San Diego: Local Insights from Top Concierge Robert Marks

With some more time in America’s Finest City, take time to explore some popular sights and some lesser thought of neighborhoods. From the historic Cabrillo Monument to the trendy North Park area to the always bustling Gaslamp Quarter, there is truly something for everyone in this Southern California haven.
Watch above for my video on San Diego, and read on for some more info on these local sights.

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument celebrates the landing of Portuguese explorer Juan Rodrguez Cabrillo on the area known today as the Point Loma Peninsula. The monument itself is not too imposing, but it is located in a park that offers beautiful views up and down the coast. The park is also one of the best places in the San Diego area to observe a variety of wildlife, especially in and around the many rock pools. Also located in the park is the 19th century Point Loma lighthouse, and this stretch of coast is one of the best places in the state for whale watching. One of the best ways to enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean is from the 3 mile long Bayside Trail. The park is a popular place for a picnic and also hosts several events and festivals during the year.

North Park

This area (Voted one of the country’s hippest, who knew?!) was one of the city’s original suburbs. North Park is a great place to enjoy some of the best in contemporary art, sample some craft beers, shop at boutiques and thrift stores, or simply soak up the somewhat Bohemian atmosphere. 30th Street is the heart of this hip neighborhood and boasts dozens of ethnic restaurants, and trendy places for dessert or coffee. The farmers’ market is considered to be one off the best in the country (Another who knew moment!), and the North Park Music Thing festival held every fall has also helped to put the area on the tourist map.

Gaslamp Quarter

This downtown neighborhood, on the register of historic places, is undeniably touristy but is also home to some of the city’s most popular restaurants and bars. This area was once known as Rabbitville – because of the many rabbits – and was also home to 50 gas lamps today a few reproductions help to give the area some atmosphere. Almost 100 historic buildings, mostly dating from Victorian times, can be seen here and one way to experience the area’s colorful past is to take one of the Gaslamp walking tours available. Many restaurants here are family friendly, and kids also enjoy the nearby New Children’s Museum. There are several hotels and bed and breakfast inns in the few blocks comprising the district, and a short stroll away is the East Village, another enclave of shops, restaurants and bars.

La Jolla

This seaside resort within the city of San Diego has an almost Mediterranean charm to it, and it’s easy to see why its many wealthy residents have chosen to live along this seven miles of Pacific coastline. La Jolla is known for its upscale shops and art galleries, as well as some excellent and exclusive restaurants and is also home to the University of California. This stretch of coast is also known as Sea Lion Beach, and there are several places along the coast where you are virtually guaranteed to see hundreds of the creatures swimming or simply lazing on the rocks.
There you have it! A few insider highlights suggested by local concierge Robert Marks. The next time you find yourself in San Diego, hopefully you get to check out a few of these places!
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