Julia Weiler

Correspondent

  • San Diego, California, USA

Julia Weiler is a correspondent who covers San Diego for Forbes Travel Guide. Her wanderlust has lead her on far-flung adventures, like housesitting in Fiji, backpacking through Southeast Asia, road-tripping in Mexico and building homes in Papua New Guinea with Habitat for Humanity. Her stories are published in an award-winning series of humorous travel anthologies, including Whose Panties Are These?, What Color Is Your Jockstrap? and More Sand in My Bra (the latter of which she co-edited). Weiler contributes to Ocean Home Magazine and is a correspondent for the website Wine and Dine San Diego. When not wandering or writing, she likes surfing Southern California’s best breaks.

  • On May 31, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best bars in San Diego?

    If you want to sip suds at one of the best beer bars in San Diego be sure to tap into Blind Lady Ale House.   The bartenders take the art of serving craft draft very seriously at Blind Lady.  They’re all about the perfect pour, which they accomplish with painstaking attention to the details. 

    They begin with a direct draw system that ensures your beer is sourced fresh from the keg rather than the line.  The suds land in a just-rinsed glass specifically selected to cradle the aroma and flavors of your artisanal ale as the brewer intended.   The glassware even comes labeled with a fill line so that you know you’re getting an honest pour, but also leaves room at the top for some beautiful foam.  Last but not least, each beer is served at precisely the correct temperature for the ultimate beer-drinking experience.

    *****

    Swankier than your standard bar, the Vodka Lounge at 333 Pacific serves top-shelf martinis in a lux ocean-front setting for the slick price of only $7 each.  Sip on dessert-inspired drinks like Key Lime Pie and Toasted Macaroon for a sweet treat with a kick or opt for the 120 Cosmo, a lo-cal “skinny” cocktail that’s fat on flavor. 

    Pair your aperitif with savory seafood canapés expertly prepared by Chef Bryon Hyre.  Choose from an assortment of sumptuous sushi rolls or pick a spicy platter of crab, shrimp and lobster nachos.  If you visit the lounge during happy hour you can snack on a selection of seven appetizers such as calamari and ceviche for a mere $7 per. 

    While the martinis are always $7each in the Vodka Lounge the venue offers weekly specials as well.  Slip in on Sundays for the seafood special paired with a stem of bubbly for $14 or meander in on Mondays for microbrew madness with pints like Stone Pale Ale offered at $4 per pour.  Thursdays are burger and brew themed with 3 Kobe beef sliders combined with a flight of 3 craft drafts for $15.

    The Vodka Lounge at 333 Pacific is located in beautiful Oceanside just a stone throw away from wide palm-lined beaches.  Look for the Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort across from the historic wooden pier.  The lounge and restaurant are situated on the resort’s first floor at 333 N. Pacific Street, Oceanside CA 92054.

    *****

    Located in the fashionable Cedros Avenue Design District in artsy Solana Beach, the internationally admired Belly Up Tavern is one of the coolest concert venues and watering holes in all of San Diego.  Lauded for its longtime history of bringing popular performers to the area, Belly Up has consistently won the vote for “Best Live Music Venue” in local publications such as San Diego Magazine, the Union Tribune and The Reader.

    The voguish venue is known for hosting a wide array of entertainers ranging from contemporary artists like newcomer Tristan Prettyman, to well-established and much-loved musicians such as Ziggy Marley and old school favorite B.B. King.  The trendy tavern tends to attract a hip crowd which often includes celebrities.  Prince Harry was recently spotted at the club where he had a royal good time hanging with locals and grooving to San Diego’s best beats.  Rolling Stone Magazine named Belly Up as one of the west coast’s hottest clubs.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best restaurants in San Diego?

    San Diego boasts a robust microbrewery scene and nothing goes better with those artisan suds than gourmet comfort food.  One of the best places to sip and nibble them both is at Sublime Ale House in San Marcos. 

    The restaurant features 56 glittering taps that pour a wide and ever-changing range of San Diego craft drafts such as Alesmith Old Numbskull Barley Wine or Green Flash Grand Cru.  Available by pint, tulip or flight, there’s a brew on tap to please just about any palate.

    Partner you pilsner or IPA with foodie favorites like pizzas and truffle fries, or choose from 9 types of mind-blowing mac-n-cheese varieties such as Ecstasy made with gorgonzola béchamel, bacon, mushrooms, red pepper, garlic and thyme.  Sublime has 7 different grilled cheese sandwiches on offer as well.  From the old fashioned Original to the fiery Jalepeño Popper, each one is made with thick cut of house-made bread and is grilled to golden perfection.

