Long regarded as a low-key military town, San Diego has transformed itself into one of California’s most vibrant cities. With a bustling downtown filled with polished clubs; a restaurant row to rival many European cities; and several hip, artsy urban neighborhoods, San Diego makes for an ideal weekend getaway.
Best Place to Dance: The LGBT club and lounge Eden is San Diego’s answer to WeHo’s Abbey. Fashionably dressed locals dance to sleek club beats; a huge outdoor patio allows patrons to mingle and actually hear each other speak (rare for a club). Definitely the hottest spot in town at the moment.
Coolest Neighborhood: Hillcrest, San Diego’s official “gayborhood,” is also the most Bohemian district in the city. Where art deco architecture mixes with vintage clothing stores and quirky cafes, the neighborhood is also home to San Diego’s growing foodie movement and some of its best nightlife.
Hottest Restaurant: Red Pearl Kitchen, located in the city’s 16 block historic “Gaslamp District,” blends Asian fusion cuisine with edgy decor. From Thai lettuce wraps to Kobe beef skewers and exotically mixed cocktails, this is definitely the place to get your night started. After dinner, don’t forget to stroll through the Gaslamp, which is the heart of the city’s entertainment and nightlife scene.
Best Secret Beach: Let’s face it—California beaches typically don’t include white sand and turquoise waters. But at Wind-N-Sea Beach, located 10 miles north of downtown in ritzy La Jolla, the surf is calmer, the water is actually clear and the vibe feels — dare we say tropical? The best reason to visit this beach is that tourists generally don’t come here, so if you’re looking for some space, and to see local surfers in action, this is your spot.
Best Dive: The Hole is one of San Diego’s most popular dive bars and has been around since 1934. Located in Point Loma, from the outside you’d never think it existed, but below the entrance lies the bar, both outside and inside a tropical tavern. Sundays boast the gay scene’s biggest BBQ, but Monday nights are a local favorite as drag queen Ophelia does her stand-up routine and directs a “wet n’ wild” contest. Get ready for massive pitchers of alcohol at massively discounted prices.