t the beginning of last year, Mr Smaggle and I packed our little minimalist bags and headed off on a road trip through California. We actually had no idea where we were going – we just rented a car and hoped for the best. I cannot recommend this kind of travel enough – after all you can’t get lost if you don’t know where you’re going.
I didn’t really know much about San Diego before I got there (except they have a history of some pretty hardcore serial killers but I only know that because I’m a creep) and I was really pleasantly surprised. It’s such a delightful place to visit. Here are my top 9 things to do in San Diego.
We were very kindly given tickets for a Hornblower tour of the bay and it was quite beautiful but honestly a little odd. It was a dinner cruise with a disco so the vibe was definitely not what we were expecting. I met a lovely group of sorority girls who were having their yearly catch up and I had a very colourful conversation with a Trump supporter. There was even a prom boat that sailed around next to us and provided a solid hour of drunken teenage entertainment. It was also our ten year anniversary and one we won’t forget in a hurry. I would actually definitely recommend going on the tour but perhaps go when it’s summer and the sun sets a bit later. It was a wee bit dark as we left the bay because it was in winter.
There are two things you need to know about seals.
a) Seals are adorable.
b) Seals really stink
We went for a drive to La Jolla to see these guys and they were everywhere. I swear there were more seals on the beach than in the water. They’re so sleepy and snuggly I had to stop myself from lying down next to them to spoon them. I also learnt that you shouldn’t get too close to baby seals if they’re on their own because if their mother’s see them near humans they’ll think they’re in danger and swim off and abandon them. It was fine to get close to these ones though because their adults were with them and also they’re totally use to it.
3. Stay at the Sofia Hotel
We were lucky enough to stay at the historic Sofia Hotel and it was beautiful. Right in the heart of the city, walking distance from every where, beautiful rooms, friendly staff. Honestly, I’d live there if I could. Gorgeous.
4. Have lunch at Cafe Gratitude
This place was a crack up. They had ‘feelings’ on the menu. So there was a sandwich called Happiness and they encouraged you to order in a statement like ‘I am happiness’. I’m not into hippy chakra stuff but I really enjoyed my experience at Cafe Gratitude. Even just people watching there was amazing. These incredibly tanned, glowing women being all peaceful and shit. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
5. Visit San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo was easily the highlight of our trip. The main reason why we went there was because they have bonobos. Mr Smaggle’s company is called Bonobo after the great apes. They’re the most peaceful creatures in the ape world. There’s only a handful of zoos that have them and one of them is San Diego. We must have spent at least 3/4 quarters of the day at the bonobo exhibit. We even got chatting to one of the zoo keepers and she taught us how to ‘play’ with the bonobos and they’d come running up and start tapping on the glass and making laughing faces at us. They’re really flirty too – the teenage boy bonobo liked me the best and the girl bonobo liked Mr Smaggle the best. Bonobos are so fascinating. They’re kind of monogamous and polyamourus at the same time. They’ll have a mate that they spend their life with but they all have sex with each other all the time. As in all day – they’re really into it. They also engage in oral and front facing sex which is unusual for non-humans. Bonobos are also very peaceful – they never fight and there’s been no recorded incident of a bonobo killing another bonobo.
Tip: If you have any allergies go to the Wholefoods up the road on the way to zoo. We got gluten free sandwiches and snacks and didn’t have to wait in line or eat gross unhealthy food while we were there.
6. Have coffee at James Coffee Co
This was our most favourite coffee place – we went there most days to work. It’s just a big warehouse style cafe with delicious and totally drinkable coffee. They also welcome dogs. We met about 20 awesome dogs while we were there. One day these girls came in with two enormous great danes. They were the size of horses, so beautiful and majestic. A great spot for dog watching.
7. Eat tacos at the Taco Stand in La Jolla
These were the best tacos we ate in the US. Hands down. We were totally starving so that may skew our test but they were bloody delicious. I even had a cactus taco, which to be honest, I wouldn’t order again because it tasted like rubbery capsicum but I’m glad I tried it. You can’t get more Mexican than a cactus taco right?
8. Pat all the dogs
San Diego is dog city. There are dogs everywhere and they’re allowed to go everywhere. In Australia you can’t take dogs anywhere but in the US they’re walking around in shops, in chemists, in cafes. It’s great! And there’s no issues because all of the dogs are totally used to being around other dogs. I honestly don’t know what Australia is so afraid of – I love walking around the US supermarkets and seeing all the dogs.
9. Visit Balboa Park
Balboa Park is an absolute gem in San Diego – we got an all inclusive visitors pass and we were able to go in and out of all the attractions. We also went on a Saturday which made for a very lively experience. There were heaps of street venders and performers out and about and it was such a fun and energetic vibe.
That was our trip to San Diego!
Have you been to S.D? What did you get up to there?
P.S If you’re looking for something to do over the holidays, make sure you sign up for my free Crochet Coach granny square intro lesson. It will give you something to do on those long car and plane rides!