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San Francisco or San Diego?

My fiance and I have finally decided we would like to honeymoon in Southern California but can't decide if we should go to San Francisco or San Diego. We thought maybe we could do both but they're too far apart and we're on sort of a tight budget.
I was wondering if anyone lives in the area, knows a lot about either place, or honeymooned in one or both and what info you could offer us to aid us in the decision-making (price of lodging, activities, shopping, ect.). Thanks in advance!
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Re: San Francisco or San Diego?

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    San Diego and San Francisco are very very different.  SF isn't even Southern California.  If you do indeed want sunshine, and that SoCal type of vibe, (relaxing on the beach, beach bars, more laid back restaurants), then SD is definitely where you should go.  SD is also more affordable than SF, and you'll find lower prices on everything from hotels to dinners out.  There are also cute vineyards within driving distance of San Diego, which is a great way to spend a day; we spent an afternoon at the Cordiano Winery in Escondido last month and loved it.

    San Francisco is a great city, and there is a ton to see there.  However, it's definitely more "city", hotels are significantly more expensive there, and meals out will cost you more.  You'll spend more time walking around and seeing the sites than laying on the beach (well, you probably won't spend any time on the beach in SF).  Parking is very expensive in SF, and I wouldn't even recommend renting a car (you can take the subway from the airport and take cabs when you're in the city).  There are tons of vineyards within a 2 hour drive, but they are going to be fancier than what you find in SD (which can be fun for a honeymoon).

    I love both cities, but would hands down choose San Diego-there is so much to do, the weather is amazing, and it's just a little easier to get around there.  If you do decide on SD, I can recommend some great restaurants and other things to do.
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    Well, if you want to go to southern California, San Diego is the one you'd go to, as SF is in northern California...

    With that said, I've never been to San Diego, so I can't comment.  I've been to San Francisco twice, and I just love it there.  It's expensive.  But you won't need a car, so that helps cut costs.  There are tons of great places to eat and sights to see.  But it's definitely more of a sightseeing town than a beach town.  A lot of the city  is oceanfront, but it's not nice sunbathing beach.  In fact, if you're going right after your May wedding, it will be too chilly there for the beach anyway.  We went in late June and wore long sleeves (if not jackets) most days.  If you like outdoor activities, there is good hiking not too far away at Muir Woods and Mt Tamalpais.  There are the vineyards not too far as well. 

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    Based on your timeline it appears you'll be honeymooning in mid-May.

    We actually flew into San Fran, spent 4 nights there, then drove down the coast of CA on the Pacific Coast Hwy all the way down to San Diego, over 14 days. San Fran is in northern CA, San Diego is in southern CA. San Diego is less than 3 hrs from LA, so you could do both if you wanted.

    San Diego is a big city, but across the bay is Coronado, which is a lovely smaller town, right on the ocean on one side, the bay is on the other side. We stayed at the Loew's Coronado Bay, which is pricey, but lovely. Go to the Loew's hotel site and get yourself a free membership in their frequent stayer club, you can sometimes upgrade to a better room even if you haven't stayed there often.

    Right next to the Loew's hotel is The Gondola Company. They offer gondola rides during the day, or at sunset, for $99 for both of you, and they include chocolate dipped strawberries. You can take your own wine or champagne on board, they supply the glasses. It was lovely, the ride lasts an hour and the gondolier takes you out into the bay. Link here: http://www.gondolacompany.com/ . You don't have to be a guest at the Loew's hotel to book a ride, and I HIGHLY recommend it. Our gondolier sang for us, it was really special and the pictures we took at sunset were amazing.

    The Silver Strand beach, on the ocean side of Coronado Bay was voted the 2nd nicest a couple of years ago. San Diego weather is temperate year round.

    There are a lot of nice hotels in Coronado. I'd recommend going to www.tripadvisor.com and looking them up. They are not all highly priced. We planned our honeymoon trip, from San Fran to San Diego by using tripadvisor, where real customers rate the hotels and restaurants. There's an historic hotel called the Del Coronado, which is right on the water. They filmed the old movie "Some Like it Hot" there, with Marilyn Monroe. Their lobby has pictures of the filming. They also have great restaurants.

