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Hi, I'm Georgina! A coffee-loving adventure enthusiast here to share my favorite travel tips with you! My goal is to inspire others to get out and explore this wild planet by camping, hiking, or wandering around a fun new city!

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San Diego Itinerary: 2 Days

San Diego Itinerary 2 Days | Alpacka My Bags

Welcome to San Diego! Home to incredible coastal cliffs and beaches, friendly people, amazing restaurants, and a vibrant atmosphere. If you haven’t been to San Diego yet, this is your sign to go!


If you’re already booked and in the planning stage, I’m here to help you have the best time exploring this southern California gem. Just two hours south of Los Angeles, San Diego has a lot to offer, so I’m here to show you how to make the most of two days in the city.


Let’s dive into the ultimate 1 to 2-day San Diego itinerary. I’ll share the best places to eat, where to stay downtown, some of the most scenic locations, and the top activities to enjoy here.


Please note that I tend to walk a lot when traveling without a car, so in many of the places below I either walked to and from or got an Uber to.


Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through one of them. Read our affiliate disclosure. Thank you for your support!


San Diego Itinerary: 1 Day


  • Breakfast at Morning Glory

  • Explore the La Jolla Coast

  • Lunch at Blue Ocean

  • Little Italy & the Gaslamp Quarter - OR - Harbor Cruise

  • Dinner at Nonna

  • Drinks at King & Queen

  • Walk the Harbor


TIP: Save money and buy the San Diego Go City Pass! It allows you entrance to multiple attractions of your choice, including the USS Midway Museum, San Diego Zoo, La Jolla Kayaking, Fleet Science Center, Bay Harbor Tour, and much more.


Morning


Breakfast at Morning Glory


Start your first day in San Diego with breakfast at Morning Glory. This hip breakfast restaurant is beloved by locals and the place to be on a weekend morning. If you are visiting on the weekend, make sure you arrive as early as possible. 


As soon as they open there’s a line. I visited on a Friday morning and arrived about 45 minutes after they opened and only had to wait for 10 minutes for a table.


The decor is pink and chic, the service is amazing, and the food options are quite unique. Everything my travel group and I ate was delicious. I still think about the Khachapuri (Georgian cheese-filled bread).


Morning Glory - San Diego Itinerary

La Jolla - Free Option


The most scenic place on San Diego’s coastline is La Jolla. From downtown (where Morning Glory is) it’s about a 20 minute Uber ride to La Jolla. 


This is such an iconic part of San Diego, you won’t want to miss it. Check out my post on the best scenic places in San Diego and see for yourself!


Start in southern La Jolla at Windansea Beach and walk up to La Jolla Cove for a peaceful morning activity with incredible views. 


If you’re up for a little more adventure, you can stop in The Cave Store by the cove and pay $10 to enter one of the sea caves.


OR…


Sea Cave Kayaking Tour - Paid Option


If you prefer to add more adventure to your travels, book a sea cave kayaking tour in La Jolla. You’ll still get to see some of the most scenic locations, but from the water instead!


You’ll be with a knowledgeable guide who will not only help keep you safe, but will teach you all about La Jolla’s famous sea caves.



La Jolla Cove - San Diego Itinerary

Afternoon


Lunch at Blue Ocean


After your walk along the coast of La Jolla, stop for lunch at a delicious asian fusion restaurant, Blue Ocean. If you get lucky or you visit during slower hours (early or late lunch), you’ll likely get an ocean view with your meal!


I randomly chose this restaurant and I loved it so much I want you to enjoy it too! Their menu has something for everyone; I appreciated the choices for vegetarians (I’m a pescatarian). I went with the teriyaki salmon as a treat and it was amazing.


Downtown - Free Option


After lunch with a view in La Jolla, take an Uber or drive back to downtown. It’s time to explore some of San Diego’s most charming neighborhoods!


I recommend staying downtown in San Diego as there are a plethora of hotels in different price ranges. If you stay downtown, you’ll be able to walk to these neighborhoods easily.


Gaslamp Quarter


One of the most famous areas of San Diego is the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown. This neighborhood has maintained its Victorian style and even has street lamps designed to look like the original gas lamps that once lit the streets.


The Gaslamp Quarter is fun to explore in the day; walk down the street and admire the architecture. It is, however, known for its nightlife, so if you’re one to enjoy a drink in the evening. Skip for now and come back after dinner!


Gaslamp Quarter - San Diego Itinerary

Little Italy 


Another one of the most iconic neighborhoods in San Diego is Little Italy. It’s known for its restaurants and farmer’s market. Morning Glory, the breakfast restaurant, is located in Little Italy.


I recommend taking some time to stroll down the main street that runs through Little Italy, India Street. There is also Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy which resembles a traditional European piazza. 


You’ll find many people spending time together here at the many seating areas offered. Sometimes there’s even live music! The Little Italy Food Hall is located on the piazza, and you can find drinks and bites to eat here. I recommend trying a gelato!


OR…


Go On a Harbor Cruise - Paid Option


San Diego’s coastal location is a huge draw. Explore the city by water and book the best San Diego harbor cruise! You’ll get to see some of San Diego’s most iconic locations, like the USS Midway and Coronado Bridge, from the water.


There will be a knowledgeable guide on board as well. If you’re eager to learn more about San Diego’s history, book a harbor cruise, enjoy the sights, and learn from some of the city’s best guides.



Harbor Cruise - San Diego Itinerary

Evening


Dinner at Nonna


Wrap up your 1 day San Diego itinerary with dinner in Little Italy. You’ll find authentic Italian food here, including the best place to go, Nonna


They have great options for dietary restrictions at Nonna, and the food is so fresh. I recommend the Gnocchi al Pesto, which is vegetarian. They also have a full Italian dessert bakery. Don’t forget the cannolis!


