When I asked you guys on Tuesday on my Instagram stories if you’d like a San Diego Travel Guide, most of you said yes! While I am no means a travel expert, I’ve lived here for ~14 years, so I know a thing or two about this place. I was going back and forth on whether to include the cliche, touristy things like Belmont Park and the zoo, but decided against it because I’m sure you already know to hit those places up. So, this guide will mostly be focused on places to eat (duh) and some fitness related things to do! Let’s dive (or should I say dig?) in 🙂
I feel incredibly blessed to have a gym at my house (we converted the master bedroom into a gym since my parents and I are workout fanatics), so I never have to drive anywhere, which is so convinent given the fact that I workout at 4:30 AM during the school year. However, recently I’ve been super into going out and finding new workouts to do, and I’ve been OBSESSED.
Studio Barre Encinitas is by far my favorite class workout. Say what you want about Barre, but I love it, and this studio is five minutes from my house. It’s located in Encinitas, tucked away in a plaza that also includes a Burger King and frozen yogurt place (ironic, I know). All the teachers are helpful with form and technique, and the environment is super supportive. Overall, it’s my favorite studio!
When it comes to yoga, my favorite place is Yoga Bergamot. Yoga Bergamot is an all donation based yoga studio, and is in a tiny spa off the coast. The class size ranges from 5-15 people, with one instructor. When I was first getting into yoga, I went to CorePower, but after trying this place out, I cannot go back. The instructors are very personal with you, and they feel more like friends. Most of the classes are 90 minutes-2 hours, and you pay on what you feel the class deserves. I cannot recommend this place enough!!
As for hiking, I have two places that I take everyone to. The first is the “Torrey Pines Hike”, which is located at Torrey Pines State Beach. This isn’t really a hike, because if you park on the beach (I recommend), it’s roughly ~⅓ mile uphill and then flatland/downhill the rest of the way. But, it’s a gorgeous beach view (I end up walking back to my car on the beach everytime!) and my favorite place to go when I want to get out of the house with my friends. It’s perfect for beginners or people who want to see the beach.
Then, there is Potato Chip Rock, which is roughly a ~6 mile hike, plus one mile to get back to the parking lot. Potato chip is an all uphill, no shade hike, so it’s not for beginners. However, as someone who loves hiking, I can’t reccomend it enough- the view is worth it, and you get to stand on the “potato chip rock” for some quality, touristy photos.
Okay, I’ll get onto why you’re really here! I will give this warning: I live more up north, so I don’t go down south too often. I’m including some healthy and “unhealthy”/ normal places to eat, because there are some quality restaurants that you should check out regardless of the healthy benefit (and it’s healthy to eat unhealthy sometimes- remember that!)
San Diego is lucky enough to have a Cafe Gratitude here, which is an all vegan, healthy resturant with to die for buddha bowls, entrees, desserts, and more! It’s located near the airport, so if you want one last SD meal or a great dish to kick off your vacation, it’s right there for you! I love the Mucho Bowl, Blackened Tempeh Caesar wrap, and the Sourthern Soul Food.
We also have a True Food Kitchen, which is down at Fashion Valley (the best mall in San Diego!). This place offers incredible vegetarian, vegan, and meat dishes, so there’s something for everyone! The drive is worth it, people. I like the Seasonal Ingredient Salad, Grilled Fish Tacos, and the Roasted Artichoke pizza! My mom got the Smoked Turkey Wrap last time we went and she loved it as well.
If you’re like me and live more up north, then Flower Child is for you. It’s similar to True Food Kitchen, but the menu is to die for!
One of my favorite brunch cafe’s is Claire’s On Cedro’s, which is an adorable resturant with great brunch, salads, and more! My best friend lives walking distance from here, so her and I love meeting up for brunch here and then walking down to the beach. My favorite “sweet” brunch here are the lemon ricotta pancakes, and my savory is the Salmon Cake Benedict (no sauce). For lunch, I love the grilled salmon salad! You can’t make reservations for this place, so you may have to wait a bit. But… WORTH IT.
Now, all these restaurants are amazing, but my ALL TIME favorite place is Good on Ya Organic! This place is AMAZING- from the kombucha on tap to the latte options (YES) to all the amazing breakfast dishes, i would eat every meal here if I could. Oh, and they have Perfect Bars for sale AND use Nuttzo for their nut butter!! I LOVE the protein latte (Double espresso, collagen, mesquite and honey steamed with your choice of cashew milk!!!!!!), the veggie breakfast bowl with poached eggs, the classic avocado toast with poached eggs (pictured below- this one has feta but now I stick to no cheese) and the kitchen sink salad! Plus, the owners are so sweet and everything is local and/or organic!