    *****

    Situated within the penthouse level of The Centre at Lexus Escondido, Vintana Wine + Dine blends an unusual location and amazing panoramic mountain views with mouthwatering California cuisine from one of San Diego’s most celebrated Chefs, Executive Chef Deborah Scott.  The venue features 20,000 square feet of glamorous space, which includes a retail wine shop, an expansive dining room with windows that soar from ceiling to floor, and an enormous lanai complete with its own bar, dining tables and fire pits flanked by plush sofas and club chairs.

    Guests of the lux lounge can experience a wide array of top-shelf vodka martinis paired with small plates such as Chef Deborah’s nut crusted Brie, bacon wrapped dates, and shrimp-filled sweet corn fritters.  During social hour, which takes place from 2:30pm to 6:30pm daily, guests can enjoy high-end martinis for a mere $7 each and choose from a selection of seven appetizers offered at only $7 per.  They can then proceed to the glitzy dining room and savor signature surf and turf offerings such as pan seared mahi mahi or Vintana’s filet trio with bone marrow butter and a mélange of seasonal mushrooms.

    If you go, be sure to save room for Chef Deborah’s tempting desserts such as sweet tater pie with bourbon pecan ice cream and chili caramel sauce.  Vintana Wine + Dine is located at 1205 Auto Park Way in Escondido.   Lunch takes place from 11:30 am to 2:30pm.  Dinner is served nightly from 5pm.  If you plan to dine on the weekend be sure to book your table in advance by calling 760 745 7777.

    *****

    Celebrity chef and restaurateur Brian Malarkey of ABC’s The Taste and Bravo’s Top Chef fame boasts a collection of eclectic yet undeniably popular eateries in San Diego County.  While they share the commonality of fabric-themed names and the concept of providing a social dining experience, each restaurant is unique when it comes to atmosphere and menu. 

    Malarkey’s Searsucker, located in the hip and historic Gaslamp Quarter, is a favorite among San Diegans.  The bustling eatery dishes out contemporary American comfort food in a laid-back environment featuring rustic furnishings, open beams and architectural salvage pieces. 

    Also in the family, Burlap brings Malarkey’s penchant for unique ambiance and delicious eats to the seaside town of Del Mar.  Described by Brian himself as “Asian cowboy” the cuisine consists of surf and turf items presented with bold Asian twists.  The East meets West theme is also reflected in the restaurant’s quirky décor.

    The cowboy premise continues at Malarkey’s Gingham in La Mesa.  The neighborhood eatery touts itself as an “urban cowboy diner” and piles its plates with BBQ meats partnered with local craft drafts.  Decked out with a duo of bulky bars and a spacious patio built around a fire pit, it is a popular place to dine both indoors and out.

    Gabardine is the fourth fabric-themed eatery and is located in Point Loma where Malarkey also resides.  The concept for this venue is based on creating the atmosphere of a “neighborhood kitchen” where diners can “gab, bar and dine” in a relaxed and cozy environment.  The menu is made up of small and large plates featuring local produce and seafood along with side dishes meant for sharing.

    Last but not least, Herringbone in ocean-close La Jolla is Malarkey’s most recent venture.  The venue pays homage to its seaside location with an eclectic mix of décor that makes guests feel as if they are eating dinner in someone’s private bohemian beach house.  Mature olive trees, cozy sofas and fireplaces add to the homey charm while creative menu items from land and sea delight palates.

    *****

    If you are looking for fine dining, the best restaurants in San Diego are Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Addison, which is tucked into The Grand Del Mar, and Four-Star A.R. Valentien in The Lodge at Torrey Pines. At Addison, chef William Bradley crafts a prix-fixe seasonal menu with dishes featuring local ingredients and contemporary French influences. At A.R. Valentien, chef Jeff Jackson also focuses on fresh, local ingredients, but he turns out contemporary American fare. Both of them are great fine-dining spots.

    Located in the heart of downtown San Diego’s ultra-hip Gaslamp Quarter, Gaijin Noodle + Sake House takes the trend of Asian fusion and raises it to the level of culinary artwork.  Chef Antonio Friscia, while gaijin indeed, has a firm grip on preparing authentic Japanese cuisine.  It is this knowledge which allows him to bend the rules and mingle traditional dishes with other Asian elements for some seriously savory synthesis.

    Only the best and freshest local ingredients go into chef Friscia’s dishes and he takes the time to get his recipes just right.  His lobster and veggie infused dashis, for example, take him upwards of three days to craft which is evidenced in the exquisite broths of his ramen bowls and uni green tea soba noodles.   Another treat for taste buds is his “tongue & cheek” bao bao which offers a lot of bang for the bun with a spicy filling of braised beef tongue and cheek with peanuts, tamarind, jalepeño, cilantro and red rock sugar.

