Our San Diego Travel Guide is here! At the end of last month, Scott and I headed down to the San Diego area to spend some time at the beach and enjoy some cooler weather over the long holiday weekend. This was our first visit in over a year, so it felt like we were stepping into the city with fresh eyes! The drive from Phoenix is around 5'ish hours, so after packing up the car and grabbing a couple of iced coffees -- we high-tailed it out of Arizona for a long California weekend! 

Memorial Day weekend is a super popular time to visit San Diego, so we knew the beaches + roads could be a bit crazy, but the thought of seeing the ocean and two of our closest friends for a few days subsided any nerves we had about a hectic, holiday weekend. The drive from Phoenix to San Diego also isn't that bad (we've driven it a few times now), so we knew what we were in for! Anyways, 5'ish hours later and we were met with the most beautiful view of the ocean + the chilliest weather we've felt in months! To say that we enjoyed our stay in the Golden State would be an understatement, because we truly loved every second of our time there! Curious as to where we shopped, ate, sipped on coffee at and adventured around in? Well, keep up on reading, sweet friends!

COFFEE -- This city has so many great coffee shops! Having been to SD before, we had a few coffee shops already on our radar - but it was so fun to ask for suggestions and try a couple of new places this time around. 

Lofty Coffee - This sweet shop is my bestie, Courtney's, favorite and the place where we stopped at most often to get our coffee fill. They have the the best cold brew, and even have an amazing GF breakfast! A major bonus is that they are just a quick walk away from the beach + this pretty pink house that I couldn't help but take pictures in front of!

Better Buzz Coffee - In all honesty, I wanted to stop at this coffee shop because they have a cute tiled floor (exhibit a, haha), but their coffee proved to be pretty darn good!  

Holsem Coffee - This little spot is an old favorite that we've visited year after year! They have these amazing coffee sodas that I just can't seem to stay away from whenever we're here. Pro tip -- get the lemon meringue coffee soda, you won't regret it! 

Communal Coffee - The shop with the famous "Coffee + Flowers" sign! Of course we had to visit it, but we didn't actual end up trying the coffee (we were a bit over caffeinated at this point), but the shop is sure cute and worth a visit!

EAT -- SD is chock full of delicious restaurants and taco shops! From pub style food to tacos, brunch, dessert and more - there is something for everyone! 

The Taco Stand - The Taco Stand is the "it" place to eat at in Encinitas and of course was the place that I wanted to try out the most after seeing it on so many different Instagram accounts! The line was long, but the wait wasn't too crazy. And the guacamole + chips, well - that was my favorite part! 

Oscar's Mexican Seafood - On our first night in town, our besties took us here! They have excellent fish tacos and I hear the wait is never too crazy (even though their other locations outside of Encinitas seem to always be so hopping!)! 

Waypoint Public - This place is an old favorite and perfect for when you just want a burger and some fries! It's also right across the street from Shop Pigment, which makes it the perfect pre or post shopping restaurant! 

WANDER -- SD is beautiful, peaceful and has so much to see! There are definitely a few places you need to check out, but I swear that just driving or walking around the city is an experience in itself. The beachy kind of lifestyle vibes here are strong, so your bound to see something rad, like a giant surfboard zooming on by wherever you may go! 

Moonlight State Beach - This sweet beach won my heart over while we were in Encinitas (the prettiest beach town right outside of SD). It's just a short walk away from Lofty Coffee and the adorable pink house, and is the perfect place to throw out a blanket and just take in the ocean waves (even on a gloomy day -- we know from experience, haha). 

Cardiff State Beach - We stopped at this beach a few times during our time in the area and truly couldn't have loved it more! On a sunny, but very cold afternoon, we pitched our umbrella and laid out on a blanket in the sand. It was SO beautiful and I loved watching all of the surfers as they took on each wave. The parking here is a bit crazy, but if you can snag a street spot then that is the way to go! 

Shop Pigment - Oh, Shop Pigment! This is honestly my favorite store in all of San Diego! They have everything darling and cute that you can ever imagine, including lots of Shop Ban.do pieces, Rifle Paper Co., plants of all sorts and all the best home decor. If you're ever in San Diego, make sure this darling shop is at the very top of your list! 

The Walls of Shop Pigment - Ya'll know I love a good wall, and the walls of Shop Pigment are the most darling things you've ever seen! The pink stripes are just so much fun, and their living succulent wall is just as amazing as you imagine it would be! 

Balboa Park - The famous Balboa Park is just as unique and amazing as you think it would be! It's been years and years since I was here last, so being back was like being here for the first time. There's truly so much to see, including lots of museums, gardens and cultural events. When we first got there, we high-tailed it to the cactus garden -- which happened to be right next to the rose garden! Both were SO beautiful and I truly couldn't get over the colors of all of the roses --- these pretty blush and peach toned ones seemed to be my favorite! 

Other than the free gardens, Scott and I would definitely suggest checking out the museums (free and paid). They have rotating exhibits, along with permanent collections in both. While there we visited the Timken Museum of Art and the San Diego Museum of Man, both of which were really interesting and a lot of fun to look through! All in all, there is so much to see there (greenhouses, gardens, old school rentable golf carts (haha)) and more -- you could seriously spend hours and hours exploring all that Balboa Park has to offer! 

STAY -- While Scott and I were in SD, we were fortunate enough to stay with our besties (Court + Sanford)! But, SD does have some amazing boutique hotels and AirBNB options! We actually stayed in this guest house a few years back and I LOVED waking up to such an amazing view! 

And that's it -- well, for now! I hope you guys enjoyed this travel guide -- I had a lot of fun putting it together! If you did, let me know and I'll keep making them -- our Portland Travel Guide is still on my radar! If you've been to the San Diego area before and have any suggestions that I missed, I would love to hear them (gotta start planning our next trip!). Thanks in advance for sharing! Oh, and in case you're wondering -- the hat and jacket that I rocked basically the whole trip are from Madewell and Cuyana, and I couldn't recommend both of them more for all of your summer adventures! Be back soon, friends! 

-Chelsea xo