Don’t Leave San Diego without Seeing These 7 Places

Sighs. What’s not to love about San Diego? If you like to travel and San Diego has been on your radar for some time, you’ve probably checked out the endless articles you come across on Google. And they all recommend the same thing in one way or another: take a stroll by the La Jolla Shores beach (not to mention La Jolla Cove and Coronado Beach), settle down for a breezy picnic at Balboa Park, or learn about life on a US Navy aircraft carrier at the USS Midway Museum. Or if you are a San Diego local who wants to explore all the secret spots in SD, there’s even this list for you.

I absolutely stand behind each of these recommendations. Especially if you are a first time SD traveler, please, exhaust those lists and explore them, as they are an absolute must! However, as a LA native who has spent eight years basking in the San Diego sun, I’ve also curated a list of my ultimate favorite–and some of them more intimate–places that I used to frequent during my stay there. Whether you are a visitor, a local or a college student looking for a small getaway, don’t leave the city without having been to one of these places!

1. The “Cliffs”

9400 La Jolla Farms Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037

hopeinlaphotography / Via
hopeinlaphotography / Via

There is the Sunset Cliffs more towards the south and then there’s the cliffs by UCSD. In a quiet residential area tucked away across the west of UC San Diego is a small gate that leads to a breathtaking view of the ocean, where you can occasionally watch parasailors passing by!

2. UC San Diego hidden spots

9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093

Anyone familiar with the La Jolla university campus area will tell you about the snake path that leads up to the Tree of Knowledge, or the Geisel Library:

But did you know about all the hidden spots in UCSD?

For one, The Winne Memorial lies just next to Geisel in a small forest across the Price Center ATMs, to remember the death of George Winne, Jr. who set himself on fire to protest the US’ involvement in the Vietnam War back in 1970:


Call me morbid or what, but this was one of my favorite places to show friends visiting the campus, besides the Graffiti Hall that unfortunately no longer exists:

graffiti hall


3. Waterfront Park

1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101

archphotographer / Via
archphotographer / Via

A kid-friendly park that overlooks the ocean in the heart of downtown San Diego? Yes please!

4. Harbor Island Drive

880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

mariannbukich / Via
mariannbukich / Via

Pull over on the side on your way to C-Level Lounge for a view like this!

5. Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial

6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South La Jolla, CA 92037

#FavoritePlaceOnEarth, and it’s even prettier at night!

6. Oscars Mexican Tacos

746 Emerald Street, San Diego, CA 92109

yosoyjardinero / Via
yosoyjardinero / Via

Spicy. Grilled. Shrimp. Tacos. ‘Nuff said.

7. Point Loma Lighthouse

Cabrillo National Monument, 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

artwithjennyk / Via
artwithjennyk / Via

If you enjoyed the cliffs by UC San Diego, you’ll enjoy this even more! The Old Point Loma Lighthouse now serves as a museum. You can tour inside the lighthouse and even check out the tide pools nearby.

By Hyeyoung Jung · Contributor

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