Neighborhoods: La Jolla, Downtown/Gaslamp, Hillcrest
You are an explorer and you take the city by storm. You try new experiences more than people try on shoes at Nordstrom because YOU are in pursuit of your best life. Your wellness day will be no different – full of vibrant food, unique fitness experiences, and of course – incredible spa treatments.
Grab a friend or five. These experiences have been curated by SD locals, all within the wellness industry, who identify as Wellness Adventurers, like you. I’m Keila – and I’ll be your guide today.
Relaxing Beach Walk – Seal Rock : Free
Start at La Jolla Cove (look for the stairway), and walk along the coastal path until you get to Seal Rock. You can bask in the ocean breeze while the seals and sea lions bask in the sun. Give them their space, they are used to humans but are still wild animals.
Kayak / Paddleboard Rentals at La Jolla Cove for 90 min: $15-$30 + per person
Explore the water by water and get a mini workout in too. Rentals are inexpensive and can be a great way to get a closer look at sea life, kelp beds, and leopard sharks. You should also check to see if there is a yoga paddleboarding class when you go , it’s challenging for a yoga beginner but if you get frustrated, you could do as I do, sit down and splash your focused yogi co-workers instead!
Organic Brunch at Parakeet Café:
927 Silverado St, La Jolla, CA 92037
(0.5 miles walk from Seal Rock)
Must Try Dish: Matcha Waffles
This instagram worthy spot has an all organic menu. I always feel like I’m being swindled paying full meal price for an avocado smeared on toast, but this one is worth the $12 with beet spirals, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and more. Great spot for bold flavors and breakfast all day. It doesn’t have a ton of seating so not necessarily the ideal coffee spot to work at a laptop.
Indulgent Brunch at The Cottage: $$
(0.5 miles walk from Seal rock)
Must Try Dish: Stuffed French Toast
The chef at The Cottage creates indulgent variations on American breakfast classics like the Pork Belly Benedict (holy moly yum!) and the Veggie Omelet Frittata. The cute atmosphere and delicious food hasn’t gone unnoticed and as an SD fav, can get crowded, especially on weekend brunch – reservations recommended.
Vegan Brunch + Workout at Trilogy Sanctuary & Cafe: $$, vegan
(0.6 mile walk from Seal Rock)
Must Try Dish: Acai bowl
Must Try Class: Aerial Yoga on the Rooftop Deck
Trilogy is famous for it’s Aerial yoga, which focuses on the benefits of inversion (going upside down) by utilizing suspended soft silks with your stretches. You’ll have to overcome your body’s instinct to not flip backwards but after that, you’ll start to feel like a kid monkeying around again. 100% must is trying out healthy options at the Vegan Cafe inside after your workout!
Thrill Seeking at Torrey Pines Gliderport: $$$
(25 min drive North from breakfast)
If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you? You may have been taught to say No, but in this case, the answer is yes! Take a hang gliding or paragliding lesson at Torrey Pines Glider Park. An instructor will ride in tandem with you as you soar over lush greens with ocean views. It can be surprisingly serene once you get over that initial fear of stepping off a cliff.
Island Oasis Spa at The Spa at Paradise Point Resort & Spa: $$$
(20 min drive South from breakfast)
Must Try Treatment: Warming Ginger chakra massage (+add on Tibetan sound healing – 25 min)
The spa at paradise point is laid out in style and treatment menu like an island oasis meets Resort Hotel. Treatments channel ancient island rituals. My must try is the warming ginger chakra massage with products from Pure Fiji. Your therapist will utilize specific healing crystals to massage you and even send you home with a bag of your own. I’m personally a huge fan of sound therapy so I highly recommend adding on the Tibetan sound healing so you can experience the power of singing bowls – crisp, clear, therapeutic sound. The result, for me, is a sense of balance and restoration in a five star spa setting.
In n’ Out of spa at Massage Thai Way: $
(20 min drive SE from breakfast)
Must Try Treatment: Thai Massage $50 + tip
Thai massage is basically deep tissue meets yoga stretching. It’s a no frills, get the kinks out sort of service that gets the job done. Wear fitted workout wear that’s easy to move in but you won’t “slip out” of. Massage Thai Way has made a firm stance as one of the top Thai Massage Spas with nearly 800 Yelp reviews with a 4.5 star rating. $50 for a 60 min massage and I recommend tipping $10-15. You rarely need a reservation far in advance but call ahead if you can.