    Guests can wash it all down with sake or cool cocktails made with house-infused vodkas and kakigori, a type of Japanese shaved ice.  Be sure to save room for a sweet finish of mocha or green tea tiramisu.  Gaijin is located at 672 Fourth Avenue in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    Where is the best shopping in San Diego?

    For serene shopping in a seaside-setting visit Del Mar Plaza in the village of Del Mar.  The al fresco marketplace has plenty of gems to uncover.  Peruse the inspiring art photography at Michael Seewald Gallery or shop for canvases brushed with ocean-inspired shades of acrylic at the Erik Scholdberg Gallery.

    Discover fine additions for your wardrobe at classic clothiers such as Chico’s and Banana Republic, or search for edgier styles like a leather Muubaa biker jacket, or a trendy jumper by LA designer Eva Franco at Peaches en Regalia.

    Take a break from browsing with a meal at one of the Plaza’s many ocean-view dining venues.   For dim sum and then some choose Del Mar Rendezvous.  Enjoy modern Chinese cuisine such as crispy duck wraps or walnut shrimp complemented by sake or a glass of wine.

    Del Mar Plaza is located at 1555 Camino Del Mar and is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 9pm, and Sundays from 11am until 6pm.

    *****

    For a truly unique shopping experience head just a few miles northwest of downtown San Diego to the Ocean Beach Antique District.  Located on Newport Avenue, the district spans two pedestrian-friendly blocks and was named “best antique shopping” by San Diego Magazine.  The assortment of malls and shops offers an exciting mecca for treasure hunters and collectors alike.  It is also a coveted source of vintage décor and unique furnishing for local high-end interior designers.

    Visit Vignettes and be transported to Paris of yesteryear.  Shop for French sofas and settees clad in faded satin or curvy serpentine dressers awash in peeling pastel paint.  Among the shabby chic finds you’ll discover glitzy gilt mirrors and glamorous chandeliers draped with glittering crystals.  More than 24 dealers of European antiquities contribute to Vignette’s alluring collection.  The inventory is ever changing and is always beautifully staged.

    For classic collectables such as old-timey toys, retro estate jewelry and vintage dishes look no further than the Ocean Beach Antique Mall.  This is the oldest antique mall in Ocean Beach and is home to an almost overwhelming stock of unique nostalgia.  Peruse the assortment and come away with intricate silverware, one-of-a-kind oil paintings, and whimsical hats adorned with rhinestones and feathers.  Plan to spend a good chunk of time here, as there is plenty to see.

    The district has plenty of parking and is open seven days a week.  Plan to spend an entire day exploring this unique bevvy of boutiques, shops and malls.  Nearby cafes and coffee shops will keep you fueled for the adventure.

    *****

    Shoppers in search of high fashion at low prices will be thrilled to discover San Diego’s treasure trove of outlet malls.  Top-end designers and leading brand-name stores can be found conveniently clustered together in San Diego’s South Bay and Coastal North County.  Fashionistas who shop these stylish centers are rewarded with haute couture at discounts between 25 - 65%.

    An excursion to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets in Coastal North County is well worth the drive.  The outlet mall, located in the serene seaside town of Carlsbad, offers a lovely al fresco shopping experience complete with lush landscaping, beautiful storefronts and occasional live music.  Enjoy the ocean air as you stroll the breezeways seeking steals from designers such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors and Elie Tahari.

    Las Americas Premium Outlets in San Diego’s South Bay is another gorgeous outdoor outlet mall.  Savor budget-savvy shopping sprees surrounded by elegant architecture, statuesque sculptures and beautiful courtyards dotted by bubbling fountains.  Visitors will delight in the vast array of discounted fashion from top-end brands such as Banana Republic, BCBG Max Azria and Nautica.

    *****

    The seaside resort town of La Jolla is arguably one of the best and most pleasant places to shop in San Diego.  Often compared to Rodeo Drive, the La Jolla Cove neighborhood is an affluent area that is home to several hip shops and high-end boutiques.   Stroll the stylish sidewalks and discover cutting-edge jewelry, one of a kind outfits and lavish labels from designers like Armani and Ralph Lauren.  When you tire of hunting for haute fashion cool your well-heeled feet at one of La Jolla’s open-air cafés.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best activities to do in San Diego?

    While San Diego has enough activities to keep residents and visitors occupied year-round, summertime evokes even more possibilities.  One of the best ways to get in on the action is to stay at one of the county’s many fine resorts where outdoor recreation and special events are tailored to take advantage of long sunny days and warm balmy nights.

    Guests of The Grand Del Mar will delight in the triple Five-Star resort’s summer activities lineup.  Sip espresso and nibble biscotti under the stars as you view Italian movies in an al fresco setting with “Cinema Sotta Le Stelle”, or compete in a glow-in-the-dark golf-driving contest at The Grand’s Tom Fazio-designed course.   Guests and non-guests alike can enjoy outdoor performances by world-class musicians during the Summer Concerts at The Grand series.

