Insider's Guide to San Diego, USA

A BIT ABOUT OUR INSIDER:

 Laura Johnson; Distiller & Founder @ You & Yours Distilling Co.

Laura Johnson; Distiller & Founder @ You & Yours Distilling Co.

Name: Laura Johnson
Place of birth: Lewisville, TX, USA
Occupation: Distiller & Founder @ You & Yours Distilling Co.
Hobbies and interests: Cooking, travelling, reading, blogging
How long have you lived in San Diego? I moved here around eight years ago.

A BIT ABOUT SAN DIEGO: 

What do you think San Diego does better than other cities?
Lifestyle. The quality of life here is so rich. Very relaxed and laid back. Always something to do, somewhere new to eat, some excuse to get outside, etc. etc. We're also so close to mountains, beaches, the desert, and Tijuana, Baja, Mexico etc. 

How do you best navigate your city? 
I don't drive a whole lot as my home and distillery are both conveniently located downtown but when necessary, driving is my go to method of transportation. The Amtrak or Coaster are great for heading to North County for dinner and drinks - no one has to worry about driving home. 

 San Diego's coastline. Photo Credit: Monty Lov

San Diego's coastline. Photo Credit: Monty Lov

Where is your favourite view of the city? 
Kate Sessions Park. high on the hill to the north of the city, it has gorgeous views of Mission Bay, San Diego Bay, the beach and downtown skyline.

What is your favourite building in San Diego? 
I love the Peace and Justice Building at my alma mater, The University of San Diego. The reflection pool, specifically. I also love Santa Fe Depot. I can see it from our little balcony at home, and it also houses one of my favorite museums in the city. 

Where do you consider to be San Diego's most underrated location that more people should visit? 
Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Fairly far south on the Coronado spit, the bay front hotel looks back at the San Diego skyline.

 The spa at Rancho Valencia. Photo Credit: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

The spa at Rancho Valencia. Photo Credit: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Where would you stay if you were visiting, and why?
The Pendry if you want a little action, Rancho Valencia for luxury and Loews Coronado Bay if you're looking for a quiet & relaxing trip and/or have no desire to leave the property. 

Where is your favourite respite from hectic city life? 
Taking our little boat out on the bay, hanging at Marine Street beach, or heading down to the Valle de Guadalupe for a day of vineyard hopping. 

Any unique exercise/work out opportunities?
I like to "hike" Torrey Pines or do a workout in the park - either Kate Sessions or Waterfront Park at the Embarcadero. 

Any tips on etiquette and/or cultural faux pars? 
Make reservations! And not so much etiquette as it is a pro-tip but use Uber/Lyft if you want a stress-free trip to the beach. Finding a parking spot by the beaches on a hot sunny day is no joke. 

TELL US ABOUT THE FOOD SCENE:  

 Fish tacos. Photo Credit: Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill

Fish tacos. Photo Credit: Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill

Do you have a local delicacy/food? 
I would say San Diego's probably most known for fish tacos... my favourites are from Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill

Where can we find your favourite dish?
Hard to choose! But I'm currently obsessed with the Thai Croissant at Herb & Eatery - thai chicken sausage, egg, arugula, & spicy aioli on a fresh croissant. 

Which restaurant has the best atmosphere? 
The Pony Room at Rancho Valencia is my little hidden gem. So fun for cocktails and apps after a day spend at their spa. Herb & Wood has lovely atmosphere, as does Kettner Exchange, two of my favorite neighborhood "scenes." And The Little Lion is the sweetest little bistro for a casual yet elevated meal. 

Where serves the best value for money dining options?
Yakyudori Yakitori for Japanese skewers, Herb & Eatery for breakfast, Prep Kitchen's late night happy hour. 

Where is the best place to splurge on a delicious meal? 
Market Del Mar offering a sensational selection of seasonal dishes consisting of fresh, locally grown, hand-selected ingredients & Addison Del Mar, an elegant European atmosphere with artisanal French cuisine.

NOW, ONTO THE NIGHTLIFE: 

Where can we find San Diego's best cocktail?
I'm biased of course, but You & Yours Distilling Co. Also love Campfire

Who has the city's best winelist? 
It's hard to choose so I'll name a few of my favourites; Juniper & Ivy, Vino Carta, The Rose and The Little Lion. All well worth a visit for their wines.

