If you only have 24 hours in San Diego, skip Sea World and live like a local on the beach. (Sorry Shamu.) 

1. Start with a classy place to stay.

1. Start with a classy place to stay.

The Pearl Hotel is a restored midcentury throwback with groovy 1959 beginnings. You’ll find locally roasted coffee in the midcentury lobby and a central swimming pool surrounded with groovy butterfly chairs.

2. Grab a bike and pedal to the park.

2. Grab a bike and pedal to the park.

The Pearl has complimentary guest-use cruiser bikes stationed out front. Pedal an easy 5 miles toward luscious Balboa Park and the illustrious San Diego Zoo. A short ferry ride from downtown is the bike-friendly Coronado Island.

3. Take a quick donut detour for breakfast.

3. Take a quick donut detour for breakfast.

You may find a line at Donut Bar, a standing-room-only shop stuffed with staff and infinite trays of deep-fried dough. The wait is worth it. If you want to get your top picks, you’ve got to go early. Photo: Donut Bar.

4. After the zoo, beaches should be your #1 priority.

4. After the zoo, beaches should be your #1 priority.

If you don’t know how to ride the waves yet, you can take a surfing lesson. Or, if you’re the gravity-defying type, try flyboarding or even a jet pack.

5. Skip the basic beer and opt for a local brew.

5. Skip the basic beer and opt for a local brew.

San Diego is one of the hubs of the craft beer scene in the US so opt for the local suds. Tour the breweries if you need inspiration.

6. Hit the deck of the of the USS Midway.

6. Hit the deck of the of the USS Midway.

It’s free to climb aboard for a view of San Diego from the deck. Opt for a full tour to take in all the details of this historic colossus.

7. Stroll through the Gaslamp Quarter.

7. Stroll through the Gaslamp Quarter.

This historic neighborhood is true heart of San Diego. You’ll find high-end boutiques, mouth-watering restaurants and, if you’re still awake, hopping nightlife.

 

What would you do with 24 hours in San Diego? Tell us in the comments!