Another great restaurant that’s more on the sit down side is Ki’s Restaurant in Cardiff! If you reserve, you can get an ocean view, and the food is great. There’s usually a crowd, which is why I like taking it to go and eating it on the beach. Whenever my parents have guests in town, they take them here for the great food and better view 😉 My favorite things here are the Banana Nut Buckwheat Pancakes (SO GOOD- they got me hooked on buckwheat!), Spicy NomNom Bowl with tempeh, and the Butternut Squash Enchiladas!
Oh, and we cannot forget about dessert! If you’ve been on the internet in the past six months or so, then you’re bound to know what Pressed Juicery is. Luckly, there are two locations in San Diego- one in Carlsbad, and one in La Jolla at the UTC Mall. I love getting the vanilla chocolate swirl freeze with almond butter, fresh fruit, and cacao. If I remember, I bring my own granola to top it off 🙂
If you’re in the mood for quality, authentic french food that doesn’t seem too generic, then French Corner is for you! Located on the corner along the coast, this cafe is owned by a local french lady, and everything is made fresh daily. I’ve gotten their quiche from there, along with some crepes and pastries- all are delicious! Plus, the simple ingredients make the dishes light and not too sweet, but still decadent. Oh, they also have almond milk lattes- WIN.
If you’re in the mood for some make your own pizza, then I recommend Urban Pi. The dough is made right in front of you, and they have countless topping options. I love getting a white pizza with olive oil, ricotta and feta cheese, and tons of veggies! They also offer vegan cheese, and have great salads as well.
Since this is California, seafood is a must. My favorite seafood place is Poseidon Del Mar, which is located right on the beach and has tons of options. They have vegetarian dishes, sandwiches and burgers, classic seafood plates, salads, and delicious appetizers! Plus, the view is worth the price. I like their salmon and quinoa salad, calamari sandwich (get the fries- they may be the best part), and their chips + salsa as an appetizer is perfect. Oh, and I highly recommend making a reservation to make sure you get an ocean view.
Speaking of chips and salsa… this is San Diego, so that means Mexican food is a must. My friend took me to Fidels last week, and I’m hooked! Hands down some of the best Mexican food in San Diego. The complimentary chips and salsa are ADDICTING, and I can down a whole basket easily. The setting is very authentic and while it’s hard to find (and parking is a nightmare, which is why parking across the street is best), the place is worth it. My friend loves the chicken tortilla soup and steak burrito, while I like the shrimp tacos 🙂 Honestly, everything here is good, so if you’re in the mood for high quality Mexican food, this is your place.
But… when you don’t feel like spending tons of money, Mexico Viejo is the place for you. While I love Fidels, this spot holds a special place in my heart as the best Mexican food in San Diego. It’s cheap, authentic, and DELICIOUS. Most of the people who eat there are locals, and most of the the locations are hole in the wall type places, so it may be a little hard to find. They have locations in Encinitas, Carlsbad, Vista, and a few more I think. Anyways, one of the places is 10 minutes from my house, and I ate there every Friday night/Saturday morning (with leftovers Sunday morning of course 😉 ) for ten years. By no means is it “healthy”- it’s your typical fast food, cheap and delicious Mexican food, but boy is it tasty. I LOVE the shrimp tacos, but my all time go to is the egg + cheese burrito (their tortilla’s are on another level) and their cheese quesadilla… OH MY GOD I want to write a love letter to that thing. Like I said, eating healthy means eating unhealthy sometimes, and Mexico Viejo is my favorite place to be truly healthy.
Lastly, I want to talk about Board and Brew, which every San Diegan knows as the best sandwiches around! But, I’m going to be honest- while the sandwiches are great, you can easily make them at home. What takes them over the top and makes Board and Brew worth the visit is the SAUCE. Their sauce is out of this world, and words cannot describe how delicious it is. I get the veggie sandwich and LOAD it up with the sauce- such a great lunch option.
I hope this travel guide helps you in any way! Again, I wanted to stray away from telling you what and what not to do, and really focus on the best food places here. While there are some that I missed, these are my favorite, so i hope they help! If you visit San Diego and try any of these places, take a photo and send it to me on Instagram @tennishealthfitness!
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