One of the most popular vacation destinations along the West Coast of the United States is San Diego, which has a lot to offer travelers.
Expansive beaches, a vibrant downtown, and world-class zoos and theme parks make America’s finest city a perfect fit for almost everyone, from singles to families alike (but, we’re here to talk about planning the perfect girls weekend in San Diego).
As the saying goes, girls just want to have fun and there is no better place for a fun-filled girls weekend than San Diego!
Trust me, I know – I live here.
There are countless San Diego hotels, spas, nightclubs and restaurants to keep women entertained. From the fresh-out-of-college crowd to seasoned cougars ready to pounce, San Diego has a scene for us all so, leave the boys behind and head to San Diego for a vacation you’ll hardly remember, but never forget!
Here’s how to spend the best girls weekend in San Diego!
How to Plan the Perfect Girls Weekend in San Diego
Planning the perfect weekend in San Diego includes knowing where to stay and what to plan into your itinerary. We got a few great recommendations for you.
If you’re going to be flying in, check out these California airports.
Book the Ultimate San Diego Resort
The Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa encapsulates everything that we love about San Diego. It has a stunning location on Mission Bay putting guests within steps of the water and boardwalk as well as just a few minutes from the Gaslamp Quarter and beaches of Pacific and Mission Beach.
For single women looking for a little vacation romance, this location is ideal. Pacific Beach has a just-out-of-college bar scene with dive bars, nightclubs, and plenty of restaurants along Garnet Avenue whereas the Gaslamp Quarter caters to all ages with lounges, music venues, bars, and dancing.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing vacation in San Diego Hilton Resort and Spa has a full service spa with massages and facials, a beautiful waterfront pool, an onsite restaurant, and offers an array of activities from tennis to sailing.
Enjoy a Cocktail with a View
What’s a girls weekend in San Diego without a few cocktails?
Altitude Sky Lounge is a swanky cocktail lounge located on the 22nd floor of the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. Day or night, this location is unforgettable with a birds-eye view of Petco Park, the San Diego Bay, Coronado Bridge and the entire Gaslamp Quarter.
Altitude Sky Lounge is perfect for a happy hour cocktail before a fun night out downtown or a late night stop after dancing it up at the local clubs. Complete with a modern appeal, firepits, flashy decor, and beautiful patrons, it doesn’t get better than Altitude Sky Lounge in San Diego.
Grab a Bite with the Gals
It’s rare to ask a group of young San Diego locals where their favorite place to eat is and hear no mention of Cucina Urbana. This trendy Italian bistro has California flare, reasonable prices, out of this world food, an extensive wine list and over the top hipster decor.
Open for lunch, dinner, and happy hour, Cucina Urbana in Banker’s Hill is a thriving hotspot attracting locals and visitors from all over town. This favorite San Diego restaurant also offers wine tastings on Saturday afternoons.
Shop ’til You Drop
San Diego has every kind of shopping imaginable from boutique shopping and organic farmer’s markets to outlet centers and massive shopping malls.
My personal favorite mall is Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego. This outdoor shopping mall has well-known upscale stores, an ice-skating rink during winter and is located next door to the Gaslamp Quarter.
I also love the Carlsbad Premium Outlet Center in North County where you can find incredible deals on high-end brand names like BCBG, BEBE, Banana Republic, and Sephora.
Check out Balboa Park
San Diego’s Balboa Park is the United State’s largest urban cultural park. You’ll find numerous affordable and even free things to do in Balboa Park! Check out our guide on free things to do in Balboa Park.
Don’t miss Casa Guadalajara, Old Town San Diego for great Mexican Cuisine
Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California.
San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. His mission was built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego.
At the base of the hill in 1820’s, a small Mexican community of adobe buildings was formed and by 1835 had attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego. In 1846, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant and a Marine Lieutenant, raised the American flag in the Old Town San Diego Plaza.
Bazaar Del Mundo Shops are what you will see first when you get to the corner of that street. Garish Latin-themed gift stores, operate this Mexican restaurant situated a block away from Old Town State Historic Park.
Not only is Casa Guadalajara better than what you’ll find along that area, it’s often less crowded than its counterparts (though having to wait for half an hour or more is not unusual on a Fri & Sat night). Mariachi tunes played by strolling musicians enliven the room nightly, and you can also dine alfresco, in a picturesque courtyard occupied by a 200-year-old pepper tree.
Birdbath-size margaritas start most meals, while dining ranges from simple south-of-the-border fare to more gourmet items like tequila lime shrimp and mango chipotle chicken — but the extensive menu features all the fajita and combo plates most people expect.
Begin with an appetizer or three, especially the nachos supreme done with crispy blue corn, yellow corn and chipotle tortilla chips and the special nacho sauce; the chipotle chicken taquitos and some of the best guacamole dip in town. You can order tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tamales and chili relleno a la carte, but the combinations served with rice and beans and specialty dishes lure you to Casa Guadalajara. Breakfast is also served on weekends.
This place (like the Bazaar) is touristy, but out-of-towners looking for old California ambience and reliable Mexican food will find it here. First time all week, we had respectably HOT and SPICY chili and so I was pretty happy with the meal! However, Mexican is rather heavy and I doubt that this would be the kind of cuisine I would look for on a regular basis!
A nice experience all in all!
Visit the San Diego Beaches: What you Need to Know
In the summer, it seems like the entire world flocks to the San Diego beaches for fun in the sun, so here are a few tips to make your experience a little better.
Most vacationers arrive expecting a bright summer sun at the beach all the time. However, at the beaches in San Diego, that is not always the case. June Gloom is a Southern Californian expression for the low clouds that hand over beach areas in late spring and early summer. June Gloom can carry on well into July and, on occasions, even into August. May Gray, No Sky July, and Fogust are monikers that San Diego residents are very familiar with.
It can be maddening for those who booked a beach vacation who only see the sun for one day out of their whole trip. To avoid this, as best you can, schedule your trip in mid to late August or early September.
The Stingray Shuffle
If you frequent San Diego’s beaches in the summer months, you will most likely hear someone mention the “Stingray Shuffle”.
Stingrays love to hang out in warm, shallow water and, when stepped on, deliver a painful sting to ankles or feet. Unless you want to spend your day at the lifeguard tower in immense pain with your foot in a bucket of hot water, you need to learn the dance.
Shuffle your feet when entering or exiting the water to alert the rays that there are people near by.
No Alcohol on Beaches
Yes, it’s true. There is a ban on alcohol consumption on the beach in San Diego, punishable by a $250 fine.
More than likely, however, lifeguards will simply force you to empty out any alcoholic beverages the first time they catch you. Also prohibited are smoking, glass containers, littering, and overnight camping.
No matter what kind of girl you are and what kind of vacation you’re looking for, San Diego has it all.
For young women looking for a wild time to moms looking for a break from the kids, San Diego has natural beauty, luxurious hotels, great restaurants and fun nightlife to satisfy even the weariest of travelers.
We hope you enjoy the perfect girls weekend in San Diego!
Looking for more girls weekend trips? Check out these guides: