The Weekender: San Diego

What to pack for a laid-back weekend in “America’s finest city" -- even though 2 days of sun, sand and surf never feels like enough.

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Jessica Menk

Check Into the Hotel del Coronado

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Unpack your classic striped weekender at the Del, a luxurious, oceanfront resort just 5 minutes from San Diego on Coronado Island. An icon since 1888, the 28-acre property features signature red, Victorian turrets and lush grounds that inspired The Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City (author L. Frank Baum was a frequent guest).

Chill Out at Cardiff State Beach

Jessica Menk

Soak up the vintage Cali vibes while stretched out on an authentic Mexican beach blanket at Cardiff State Beach. It’s an amazing sandy shoreline with beautiful cliffs, plus the surf break on its reef is particularly popular with longboarders.

Kick Back in Balboa Park

Jessica Menk

A laid-back maxi dress will be light and airy as you stroll along the koi ponds in Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden. The zoo may be the park’s biggest draw, but you can easily fill a day at the 1,200-acre property without ever stepping foot inside, admiring its Spanish-style architecture and numerous gardens. Don’t miss the picnic area among the sculptures outside the Prado or the classic carousel, if you have kiddos in tow.

Taste Craft Beer at Culture Brewing Co.

Jessica Menk

Located in the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, CA, this rad West Coast microbrewery has an amazing mix of hops and small-batch styles. Grab your ombre rope dog leash and head straight to the tasting room’s back patio space, where you can enjoy a pint of one of the 18 craft beers on tap with your pup at your side.

Dine Late Night at Starlite

Bells and Whistles

Strap on a stacked, Italian-leather heel for a night out at the swanky Starlite. Sip craft cocktails such as its namesake Starlite Mule at the sunken bar beneath a striking chandelier, or sink your teeth into one of San Diego’s best burgers — a Brandt beef patty with Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and a brioche bun. Fun fact: Its beautiful copper mugs are now for sale because there was a problem with patrons walking away with them after a few too many. What a perfect souvenir!

California-Style Comfort Food at Claires on Cedros

Jessica Menk

Cap off your weekend at Claire’s on Cedros, a cute little café and bakery in the heart of Solana Beach, CA, known for its amazing brunch and cozy atmosphere. Two Sunday-morning must-haves? A bright wristlet with just your essentials and the chilaquiles with homemade chorizo and queso fresco. 

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