EXPLORE: San Diego – One Day in California

On my way back from Maui I had another long layover, this time in San Diego. After my successful day excursion in Portland I knew I had more than enough time to explore. I had never been to California before so I really wanted to see the beach and ever since I was a little kid I wanted to see the San Diego Zoo. I headed out with a pretty loose plan: food, coffee, beach, animals!

1 Day in San Diego California

My flight landed pretty early in the morning so I took advantage of that time to freshen up a bit and change over some things, making my carry on into a day bag. I put on a pair of shorts and tee shirt in the bathroom and then put some make-up on (mainly for the sunscreen protection). Once I was ready to go I requested a Lyft and headed off!

Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

First Stop: Shades Oceanfront Bistro

My Lyft driver, Barry, picked me up at 7:36AM and asked me where I wanted to go. I asked him to take me to a local favorite spot for breakfast and told him that I wanted to see what California looked like since I had never been. He drove me over to Ocean Beach, or OB, and suggested a few spots for breakfast and pointed out where to take a morning walk along the beach and Pier. Right before 8:00AM I walked into Shades Oceanfront Bistro. I was seated at a table and had an awesome view of the ocean. I ordered a cup of coffee because I NEEDED IT and when I saw the Californian Omelette on the menu I thought to myself, “I mean, I kind of have to!” The omelette was filled with bacon and cheese, topped with avocado and I added a little lot of hot sauce. The potatoes were amazing and I topped my English Muffin with some jelly.

Second Stop: Ocean Beach Park and Pier

After breakfast I walked across the street from the restaurant to Ocean Beach Park. I made my way along the sidewalk and watched the ocean for awhile just taking in the California morning: surfers, palm trees, the landscape, the vibe. It was a little chilly so I didn’t get in the water but I watched the surfers for awhile and ended up walking down the Pier. I really enjoyed the view of the city from the Pier and I took time to appreciate where I was and what I was doing.

Third Stop: San Diego Zoo

At 9:06AM I called a Lyft again and Matthew dropped me off at the zoo at 9:22AM. I figured it wouldn’t take long to get in since the line wasn’t long and it was close to opening. I’d recommend using the ticket kiosk if you go. My first stop at the zoo was the community lockers located at the southeast corner of the park. After locking my backpack up I headed out to explore!

I grabbed a map and made my way to Discovery Outpost where I saw tortoises and reptiles, then over to Monkey Trail and Tiger Trail. Two of the tigers were very close to the glass and were just beautiful to see. Throughout the day I made my way around to see flamingos, pandas, polar bears, lions, elephants, koalas, and giraffes. The zoo also had the orchid greenhouse open to the public. I really enjoyed seeing all the different types of orchids since they are my favorite flower. I also had a few treats at the zoo including an ice cream, a corn dog, and a funnel cake. I also picked up a framed butterfly in the gift shop to commemorate my trip.

By the end of my day at the zoo I was exhausted! I called a car and got back to the airport just in time to go through security, get a snack, take a bathroom break, and get on the plane. My day in San Diego was a lot of fun with beautiful weather and the perfect end to my long trip!

See my adventures as they happen on Instagram!

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