California, Here We Come! (2021): Day 6: Walking in San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter to Balboa Park

Bruce again had his early-starting half-day at work. As previously, he popped out at 9am to pick up some breakfast for both of us, this time from a local coffee shop. After showers, and following nearly a week of travel, this morning’s essential activity was a visit to the laundromat. This took far less time than I thought it might, and having briefly returned to base to drop off our clean clothes, we were ready to set out for sightseeing around noon.

From our 9th Avenue base, we walked northwards towards Balboa Park, largely on 6th Avenue. Initially level, the route settled into a sustained, gentle climb. At one point – on Cortez Hill – we found ourselves on a stretch where the steep cross-streets were reminiscent of San Francisco. Having crossed I-5 on an overbridge, we reached the first section of the park and veered off 6th Avenue onto a quieter footpath.

Soon thereafter, we reached the El Prado road and crossed Cabrillo Bridge into the spectacular area that was built for the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915. I had been there several times before, but always arriving by car. Walking gave me a far better appreciation of how it all fitted into the overall cityscape. We spent some time wandering through the complex and taking photos. This was punctuated by a takeaway al fresco lunch that caused us to observe, not for the first time on this trip, that America no longer felt like a cheap destination for Brits.

Balboa Park to Hillcrest

We eventually exited the park on Zoo Drive towards University Heights, then walked westwards along University Avenue towards Hillcrest. This district is noted for its weekly Farmers Market, its wide range of restaurants and for being the centre of the city’s LGBT scene. We spent a most enjoyable few hours in Mo’s Bar, where an initial cocktail somehow turned into four rounds … oops! A burrito and an Uber back to the Hotel Indigo finished off a great day in San Diego.