    If boat-based adventures are more your thing, consider staying at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina where you can enjoy discounted rates on sailing and motor-yacht cruises.  Sail with Jada Charters and explore the bay aboard a 1938, 65-foot Philip Rhodes Yawl, or enjoy cocktails and canapés from the luxurious decks of The Inspiration, a fully restored 63-foot mahogany motor yacht. 

    For family-friendly activities that make a real splash plan a vacation at Paradise Point Resort & Spa.  Located on a private island in Mission Bay, the resort has a tropical island feel and unparalleled access to the water.  Kids can get in on the resort’s abundance of aquatic adventures by enrolling in Watersports Camp.  The fun-filled program offers five days of wake boarding, surfing and jet skiing excitement on the water.

    *****

    San Diego’s mild climate and plentiful sunshine make it a perfect place to grow agricultural crops and raise livestock.  As a result, the area’s Farmer’s Markets offer a bounty of unique local products ranging from farmstead-fresh fruits and veggies to artisan cheeses, gourmet honeys, fragrant herbs and bouquets of blooming flowers.

    These homegrown marketplaces are a treat to explore for locals and visitors alike, and at least one takes place somewhere in the county every day of the week.  Growers from more than 6,600 San Diego farms flock to these Farmer’s Markets to mingle with shoppers, lend insight into their agricultural practices and vend the cream of their crops directly to the customer. 

    Along with fresh ingredients such as produce, meat and dairy, a wide array of prepared foods is also available for purchase.  Street treats such as grilled artichokes or salads of field greens dressed with heirloom tomato vinaigrette are among the offerings.  Other items such as fresh salsas, hummus and olive tapenades are available to enjoy on site or to take home for later.  Best of all, most booths offer samples.

    Many of the markets feature live music, handmade crafts, clothing and artwork and community workshops such as cooking demonstrations, home gardening techniques and more.  For a complete list of San Diego’s markets as well as location, days and times, please visit Farm Bureau of San Diego.

    *****

    Wandering through San Diego’s vastly diverse neighborhoods is a great way to explore the city.  From the rollicking energy of the Gaslamp Quarter to the quaint charms of Little Italy here are three must-visit vicinities:

    • The Gaslamp Quarter

    Known for it’s lively vibe, stylish shopping, trendy restaurants and hipster-studded nightlife, this slick cosmopolitan neighborhood is an exciting place to spend the day.  Best explored by foot, the historic neighborhood encompasses 16-square blocks of Victorian-era buildings that house a wide array of art galleries, boutiques, pubs, theatres, nightclubs and museums.  The name “Gaslamp Quarter” stems from the gas lamps that once dotted San Diego’s streets.  Be sure to scout out their replicas as you stroll this cool community. 


    • Little Italy

    This sweet and scenic hillside neighborhood was once a sleepy Italian fishing village.  While much of the vintage charm and architecture still exists today it has become a bustling downtown neighborhood comprised of 46 pleasantly walk-able blocks with plenty to do and see.  India Street, the town’s main thoroughfare features tree-lined plazas, public art installations, groovy galleries and intriguing shops filled with antique treasures.  Be sure to stop in at one of the sidewalk cafés to dine on authentic Italian cuisine al fresco.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Little Italy on a Saturday don’t miss out on the fresh fish, fruit and veggies for sale at the famous Farmer’s Mercato. 


    • Old Town

    This captivating Mission-style neighborhood is rich with charm and history.  It’s the eldest developed area of San Diego and is considered to be the birthplace of California.  The town pays homage to its significant antiquity with a collection of original and reconstructed buildings from the 1800’s including historic adobe casas, restored Victorian houses and San Diego’s very first public schoolhouse.  Museums and parks round out the historic attractions while lively shopping centers and festive Mexican eateries add modern-day flair to the Old Town experience.
  • On May 31, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best attractions in San Diego?

    Theme parks, rolling surf, and sun-drenched strands of sand are classic San Diego attractions.  At Belmont Park in Mission Beach, families can enjoy all three.  The historic seaside amusement park offers fun for all ages with a collection of midway-style games, shopping and dining venues, and classic thrill rides. 

    Go for a jaunt on the vintage Giant Dipper roller coaster and experience quick curves, steep peaks and exhilarating drops, or board the Beach Blaster and get launched 60 feet in the air for an electrifying swing ride with jaw-dropping ocean views.

    For aquatic adventures visit Wave House where you can get wet while testing your surfing skills on simulated ocean breaks.  Dry off for a round of laser tag and video games at Rush then navigate the rope and rock wall courses at Sky Ropes and Sky Climb.