Drinks at King and Queen Cantina


If you still have room, head to King and Queen Cantina for fun drinks to end the day! This Mexican restaurant has a very vibrant atmosphere. I recommend a mango margarita with a chile rim!


The food here is also delicious, so if you’re not feeling Italian for dinner, try King and Queen Cantina.


Walk to the Harbor


After a full day of San Diego adventures, wind down with a walk by the harbor. King and Queen (and Little Italy) is close to the Port of San Diego. Just go down Ash Street a couple of blocks and you’ll see the water. 


It’s fun to see at night with the lights bouncing off the water. The Star of India ship is all lit up too. 


San Diego Harbor - San Diego Itinerary

San Diego Itinerary 2 Days


  • Breakfast at Lofty

  • Balboa Park (San Diego Zoo)

  • Lunch Liberty Public Market

  • USS Midway Museum

  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

  • Dinner at Mitch’s


TIP: Save money and buy the San Diego Go City Pass! It allows you entrance to multiple attractions of your choice, including the USS Midway Museum, San Diego Zoo, Japanese Friendship Garden, Fleet Science Center, San Diego Museum of Art, and much more.


Morning


Breakfast at Lofty


Start day two in San Diego with breakfast at Lofty Coffee in Little Italy. This coffee shop offers a full breakfast menu, a huge outdoor patio, and locally roasted coffee. 


Their pastries are delicious too, but if you’re hungry, grab a full breakfast to get ready for another day of adventures. You can also see the kitchen staff cooking and baking if you sit on the patio at Lofty.


Balboa Park


If you want to experience one of San Diego’s most famous places, take a few hours to explore some of Balboa Park, home to the iconic San Diego Zoo.


Located in the middle of downtown, you’ll find this 1,200 acre urban park. The park is huge, so I recommend you choose one part and explore just that. Some of the best places in Balboa Park are:



Balboa Park - San Diego Itinerary

Afternoon


Lunch at Liberty Public Market


Liberty Public Market is a food hall that has several dining options, boutiques, and desserts. I got myself a delicious California roll from The Sushi Stand, because when in California right? 


Lunch at Liberty Public Market is great for those traveling with a group or those who enjoy trying different foods. There’s something for everyone, from Thai and Italian to burgers and sushi and even dessert. Take your meal outside on the large patio to enjoy the San Diego weather.


USS Midway Museum


One of San Diego’s most famous places is the USS Midway. This naval aircraft carrier was turned into a museum and is located right downtown on Navy Pier. 


Not only can you explore the ship itself, but there are also several aircraft onboard. Learn about the US’s naval history and admire one of San Diego’s best museums.


TIP: Buy the San Diego Go City Pass! It allows you entrance to multiple attractions of your choice, including the USS Midway Museum.


Evening


Sunset Cliffs Natural Park


After La Jolla, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is the next most scenic place in San Diego. If you time it right, you’ll get to explore this stunning part of the coast as the sun is starting to set. 


Take your camera and snap some photos of the cliffs and crashing waves. When the sun starts to set, find a place to sit and just enjoy the view for a while. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is the best place to watch the sunset in San Diego.


Sunset Cliffs - San Diego Itinerary

Dinner at Mitch’s


You can’t visit San Diego without getting seafood, and the best place to do so is at Mitch’s Seafood. Located right on the harbor, Mitch’s offers seafood classics like fish n’ chips, clam chowder, crab cakes, and the best fish tacos you can find.


You can either catch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs and then head to Mitch’s to end the day. Or, grab some fish tacos to go first, and then snag a spot on the cliffs to enjoy the sunset with a meal!


Other Fun Things to Do in San Diego


If you have more time to spend in San Diego, or you want to switch an activity from the above itinerary, here are more fun things to do in San Diego.




The Best Hotel in Downtown San Diego


Looking for a place to stay? Check out the best hotels in Downtown San Diego. I’ve included budget, mid tier, and luxury options to fit your travel style. No matter which one you choose, they’re all great options.



How to Get Around San Diego


There are trains, trolleys, and buses available in San Diego. If you’re okay with taking a little extra time to get to your destinations, public transportation is a great cheap option. 


If you want to maximize your 2 days in San Diego, I recommend taking Ubers (or Lyfts). You can also easily walk around Downtown and other areas like La Jolla. 


Downtown San Diego (itinerary)

Best Months to Visit San Diego


There aren’t any bad months to visit San Diego as the weather is always nice. Summer has a high of 77°F and winter a low of 50°F. However, the best months to visit San Diego to avoid crowds are December, January, and February.


Winter is generally the slow time for tourists in San Diego, but again, because the weather is so nice year round, you can’t pick a bad month to visit. 


2 Day San Diego Itinerary


Now you know how to spend two days in San Diego! This southern California city is a must-visit for nature lovers and foodies.


The ocean views in San Diego are so stunning and provide the best backdrop for sunset. And the dining scene is vast here; remember to get fish tacos from Mitch's!


While San Diego doesn't get the exposure that Los Angeles does, this SoCal city is truly a gem. Start planning a trip to enjoy all this city has to offer!


Save this 2 day San Diego itinerary and share it with a friend who also loves the ocean, great food, and scenic views.


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aboutME

Hi, I'm Georgina, adventure enthusiast and creator of Alpacka My Bags. I'm here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 

 

I've been exploring this beautiful planet since I was a child, so I decided it was time to share my travel tips with others to enjoy. After college, I knew the "traditional career path" was not for me.

 

I needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer. It sounds cliché but you do only live once. So I made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that I wanted to share them with others so you can enjoy them too! 

My passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join me, and often my partner and my dog, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as I have, I hope you find my tips useful for all of your future travels.

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