Cities Less Traveled: Exploring San Diego

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Hipmunk City Love Project.

Blog Post Type: Cities Less Traveled

San Diego

Photo by Todd Miller via

In a city with hundreds of unique destinations to explore, many travelers have a difficult time seeking real adventure because they trap themselves in tourist zones like Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. However, San Diego features numerous mountains, parks, beaches, and small towns that you may not know about but might want to visit. If natural wonders and culture diversity are your thing, San Diego won’t disappoint. Thanks to the moderate climate all year around, you are welcome to visit at any time. Here are several hidden gems to get you started.

Coronado Island

Coronado Island is a charming place at which to experience the quiet and quaintness of the small town and the pristine beauty of the ocean. The major hotel, Hotel Del Coronado, is a National Historic Landmark built in the 19th century. It displays a fascinating past of international celebrities, politicians, royalty, and even ghosts. Added to this famous hotel is its gorgeous oceanfront, with gentle breeze and calm waves for an afternoon walk. For foodies, choose from delicious menu selections on the Coronado Ferry Landing and dine while enjoying the sweeping vista of downtown San Diego.  As for culture, check out the Coronado Museum of History and Art to learn about Coronado’s culture and history.

Balboa Park on Tuesday

Just a few minutes’ walk from downtown, Balhoa Park has 15 museums, several lush botanical gardens, and live concerts. Although the famous attraction of the San Diego Zoo is on the north side, it is worth it to spend a day to check out old museums and exotic plants in the garden. If you are a resident of San Diego city and county, pay a visit on the first Tuesday every month, when the museum offers free entrance on a rotation basis.

Sunset and Beachcombing at Broken Hill

While many beaches in Southern California offer great sunsets and beachcombing opportunities, Broken Hill is one of the widest stretches of the land and sea in the region. The hiking section of Broken Hill is covered with ancient Torrey pine trees, spring wildflowers, and eroded sand stones with a stunning observation platform on the peak. Look down and afar in awe as the gray whales migrate and leopard sharks swim beneath the ocean surface. The scenery is picturesque, the beach is a perfect place to relax and refresh after trekking, and the sunset adds dynamics to the flat rock and the sand stones. It is a wild and scenic place that is definitely worth a half day to explore.

DIY Tour to Tijuana Mexico

If you have an extra day to spare, take the subway to the international border and cross the pedestrian bridge to Tijuana, Mexico, the world’s most visited border town. Spend your day shopping in the Arts and Crafts Market, watch a greyhound race on Boulevard Agua Caliente, and wander around the Tijuana Culture Center to gain historical knowledge of Baja, California.  For foodies, Cien Anos in Tijuana features outstanding Mexican cuisine, particularly their lobster crepes.  Most importantly, do not be intimidated by the negative news stories and bad reputation of this border town. Follow your instinct and know where to explore, and a day in Tijuana will add a interesting point to your San Diego trip.

Julie Cao

Julie Cao is a travel blogger, travel writer, and global citizen currently living in Toronto Ontario.

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