 The stylish bar at You & Yours Distilling Co.. Photo credit - You & Yours Distilling Co.

The stylish bar at You & Yours Distilling Co.. Photo credit - You & Yours Distilling Co.

And the bar with the best atmosphere? 
Probably the little patio tables at Little Lion in Sunset Cliffs. Sitting outside at sunset sipping on bubbles is one of my favorite dining experiences in the city!

Which bar is the best value for money? 
With daily happy hour until 9pm and a schedule of live music, El Dorado gets my vote. 

And the best splurge? 
Campfire and Lionfish. Both have beautiful, upscale, modern interiors.

And finally, where is the best place to carry the night on, post-midnight? 
Prohibition; wonderful cocktails and they always have live bands - it's a little underground space, super romantic and moody, just the ticket for a late night. Or Vin de Syrah - great music and amazing atmosphere and it's one of those places that never loses it's luster. It's been around for 10 years and is still just as good!

FOR CULTURE VULTURES: 

Which is your favourite art gallery? 
I love the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's downtown and just down the street from where I live. For a local gallery their exhibitions are always changing which is great. I'd also recommend visiting San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) at Balboa Park, the Spanish Plateresque style architecture of the building is beautiful too.

 Harbour Island Marina. Photo Credit: Joanne DiBona Visit San Diego

Harbour Island Marina. Photo Credit: Joanne DiBona Visit San Diego

Also - just 25 minutes away, across the border into Mexico is the Tijuana Cultural Center, or CECUT. A great place to wander pre-cocktails and tostadas.

 

FINAL WORDS: 

Can you sum up why you love this city? 
It's just too easy. The airport is a mere 6-7 minutes away, as is the marina where we keep our little boat. LA is a short drive, as is Tijuana, but everything you need is here. It's such a beautiful spot to come home to. I never get post-vacation blues because we really do live in paradise. It's a hard place to leave. 

 Ocean Beach lifeguard hut, San Diego. Photo Credit: Ian Schneider

Ocean Beach lifeguard hut, San Diego. Photo Credit: Ian Schneider

 La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art Installation. Photo Credit: Pablo Mason, Visit San Diego

La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art Installation. Photo Credit: Pablo Mason, Visit San Diego

 Ocean Beach pier, San Diego. Photo Credit: Frank McKenna

Ocean Beach pier, San Diego. Photo Credit: Frank McKenna

 Sunset over Ocean Beach, San Diego. Photo Credit: Patrick Fore

Sunset over Ocean Beach, San Diego. Photo Credit: Patrick Fore

INSIDER'S GUIDES, NORTH AMERICA, LATEST ARTICLESContemporary Classsan diego, usa, travel usa, use travel, california, san diego california, gin san diego, gin distillery, you & yours distilling co, you and yours gin, you and yours san diego, you & yours san diego, you & yours gin, insiders guide to san diego, travel guide to san diego, travel guide san diego, san diego travel guide, san diego local knowledge, local knowledge san diego, san diego bay, mission bay san diego, peace and justice building san diego, the university of san diego, kate sessions park, kate sessions park sandiego, best view of san diego, san diego skyline, santa fe depot, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Lowes san diego, the pendy san diego, Rancho valencia, rancho valencia san diego, the pendry san diego, coronado bay, coronado bay san diego, marine street beach san diego, valle de guadalupe, torrey pines, torrey pines san diego, blue water sea food market & grill, blue water seafood market & drill san diego, bluewater restaurant san diego, blue water seafood san diego, seafood restaurant san diego, herb & eatery san diego, best restaurants san diego, dinner in san diego, pony room san diego, kettner exchange san diego, the little lion san diego, yakudori yakitori san diego, preps kitchen san diego, fine dining restaurant san diego, market del mar, market del mar san diego, addison del mar, addison del mar san diego, best cocktails san diego, gin cocktails san diego, best g&t san diego, modern bar sandiego, campfire san diego, lionfish san diego, prohibition san diego, museum of contemporary art san diego, san diego museum of art, SDMA san diego, museums san diego, museums in san diego, san diego to mexico, california to mexico, tijuana, tijuana mexico, san diego to tijuana, harbour island marina san diego, la jolla san diego, la jolla, west coast usa, usa west coast, road trip use, west coast road trip, best beaches in the USA, best beaches in california, san diego beachesComment