Visitors often flock to San Diego’s many beaches for surf and sun, but the fun doesn’t stop at the coast. In fact, some of the city’s most popular destinations are outside the coastal region. From craft beer to outdoor adventures, head northeast for some of San Diego’s best experiences.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido
Lions and tigers and zebras, oh my! Immerse yourself in a genuine safari experience at Escondido’s Safari Park, where 1,800 acres of adventure await. Over 2 million people visit this unique wild animal park every year, making it one of the most visited places in San Diego. With animals as colossal as African elephants to the teeny-tiny (and impossibly cute) meerkats, this world of discovery is open 365 days a year. For a truly amazing animal experience, splurge on the Caravan Safari Adventure where you ride with a small group in an open bed truck right into the safari plains, hand feed giraffes and rhinos, and talk one-on-one with a park expert.
Stone Brewing Bistro & World Gardens
1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido
San Diego has over 150 craft breweries and counting, but if you choose to visit only one, many locals will say Stone Brewing Bistro & World Garden's sprawling space in Escondido should be at the top of your list. The tasting room and restaurant are as impressive as the beers themselves, and the food is even better. Opt for duck al pastor tacos from the All Day menu and wash it down with a classic Stone IPA. Be sure to wander through the outdoor gardens for the full experience.
13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, Rancho Bernardo
Despite San Diego’s more recent notoriety for craft beer, our wine region has thrived for decades. Visit Southern California’s oldest operating winery, Bernardo Winery, and enjoy sips of chardonnay, merlot, and port in a beautiful setting. Prepare for your palate to be dazzled and your spirit to soar in this quaint winery that’s also home to shops, art galleries, and a cozy cafe.
Hiking to Potato Chip Rock
14644 Lake Poway Road, Poway
This popular hike has become Instagram gold, thanks to its unique shape jutting out into thin air. The eight-mile loop takes hikers to the Mt. Woodson summit and, despite its challenging nature, is considered one of the quintessential San Diego experiences. Be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, and consider an early start to beat the near-daily crowds.
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle
3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido
Immerse yourself in mystical wonder in this sculpture garden created by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. With art inspired by Native Americans, Mexicans, and California’s own culture, it’s easy to be awestruck by the powerful pieces as well as the uniqueness of the space. Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is only open during select hours, so call (760) 839-4000 to plan your visit ahead of time.
Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, Rancho Bernardo
The opulent atmosphere at the Rancho Bernardo Inn makes unwinding a breeze. The recently renovated 18-hole golf course has hosted several professional events, yet remains an approachable option for beginners and experts alike. For those who prefer a more pampered experience, the spa offers a large menu of services, ranging from organic facials to whole body wraps designed for complete relaxation.
Global Culinary Tour on Convoy Street
Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa
San Diego’s proximity to Baja California means there’s no shortage of incredible Mexican food, but Kearny Mesa’s Convoy Street is a hidden gem for those who crave a taste of the east. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Sichuan, and Korean: this one-and-a-half mile long stretch is home to over a hundred eateries from all over Asia. Try hot pot, shabu shabu, sushi, or one of everything to sample the wide variety of cuisines. Best of all, the central area is easily accessible from multiple freeways.
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