San Diego may be known for its 70 miles of golden coastline, but California’s second largest city after Los Angeles isn’t just about sand and surf (though that doesn’t hurt). Throughout town, visitors find local treasures, such as rare plants, multicultural celebrations, and a vibrant arts scene. To maximize your time, we consulted San Diegans ranging from a chef to a nature expert and a scientist for their favorite spots. Here’s what to see and do.
San Diego’s 150-year-old cultural crown jewel is home to 18 museums, hiking trails, and an array of gardens and open spaces, plus the San Diego Zoo. To escape the crowds, head to Palm Canyon (cross the wooden footbridge by the Alcazar Gardens and down the stairs), where a short loop trail leads to towering Mexican fan palms. A handful of the 450 palms have been here since 1912. The canyon’s upper trail connects to the Kate O. Sessions Cactus Garden, with views of the Cabrillo Bridge and parts of downtown San Diego’s skyline. In the spring, the garden blooms with Matilija poppies, a white-and-yellow flower native to California and northern Mexico that resembles a sunny-side-up egg.
The site of the first European settlement in California, Old Town is a colorful enclave of 19th-century adobe buildings, historic parks, and Mexican restaurants. Built in 1857, the Whaley House Museum is the two-story Greek Revival home of businessman Thomas Whaley, which previously housed the city’s first theater, a courthouse, and a general store at different times through the city’s history. Daytime tours are self-guided; guided evening tours play up the house’s reputation as haunted. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Bazaar Del Mundo, a hub of shops showcasing artwork, jewelry, and gifts from Mexico.
Located in the Barrio Logan neighborhood, Chicano Park, a National Historic Landmark, is home to more than 80 outdoor murals painted onto concrete pylons beneath a freeway. Dating to the 1970s and ’80s, the artworks depict various aspects of Mexican and Mexican American culture. Nearby, Logan Avenue is populated by indie boutiques, such as cute-as-a-button gift shop Simón Limón. Grab a pint of horchata ale at Border X Brewing, the first Latino-owned brewery in San Diego, or stop by ¡Salud! for tacos. A short walk north of Chicano Park, Las Cuatros Milpas has been serving comfort fare tortillas, tamales, and rice and beans for 91 years.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve draws nature lovers to its numerous hiking trails, sandstone cliffs, and scenic beach—but the celebrities are clearly the Torrey pines. “Outside of the reserve, these extremely rare, wind-twisted trees are only found in Del Mar and on Santa Rosa Island off of Santa Barbara,” says Jim Varnell, a longtime
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Alaska Airlines is making it easier to see April’s epic solar eclipse with a series of flights heading to destinations along the path of totality — and they're selling out. The specific routes, which fly to places like Mazatlán, Mexico, Texas, and Ohio, have seen a threefold increase in demand compared to previous years, Alaska Airlines shared with Travel + Leisure. And that increased demand has led to increasingly sold-out flights.
While North America is home to its fair share of fascinating animals—the grizzly bear, American bison and American alligator, to name a few—this sprawling nation is no slouch when it comes to plantlife, either. Across the colder reaches of the continent, the icy grip of winter is beginning to thaw, ushering in a new round of colorful flowers for tourists to admire. From native superblooms to carefully-manicured lavender gardens, the following regions offer a spectacular array of flora that are perfect for a memorable spring vacation.
An American Airlines flight descended into chaos on Tuesday when a traveler tried to open an emergency exit door mid-air, forcing other passengers to restrain him before he was duct-taped and zip-tied, witnesses said.
The hotel company that developed the retro-chic TWA Hotel at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has bought London’s iconic BT Tower, one of London’s most conspicuous buildings, from British Telecoms Group for $347 million.
The luxury Mexican spirits and hospitality brand Clase Azul Mexico has done it again with another hit on its hands: today marks the release of Clase Azul Mezcal San Luis Potosí ($370), the third mezcal in its collection that includes Clase Azul Mezcal Durango and Clase Azul Mezcal Guerrero.
With notoriously lousy traffic and next-to-impossible parking, driving is most definitely not the best way to get around San Francisco. Fortunately, there are plenty of other excellent ways to traverse the city.
Imagine taking off for a vacation, and having no idea exactly where you are going. Scandinavian Airlines, a Sweden-based carrier, commonly known as SAS Airlines, offered just that, by recently introducing a special mystery flight called “Destination Unknown.” SAS sold tickets for the flight exclusively to members of the airline’s frequent flyer loyalty program, EuroBonus. Instead of money, travelers needed to redeem 30,000 miles for a seat. The trip will depart from Copenhagen on April 5 and return back to Copenhagen on April 8. Travelers are only provided a clue that the flight will last “a few hours”, and the exact location of the destination will be revealed at some point during the flight through an announcement. “The prospect of embarking on an adventurous and mysterious journey with fellow enthusiasts, finding new connections and friendships along the way, is truly exciting,” SAS’s Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President Paul Verhagen said in the news release. Over 1,000 people submitted interest in joining the flight, and the airline is no longer accepting reservations, a spokesperson shared with Travel + Leisure. Due to the limited quantity of seats on the plane, tickets for the April trip will be distributed randomly to the travelers who signed up. SAS operates flights around the world to 125 destinations, and currently has flights from the US (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington) to destinations in Scandinavia and across Europe. The concept of “surprise” travel has taken off as travelers seek new experiences. Lufthansa, a German airline, offers a program called ‘Lufthansa Surprise’ where travelers select their home airport, and a general theme of what type of vacation they want (such as arts, outdoors, or shopping). Once the trip is paid and ticketed, the airline reveals the destination to the traveler. The surprise bookings cannot be changed or canceled, and the 24-hour flexible booking policy also does not apply.
Bien Nacido, Kimsey, Larner, Peak, Moulds. Exquisite wines from five of the most storied vineyards in Santa Barbara are front and center at Dalita and Duncan Harmon’s Terre et Sang, a new tasting room on Los Olivos’ main drag that showcases the wines of the same name, produced at the mother-son duo’s winery in nearby Buellton — the best Grenaches I’ve ever tasted from Santa Barbara County. When I learned that winemaker Duncan Harmon had no previous experience in the wine industry, I was gobsmacked by the soulfulness of his single-site Syrahs and Grenaches. Lithe, balanced, elegant and terroir-driven, the wines speak to the essential nature of each vineyard site, which I toured with him and his mom, Dalita, who manages the business side of the operation, over three days last August. But my first question was: How did two newcomers to the wine industry gain access to these grapes, which are among winemakers’ most coveted vineyards in the region? The proof is in the bottle.
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