10 Places in SD You Shouldn't Forget 7.17.6 Keith Boyd
San Diego Rules! Okay, okay lots of cities can lay claim to that. I know, I know New York rules! San Fransisco Rules! Hell I guess even Chicago rules!
But hey, I don't live in any of those places. I live in San Diego and for the last 22 years I've found out many of its' hidden and amazing places. I guess what gives San Diego such variety starts literally from the ground up.
In terms of geography we're pretty blessed. We've got the ocean, deserts, mountains, canyons and rivers. In amongst all of this are great natural micro-climates that have produced amazing plant communities. Then there is the man-made San Diego. Not taking into account the recent overdevelopment of areas such as Poway, Eastlake and the SD Bay waterfront, there are some really beautiful and smallish communities. I''m thinking of OB, Kensington and South Park in particular. San Diego also boasts a great climate. For most of the year we range between 60-80 degrees and that's just good people living weather. So in light of my love for this city (and county) I'm presenting this month's list.
1. Queen Califia's Magic Circle : Designed by Niki de St. Phalle this homage to the mystical backstory of the land of California is just amazing. The fact that it's in a dry and dusty park in Escondido just adds to the charm.
It's hard to desribe what the magic circle is. It's part sculpture, part amusment park. Perhaps it' s best described as amn interactive mythilogical environment.
2. Sunset Cliffs: Go to the Olive Tree market get yourself a sandwich and head out to the cliffs in OB for a sunset picnic. From the waves to the surfers to the fishing boats to the GREEN FLASH this is what San Diego is all about. Through the years I've seen these cliffs slowly weather and change. They are always interesting and inspiring.
3. Swami's Beach: At the Southern end of Encinitas is Swami's beach. named for the nearby Self-Realization Fellowship's founding guru, this beach is haven from the SD county beach. There are no bars, cheap restaurants or rentals joints anywhere. In fact the steep stairs tend to discourage musch visitation from crowds as well. That's the charm of this place. It is awash in good vibes and uncluttered by typical beach town nonsense.
4. Mount Soledad: Forget the whole cross/war memorial gig. haven't we San Diegans wasted enough time, money and energy on that one? Come here for the 360o view. It's an awesome spot. On clear days you can see from Tijuana to Catalina. The air is always fresh on Mount Soledad and to watch the coastal clouds slowly swarm in and lap up the sides of the hill is a wonder to behold.
5. Spruce Street Suspension Bridge: Located between Hillcrest, Downtown and Banker's Hill this bridge is just a trip. The 1st time I saw I couldn't believe that some government agency hadn't come in and shut it down for being too much fun. Standing mid-span on a windy day in a true surround sound/3-D experience.
6. Balboa Park: I couldn't narrow down one aspect of the Balboa Park so I'm including the whoile thing. From the hiking/mountain biking trails along the West side to the Koi pond at the Japanese Garden. From the various water fountains lit at night to the wild mushroom risotto at the Prado. Balboa Park has it all. Go their on Earth Day to play drums with 100 or so fellow freaks (see you there!). Go there to check the art. Go there on Mother's Day for a picnic and Frisbee toss. Balbos Park is the living, breathing heart of this city.
7. The Silver Strand: This strip of land between South Bay and Coronado is a seldom visited treat. For a bike ride, run or roller skate session it offers beautiful views and cool breezes. Amny a Sunday you'll find my family simply driving up and down it a few times enjoying some good music and each other's company.
8. Cowles Mountain: The whole Mission Trials Park is a jewel but Cowles is an extra special place. The view from the top is exhilirating and worth the effort. Cowles provides many things o many people. For some it's a trail running challenge, for others it's an introduction to hiking with some elevation gain. For whatever reason it's just a beautiful place to visit and a welcome touch of nature in the city.
9. Descanso Falls: Way out East on the way to Cuyamaca State Park is the little town of Descanso. Just past the town proper is the hike that leads to the falls. While these falls aren't enormous they offer a little swimming paradise in the backcountry. In fact I reccomend checking out "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County" by Jerry Schad as a guide to other falls and swimming holes.
10. The Badlands in Anza-Borrego: Wow! It's hard to give an accounting of this area. There are view points that look out ove rthe whole thing and those views ar hypnotic. Imagine those drippy sand castles you made when you were a kid. Now blow that up to monster size and extend it for miles on end and maybe you'll get the picture. Visit in the Spring for the added bonus of wildflower viewing.
So there it is folks! If I've missed one of your favorites PLEASE email me . I always love learning more about this diverse and fun place we live in.
If you're an out of towner use this list to stray beyond the Sea World/Zoo routine and get a real sense of why San Diego rules!
BSD Ten Places in SD not to Forget
1. The OB pier. It's the longest pier on the west coast
2. Mount Helix. Watch the storms come in from the top of this peak you can drive to the top of.
3. Hillcrest. Check out the food at Taste of Thai and the drinks at Nunu's
4. The San Diego River. Walk it in Mission Trails park or as it enters the beach in OB
5. The Presidio Mission. It's right there in Mission Valley. Have a picnic, take the kids.
6. The runway at Lindbergh field. Or, the parking garage at Laurel and Kettner. Park your car and watch the planes take off.
7. The Cabrillo Monument. Check out the views of the city and sea from a different perspective.
8. La jolla Cove. Brave the rich folk and swim out to the buoys
9. Mission Bay Dinosaur Park. Take your kids to a place you can play to. right off of Sea World Dr and the 5
10. Julian. Have a coffee and a pice of apple pie. Wait until it snows, it's more fun.
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