    Refuel at the food court with snacks like pizza, burgers and ice cream then grab some beachy souvenirs such as sunglasses and seashells from the Belmont shopping kiosks.  Parking and general admittance to the park is free.  Rides are ticketed, other attractions are charged per experience or by the hour.

    *****

    This sun-drenched city by the bay has so much to offer that it’s difficult to decide which attractions to put on your must-see list.  Even so, there is one standout that should not be missed.  Located on the North Embarcadero in downtown San Diego, the Maritime Museum of San Diego harbors one of the world’s greatest gatherings of carefully restored and meticulously maintained historic ships, many of which still operate today. 

    The prized collection includes The Star of India, a steel-hulled wooden sailing vessel.  Built in 1863, this National Historic Landmark spans an impressive sparred length of 280 feet and has a 35-foot beam.  During its lifetime, the Star of India circumnavigated the globe 21 times, weathered a cyclone, survived a collision and experienced a mutiny.  Museum guests may step aboard and explore this amazing vessel, which is the oldest active sailing ship in the world.  

    Along with several other sailing ships, the maritime menagerie includes fine examples of steam-powered boats like the Berkeley, an 1898 steam ferryboat from San Francisco, and submarines such as the USS Dolphin, which is the deepest diving submarine in the world.  People can explore these and other fascinating historic vessels during their visit to the museum.

    Other highlights include permanent and temporary exhibits on maritime history, commerce and exploration.  The venue also hosts occasional public events such as Pirate Days and the wildly popular Festival of Sail. For further information including museum hours, ticket sales and scheduled events please visit The Maritime Museum of San Diego.

    *****

    Whether it's Spring Break or Summer Vacation, families flock to San Diego County’s wide array of kid-friendly amusement parks.  Whether your clan is looking to get wet, commune with marine life, befriend zoo critters or get lost amidst life-sized LEGOS, there’s something fun for everyone in sunny San Diego.

    • Located in the North County town of Carlsbad, LEGOLAND California is the building block of every LEGO-lovers' dream come true.  The theme park is home to an exciting mix of rides, alluring shows and electrifying attractions geared towards kids aged 2-12.  Featured attractions include a wet and wild "Water Park", the medieval charms of "Castle Hills", swarthy fun at "Pirate Shores" and the intriguing "Land of Adventure".

    • SeaWorld San Diego makes a big splash with families wishing to peruse and play with marvelous marine life.  Spectacular shows like “Shamu Rocks” and “Sea Lions LIVE” feature performances by superstars of the sea while interactive exhibits such as “Shark Encounter” and “Turtle Reef” offer up-close interactions with  incredible creatures of the deep.  Exciting rides such as the “Manta Ray” roller coaster and “Journey to Atlantis” round out the rollicking fun.

    • The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park are two separate but related attractions which house impressive animals from around the world.  Visit the Zoo and immerse yourself in the “Lost Forest” for exotic jungle encounters with monkeys, apes and hippos in a tropical environment or embark on a grand expedition along the open plains of the Safari Park and feel at one with lions, Wildebeests, giraffes and zebras.
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  • On April 30, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What’s San Diego’s dining scene like?

    Photo courtesy of West Steak and Seafood San Diego is blessed with prime weather for growing fruits, vegetables and herbs.  These temperate conditions are also ideal for raising livestock.  As a result, the area is home to a vast array of farms, fields and other agricultural enterprises.  With this bounty so readily available, San Diegans have come to expect their favorite restaurants to source their ingredients as close to home as possible.  Most do so by visiting the myriad of local Farmers Markets or by forming close working relationships with organic suppliers such as Suzie's Farm

    Some Chefs take it a step further, however, and plant their very own garden of eatin’.  Executive Chef Eugenio Martignago of Bistro West and West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad is a prime example.  Located just a few miles from the restaurants, The West Produce Farm is Chef Eugenio’s culinary pride and joy.  He often begins and ends his day at the farm where he tends and observes the organic crops that inspire his seasonal menu creations.  Artichokes, broccoli and bok choy are among his fall plantings while spring sews crops such as snow peas, beets and pumpkin. 

    Gourmet field greens such as escarole, endive and arugula are other gems of the field along with rows of delectable herbs such as rosemary, tarragon and lemon verbena.  Chef Eugenio recently added fruit trees, berries and fruiting vines to his plot.  His harvest finds its way from to farm to fork quickly to create the fresh locally sourced menu items San Diegans have come to expect.  West’s clever mixologists are getting in on the trend, too.  Watch their cocktail menus for new stem-to-stem aperitifs made with just-picked fruit for farmstead freshness with a kick.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best beaches in San Diego?