    In the town of Coronado there is a small main street, Orange Avenue. We ate at the Burger Lounge, the best burger I have ever had, along with hand cut french fries and a chocolate shake. There's a fairly large grocery store on Orange Ave also, and we bought some great gourmet foods, beer & wine and brought them to our hotel, used the fridge, ate for less that way.

    In San Diego there is Balboa Park, with a tram that takes you around the large main park area. Lots of cool gardens, buildings, I believe there was a museum there (we didn't go in). Old Town San Diego is the Mexican/Spanish district, with restaurants.

    If you like movies and "touristy stuff", then you can drive to LA for a day or two.

    If you are on a tight budget, then stay somewhere reasonably priced, but treat yourself to one night in a really nice hotel. Along our drive we stayed at middle priced hotels, but once in a while we splurged for a night or two.

    You'll love it.
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    Never been to SD but we went to San Fran this summer and LOVED it. It is pricey but like a PP said, you can get a public transit pass and take that (buses, cable cars, streetcars, subway) and it's affordable. I also loved walking around when it was doable. There is so much fantastic food, beautiful views, lots of sightseeing, Alcatraz, visiting the neighborhoods, Fishermans' Wharf (touristy but can be fun), biking the Bridge to Sausalito (favorite activity we did).

    And honestly I would say SF mainly because so many other locations are accessible. You could spend a couple days in wine country or take a one day wine tour (I'd recommend Max Napa Tours-let me know if you'd like more info). It's a short drive up to wine country from SF and definitely doable. You could go to Muir Woods for a day (we didn't have time for that) and check out the redwoods.

    You can also head south down Highway 1 (gorgeous drive) to the Carmel/Monterey area. I'd highly rec Carmel! We stayed at a quaint little inn, everything is walkable, you can head to the beach for a bonfire, go wine tasting, eat delicious food, etc. We also checked out a few state parks and drove down to Big Sur which was absolutely breathtaking! It was nice to have the busy-ness of SF with the relaxation of Carmel/Big Sur. It was a wonderful vacation!


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    I also want to say, in the event that you're not used to public transit: don't let SF's transit system intimidate you.  They have an amazingly easy to use website that lets you put in your starting point and your destination and it plans out a route for you, including walking directions to the nearest stop (along with a suggestion of how long it will take to walk there).  We're from an area that has basically no public transportation and I've never used it all before staying there, and I found it to be a great experience.  Plus the bus drivers are amazingly hilarious.

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    edited January 2013
    I live in San Diego and I'm from San Francisco. I would pick SD.

    Even though they are both in California, they are very different. SF is cold and rainy (at least compared to SD). People always think that SF is always warm, but it's usually foggy. It has a much better bar scene than SD though. And more of a city vibe. Northern California is just as varied as Southern, but it's more spread out (Napa is a 3 hour drive from the city).

    SD is always warm and sunny (it's beautiful here today).

    Beaches and honeymoon "vibe" is definitely better in SD. You can stay downtown or by the beach (but first you have to pick a beach; there's lots). You can also stay in wine country (Temecula). Coronado is beautiful and romantic. Do a lot of research and figure out what kind of place you want. But no matter what you want, you can find it in SD Cool

    I love SF and can't wait to take my FI there, but not for a honeymoon.



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    SF isn't as warm as SD but I wouldn't say it's always cold and rainy. During the fall, they actually have fairly warm weather on the regular (70s even). We were just there in July, which is actually supposed to be a really cold time of year in SF and had 60s or 70s everyday with sun. So OP you should be realistic in that SF is not beach weather and you may have some rain or fog, but you may also have gorgeous weather as well. Don't let that one thing deter you from SF if you are leaning that way.


