Really quick, I want to mention that Las Vegas is a dumb place. I know this post is supposed to be about San Diego, and I’ll get there momentarily, but I need to vent my frustration with Sin City and I didn’t want to give it a full post. I was in Vegas for two nights and did the normal Las Vegas thing; got drunk and lost money. That’s all Vegas has to offer. It’s like New Orleans in that you can drink on the street, but it lacks all of the fun that city provides. Instead of jazz bands and smiling locals you get a horde of fellow tourists trying to make it rich and being rude in the interim. It’s ridiculous. I went to Vegas to say that I’d been there, and now I can easily say that it wasn’t worth it at all. To make matters worse, my car was broken into the first night I was there, so I got the additional pleasure of visiting the Vegas Wal-Mart to replace my things as cheaply as possible. Vegas was a complete bust and it’ll take a very enticing offer to bring me to that city again.
The stop after Vegas was, fortunately, far superior. I swung into San Diego late at night and didn’t have enough light to really see the area, so when I woke up the next morning everything was a lovely surprise. Not only is San Diego full of swerving hills, beaches, and beautiful landscapes, but it also houses Jacaranda trees that are picturesque to the point of being almost unreal. These brightly blossoming purple flowers are dotted throughout the city and, on top of everything else, make San Diego the most attractive city that I visited on my tour.
Just North of San Diego, things get even better. A small town called La Jolla is only twenty or so minutes from the heart of San Diego and it has an incredible bookstore, lively beaches, a waterfront park, and a seal sanctuary. Basically, it’s amazing. The beaches are in these small coves which gives an intimate setting to what is normally a boisterous and intense day in the Sun. The Scripps park is literally a two minute walk from the water, so whether you prefer greenery or beach life, you’re completely set. And who doesn’t like a little wildlife? The seal sanctuary in La Jolla is a haven for seals that are just trying to take a nap and toss around with their seal friends.
But, just because San Diego has a laid back beach style, doesn’t mean it’s devoid of night life. Quite the opposite. The Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego is positioned along a single street in the downtown area and has all sorts of nightlife for all sorts of occasions. There are fancy restaurants and quick food stops, relaxed bars and thumping night clubs, tourist shops and specialty stores. It’s a superb mixture of anything you could want in a night, and it’s all conveniently located along a half mile strip called Market Street. Even if you’re more interested in a quiet walk, you can take Market Street towards the ocean, crossing over some train tracks before reaching marinas and docks that offer calm strolls in counterpoint to the busy Gaslamp night.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, San Diego also has a comfortable, non-judgmental atmosphere. It’s a beach city, and nobody is trying to take themselves too seriously in a beach city. This feeling originates on the sandy shores of San Diego’s coast, where cozy cafes offer a great reprieve from the beating Sun, but it pervades every area of the city that I visited. Unlike Austin, I was never made to feel like an outsider in San Diego. Oh, and they have completely reasonable parking prices and an awesome downtown ballpark that you can glimpse from the street. The stadium opens near home plate, so you can actually see the frenzied fans and part of the field while walking along the city’s streets. It’s a fun little quirk, and an effective one; I immediately wanted to go inside the stadium and take part.
Overall, San Diego was one of my favorite stops and I readily recommend it to any of you curious souls. I forgot my camera when I was walking downtown, but even these pictures of beach life and La Jolla should entice you to take a visit. If I can ever create an excuse to move there, I will take the opportunity in a heartbeat.