    Oceanside boasts some of the widest and most welcoming beaches in San Diego County.  Access to these golden swathes of sand is plentiful and there is seldom any hassle when it comes to finding a place to park your car.  There are plenty of pay lots to choose from and all are located conveniently close to the sand. Other facilities such as fire pits, volleyball courts picnic areas, restroom and showers are abundant as well.  Dining options, gear rentals and surfing lessons are all in close proximity.

    Visit northernmost Harbor Beach and relax on squeaky white sand that stretches for nearly a quarter mile from street to sea.  Fire pits and picnic areas are abundant here but the shoreline is rarely crowded.   The jetties, which flank the beach, create breaks that are perfect for surfing.  Swimmers and body boarders can also enjoy the waves in areas designated just for them.  The nearby harbor offers plenty of shopping along with several great dining options.  Beach-close parking is only $5 for an all day ticket.  RVs are welcome on a first come first serve basis for a mere $15 per night.

    Further down the coastline Pier View North and Pier View South form the heart of Oceanside beaches.  As the name suggests, the historic Oceanside Pier splits sea and shore right down the middle.  Both sides boast excellent surf breaks as well as long golden strands or sand dotted by soaring palm trees.  The south side is most popular and offers a wide variety of family-friendly facilities such as playgrounds, parks and recreation areas.  Have lunch atop the pier at Ruby's and scout for pods of dolphin or dine beneath the boardwalk at The Tin Fish and enjoy the colorful beach scene.  Nearby food carts vend a variety of street treats and Oceanside shops are just a stroll away.  Parking is plentiful, accessible and easy on the wallet.

    *****

    Coronado’s sparkling stretches of mica-enriched sand are consistently classed among America’s top beaches.  Mellow waves lap wide glistening shorelines and there are plenty of gorgeous views to enjoy from the seashore.  Whether you wish to walk your pooch on North Beach, sea gaze from Glorietta Bay or stroll for sand dollars along the Silver Strand, there’s an idyllic strand of sand for everyone in “The Crown City.”

    • Coronado Central Beach runs along Ocean Boulevard and boasts a backdrop of high-end beach homes and sweeping views of the Pacific.  Visitors can relax on two miles of golden sand or explore interesting sea life in the tide pools during low tide.  Lifeguards are on duty, which makes this a safe beach for families to play in the surf.  Beach accessible wheelchairs are available gratis at the Central Beach Lifeguard Tower.

    • Fido-friendly North Beach is popular among locals and their surf-seeking canine companions.  Dogs must arrive on a leash but there is a designated free zone where pups can splash in the waves untethered.  North Beach is located in the northernmost part of Central Beach at the end of Ocean Boulevard near Sunset Park and is the only section equipped with rings for a sunset bonfire.

    • Situated near the iconic Hotel Del, Coronado South Beach is particularly picturesque and a popular spot for shutterbugs.  It is also the seaside standard when it comes to saying, “I do” to the tune of ocean waves.  Whether you’re there to celebrate that special day, take advantage of a photo op or just sink your toes in the sand, South Beach is a lovely and scenic place to play by the sea.

    • Glorietta Bay Park offers a unique peek of the city skyline and stunning views of the soaring San Diego-Coronado Bridge.  While the beach itself is a tad on the petite side, there is a grand and grassy park area that is perfect for family picnics.  Playground equipment, restroom facilities and fabulous water views dotted by passing sailboats makes this a great spot to spend the day.

    • Silver Strand State Beach is one of Coronado’s best stretches of shoreline with extensive beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Surfing, boogie boarding and beach volleyball are popular activities on the Pacific side while the warmer waters of the bay side are perfect for sailing and swimming.  Those who wish to walk the beach can stroll for miles along the surf and spot sand dollars, moon snail and cockle shells lying in the golden sand.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best beaches in San Diego?

    Oceanside boasts some of the widest and most welcoming beaches in San Diego County.  Access to these golden swathes of sand is plentiful and there is seldom any hassle when it comes to finding a place to park your car.  There are plenty of pay lots to choose from and all are located conveniently close to the sand. Other facilities such as fire pits, volleyball courts picnic areas, restroom and showers are abundant as well.  Dining options, gear rentals and surfing lessons are all in close proximity.

    Visit northernmost Harbor Beach and relax on squeaky white sand that stretches for nearly a quarter mile from street to sea.  Fire pits and picnic areas are abundant here but the shoreline is rarely crowded.   The jetties, which flank the beach, create breaks that are perfect for surfing.  Swimmers and body boarders can also enjoy the waves in areas designated just for them.  The nearby harbor offers plenty of shopping along with several great dining options.  Beach-close parking is only $5 for an all day ticket.  RVs are welcome on a first come first serve basis for a mere $15 per night.

