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DPChallenge Forums >> Out and About >> Where to go in San Diego?
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12/21/2004 02:04:35 PM · #1
My girlfriend and I will be in sunny San Diego between Christmas and New Years for vacation. For those of you that went or live there, could you give me a list of top 5 things not to miss... Where to go and take great photos?

How about a place for: a great sunset, great street shot, great culture, great landscape, great night shot...

Thanks!
12/21/2004 02:08:46 PM · #2
San Diego is a great place and there is a lot to see and do there. When I lived there my favorite places were...
1. Ocean Beach (surfing & girls)
2. Sunset Cliffs (surfing & girls)
3. The zoo
4. Seaworld
5. Tijuana and Ensenada

12/21/2004 02:16:26 PM · #3
Balboa Park, lots of places to take pictures!!!
It's is really close to the Zoo, lots of of stuff to see, just love it there.
12/21/2004 02:18:22 PM · #4
Seaport Village in Downtown can be very interesting also.
12/21/2004 02:19:40 PM · #5
Make sure you go to Coronado island and take a nighttime photo of San Diego downown across the bay. In this holiday season it is especially awesome.

...La Jolla is always pretty. Check out (nude) Blacks beach in La Jolla, beautiful sights (I mean cliffs, of course :)).
12/21/2004 02:21:50 PM · #6
Gaslight Quarter - Yummy food and nightlife.
12/21/2004 02:23:41 PM · #7
LaJolla - Park downtown, walk to the beach, turn right or left and continue walking.

There is a place on a Naval base where there is a light house and a statue (someone please jump in with the name, I can't remember). Some good shots to be had there, but you can also go down to the tide pools from there.

Message edited by author 2004-12-21 14:24:08.
12/21/2004 02:34:03 PM · #8
Wild Animal Park, Mission Beach, Point Loma, Delmar Horse Track, to name a few not mentioned.

Message edited by author 2004-12-21 14:36:23.
12/21/2004 02:37:19 PM · #9
torrey pines state park ... great ocean views

uss midway should be a good place for photos, too ... although i haven't been there yet
12/21/2004 02:37:21 PM · #10
Originally posted by louddog:

LaJolla - Park downtown, walk to the beach, turn right or left and continue walking.

There is a place on a Naval base where there is a light house and a statue (someone please jump in with the name, I can't remember). Some good shots to be had there, but you can also go down to the tide pools from there.


It'not on the naval base, but close to it. The place is called Point Loma, Cabrillo monument. Nice views of San Diego bay and downtown.
12/21/2004 02:47:24 PM · #11
Originally posted by louddog:

LaJolla - Park downtown, walk to the beach, turn right or left and continue walking.

There is a place on a Naval base where there is a light house and a statue (someone please jump in with the name, I can't remember). Some good shots to be had there, but you can also go down to the tide pools from there.


The Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the Cabrillo National Monument. Great views of San Diego Bay, Coronado Island and the ocean. Also some hiking and exploring among the tidepools.
12/21/2004 03:05:05 PM · #12
If you want to actually SEE San Diego then you have to go to Mt. Soledad which is right off the ocean in La Jolla. You can look in my profile for the Landmark that is there. It is a small mountain but it gives you a view of the Pacific Ocean to the West including Scripps Pier, Mexico, Downtown and Coronado to the South, San Diego to the East, and Del Mar and beyond to the North.
12/21/2004 03:18:15 PM · #13
Palomar Observatory just an hour to the north (pretty drive too):

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12/21/2004 03:37:40 PM · #14
must check out these places =)....lived here for 2 years now and have not gotten off my lazy butt to see most of what San Diego has to offer
12/21/2004 03:38:06 PM · #15
Originally posted by eugene:

My girlfriend and I will be in sunny San Diego between Christmas and New Years for vacation. For those of you that went or live there, could you give me a list of top 5 things not to miss... Where to go and take great photos?


Looks like you'll have picked a good time. There's supposed to be a bit of a Santa Ana wind blowing. Usually that's trouble (i.e. the wild fires), but we've had a good amount of rain so things aren't too dry. The good news from it is it will be warm, sunny and clear skys.

- A great sunset: Lots of choices. Any beach is an obvious choice. Several have piers, which make good sunset settings - Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach (Crystal Pier), and Oceanside. Mission Bay would probably have some good settings. There are probably some spots out in the mountains east of San Diego with a good view of the city that might make a good sunset scene - perhaps Mt. Soladad or Mt. Laguna. And for an "extreme" option, maybe head into the desert and try the sunset over the mountains - or maybe even better could be a sunrise.

- Great street shot: The Gas Lamp (downtown), Pacific Beach might be good choices. Depends on what you would consider makes a good street scene.

- Great culture: Balboa Park, the Zoo, the Scripps Aquarium. I'm not sure what else might fit - I'm not very "cultured". :)

- Great landscape: This is getting harder and harder around here, due to development. There are some beaches that still have somewhat uncluttered views, like Sunset Cliffs. Heading out to the inland valleys, mountains or desert (Julien, Mount Laguna, Palomar Mountain, Borrego). Views from the piers are always nice. You can also look for a pier with some surfers around it - I know Oceanside is good for this (see my top rated photo in my profile), if that interests you. Take a drive up the coast along Pacific Coast Highway. I don't know the exact streets to take, but you can start in Pacific Beach on Mission Blvd. and work your way up through La Jolla, Torrey Pines, and eventually pick up the PCH/101 in Del Mar. Depending on how often you stop, this can take anywhere from an hour or two to an entire day. There are lots of beaches, cliffs, jetties (good for getting out from the beach a little and looking back on the coast line - just watch the surf), and lagoons with some good nature trails (San Elijo in Solana Beach and Batiquitos in Carlsbad).

