So here’s a fun story; the first trip my parents took us on (outside of the arctic) was to California – Now that we’re all grown up, they decided it would be the right time to take us back on a trip down memory lane.
Starting in San Diego, we stayed at a beautiful Airbnb right on the beach in the mission. Waking up in the morning to the sunrise above the Pacific ocean was such a cleansing start to our day. I cant stress this enough – stay at an Airbnb, HomeAway or FlipKey, you get a much more authentic experience when you stay local. We got to shop the morning christmas markets, mingled with neighbours and even got free surf lessons from the cute beach bums !
San Diego isn’t as busy as it used to be, you can see even walking through the city that its not as popular of a tourist destination as it once was. In my opinion its very underrated – that being a good thing. The lower population of tourists makes it a more comfortable and laid back enviroment as compared to other places in California like Malibu or Santa Monica. Here a list of Must Do’s in San Diego !
La Jolla Cove sea lion watching: talk about entrainment – you can sit and watch these wild animals all day long. There are no barriers separating you from these hilarious water cats (what a bizarre comparison) -they put on a great show for us mear humans, but please don’t be the human trying to poke them – they will chase you.
Next up is the Fashion Valley Mall, this outdoor mega mall was nearly empty on a Saturday afternoon. This was honestly the highlight of my shopping experience in California – amongst all the franchised fashion stores like TopShop and Anthropology, they have all major department stores in this mecca of fashion complexes
- Bloomingdales – major scores on mid range fashion brands (Ted Baker, Joie, Free People, See by Chloe)
- Nordstrom – As a Canadian, I should know my way around a Nordstrom by now, but the designer finds in comparison were unparalleled – Jimmy Choo’s, Valentino’s and Balenciaga pumps for almost 60% off.
- Last but not least, my absolute favourite American department store; Neiman Marcus (petition to bring NM to Canada). Now, NM is the kind of place you walk into once a year with all of your savings and anticipate a good haul. You can find everything from current season Givenchy and Channel, to past season Stuart Weitzman and Chloe. My top find was the vast selection of last season Christian Louboutin’s for under $400. I mean, its still a pretty penny, but compared to $1200, it was impossible not to mention. Unfortunately my good consciousness (my mother) would not let me pay for the lustrous pair of “So Kate” red soles. Instead, I scored the most beautiful pair of lavender-suede Wetizman thigh-highs for a $250!
If you’re looking for cheaper outlets for designer finds, Sak’s off Fifth in America has got all else beat. I found a pair of current season Saint Laurent white platform kicks for $250 (compared to $900) and after the horrific stage of breaking in the leather, I’ve finally found my new favourite sneaker. I also scored a pair of Alexander McQueen black fringed loafers for under $100!!!! That’s my Christmas present to myself.
Lastly, I would recommend walking the length of the mission, whether you stay on the beach or Downtown, the California coast line is not to miss. With shops and restaurants all along, the beach goes on for miles where you’ll find cute surfers on every wave (even in November).
Although it was the beginning of their winter season, the 20 degree weather didn’t stop me from wearing shorts and dresses on the beach. I felt like a true northerner when I’d look over to my right and see locals wearing their goose down and winter gloves. Americans I tell ya.
San Diego: Seemingly underrated, but if you’re looking for a quieter get-a-way, definitely check out the coast!