    Further down the coastline Pier View North and Pier View South form the heart of Oceanside beaches.  As the name suggests, the historic Oceanside Pier splits sea and shore right down the middle.  Both sides boast excellent surf breaks as well as long golden strands or sand dotted by soaring palm trees.  The south side is most popular and offers a wide variety of family-friendly facilities such as playgrounds, parks and recreation areas.  Have lunch atop the pier at Ruby's and scout for pods of dolphin or dine beneath the boardwalk at The Tin Fish and enjoy the colorful beach scene.  Nearby food carts vend a variety of street treats and Oceanside shops are just a stroll away.  Parking is plentiful, accessible and easy on the wallet.

    *****

    Coronado’s sparkling stretches of mica-enriched sand are consistently classed among America’s top beaches.  Mellow waves lap wide glistening shorelines and there are plenty of gorgeous views to enjoy from the seashore.  Whether you wish to walk your pooch on North Beach, sea gaze from Glorietta Bay or stroll for sand dollars along the Silver Strand, there’s an idyllic strand of sand for everyone in “The Crown City.”

    • Coronado Central Beach runs along Ocean Boulevard and boasts a backdrop of high-end beach homes and sweeping views of the Pacific.  Visitors can relax on two miles of golden sand or explore interesting sea life in the tide pools during low tide.  Lifeguards are on duty, which makes this a safe beach for families to play in the surf.  Beach accessible wheelchairs are available gratis at the Central Beach Lifeguard Tower.

    • Fido-friendly North Beach is popular among locals and their surf-seeking canine companions.  Dogs must arrive on a leash but there is a designated free zone where pups can splash in the waves untethered.  North Beach is located in the northernmost part of Central Beach at the end of Ocean Boulevard near Sunset Park and is the only section equipped with rings for a sunset bonfire.

    • Situated near the iconic Hotel Del, Coronado South Beach is particularly picturesque and a popular spot for shutterbugs.  It is also the seaside standard when it comes to saying, “I do” to the tune of ocean waves.  Whether you’re there to celebrate that special day, take advantage of a photo op or just sink your toes in the sand, South Beach is a lovely and scenic place to play by the sea.

    • Glorietta Bay Park offers a unique peek of the city skyline and stunning views of the soaring San Diego-Coronado Bridge.  While the beach itself is a tad on the petite side, there is a grand and grassy park area that is perfect for family picnics.  Playground equipment, restroom facilities and fabulous water views dotted by passing sailboats makes this a great spot to spend the day.

    • Silver Strand State Beach is one of Coronado’s best stretches of shoreline with extensive beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Surfing, boogie boarding and beach volleyball are popular activities on the Pacific side while the warmer waters of the bay side are perfect for sailing and swimming.  Those who wish to walk the beach can stroll for miles along the surf and spot sand dollars, moon snail and cockle shells lying in the golden sand.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best clothing boutiques in San Diego?

    If you’re in the market for a haute pair of J Brand skinny jeans or a kicky spring dress from Trina Turk look no further than Mog + Rue in Encinitas.  Located at 937 South Coast Highway in a sunny al fresco-shopping plaza, this hip boutique offers laid-back designer duds that are perfectly suited for the California lifestyle.   Helmed by notable fashion and beauty writer, Christina Ablahad, this bastion of fashion carries cutting-edge apparel from established and up-and-coming designers alike.  The boutique takes its clever name from the British slang word for cat (mog) combined with the French term for street (rue).  A fitting moniker indeed as one stop at this upscale clothing shop can clad just about any woman in catwalk-worthy fashion.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best places for breakfast in San Diego?

    With so much to do and see in sunny San Diego fueling up with a good breakfast is an important start to the day.  One of the top spots to get your morning bacon and eggs fix is at the Broken Yolk Cafe.  The popular breakfast joint boasts 9 locations where they serve up amply portioned classics such as biscuits and gravy, Belgian waffles, buttermilk pancakes, and French toast.  It wouldn’t be called the Broken Yolk Café if they didn’t have huevos, and huevos they have indeed. 

    Indulge in mammoth-sized omelets that are big enough to share (they will happily split the plate at no extra charge).  There are more than 20 eggs-traordinary varieties to choose from and each is served with your choice of home fries, hash browns, fresh fruit, rice or beans.  A selection of biscuit, blueberry muffin, toast or tortillas is also included.  Wash it all down with a wide array of beverages such as piping hot coffee, fresh-squeezed juices or a bubbly round of mimosas.

    Consistently voted “best breakfast” by the San Diego Union Tribune, the eatery is popular among locals and visitors alike.  One well-known guest, Adam Richman, of Man Vs. Food fame made it his personal conquest to take on the Broken Yolk's Iron Man Challenge.  While this contest is only recommended for competitive eaters or those with a very stretchy waistband, The Broken Yolk’s extensive menu has something suitable for just about everyone’s taste. 

