I arrived around 1 pm on Wednesday the 28th, and was dropped off by my friend at Balboa Park. I walked around for a bit trying to familiarize myself with the area. The staff at the Visitor Center was polite and helpful. I had a quick sandwich at Cafe in the Park, and then visited the SD Museum of Art. I spent at least 2 hours poring over everything I could - it's nice not having to rush through a museum! After that, my friend met up with me and we drove around the southside of the SD Bay (might also be known as the Silver Strand). We saw Point Loma from afar and Hotel Del Coronado. The weather was a little chilly, of course, being right on the coast but a light jacket sufficed. After seeing the southside, we drove to Las Americas, a huge outlet shopping center near the Mexico border. On our way back to my friend's condo, we stopped by a burger place called In n Out. Yummmmmm
Thursday, we went to Wild Animal Park. No need for a light jacket! The weather was absolutely gorgeous! We walked all over the park; the railway is a good way of seeing most of the park from the seat of your pants and there's no additional cost to ride it. We left when the park closed. Afterwards, we drove around downtown San Diego and saw (from the car) the Star of India, the USS Berkeley, and the USS Midway. For the moment, next to the USS Midway, there's a 30- to 40-ft. statue of a scene from Pearl Harbor where a sailor is kissing a nurse. It's a great place to stop and watch the sun set over the bay.
Friday morning, we took a harbor cruise of the north bay. No point in seeing the southside when my friend already showed me. The cruise was around $20 and an hour-long with informative audio from the captain. Afterwards we headed to Legoland! A place that's definitely family-friendly and kid-oriented, but I wanted to go anyway. :0) The shows were highly entertaining. For dinner, we went to the Brigantine restaurant in Escondido. I was craving seafood, and it took us a while to find a place that was sort of budget-friendly. The Brigantine was recommended by a gas station employee, and it was a good choice! I had swordfish for the first time. Mmmm...
Saturday I spent with another friend at SeaWorld. It was my first time going, and it reminded me a lot of the GA Aquarium. I made it a point to watch the shows and see the dolphins, sea lions, and Shamu in action. Don't ride the SkyRide! It's not worth the $3. By the time we left, the park was more crowded. Go early! You won't regret it. We got a little lost trying to find Old Town, but we managed. If you can see past all the tourist shops, there is a certain charm to Old Town. Some places were closed by the time we got there, but we were still able to walk around and take in everything. There's a landmark cemetery that sits right next to a restaurant that seems out of place yet fitting at the same time. We had dinner at Cafe Coyote. Man! Those restaurants filled up fast around dinner time! We didn't have to wait very long though. The restaurant appears small from the outside but it has plenty of space inside. Service was excellent!
We went to Balboa Park on Sunday. This park contains so many cultural events/institutions that you simply cannot see them all in a day or two. You really need to set aside at least a week to do this park justice! (With free parking, how can you resist?) We went to the Fleet Science Center which had a lot of interactive activities geared towards kids. Amazingly, they had Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth on IMAX, so we included that in our visit. We also saw an IMAX about coral reef. Ate a quick lunch, and headed over to the Natural History Museum which was a short walk away. We spent the rest of the day there. For dinner, we met up with my other friend and ate Chinese at a place called Pick up Stix. It was pretty good - I always make it a point to eat out whenever I travel. You can eat your meal inside, and they bring it to you in a to-go box (how convenient!).
Monday was my last day. My friend took me to Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument. There were a couple of small museums and a lighthouse where you could go inside and see what life was like back then. We watched a documentary about gray whales. The view of the bay was fantastic; no camera can do it justice. Surprisingly, Pt. Loma is approximately 420 feet above sea level. I was expecting it to be higher for some reason. Anyway, the weather was perfect. AND... the airport was only 10 minutes away, so I didn't have to worry about getting to the airport on time. :0)
Overall, an unforgettable experience. I'm glad I went, and I hope to go back some day.