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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_honeymoon_san-francisco-or-san-diego?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:11Discussion:915fc931-45be-4480-9e18-58b156e441afPost:2bde210f-c7a5-4bf8-8fc9-791ad6ee4766">Re: San Francisco or San Diego?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I live in San Diego and I'm from San Francisco. I would pick SD. Even though they are both in California, they are very different. SF is cold and rainy (at least compared to SD). People always think that SF is always warm, but it's usually foggy. It has a much better bar scene than SD though. And more of a city vibe. Northern California is just as varied as Southern, but it's more spread out (Napa is a 3 hour drive from the city). SD is always warm and sunny (it's beautiful here today). Beaches and honeymoon "vibe" is definitely better in SD. You can stay downtown or by the beach (but first you have to pick a beach; there's lots). You can also stay in wine country (Temecula). Coronado is beautiful and romantic. Do a lot of research and figure out what kind of place you want. But no matter what you want, you can find it in SD <strong>I love SF and can't wait to take my FI there, but not for a honeymoon.</strong>
    Posted by Dreamergirl8812[/QUOTE]

    But that's your take.  Not everyone requires beaches and romance for their HM.  We stopped in SF on our honeymoon.  Plenty of people go there for their HM. 

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    I live near San Francisco and have been there 1 million times. I have been to San Diego only once (its about 8hrs away) and I say...San Diego!!! In fact that is where we are planning to honeymoon since my fiance has never been.  San Francisco is more buildings, concrete, and a cluster F of people! It is hard to move around, crowded, and hard to drive anywhere which can be very annoying if you want to do some exploring.  There is lots of shopping and the pier is cool, but seriously, it is more stressful than relaxing. I go for day trips all the time for a reason--I can only handle one day. LOL. San Diego is sunny, beaches, and lots more to do! You can go to Sea World, the zoo, beaches, bike rides on the beach, horse back riding on the beach and the list goes on and on. But it really depends on what you are looking for. SF is more rushed and san diego is more relaxing. Good luck!!
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    IMO, San Diego is a lot like southern Florida. Lots of beach, palm trees, people lazing about, beach vibe, etc. San Francisco is a very liberal, urban, creative mecca. It has more the soul of places like Seattle and Portland, but with warmer weather.

    If you want to lay on the beach, go to SD. If you want to go to museums, coffee shops, historic sites, etc, go to SF. Not to say SD has NONE of those things, but having spent time in both that's the impression I have.
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    Hey everyone! Thanks so much for all the input and advice- it's greatly appreciated! I nor my fiance have really been anywhere outside of Vermont so we had no idea what we were dealing with. Based on what ya'll have said I think San Diego sound much better for us. Vermont (at least the county we live in) is all liberal, artsy coffee shops with lots of shopping and people so I think we're in the mood for bummin' around on the beach, going for a boat ride, doing some kayaking and paddle boarding, and riding horseback.
    We would love to hear more suggestions of places to eat, stay, and play in the SD area. As I've said, we're clueless to say the least! Thanks again; you're all great!
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    I don't have hotel recs for San Diego, but I do have one thing you must see - go to the zoo.  I know I know, it sounds like something for kids.  But the SD zoo is arguably the best in the world (it's certainly one of the largest in the world), and you can get tours behind the scenes.  It's incredible.
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    It comes down to this: Fast or slow? Hot or cold? SD is in SoCal, but SF is in NorCal where the temp is much lower, but the culture is more pervasive and there are far more sights and activities to engage your time. From museums with world class art exhibits, to musical venues of every kind; innovative cuisine or traditional Chinese and Italian foods... There is also far superior public transportation.(MUNI is like a subway that you can take all over the bay area to cities like Oakland and Berkely to explore) If you plan to do a lot of outside the room stuff, I would encourage you to visit SF.

    If you plan to spend most of your time in bed snugglin', with a daily stroll to grab a good dinner or take in the view, San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter is the place to be. There is a trolley offering [limited] service to the surrounding areas and historic sights, but everythng you need is withing walking distance. Great restaurants, nightclubs, incredible views and historic Balboa Park with tons of museums. There is a nice mall in downtown, so if you want to shop you can do that, as well.

    SF is a faster-paced liberal-minded city replete with fascinating history and current events. San Diego is a slow-paced and conservative city, both extermely safe and clean; also happens to be the craft beer capiltol of the world, if you guys like beer. The point is, you will enjoy either place immensely and be glad you went.
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    I live in SD (have lived here for 10 years) and I just want to prepare you for the fact that it is not always warm and sunny here.  I would not compare it to Florida at all, aside from the presence of palm trees.  I think I read upthread that you will be honeymooning in May?  May and June can be (but aren't always!) cloudy by the coast.  It's called "May Gray" and "June Gloom", and it's when the marine layer really hits hard.  I love it here, but it is a bit sad to see all the people who come out here every year for spring break, thinking they're going to be living in their swim suits, and have to spend it in a sweatshirt!  

