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The Only 5 Day San Diego Itinerary You Need

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This post is about a 5 day itinerary for San Diego.

Self Growth

The Only 5 Day San Diego Itinerary You Need

August 31, 2023

by: Sabrina Lin

Last week, I embarked on a quick getaway to San Diego for a memorable girls’ trip with my mom and sister. With careful planning and enthusiasm, I’ve meticulously put together a day-to-day itinerary that encapsulates the essence of San Diego’s charm and attractions. From culinary delights to beach escapades, cultural exploration to retail therapy, this itinerary ensures that every moment is filled with adventure and bonding, allowing us to make the most of our cherished time together.

Day 1 in San Diego: Coronado Island

As soon as we landed in San Diego, we headed to Tajima Ramen East Village for a big hearty bowl of noodles. With over 1,900 reviews on Google, this spot is definitely a must if you are craving dishes such as Chicken Karaage, Pork Chashu Bowl, and Creamy Chicken Ramen, and more! Afterwards, we made our way to our Airbnb where we got ready for the rest of the late afternoon and evening. 

We made our way down to Coronado Island, a true highlight of the day. The island’s crown jewel, Coronado Beach, welcomed us with its inviting shores, where we sunbathed and leisurely strolled. During our time there, we visited Hotel del Coronado, a 130-year-old hotel woven with stories of dignitaries, celebrities, royalty, and even the supernatural. As one of the most haunted hotels in the United States, paranormal researchers from around the world have attempted to spend a night in the haunted room (now renamed to Room 3227). However, for me, that was a hard PASS.

As the sun began to set, we went to The Henry for a dinner experience that combines a casual atmosphere with flavorsome dishes, which ended the day on a high note.

Day 2 in San Diego: Little Italy

The morning began with a leisurely brunch at Coco Maya; their interior decor seamlessly blends modern elegance with tropical charm. The menu at Coco Maya masterfully combined Latin American and Caribbean flavors, presenting an array of beautifully presented dishes. 

The journey then led to Little Italy, a vibrant hub of Italian heritage, followed by a visit to the Little Italy Mercato Farmer’s Market.. We ended up picking up some fresh fruit and vegetables for our dinner that evening!

The day concluded at the Rooftop Cinema Club, where we had the opportunity to nestle into comfortable lounge chairs in a rooftop setting. “50 First Dates” was playing this evening, and even though I had seen it multiple times before, its charm remained undiminished. After all, who can resist an Adam Sandler rom-com?!

Day 3 in San Diego: Balboa Park

Balboa Park took the spotlight, offering greenery and cultural sites to explore. Balboa Park has a multitude of museums, art galleries, and historical sites. It provided a tranquil escape, offering a perfect setting for leisurely strolls or peaceful picnics.

For lunch, we stopped by Panama 66 (inside the park) because of its inviting lunch options like Soba Salad, the Hummus Board, and Braised Short Ribs. They also have outdoor seating where you can enjoy live music- you can view the upcoming calendar here

As the sun set, we headed over to Harumama Noodles + Buns where they have the most adorable savory and sweet buns in the shapes of a puppy, chicken, and more! We ended the night with drinks at The Nolen, where the city lights created a magical ambiance that could be perfect for family, a date night, or even for a girls’ night.

Day 4 in San Diego: La Jolla

We start off with an at-home brunch before heading out for the day’s adventures. We drove up to La Jolla, where we went on a coastal adventure and explored the town. . It was the perfect day for paddle boarding for a couple hours. After our escapade, we ventured into the charming town, discovering its quaint boutiques, art galleries, and inviting cafes.

For dinner, we walked over to Duke’s La Jolla where their dinner menu celebrates the flavors of the ocean with a touch of Hawaiian inspiration. We ordered the Poke Tacos to share and then the Wild Mushroom and Spinach Ravioli as my entree. The ambiance complements the coastal cuisine, providing a warm and relaxed atmosphere with panoramic ocean views that make every bite an immersive experience of both taste and sight. 

Day 5 in San Diego: Fashion Valley

Finally, the day us girls have been waiting for: shopping day! Fashion Valley, a bustling shopping district, takes center stage, promising retail therapy and exploration.  The shopping district is home to an array of high-end luxury brands (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, etc.) and popular mainstream retailers like Zara, H&M, Apple, and more!

There are recognizable well-known restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen which offer your favorite comfort foods. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, True Food Kitchen provides a health-conscious menu that blends flavors and nutrition seamlessly.

Since we’re from Canada, a visit to Trader Joe’s is always a must and it adds a touch of nostalgic delight to the day. 

We ended the trip with a relaxing home-made dinner at home!

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