|Subject: Re: San Diego|
Eight hours in San Diego, eh? Here is a general list of sights (excluding the zoo per your preference) keeping in mind your walking restrictions. I'll assume this is a day trip from the Los Angeles-area where you'll return at the end of the day (just mentioned as a basis for the geography of the sights#from south to north).
1. Start your day off at the Hotel del Coronado in the charming little island community (actually on a peninsula) of Coronado. Have a cappucino and pastry in the San Diego area's grande dame of hotels. Maybe you might want to rent Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis to familiarize yourself with the hotel before you come. While on Coronado drive by the Old Ferry Landing to get a great view of the San Diego waterfront. And as you cross the Coronado Bridge back to San Diego look to the south to catch a glimpse of the Pacific Fleet docked at the 32nd Street Naval Station.
2. If you want to see more of San Diego Bay make your way into downtown San Diego to the foot of Broadway where you'll find the berths for the harbor cruises. There's nothing like seeing a city from the vantage point of its bay. The captain will give a short history of the bay's discovery by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542. In addition, you'll cruise by the naval submarines docked at Ballast Point, the marinas at Shelter Island (where the America's Cup races were based in the 1990's), and past one of the U.S. Navy's huge aircraft carriers; the Nimitz, Constellation, or Stennis. And you can't miss the California sea lions lazing on the harbor buoys and barking at any boat that sails too close.
3. Once you arrive back at the embarcadero (waterfront) make the short trip up to Balboa Park for a visit to San Diego's gem of an urban park. Park the car, stroll down the Prado enjoying the intricate details of the Spanish-style architecture on the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm both structures remaining from the 1916 Panama-California Exposition. Although the zoo is located in Balboa Park it is by no means the only sight to see in this gorgeous setting. Walk through the magnificent Botanical Building, the Desert or Rose Garden, the Japanese Friendship Garden, or take a seat in the serenity of the Alcazar Garden. Are museums more to your liking? There is San Diego Aerospace Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts, or the Mingei International Museum with its wonderful collection of world folk art. And finally if you're a fan of design and architecture pencil in a stop at the Marston House a classic example of 1905 Arts and Crafts design. For a full list of options in the park see the website at: http://www.balboapark.org/index.htm
4. Getting hungry? Let's head down to Point Loma Seafoods for a quick bite next to the docks in Shelter Island. Fresh tuna, calamari sandwiches, sushi, are all offered on the lengthy menu at this informal eatery. Grab a table outside and watch the sportfishing boats unload their catches of wahoo, dorado, and albacore. Just remember don't feed the seagulls!
5. Now we head up the hill and to the end of Point Loma where we'll find Cabrillo National Monument. Without exception the best view of downtown San Diego, Coronado, south to Mexico, and the Pacific. The information center will give you the full history of the European discovery of San Diego, as well as, some great insight into the natural history of the area. As you approach and leave the monument you will pass by Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetary. Feel free to stop the car and take a stroll amongst the thousands of white markers. A perfect place for some reflection.
6. Time to head north. Make the quick jaunt up Interstate 5 to La Jolla. Here you'll be able to do some shopping along Prospect St. Also, there will be plenty of opportunity for people watching. Head down to the Cove grab a seat on a bench overlooking the swimmers. Many are preparing for the La Jolla Roughwater Swim to be held a month after your visit. You'll see some swimming to the buoy markers at 1/4 and 1/2 miles out into the bay. Amazingly, others will be swimming to the Scripps Pier all the way across La Jolla Bay where the Torrey Pines cliffs begin; about 2 miles. And then they swim back!
7. Continue north up the coast to the glider port at Torrey Pines. The views looking back towards the cove and La Jolla are spectacular. Watch the hang gliders float by on the ocean breezes. Look down the 200 ft. cliffs to the surfers catching the swells at Black's Beach directly below you. If your lucky you may catch a view of some dolphins cavorting in the waves adjacent to their human counterparts.
8. Check your watch. You may have time to make a quick stop at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and lay down a bet on your favorite pony. Track season runs from mid-July to early September. Walk the grandstands with the ghosts of Bing Crosby, Pat O'Brian, and Jimmy Durante.
Time's up. Back onto the freeway for your trip back north to L.A. or wherever your final destination is. But there is so much more to do...Old Town, Sea World, the Birch Aquarium, catch a Padres game, visit Mexico, a round of golf, the Wild Animal Park, local vineyards, and oh yeah did we skip the Zoo? How could we skip the Zoo? If we don't go for the animals at least we have to see one of the nation's best botanical collections. My gosh, maybe we should have spent the night... ;-)
John in San Diego where the jacaranda trees are all in bloom edging the streets in their purple-blue splendor.