- Great night shot: As mentioned, the obvious one you should try is the San Diego skyline at night - either from Coronodo or Shelter Island. If you can get the Coronado Bay Bridge, that's a nice shot too. Sea World might be doing their evening fireworks. The Wild Animal Park has a "festival of lights" and are open evenings through the 30th.

If I think of anything else, I'll either add it here or send you an e-mail. When do you leave?
12/21/2004 03:39:30 PM · #16
what about old town????
12/21/2004 04:13:24 PM · #17
Man, reading this thread hurts. It's been 10 years since I left SD, and haven't been back. It's 20 degrees out right now here in PA. And you guys are talkin' about all my old stomping grounds.

Is the coaster still on the beach at Mission? If so it's worth seeing.

On your way to the Coronado strand, stop at Venereal..., I mean Imperial, Beach, where the sea meets debris, and tell everyone I said "hi".
12/21/2004 05:40:17 PM · #18
Originally posted by spydr:

Man, reading this thread hurts. It's been 10 years since I left SD, and haven't been back. It's 20 degrees out right now here in PA. And you guys are talkin' about all my old stomping grounds.

Is the coaster still on the beach at Mission? If so it's worth seeing.

On your way to the Coronado strand, stop at Venereal..., I mean Imperial, Beach, where the sea meets debris, and tell everyone I said "hi".


it's still there...just saw it for the first time a couple weeks ago =)
12/21/2004 05:57:39 PM · #19
Old Town Trolley Tour

I thought this sounded pretty touristy, but it was a good tour. The trolley does a loop so you can get off and spend as much time as you want at the sites on the way. (It includes Coronado.)

Have a great trip!
12/22/2004 12:47:04 AM · #20
Originally posted by spydr:

It's 20 degrees out right now here in PA.


We're sitting in the low 70's at the coast and 80's inland wearing our flip flops and shorts. Ah, the price of paradise....
12/22/2004 09:11:28 AM · #21
Find Shelter Island on the map, it's in the crook of Point Loma. Notice San Diego Yacht Club at the armpit of Shelter Island and Point Loma. Go right up the hill from the Yacht Club and navigate around those surface streets on the side of the hill; you'll find a spectacular location to shoot over the yact club towards the skyline of downtown San Diego. Fine sunset shot.

Go to Wild Animal Park, about 45 minutes north of San Diego. It's really nice for night shots during the holiday season, and if this is like recent ones it is open after dusk during the holidays. Also, the general landscape around the WAP is classic Southern California inland 'scapes.

You can drive north 45 minutes on Interstate 5 and enter Camp Pendleton (Marine Base) just North of Oceanside; this is an extremely well-preserved, virgin in some places, example of California coastal wilderness. Continue north to San Juan Capistrano (another 15 minutes) and exit the freeway at the Ortega Highway (Hwy 74) at the area where the freeway has jogged inland and back north again. Follow the Ortega Highway back inland and south until it brings you to Interstate 15, which you take back south for the inland route back to San Diego. The views in the middle portion of this drive are to die for, and the road is one of the highest-rated "drivers roads" by sports car people in So Cal.

I'm a native San Diegan, grew up on Point Loma. Retired to Cape Cod a few years ago 'cuz I got tired of no weather :-)

Robt.
12/22/2004 09:44:17 AM · #22
Did you get all that? A lot to take in, in 5 days...

In december do the embarcadaro during the day, Start at the Star Of India/The Californian at the naval museum, head south and you will pass the Midway Aircraft carrier Muesuem, Keep going south and you will pass some cool monuments then the old fishing boats and end up in Seaport Village with Horse drawn carriages, street urchins and the just some really fun street and nautical shots (Watch the girlfriend, there are lots of cool shops here).

There is a 3 dollar (6 round trip) ferry from the embarcadaro that takes about a 30 minute trip over to Coronado Island, lots of sky line and close ups of the Midway from the water side can be taken from the ferry. Just some neat opportunities to get San Diego and Coronado Island from the water.

Coronado Island at Night make sure you get pics of the Hotel Del Coronada with all it's Christmas Light Splendor.

Point Loma/Cabrillo National Monument is very cool, Cabrillo has the the old light house, whales migrating south, Tide Pools (we have our lowest tides in December), I was there a couple of weeks ago and there was an Osprey (white eagle) lurking about.

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Wild Animal park has the Night time lights going on right now which is ok and the park is open til 9 during this time (about 40 Minutes North of San Diego). I'm headed to the WAP this weekend.

Can't go wrong in Balboa Park for people pics that is my favorite place for people watching, Most museums charge a couple bucks to get in but you can get a day pass that would get you into all of them. If you get on of those don't miss the Model Railroad museum it is often over looked and has some really cool miniture picture taking opportunities.

Torrey Pines Reserve is some good hiking and sunset shots over the coast, Just down the road south is the Glider Port where you can get Hang Gliders going over the side (careful about shooting down the side as I had some explaining to do when I came home with some nudes from blacks beach...it was an accident...Really)

There is just tons of stuff to see and do here...Old Town is pretty cool, there are missions everywhere...

ED:Oh yeah for you night time recreation (non photographic) dancing, eating, clubbing hang out in the Gas Lamp disctrict down by Petco Park and the convention center that place doesn't go to sleep till very late.

Message edited by author 2004-12-22 09:50:19.
12/22/2004 09:50:54 AM · #23
We enjoyed Seaport Village while we were there this summer. Lots of neat little shops, and we saw a few performers with some fun acts.
12/22/2004 09:53:22 AM · #24
Theres like 7 or 8 six flags parks in california, isnt there?
12/22/2004 09:56:56 AM · #25
We thought this looked like a fun tour if we would have had time to do it:

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