San Diego Journals

Christmas in San Diego

Best of IgoUgo

A December 2005 trip to San Diego by Idler

Old Town San Diego Photo, San Diego, California More Photos
Quote: What better way to spend a leisurely family holiday than relaxing in San Diego?

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham San Diego

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Hawthorn Suites"

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham San Diego Photo, San Diego, California
Quote:
This ‘extended business stay’ facility is centrally located on Hotel Circle, which runs alongside I-8 near both the I-5 and Rt. 193 interchanges, quite close to Old Town and the Presidio, with Balboa Park just minutes away. It’s also close to Fashion Valley Mall, a gargantuan and quintessentially California shopping complex. However, the immediate area surrounding the hotel is rather bland, consisting of just a long procession of hotels and motels facing the interstate. Thankfully, the soundproofing in our third-floor suite adequately masked the traffic noise; it also probably helped that our suite was near the elevator as it had an interior door rather than an exterior door on a long outside corridor...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham San Diego
1335 Hotel Circle South
San Diego, California 92108
(619) 299-3501

Cedar Creek Inn

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Cedar Creek Inn Photo, San Juan Capistrano, California
Quote:
Finding a congenial place for lunch with my brother, his wife, and their three small children was something of a balancing act: we wanted to meet halfway between San Diego and their house, we needed someplace suitable for small children yet sophisticated enough for adults, and we preferred nearby sights of interest. The Cedar Creek Inn, just next to the mission at San Juan Capistrano, met all these criteria and seemed to be an excellent choice. The inn was bustling the day after Christmas, but since we arrived before my brother’s family, I had time to cue the hostess that we’d need a table for eight. She was a tad harried and had to be reminded that we were still waiting for a table after ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Cedar Creek Inn
26860 Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano, California 92675
(949) 240-2229

Boathouse

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "The Boathouse Restaurant"

Boathouse Photo, San Diego, California
Quote:
Deciding where to have Christmas dinner while traveling over the holidays always presents something of a dilemma. Truth to tell, we tend to leave this more to chance than planning, with mixed results. Our low point came one year when, unable to find anything open, we had a perfectly ghastly meal at Denny’s in Florida. Our high point was a five-star seafood dinner at sunset overlooking Hanalei Bay. This year, we were in luck again, though not quite so spectacularly. I’d given up phoning various recommended restaurants San Diego – no one answering at one, another not open, and a third completely booked. Then we spotted the Boathouse as we were driving by Harbor Island. Although it was early ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Boathouse
2040 Harbor Island Dr
San Diego, California 92101
+1 619 291 8011

Cafe Pacifica

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Cafe Pacifica Photo, San Diego, California
Quote:
Café Pacifica is a chic, intimate restaurant set in an attractive stucco building on San Diego Avenue in Old Town. Parking is something of an issue in Old Town, and this restaurant provides valet parking for $5, but we parked up a few blocks away, later thankful for the little constitutional our walk back to the car provided after the meal.The décor of the restaurant can be described as hip beach casual, with romantic low lighting (actually, it was so dim I had a little trouble reading the menu), and an interesting choice of blues music playing discretely in the background, something like early Muddy Waters. The waiters are suave pros. Dressed in white shirts, black pants, and ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Cafe Pacifica
2414 San Diego Ave
San Diego, California 92110
+1 619 291 6666

Mingei International Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The Mingei International Museum"

Mingei International Museum Photo, San Diego, California
Quote:
With so many museums in Balboa Park, it was a daunting task to choose. However, when I saw a beautiful pamphlet for the Mingei Museum in the lobby of our hotel, it leapt to the top of the list. Plus, the Mingei was "just enough" museum to enjoy on a sunny day. The museum is something of a focal point in Plaza de Panama by virtue of two extravagant sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle near its entrance. The "Nikigator" was thronged by children, perching on its head, climbing through its chambered limbs, and scaling its long spine. This piece, some fifteen or twenty feet in length, is a tactile treat, with mirrors, beads, tiles, and smooth stones making up the "hide" of the whimsical alligator...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Mingei International Museum
1439 El Prado - on the Plaza de Panama
San Diego, California 92101
(619) 239-0003

Old Town San Diego

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Old Town San Diego Photo, San Diego, California
Quote:
Visiting historical sites in Old Town San Diego is as good a pretext as any for doing what most people who come to Old Town do: shop and eat. Interlarded among the city’s oldest houses (most now housing museums) are delightful shops, bazaars, and restaurants, most with a Mexican theme. The nine square blocks of the State Historic Park do a good job of recreating the Mexican and early American periods circa 1821-1872. Included are such historic structures as California’s first schoolhouse, San Diego’s first Courthouse, the state’s first newspaper office, and five original adobe buildings. If the truth be known, we gave short shrift to the museums and historical displays, drawn l...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Old Town San Diego
40002 Wallace Street
San Diego, California

Zoomars Petting Zoo

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Zoomar's Petting Zoo"

Zoomars Petting Zoo Photo, San Juan Capistrano, California
Quote:
This was absolutely the perfect place for an outing with my brother, his wife, and their three small children. Originally, we’d planned to go to San Juan Capistrano Mission, but decided to go somewhere the kids could play. The petting zoo is in the historic Los Rios neighborhood, near the 0’Neill Museum, Amtrak Station, and Rios Adobe, said to be the oldest continuously occupied residence in California.The entry fee is modest: $3 for adults and $2 for kids. Even with ‘extras’ such as $3 for a pony ride or $2 for a miniature train ride, it’s cheap thrills in comparison to Sea World or LegoLand, plus it has the advantage of being fairly quiet and contained, forestalling the toddler meltdowns...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Zoomars Petting Zoo
31791 Los Rios Street
San Juan Capistrano, California 92675
(949) 831-6550

Cabrillo National Monument & Point Loma Lighthouse

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Cabrillo National Monument"

Cabrillo National Monument & Point Loma Lighthouse Photo, San Diego, California
Quote:
On Christmas Day, we drive to Point Loma to Cabrillo National Monument, famous for its views of San Diego harbor. The park commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the Spanish explorer who first discovered the harbor at San Diego in 1542. Historians believe Cabrillo anchored his flagship, the San Salvador, on the eastern shore of Point Loma near Cabrillo National Monument. Although Cabrillo died later during the expedition, his crew continued to explore, possibly reaching as far north as Oregon.The visitor center at the monument has films and exhibits on the expedition, as well as a heroic statue commemorating Cabrillo overlooking the bay. Our main focus, however, is on the west side of...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Cabrillo National Monument & Point Loma Lighthouse
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, California 92106
(619) 557-5450

About the Writer

Idler

Idler
Poolesville, Maryland