September 20, 2019

TwitchCon Does San Diego 2019: Beyond Downtown

TwitchCon 2019 begins exactly one week from today. While everyone is frantically getting ready to come into the city for the convention, don’t overlook the fact that you’ll get to spend at least a few days in America’s Finest City. It can definitely be tempting to stay close to the action in the Gaslamp District Downtown, but if you’re looking to see more of the city, these are some of the best places to check out.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park Lily Pond
This photo, “Balboa Park Lily Pond” provided by Kevin Baird is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Few places in San Diego offer as eclectic of an experience as that of Balboa Park. Sitting just north-east of TwitchCon’s home at the San Diego Convention Center, Balboa Park is a 1,200 acre urban cultural park featuring a collection of museums, gardens, theatres, and much more. 

From the Fleet Science Center to the Natural History Museum, you could easily spend days getting lost in the museums and different attractions found at Balboa Park. There’s just so much to do and explore but don’t let it distract you from the fact that it’s also one of the best places to just walk around and take in the sights. 

Zoo/Safari Park

For all the animal lovers making their way to San Diego for TwitchCon, a visit to the World-Famous San Diego Zoo should be high on your priority list. At nearly 100 acres, the San Diego Zoo features thousands of different species of animals and is one of the most-visited zoos in the entire country. Their reputation of excellence is also well-deserved, with the zoo leading many successful breeding and conservation efforts for various species including the California Condor, tigers, black rhinos, and of course, the giant panda.

For the more intrepid animal lovers, a journey to the Zoo’s Safari Park in North San Diego County is well worth the trip. Standing at over 1,800 acres, the Safari Park is the largest tourist attraction in all of San Diego County. The Safari Park offers visitors a truly unique experience with it’s spacious free-range enclosures housing antelopes, giraffes, rhinos, and much more. 

To top things off, San Diego Zoo Global, the organization that operates both the Zoo and Safari park is a nonprofit organization. This means that all of the money raised in the park goes directly into running the parks and furthering their conservation efforts.

Belmont Park

This photo is provided by chrisinphilly5448 and is made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Few things feel more inherently “Southern Californian” than visiting an amusement park on the beach. Belmont Park is a historic oceanfront amusement park in Mission Bay that originally opened in the summer of 1925. Today, this San Diego favorite still stands as a great place for those in search of fun and thrills at the beach.

While Belmont Park features a variety of amusement park classics, the crown jewel of the park is no doubt the Giant Dipper roller coaster. This wooden coaster is a historic national landmark that has been thrilling adrenaline junkies since the park opened in the 1920s. For a special treat, take a ride on the Giant Dipper at dusk for one of the most unique beach-front sunsets in the entire city. 

Hiking Trails

Torrey Pines Hiking Trail by Lupita Pascual

While San Diego offers a lot of different attractions for you to see, one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the city is to spend a day exploring some of the local hiking trails. For the novice hiker, trails like Torrey Pines or Mission Trails offer scenic views and simple trails to enjoy for a leisurely stroll.

For the more experienced hikers, however, San Diego also offers a few more difficult trails such as The Devil’s Punchbowl and the Three Sisters trail; the latter of which being one of the most difficult trails in the city, rewarding those willing to brave the rocky terrain and bouldering with a beautiful waterfall.

North Park

North Park is a vibrant neighborhood in San Diego found just east of Downtown. This trendy area of San Diego features a wide array of modern eateries and local watering holes.

The North Park Beer Company is an award-winning brewery within a gorgeous two-story brewpub. For the full NPBC experience, grab a sausage from Mastiff Sausage company and pair it with one of their signature IPAs. Do all of this while enjoying the San Diego sunshine outside on their patio and you have yourself a recipe for enjoyment and relaxation. As if that wasn’t enough reason to stop by for a visit, the owner of NPBC is former game developer, Kelsey McNair.

North Park is also home to one of the best beer bars in the country, Tiger!Tiger! While it owes some of its recent attention to its appearance on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this restaurant has a full farm-to-table menu paired with a fantastic craft beer selection.

If that isn’t enough reason for you to visit this lively San Diego neighborhood, North Park is also home to Seven Grand. One of only four locations in the country, this dimly lit wood and leather-lined bar carries one of the largest selections of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch in the city.

Convoy Street

Chashu Miso Ramen at Menya Ultra by Zac Galsim

For fans of Asian cuisine, a trip to Convoy Street should be placed high on your priority list. Unofficially known to locals as “San Diego’s Asian Restaurant Row,” Convoy Street and its surrounding areas are home to some of the best food and desert experiences in the city. Whether you’re looking for dim sum, dessert, or the ever-popular Korean BBQ, you’ll find more choices than you could reasonably try on Convoy. A few favorites from the OP Group team are Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, Taeguki Korean BBQ, Somi Somi Korean Ice Cream, and Menya Ultra Ramen.

Convoy also has a great selection of drinking spots to go to and relax after a delicious dinner with your friends. Places like Thang Thang and Common Theory are popular spots to grab some soju and a craft beer. Min Sok Chon on the other hand, offers the option to rent a karaoke room for a few hours to enjoy with your friends. Whatever you decide to do, a visit to Convoy street is definitely worth the effort. 

There were just too many places in San Diego worth mentioning so we tried our best to include most of our favorites here for you. That said, be sure to check back in early next week for a special bonus entry in our “TwitchCon Does San Diego 2019” series!