5 Things to do in San Diego

5 Things to do in San Diego

By Averil Nunes


Legoland in Carlsbad, California has over 60 rides and attractions meant for kids aged 2-12. But if you think you're too grown up for Legoland, think again. Before you  know it you'll be flying a plane, steering your little boat down winding water lanes, tossing a coin in a fountain, getting into a water gun fight with other pirate ships and so much more. Predictably, there are Lego versions of sharks, pirates, dinosaurs and just about anything you can imagine, but perhaps the most fascinating is Miniland, where you'll find everyone from Chewbacca to Yoda plus stunning replicas of the Star Wars battles. Then there are Lego versions of US cities, complete with landmarks and electrified buses that trace a set route. And then of course, there's the Legoland store with just about every lego creation in production that you could imagine. Speaking of production, did we mention that you can walk around the set of the Lego Movie? Well, now you know. There's also a water park, which though pricey seems popular. If you're not visting on a school day, the best time to arrive is as early as possible. For more details visit http://california.legoland.com/

Hit the Beach

With 70 miles of coastline, it would be foolish to walk away without getting some sand in your shoes and soaking up some vitamin D in the Southern Californian sun. The iconic Mission Beach with it's giant wooden roller coaster, the oft forgotten Imperial Beach, the rather-popular-amonst-surfers and college kids Pacific Beach, the surfing scuba diving and kayaking hot spot—La Jolla Shores, the drive-too-fast and you'll miss it Del Mar, Coronado, Moonlight, Oceanside, Ocean Beach... there's a lot to choose from. By most accounts, the shores of Carlsbad appear to be the best place to spend a day with family or do to do some quite reading and to soak up some warmth. The waters on Tamarack beach seem rather cold if you're just going to dip a toe in and run out again. But put on your brave face, wade right in and soon you won't want to step out, especially if the warm June sun rays and beaming down on you. You'll find more about the beaches of San Diego at http://www.sandiego.org/what-to-do/beaches.aspx          

Seaport Village

Open daily between 10 am and 9 pm, the shops and restaurants in the Seaport Village can keep you occupied for quite a while. If you were expecting a real fishing village, you'll be rather disappointed to find out that the 14 acre Seaport Village is no such thing. With biutuques, restuarants and seasonal live music, it was created to attract tourists and it does, but we'd recommend you walk away from here as soon as you've had your fill of art and craft; head towards North Harbour Drive, soaking in the lovely views of the harbour as you walk past. Step aboard the USS Midway Museum (open daily from 10 to 5 pm) anchored in the harbour, which offers an up close look at life on the floating city with tours of its post office, sleeping quarters, engine room and even its jail. You can explore 60 exhibits, view 25 restored aircraft carriers, pilot a simulated flight and then some or you can choose to keep walking along the shore and soak in the sight of seagulls in flight. For details visit http://www.midway.org/ If you choose to keep walking you will eventually reach the Star of India, the world's oldest active sailing ship basking in the golden glow of the setting sun. Read more about her at http://www.sdmaritime.org/star-of-india/   

The Spanish Village

A happy-coloured patchwork of tiles sprawls across the he Spanish Village Art Centre (SVAC) in Balboa National Park, built around 1935–to mimic an old-world Spanish village. Open from 11 am to 4 pm, every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, San Diego’s artists have continued to look after the space and adorn it with art and plants, making for unique entryways as well as interesting nooks and crannies. There's a little pergola at the centre of the courtyard where musicians often strike up a tune. Exquisite nature-based paintings, blown glass sculptures, fine art, ceramic work, metal sculptures, mixed-media pieces, wood art, photographs that look like watercolour paintings, enamel tableware, glass jewellery... you can spend an entire afternoon strolling between the 41 studios that occupy the space and still want to come back for more. With over 200 artisans and crafts persons showcasing their work, there’s a lot you can buy here. But it’s much more than a shopping space with live demos of different types of art, shows by different guilds as well as art and  craft workshops. For more details visit www.spanishvillageart.com

Of lighthouses, explorers and tide pools

Drive out to Point Loma and visit the old lighthouse, which first saw light on 15 November 1855 and is  reportedly one of the first lighthouses on the West Coast. Unfortunately, at 422 feet above sea level, fog and low clouds often obscured its light and on 23 March 1891, its light was extinguished and the keeper moved to a new lighthouse closer to the ocean at the tip of Point Loma. Then walk over to the Cabrillo National Monument, which commemorates João Rodrigues Cabrilho, the first European to set foot on the West Coast of the United States in 1542. From up here you can see Mexico, if the skies are clear of course. You can also spot a dolphin or two in the sea far far below. If you're here at the right time and the tide is out, you can even explore the tide pools along the shore. Research suggests that late fall and winter are the best times to explore the tide pools. As you drive through Cabrillo Drive, you'll pass the Fort Rosecrans National Cementary; there's an air of serenity hanging over the undulating greens—inset with the tombstones aligned with military precision—that sprawl all the way down to the sea. Read more about the lighthouse, Cabrillo monument, tide pools et al at  http://www.nps.gov/cabr/historyculture/old-point-loma-lighthouse.htm  

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