel had many different spots for a meet up. We were delighted to be able to meet Suzi Day. She was as sweet and lovely in person as she was online. Suzi had great suggestions on things we should see and do on our stay in San Diego.
The U.S. Grant Hotel was a great base to use for our stay in San Diego.
Things To See In The Gaslamp District
There was a large square and a new mall across from our hotel. It was part of a downtown revitalization project that had not been totally successful. There was a funky Starbucks in the square and a series of shops in the mall. Although it appeared that many were closed.
Murals adorned the buildings. And statues stood around the square. A large fountain faced our hotel. And at night it was colourfully lit. This provided an interesting backdrop for the historic front view of the U.S. Grant Hotel.
Around the hotel we found a number of theatre buildings. Although we did not manage to make it to a show. At night the theatres were all brightly lit. We ate one day in a converted theatre. And we were amazed at the art we found decorating the inside.
The Gaslamp District was a great spot to wander on our stay in San Diego.
Getting Around In San Diego
A short walk from the hotel we found the Santa Fe Amtrak station. It had a very traditional Spanish style on the outside. And interesting tile work inside. Such a fascinating juxtaposition to see the old train station with the new mass transit trains.
It was interesting to walk around the hotel area on our stay in San Diego. If we didn’t want to walk, there was a free car service called FRED we could use in the area. And Uber was readily available. The most interesting option we saw were scooters for rent. Many of them were powered. We found them sitting everywhere. They had not yet been outlawed in San Diego as they had been in many other California cities.
There were hop-on-hop-off buses and trolleys as well as a broad public transit service. It was easy to get around on our stay in San Diego.
Other Things To See In San Diego
When we walked down to the waterfront, we saw the ships lined up along the shore. On our last visit to San Diego, we spent time by the Embarcadero on the water. We walked along and looked at the wide a variety of ships on display – from the USS Midway to the flotilla that is the Maritime Museum. We loved the contrast between the wooden tall ships and the submarines. You can buy tickets to tour inside the boats.
Across the bay we saw Coronado Island. We recalled our last visit and our visit to the Coronado Del Hotel. This is definitely something to do when you stay in San Diego.
We commented on the fact that in many visits to San Diego we had not visited the famous San Diego Zoo. We missed it again on this trip.
Don’t Miss The Food And Drink In San Diego
No trip is complete without enjoying the local food and drink. The food in the hotel was great. Breakfast was included with our room and was always a great way to start the day.
But we ventured out to try some of the local spots. There were apparently 300 restaurants within a half of a mile of the hotel.
The happy hour at the Gaslamp Fish House provided us with a great selection of treats to try. It was the first but not last time we saw that Brussels sprouts seemed to be having a renaissance. Every place we ate had a gourmet Brussels sprout dish. The seafood was fresh and juicy. We decided to pass on desert. Butterscotch pudding did not really sound exciting. But David had been chatting with the owner and he sent us over a pudding to try. This delicious home made pudding with salted caramel loaded on top did not at all resemble the menu name.
The next night we wandered into Cafe 21. I had been drawn by the fact that it was known for its sangria. All homemade and so many different varieties. Of course we had to order a flight of sangria to try 6 different versions. Suzi later told us that they also have mimosa flights! That would warrant a return visit. We again ordered a wide selection of tapas-sized plates for tasty nibbles. A band started playing while we were still there.
We ran out of time before we ran out of restaurant suggestions. It would have been great to head into Little Italy to try the Italian food. And we certainly did not have our fill of seafood. But it just means there will be lots to try on a return stay in San Diego.
A Day Trip To La Jolla
We visited La Jolla before. But we were not going to miss a trip out to the beach before we headed inland to Palm Desert. We love when public transit covers a broad area. And were delighted to find that we could take the bus for $2.25 each all the way to La Jolla. We considered an Uber ride (about $25). But were happy that the bus provided us with a scenic tour.
It was a short walk to La Jolla Cove from the bus stop. We enjoyed the view of this colourful beach town. Interesting art and statues were visible everywhere we looked. That was not really much of a surprise, since we knew that the Museum of Contemporary Art was in town.
We booked lunch at Georges’s At The Cove at the suggestion of Suzi. We ate on the top outside patio with a great view our over the La Jolla Cove. Lunch was delicious. A wonderful spot on our day trip to La Jolla.
On our stay in San Diego, we were glad we headed to the beach town of La Jolla.
Sea Lions And Crashing Waves In La Jolla
We headed down to the La Jolla Cove. The wind was strong and the waves crashed along the shore. When we looked up, we saw the patio at George’s At The Cove. Such a perfect day to enjoy the shoreline we saw from above.
We walked along and found the sea lions as they lounged on the rocks. It was great to catch views of them from different spots. Of course, David got down on his knees for the perfect close up shots. I stayed upwind most of the time.
We looked back at pictures we took the last time we visited La Jolla Cove. It was interesting to see that the patterns on the sea lions were so very different that day. Certainly means that you need to visit regularly for different sights of the California wildlife.
Before we turned back, we found the point with all the birds on it. They were all out as they basked in the sun.
When you stay in San Diego, make sure to plan a day trip to La Jolla and walk along the water. You are in for a real treat!
A Quick Stay In San Diego
We had a short 3 day stay in San Diego. It was great to enjoy the city sights. And to meet up with Suzi. The U.S. Grant Hotel was the perfect luxury spot to use as a base. And to relax after our long travel day from Toronto.
We loved that we could get outside and walk. It was wonderful to wander around the city on our stay in San Diego. We certainly did eat and drink well to fuel our walks.
The morning we left dawned windy and rainy. We managed to deal with the total frustrations with renting a car in San Diego. If Hertz tells you there is a pickup spot at the Amtrak station, don’t believe it! It was a wild rainy drive as we left for our next stop in Palm Desert.
Have you visited? What do you like to do when you stay in San Diego?
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