Delightful Treatments at Spa Kingston: $$
(25 in drive SE from breakfast)
Must Try Treatment: Red Carpet Facial $175 + tip
Spa Kingston is light and refreshing with pink and white décor welcoming guests into the intimate space. It has all the luxury elements of a resort spa but less crowded and charming. While I waited for my treatment, I put on a warm neckie, soaked my feet in rose petal water, and sipped champagne – it was terrible ;). This day spa offers massages and body treatments but it’s known for exceptional facials. The red carpet facial is all about brightening and firming for a glowy hollywood look. Afterwards, ask your therapist (who just spent an hour+ looking at your skin under magnification) which skincare products would be best for you. The retail area is stocked with some of our favorite brands – Epicuren, Skinceuticals, GrandeLash – just to name a few.
*#1 Mexican in San Diego Lunch at Las Cuatros Milpas: $
(5-10 min. South of spas)
Must Try Dish: Rolled Tacos, Menudo
Pro Tip: There’s a lunch rush 11:30-1:30 so try to come before or after that (close at 3:00p) Not a lot of parking, you’ll probably have to park a block or two away.
Several of our local guides have told us that this is undeniably the best authentic mexican food in SD – not the trendy fusion stuff, we’re talking straight out of Southern Mexico. It’s an order-at-the-counter taqueria style space. It’s no frills, super casual, and downright delicious.
Pre-dinner stroll through the Gaslamp Quarter: Free
The Gaslamp quarter is full of chic shops, live music, art galleries, and Victorian architecture. This neighborhood lights up at night and there’s no shortage of activities to do, drinks to be had, trouble to be made!
The Upper Echelon of Baseball at Petco Park: $30 to park, tickets range
Whether or not you like baseball, coming together with a bunch of strangers to yell at athletes to “Go!” is totally fun. Plus, Petco Park provides a much classier experience than most ballparks with almost all the local breweries’ beers, local food, and a state of the art stadium available for your enjoyment. You can get a full taste of San Diego in one game.
Ballast Point Brewing Tour: Free + Optional Drinks
San Diego has a high density of microbreweries that you could check out but Ballast Point gives free tours so you can learn about the brewing process. If I were you, I’d sip on a couple afterwards just to make sure they’re good…
Pre-Dinner Cocktail at False Idol: $$ 💙Tucked away in Little Italy, there’s a speakeasy style tiki bar with vibrant decor and a dynamic drink menu if you’re feeling silly. 675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101
(These two spots are about 5 minutes each other in the vicinity of the Hillcrest neighborhood.)
Vegan Dinner at Donna Jean: $$
Must Try Dish: Mac in “Trees”, Any Vegan Pizza
Pro Tip: Just because it’s Vegan doesn’t mean it’s universally healthy. After all, french fries are vegan & gluten free. Parking is limited & the place can have a wait so don’t embark on Donna Jean when you’re so hungry that you’re angry crying.
Donna Jean won awards for best vegan pizza in SD 2018 and as a carnivore, I can honestly say that it was delicious – even sans meat. The menu changes seasonally so I can’t tell you exactly what to order but any time you go, the dishes will be plant-based, unique, and well, you’ll probably have to wait a little bit for the pizza because they can only make 3 at a time. Whatevs, worth it!
It’s packed at Donna Jean? Your stomach is eating itself? Hop across the street to Evolution for Vegan Fast Food Options!
Belly Dancing at Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro: $$
Must Try Dish: Berber Lamb Shank Tagine
Pro Tip: Belly dance shows are Fri & Sat at 8pm! Ambiance is great for a date.
Hillcrest area is a hip LGBTQ- friendly neighborhood. Nestled in amongst the glamorous gay bars is Kous Kous, a cozy romantic stop for delicious moroccan food. Savory fall apart off the bone meats with grilled vegetables? Yes. 100 times yes.
After dinner, you’ll be just north of downtown where you can set your sights on live shows, cocktails, and five star desserts… or maybe back to the hotel to fall asleep because your wellness cup is overflowing!
May your adventure be full of the unexpectedly wonderful.