Today we’re heading to San Diego – about a 2.5 hour drive or 1 hour flight from Los Angeles – for a weekend of relaxation and some incredible food.
Kona Kai Resort & Spa
Our adventure begins on Shelter Island, where we’ll check in to the Kona Kai Resort & Spa – a beautiful & luxurious spot to treat yourself on vacation in San Diego.
Each of the rooms feature Polynesian-inspired decor and bath products. I love the scent of mango & coconut – it’s fresh, and will make you feel like you’re in a tropical destination (and with that San Diego sunshine and climate, you may as well be). Each room has a balcony that offers spectacular views of the bay, gardens, or marina.
This place has everything – there’s a spa, fitness centre, hot tub, pool, tiki bar, private cabanas, and even a private beach looking out onto the Kona Kai Marina and Point Loma hillside.
Kona Kai is paradise. From the views and bright colours right down to the scents, it feels like a tropical retreat – even though it’s just a short drive from the airport and the Gaslamp Quarter downtown district of San Diego.
The Gaslamp Quarter is an historic district in downtown San Diego where you’ll find a mix of shops, entertainment, and every kind of food. It’s also got a vibrant nightlife, so bring your friends out! Little Italy is also a great option, and we’ll go into a bit more detail below.
We recommend: Donut Bar, which serves up an inventive and locally-source menu of doughnuts that changes daily and includes vegan options. And craft beer! Make sure to get here early if you want the best selection of doughnuts.
Seaport Village is a huge and popular tourist attraction in San Diego, offering waterfront shopping, entertainment, and tons of food. It was from Seaport Village that we went on a Seal Tour, which takes you from land right into the bay where you’ll see sealions basking in the sunshine.
After the tour, there are plenty of places that you’ll want to check out for food, shopping, or just relaxing by the water.
We recommend: Frost Me Gourmet, where you can try an award-winning cupcake, as determined by Cupcake Wars.
VESSEL RESTAURANT & BAR
Let’s head back to Kona Kai to have dinner at the Vessel Restaurant & Bar, which serves New American cuisine, incorporating local, seasonal & sustainable ingredients. And my favourite: seafood. They offer menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even a Happy Hour and daily specials. Vessel is above and beyond your average hotel restaurant. The food and service here are spectacular, and the resort offers some unreal views.
We recommend: Seared Diver Scallops, Lobster Sliders – but everything was fresh & flavourful!
LIBERTY PUBLIC MARKET
Formerly a military base, Liberty Station has been transformed into an incredible culinary destination. This is one of my favourite ways to experience the local culinary scene, because you don’t have to travel very far to try different things. At Liberty Public Market, you’ll find restaurants, cafes, and a ton of food vendors offering every kind of dish you can imagine. There’s also ample seating in and around the market. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
We recommended: From seafood chowder to lobster mac and cheese, we enjoyed everything that we tried at Liberty Public Market. If you like coffee, be sure to check out Moniker General, a hip clothing store, coffee shop & bar all rolled into one. A great spot to do some socializing or get some work done.
Spanning 1,200 acres, Balboa Park is probably one of the most well-known historical landmarks in San Diego. Here, you’ll find Museums, Gardens & The Zoo – if you ever visit, plan to spend a whole day here! Our time was limited, so we rented an electriquette, a fun and novel way to get around.
Our last spot for exploration this weekend is Little Italy, where you’ll find some of the best restaurants and nightlife that San Diego has to offer.
We recommend: Underbelly, a hip spot for ramen and other Japanese fare and anime-inspired cocktails. The space is funky and industrial, with seating inside and outside. This place can get busy, so plan your night accordingly!
For dessert, check out iDessert by Jean-Philippe, serving up multilayered desserts with gelato & fruits which double as works of art. For a real showstopper (and killer Instagram), get your dessert served with dry ice in a Vegas Bowl. Just make sure you have a napkin handy 😉
Whether you’re looking to relax, or run around the entire city eating everything – San Diego is the perfect destination to get away. There’s so much here to see and explore, so make sure to leave me your recommendations in the comments below.
Watch the video above to see everything that we got up to – and don’t forget to subscribe to gunnarolla on YouTube and check back next week for more adventures!