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48 hours in San Diego

Where to Stay

Rancho Valencia, a luxe resort in the Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood, boasts 45 acres of rolling hills and lush landscape. The property’s hacienda-style rooms and suites feature jacuzzis, private gardens, and ornate Talavera tiling. Dine at the onsite Mediterranean restaurant and check out the tequila lineup at The Pony Room. 

The rose-hued La Valencia offers oceanfront views and a slice of history (it originally opened in 1926, and earned the moniker the “Pink Lady of La Jolla.”) Located in the heart of La Jolla, a seaside area in San Diego, it’s within walking distance to a number of restaurants, art galleries, and shops. Rise early for impressive vistas of La Jolla Cove and its iconic pod of sunbathing seals.

Day 1

Start the day at one of the area’s three outposts of Parakeet. The health-forward menus include organic egg whites with beet-cured salmon and coconut yogurt toast with homemade preserved fruit and fresh berries. Sip a turmeric latte, or explore their tea selection. 

Choose your adventure:

Slide 1 of 2
  • Option 1: Culture

    Take to the high seas with a chartered sailboat courtesy of Lucky Sol Sailing. Cruise around the San Diego Bay where you’ll see the USS Midway, Coronado Bridge, and Point Loma. Afterwards, visit some of the city’s more than 150 breweries. Karl Strauss Brewing Company is often credited with kicking off San Diego’s craft beer boom, so begin there before working your way towards other favorites like Ballast Point, AleSmith, and Amplified Ale Works.

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, a 2,000-acre coastal state park of pine forests and sandstone canyons. Traverse the 2.3-mile-long Beach Trail loop or head up the steep, half-mile-long Parry Grove Trail. For a longer adventure, consider the almost-five-mile route at Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.

George’s at the Cove provides lunch and stunning water views. Try their plant-based burger or seared albacore and avocado sandwich alongside one of the bar’s lower-alcohol concoctions, like the prosecco-driven citrus spritz.

 Later on, head to Little Italy for dinner at Juniper & Ivy, a buzzy restaurant founded by Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais. Bites like halibut hand rolls and trout roe tarts are enticing previews of larger courses to come like tomato-curry sea bass and barbecue carrots.

Day 2

Go to breakfast at the playful Morning Glory. Dishes include Japanese soufflé pancakes, homemade granola, and “Millennial Tears,” which consists of smashed avocado, soft-boiled eggs, and togarashi focaccia. 

Choose your adventure:

Slide 1 of 2
  • Option 1: Culture

    Explore more than 1,200 acres of gardens and ponds at Balboa Park. The park has 17 museums housed in Spanish Renaissance-style buildings, with each one spotlighting a topic like modern art, aviation, or photography.

    When hunger strikes, visit Cucina Urbana just steps from the park. Fuel up with bold flavors in plates like charred octopus with salsa verde and squash blossoms with saffron aioli. Don’t miss the passion fruit smash, a refreshing medley of cucumber, mint, and sparkling water. 

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Take a kayak tour of La Jolla Cove with Everyday California. During the 90-minute tour, a guide will lead you through the area’s seven sea caves and the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, a marine-protected haven for wildlife.

Break for lunch at Farmer & Seahorse, where locally-sourced produce and seafood are the highlights. Try them in dishes like the hummus and quinoa bowl with roasted baby carrots, the Korean picnic salad with cabbage, pineapple, cashew, and cilantro, or the open-faced lobster roll with heirloom tomatoes and whole grain mustard aioli. 

Return to your hotel to freshen up before dinner at Fort Oak in the Mission Hills neighborhood. This newcomer serves rustic, family-style plates like hearth-grilled branzino, steamed clams and mussels, and stone fruit salad. Bid goodbye to the city with a cocktail like the Wrangler (Irish whiskey, fennel, and coriander.)