The northern coastal area of San Diego is home to miles of gorgeous beaches, the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds, fine dining, fabulous shops, attractions and more. Connected by California's historic Highway 101, this area boasts a beautiful drive and a host of hidden gems to discover. Here are seven ideas to get you started.
Thoroughbred Racing at the Del Mar Racetrack
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Take a plane, take a train or take a car to where the turf meets the surf, and witness the "sport of kings" at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Horse racing in San Diego County can be traced as far back as the 1930s, when crooner Bing Crosby and his pals formed the Del Mar Turf Club. Grab your biggest hat and head to opening day in July, or drop in for another race or two during the summer season that stretches through Labor Day. The track’s second season, affectionately named the Bing Crosby Season, runs through November.
Jake's Del Mar
1660 Coast Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014
Savor the pairing of a great meal and a gorgeous sunset at Jake’s Del Mar, perched right on the sand in one of coastal North County’s most exquisite cities. Chef Duvinh Ta presides over a menu of American favorites, from fresh seafood to premium meats, all served in a showcase space with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the shimmering Pacific. (There’s also plenty of inviting outdoor space.) Jake’s is a longtime Del Mar favorite and a must-visit for those who love seaside dining.
Luxury at its Best
5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, San Diego, CA 92130
Looking for luxury? The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is your place — and this coastal resort's signature restaurant, Addison, is the only dining destination in the region with two Michelin stars. Enjoy Relais & Chateau Grand Chef William Bradley's take on California gastronomy as you savor a memorable, nine-course tasting menu. And while you're at the resort, grab a racket and play on one of the Grand Del Mar’s pro-style tennis courts, hit the links on the 18-hole championship golf course, hike some of the 37 miles of trails, lounge by the pool, or just relax the day away in bliss at the hotel’s five-star spa.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
High above Del Mar
Soar over the San Diego coastline in style with a sunset hot-air balloon flight. Several companies offer these serene floats over the beautiful coastal landscape, with panoramic views of the Pacific as well as the coastal bluffs and estates that surround Del Mar. On a clear day you might see all the way from the mountain slopes to the Coronado Islands. The experience is perfect for celebrating a special occasion or simply making memories that will last a lifetime.
Shop ‘til you Drop
4545 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92122
If you're in the mood for an upscale shopping, dining and lifestyle experience, look no further than the Westfield UTC mall (4545 La Jolla Village Drive) in La Jolla. The recent, $600 million re-envisioning of the mall included the opening of a new, two-level Nordstrom, the speakeasy Raised by Wolves (named one of the Top 20 bars in North America) and the fast-casual favorite Tocaya Modern Mexican, among other great dining options. For a more intimate shopping scene, try the Del Mar Highlands Town Center (12925 El Camino Real). Here you can pick up a high-fashion souvenir, including fabulous resort wear from Daisy Blue or locally made jewelry and purses at LOLO. Or check out the Sky Deck, with its sips and bites from around the world.
Hike Torrey Pines high above the Pacific
Start: Coastal Highway 101 at Carmel Valley Road
With more than 1,750 acres of winding trails, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a hiker’s dream. Gently sloping trails meander along cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with scenic outlooks dotted along the way. Stop for a breathtaking view of the ocean including vistas overlooking Del Mar to the North and La Jolla to the South. Park along the ocean’s edge and make your way up “the hill” – it’s all downhill from there - but that’s a good thing!
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
9675 Scranton Rd, San Diego, CA 92121
San Diego is famous for its craft beer scene, so why not taste what’s on tap at one of the city’s craft beer pioneers, Karl Strauss Brewing Company in Sorrento Mesa? Beer offerings include both a core lineup and an ever-changing list of small batch and limited releases. The food menu includes bar food favorites such as burgers and gourmet mac and cheese. Visit during happy hour for the best deals on both brews and bites.
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