As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m very big into making the most of my trips especially if that means I get to see multiple cities in the process. Every year for my birthday I usually travel somewhere with a group of friends, but last year I decided I wanted it to be a little more low-key. (I know I’m very late with this blog but better late than never, right?) I had already been to Vegas but I’d been dying to go to San Diego. My friend had just moved to Vegas so it seemed like the perfect excuse to spend a night in Vegas and road trip through California! Anyone who has been to Vegas knows a night there is MORE than enough anyway. I have multiple friends in multiple cities, so I like to take trips to see them when I can. And I had to go to California, because who doesn’t love California weather? While the strip in Vegas is obviously the main attraction, I wanted to find out the less touristy spots when I went for my birthday.
When I was booking my flight to Vegas I used the app Skipplagged for the first time. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s an app where you can find flights with layovers and get the cheaper rate if you are just flying to the layover destination. While this app is undeniably cheap sometimes it’s hard to book roundtrip because the flights often go quickly. I was having a hard time finding a cheap flight to Vegas so I booked a one way for $72 then decided to just fly back from San Diego for $93 so I could maximize the amount of time I spent there since that was the true destination anyways. So, round trip I ended up paying $165. It’s usually easier to find round-trip flights to Vegas from Dallas in low $100-range but for some reason the time I was going I couldn’t find a good deal. We also rented out an apartment for the weekend in San Diego for $170 and that was before we split it between the two of us. I had paid $265 to get to Vegas and California for the weekend including my stay, which was pretty good!
There were a few things I booked before the trip to make sure we weren’t overspending. My job offers discounts and benefits for restaurants sometimes so I was able to buy a $50 Gift certificate for dinner in San Diego for only $6! The terms were that we spent double the certificate amount but it was well worth it because we got to eat and drink for two people at a nice restaurant for so much cheaper! We had $100+ of food and drinks for $25 each! It was perfect for a birthday dinner. Deals like this can also be found on Groupon and Livingsocial if your job doesn’t offer discounts! Definitely take advantage of the great deals where you can find them! We also booked kayaking prior to going for $35 each. So basically by the time we got to San Diego all we had left to pay for was our meals and any other activities we wanted to do, which really didn’t cost much.
When I got to Vegas the first thing we did was eat – shocker. We went to the Bagel Cafe, which by the way had the BIGGEST menu. Their menu was a WHOLE newspaper. I wish I was exaggerating because that would’ve made it a lot easier for me to make a decision on what to order! They literally had almost anything you could think of on that menu. If you’re ever in Vegas you have to try it out just for the big selection. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. After eating we headed to the Fashion Show Mall on Las Vegas Blvd which was as close as we got to the strip during my night there. It had a pretty good selection of stores and surprisingly wasn’t that busy, if you’re on the strip and in need of an outfit definitely go there. At night we headed to Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. It was so much calmer than the strip and actually a lot of fun! I loved that it was a strip with far more to offer than just clubs and drinking. The first thing we did was grab dinner at a little pizza place/bar then we did the Walking Dead Experience which was pretty much a haunted house. That experience was actually a pretty funny story, my friend (who loves scary movies by the way) was SO scared the whole time she dragged me all the way through the haunted house in heels AND the first part of it was an escape room which she panicked and screamed her way out of. I hate scary movies, but I find haunted houses to be amusing to say the least so TO ME IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. We got a good deal to do the Walking Dead Experience and zip-lining, which seemed like a good idea until I got to the top and they clipped me to the zip-line and I chickened out and met my friend at the other end when she was done. Yes, I made her go by herself.. I am terrified of heights. We didn’t stay out too late because we had a nice five-hour drive ahead of us in the morning.
When we finally made it to San Diego we found parking (which downtown doesn’t seem to have a lot of so be prepared to pay for parking) and checked into the apartment we rented for the weekend and headed to go find food. We found a good hole-in-the-wall ramen bar. I love trying new Ramen places when I travel for some reason. They’re always so good, there’s meatless options, it’s a light meal and it’s not expensive. Before I got to San Diego there was a list of things I wanted to do. We didn’t get to see everything because we weren’t there all that long but we stayed right in the midst of the downtown area so it was perfect. The only downside to where we stayed in San Diego was that there was a ton of homeless people, which you can find anywhere but it seemed excessive in the area we stayed in. That night we made our way to Gaslamp, which really impressed me. San Diego had the biggest strip of bars I’ve seen anywhere. It was like five blocks of clubs, bars, and restaurants. When I thought of San Diego I just thought of the beach and nice weather I didn’t even think of their nightlife so it was a pleasant surprise and everything seemed to be within close proximity of each other.
Before I went kayaking so many people told me it would be so relaxing and calm. When I actually did it I learned quickly that the people who told me that usually don’t kayak in the ocean. Had I known that small piece of information, I probably wouldn’t have eaten brunch before going kayaking. I would give you guys more details about brunch but I can’t seem to find the name of the place, but it was located in downtown San Diego and this ONE pancake was so rich and filling. I figured I’d add a picture for you guys anyway because it was part of my experience. But, back to kayaking when we were walking into the water the kayak in front of us flipped over the instructor told us “don’t worry, that won’t happen to you just hop in” with no other instructions. It was a fun experience definitely worth $35 but seasickness is real especially when the water is rough. So I did not make it the whole kayaking tour but the instructors were nice enough to bring us back to shore. TIP: if you’re ever seasick or have motion sickness it to just chew on some ginger! It really helps! But, La Jolla shores had one of the best beaches that I’ve been to in the U.S. I think that was my favorite part of San Diego. TIP TWO: you probably shouldn’t go kayaking in the ocean after brunch, those mimosas really hit you. The water was so cold and refreshing to swim in though! We literally spent the whole day after brunch in the water, falling asleep under the sun, and going back for a little feel of the refreshing water.
In April when I went the weather in San Diego was perfect especially for the beach. It got a little chilly at night so if you’re going around the same time be sure to pack a light jacket just in case. Once we parked we did not move our car almost every corner has scooters and bikes that you can use the app to rent, we didn’t get to use those but it probably would’ve been quicker than Uber. And, like I mentioned above everything was pretty close so we walked a lot of places too. Aside from Kayaking, eating, and walking the strip, we also went to Balboa Park. Unfortunately we went at night so we couldn’t see everything, but it was still so beautiful. San Diego was a really great place to go for a relaxing low-key weekend. It was a perfect mix between relaxing all day and turning up at night. I’ll definitely be back, even if it’s just for the beach.