Touring San Diego

 

Rich and I had a great mini-vacation in San Diego last weekend. We stayed at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, which was absolutely beautiful. It is right on the bay (obviously), and in between the convention center and Petco Park (where the Padres play), near lots of shops and restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter. Only a ten-minute cab ride from the airport, too!

We landed in San Diego around 10:30 pm local time (1:30 am Philadelphia time), so it was straight to bed the first night of our trip. But the next morning, we looked out of our 26th-story window to this view of Coronado:

The hotel is beautiful, and the details are what make it so lovely. It is so nice to be right next to the water (literally, you walk out the back doors of the hotel and on the other side of the sidewalk is the bay).

 

After a tasty breakfast from the hotel’s buffet (Vela), we decided to buy tickets for the Old Town Trolley Tour. This was a fun way to get an overview of the city, complete with the requisite corny jokes made by the different drivers. The trolley stopped right at our hotel, so we got on and rode over the bridge to Coronado.

On the way, we saw some boats parked (I know that’s not the right word…docked? anchored? That’s probably it) in the bay:

 

 And a nice view of the San Diego skyline:

When we got to Balboa Park, we decided to hop off to visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The park itself is worth exploring, though. We wandered through a cactus garden

Cactus Gardenand I was tempted to adopt a tiny lizard running around on the ground (Joel is obsessed with geckos and even though it wasn’t a gecko, Joel wouldn’t have known the difference). Then we headed to the zoo, where we met pandas and we even got to hold a baby! No, really! Look!

Holding a panda at the San Diego Zoo

And Rich even convinced me to go on the Sky Ride. Now, I am usually deathly afraid of things like this. But not having the kids to worry about climbing out made it less terrifying. Although I will neither confirm nor deny that my hands were sweating the whole time.

After the zoo, we got back on the trolley to complete the rest of the loop. We got off briefly at the Old Town stop, then explored the Maritime Museum, where we walked through the Star of India (which looks just like a pirate ship. Aarrrrgh!)

Star of India

We headed back to the hotel to sit in the hot tub for a while. One thing I noticed about the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, and really, the entire city, was that there were tons of kids around. It’s quite a family-friendly hotel, with a nice big pool facing the bay, cabanas you can rent for the day, and such a convenient location for touring. It was a noticable difference from when we visited San Francisco three years ago, and we noticed that there were not a lot of children around.

That night, our concierge got us reservations at the famous Hotel del Coronado for dinner. He told us that it’s the only place in San Diego where you can eat outside, facing the ocean. We had a delicious dinner (the Diver Scallops were divine) and then I had to go stick my feet in the Pacific. Coooooollld! But at least I can say I did it, right?

And while we were livin’ it up, our four kids were having a great time with my parents. They spent the day outside, roller-blading at the park, having a snack picnic, and riding bikes. But their highlight was when Grandma let them go down the hill, collect some rocks, and then bring them back and wash them off with the garden hose. It’s the simple things, really!

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