    Breakfast and lunch is served daily from 6am until 3pm at all 9 Broken Yolk locations in Pacific Beach, Eastlake, La Costa, Downtown Gaslamp, San Marcos, Oceanside, Point Loma and their brand new venues in Caramel Mountain and Temecula.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What is nightlife like in San Diego?

    When it comes to nightlife, Downtown San Diego and the hip Gaslamp Quarter are the hot spots that come to mind.  While the scene there is certainly smokin’ nobody parties harder than Pacific Beach.  A huge lineup of hip bars, lux lounges and cool clubs heat up PB’s nightlife where merrymakers gather to party like rock stars.  If you want to join the hipster festivities here a few spots to jam out at.

    Slide into the Typhoon Saloon and check out the private VIP mezzanine for top-notch bottle service and lofty views of the rollicking bash below.  If it’s too much of a party for you to handle up there hop in for happy hour instead.  Enjoy $3 you-call-its and half of appetizers.  Don’t forget to check out Typhoon's upcoming events for live music concerts and prom themed VIP parties.

    Boogie down the road to Moondoggies and have a barking good time drinking crisp cold brewskies.  More sports-themed than party palace, the venue has consistently been voted one of San Diego’s best sports bars.  Dig the Dog’s daily specials like Monday’s Bitter Bingo where you can nosh a burger and brew for only $5 bucks while showing off your bingo prowess.  You just might win a prize worth howling about.

    When the sun slips behind the sea head to 710 Beach Club for live entertainment.  There’s no cover charge on Sundays though Thursdays and the bar serves up $3 drinks all day and night.  Be sure to back that booze with snacks from the 710 Grill.  Classic finger foods like nachos, tacos and wings provide a nice base before you imbibe.  Larger plates such as the ½ pound house burger or the BBQ pulled pork sandwich also fills the bill.
  • On April 30, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best outdoor activities in San Diego?

    For an outdoor activity that is music to the ears tune in for a spring, fall or summertime concert at Humphreys by the Bay.  The 1,400-seat al fresco music venue boasts an ideal location between Humphreys Restaurant and Humphreys Half Moon Inn on San Diego Bay.  Humphreys concerts generally take place from May through October and span the musical spectrum from established country artists such as Jewel to pop star newcomers like Carly Ray Jepson. 

    Look for other big names in the smokin’ 2013 schedule and spot old school rock stars like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Steely Dan along with classic crooners such as Air Supply and the Doobie Brothers.  Comedian appearances are also on the docket.  Catch a laugh-out-load performance by Bill Cosby or see Joan Rivers’ show for monologues that will make you giggle and blush. 

    The venue offers reserved seating only and tickets are required for patrons of all ages.  Regular show tickets and dinner show packages can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com, directly at Humphreys Box Office or by phone at 800 745 3000.  For the ultimate experience book the Lexus Premium Package, which includes dinner for two, premier concert seating and accommodations at Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites.  Free parking is available at public lots located on nearby Shelter Island or onsite at Humphreys for $12.

    *****

    For an outdoor experience that is classically Californian, prepare to stay up late and get in on the famous phenomenon known as the grunion run.  On certain spring nights following high tides, thousands of slender silvery fish called grunion surf the waves and ride the swells to shore where they perform a unique mating routine on the beach. 

    During this remarkable ritual female grunion will wiggle their way halfway into the sand in order to lay their eggs.  Meanwhile their male counterparts wrap them in a protective embrace as they fertilize their future offspring.  When the coupling is complete the pairs catch an outgoing wave and return once more to the sea.

    Grunion runs take place only in Baja and Southern California and witnessing this spectacle of nature makes for a truly unique beach experience.  One of the best ways to get in on the action is to go on a guided tour with Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  The program is $14 per person and reservations can be arranged by calling: 858-534-7336.

    If you’d prefer to go it alone, grab a flashlight and camera then head to San Diego beaches on the following dates and times:

    2013 Season

    • Friday, April 12: 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
    • Saturday, April 27: 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
    • Saturday, May 11: 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
    • Sunday, May 26: 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.

    *****

    One of the joys of living in San Diego is watching the setting sun slide behind the sparkling sea.  The sunset paints the sky in shades of brilliant crimson and gold and there’s always the chance you could catch that elusive green flash.  While there are countless places to sit outside and enjoy the spectacle, here are two of the best:

    Oceanside City Beach, aka The Strand
    For a classic California sunset complete with wide swathes of glittering sand, soaring palm trees, surfers, boardwalks and an impressive wooden pier watch the sun go down from the golden shores of Oceanside City Beach.

    Sunset Cliffs, Ocean Beach
    This is by far the most romantic spot in San Diego (if not all of Southern California) to watch the sunset kiss the sky goodnight.  Find a spot to sit on the sandstone, snuggle up to your sweetie and watch the magic unfold.