San Diego is one of the southern California cities that I visit most often, as I have a good amount of family and friends that live down there. It's always sunny and beautiful in San Diego, so you can't go wrong visiting for a weekend getaway.
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If you're looking to stay on the beach and rent a house through Airbnb or VRBO, I recommend Mission Beach. I've stayed there with friends a few times on the stretch along the ocean front Boardwalk, which is always filled with people out and about, be it runners, bikers or walkers, there are always people exercising and taking in the amazing beach views. Look out for Slo-Mo, a full-time slow motion rollerblader who quit his day job as a doctor to live the easy life. He's a legend to locals and you can read more about him here.
Pacific Beach is a really young area, also on the beach and directly next to Mission Beach. You'll find lots of college students and 20-somethings hanging around this area. It is a bit more high energy than Mission beach, which has little bit more of a relaxed vibe. In PB, there are tons of restaurants and bars right on the beach and down the main stretch. It's a fun place to go out at night for drinks and dancing!
Photo by San Diego Coast Life
Park & Rec in University Heights is such a fun bar/restaurant! It has the coolest decor, a great bar, a great food shack outside, and most importantly, fun activities! The venue is setup with various different areas, a combination of both outdoor and indoor sections. There's a room specifically for ping pong, with two tables to play and a bar. You can rent the paddles at the front bar to play! The outdoor patio area has corn hole and the indoor/main bar has shuffleboard. We had a blast here, and the food is amazing! At the food shack out back, they serve burgers and tater tots for lunch/dinner, along with an extensive breakfast menu too. One of the best burgers I've had in awhile!
For nightlife, The Shout! House is a fun dueling piano bar in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. If you've been to Johnny Foley's in San Francisco, you know exactly how much fun dueling piano bars are (for ALL ages!) My cousin, Maddi (@maddiporter), who is a doctorate student at San Diego State, took my aunts, mom and me here on one of our recent visits. There aren't many things that wouldn't be a fun with that crew, but needless to say, we all had a blast (and even got pulled up on stage against our will!) The Little Italy and North Park neighborhoods also have a fun bar scene! Check out more suggestions for nightlife here.
Visiting the many craft breweries in San Diego is a must. San Diego is one of the coolest beer cities around, which tons of tasting rooms. Joe was in beer heaven. This past trip, we visited two different tasting rooms: Ballast Point and Modern Times. On another visit recently, I went to Mike Hess as well. I'm not a huge beer fan by any means, but I really liked the beer at all of these places along with great prices for tastings. They had tons of beer on tap, so I was able to find some that were more my style!