    The great thing is that even when it's "cold" here, it's not THAT cold.  Certainly not by Vermont standards, anyway! ;)  I'd say in May/June, the average high is mid-60s, and the low will be around 60.  Average ocean temp will be low 60s (i.e. not really swimming weather, and you'll probably want a wetsuit if you're going to surf) With that said, there are still lots of things to do and see here even if it ends up being cloudy or cool during your honeymoon.  I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time!
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    Where in VT do you live?  We go to Souther VT (Pownal/Bennington) at least once a year and love it!

    Denise is definitely right in that it's not always sunny--first time I took FI to SD, there wasn't much sun, but even then, it was still lovely.  May/June is a great time to go since it doesn;t have a good chance at being too hot (I think it was August 2011 when it was REALLY hot).

    While you're there, some suggestions on what to do/where to stay:

    -Day trip to Cordiano Winery in Escondido
    -Brunch at Brockton Villa in La Jolla Cove
    -Dinner or Happy Hour at Mayahuel in University Heights after an afternoon at Balboa Park; Tiger Tiger and The Blind Lady are also really cool bar spots in University Heights and totally laid back if you need a laid back spot)
    -Happy Hour in Pacific Beach at PB Ale House and dinner in Pacific Beach at Mika Sushi (don't let the lame interior fool you, the sushi is great--and I can't remember what nights/times they have 50% of all rolls, but that makes it even better)
    -Shopping at University Town Center in La Jolla
    -Fancy dinner on Coronado (I can;t remember where, but there are some beautiful hotels and dinner spots along the water)
    -Hiking in Torrey Pines
    -Beach and sand at Windandsea (near Pacific Beach)
    -Dinner/fancy night out in La Jolla (sorry, I have no specific recommendations, do some research--could be a fun and fancy night out)
    -Snorkeling in La Jolla Cove
    -Kayaking on La Jolla Shores

    Definitely spend a night or two on Coronado Island like a few PPs suggested.  Otherwise, I'd stay downtown or in the La Jolla Shores/La Jolla Village Area.  Car rental is always cheap in San Diego, and don;t be afraid to rent off-site.  All the rental places are actually off-site, some are just a little further, but don't let the scare you.

    Enjoy--SD is my favorite city!

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_honeymoon_san-francisco-or-san-diego?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:11Discussion:915fc931-45be-4480-9e18-58b156e441afPost:27d39d29-a024-463e-910e-9627b505e4bd">Re: San Francisco or San Diego?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: San Francisco or San Diego? : But that's your take.  Not everyone requires beaches and romance for their HM.  We stopped in SF on our honeymoon.  Plenty of people go there for their HM. 
    Posted by J&K10910[/QUOTE]

    Yes that is my opinion. OP asked for people's opinions. So I gave my opinion...



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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_honeymoon_san-francisco-or-san-diego?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:11Discussion:915fc931-45be-4480-9e18-58b156e441afPost:2e5b0696-763e-4033-8298-28e7d32cf15f">Re: San Francisco or San Diego?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I live in SD (have lived here for 10 years) and I just want to prepare you for the fact that it is not always warm and sunny here.  I would not compare it to Florida at all, aside from the presence of palm trees.  I think I read upthread that you will be honeymooning in May?  May and June can be (but aren't always!) cloudy by the coast.  It's called "May Gray" and "June Gloom", and it's when the marine layer really hits hard.  I love it here, but it is a bit sad to see all the people who come out here every year for spring break, thinking they're going to be living in their swim suits, and have to spend it in a sweatshirt!   The great thing is that even when it's "cold" here, it's not THAT cold.  Certainly not by Vermont standards, anyway! ;)  I'd say in May/June, the average high is mid-60s, and the low will be around 60.  Average ocean temp will be low 60s (i.e. not really swimming weather, and you'll probably want a wetsuit if you're going to surf) With that said, there are still lots of things to do and see here even if it ends up being cloudy or cool during your honeymoon.  I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time!
    Posted by zomgdenise[/QUOTE]

    Ooh good point. We didn't have it this year but PP is right: during May and June Gloom it's foggy on the coast.



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