In honor of the June 21st summer solstice, and my blogosphere return, I’m kicking off the season with an old San Diego favorite: Seaport Village!
SD natives would be lying if they said they didn’t take any tourist traps for granted. Yes, those destinations that one only frequents when playing tour guide to out-of-town guests–the Zoo, SeaWorld, heck, even the beach (guilty), but one atop most lists is Seaport Village.
With nearly half of their 47 retail shops geared toward tourists, of course I’d be more interested in the 19 eateries and drinkeries nearby. I’m a quantifier, so let’s start with some stats:
* # of sit-downs: 4
San Diego Pier Cafe, Harbor House, and Edgewater Grill (with an entirely separate gluten-free menu, might I add), in ascending order of upscale rating–are all under the same ownership. I know because after asking all over town for in-kind donations for events, you learn a thing or two. Not to mention the obvious similarities between their websites, and their close proximity to one another. =)
Buster’s Beach House & Longboard Bar is a popular happy hour spot. More on them later.
* # of major chains: 2
* # of local chains: 3.5
The San Pasqual Wine Tasting Room is an off-shoot of the local winery located in La Mesa; which also boasts a wine bar and gallery, also in La Mesa.
About the other 0.5? Well, a restaurant by the same name in Long Beach is now known as Malarkey’s Grill. It closed/changed its name in 2013, but I don’t know the cause for the separation. Anyone? Bueller? Now, for the final local chain…
* # of Food Network-famous spots: 1
Yes! Frost Me Gourmet Cupcakes put Seaport Village (and UTC) on the map! Featured champions on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, they showcase baked goods porn at its best. It also offers gluten-free options.
Taking all food and shopping options aside, it’s quite a beautiful location. There are many free things for those light in the wallet:
* Take a selfie (I know…) with the famous “Unconditional Surrender” statue.
* Enjoy outdoor events at the neighboring Embarcadero Marina Park North (shameless plug: a free outdoor music festival I planned for Saturday, June 20 from 10a-4p called GreenJazzFest, hosted by Recon Recycling and the Port of San Diego), and live bands along the boardwalk each weekend.
* Give the Busker Festival a try! Featuring dozens of entertainers, it’s free to come, but in good ol’ busker fashion, you should bring a few dollars to tip your favorite acts.
* Surfin’ Santa Claus is comin’ to town… on his annual vacation, so wait bayside for him to come decked out in SoCal gear.
* The beautiful San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a highlight as well. Having a coastline does have its perks, so take advantage of them!