5 Best Photo Opportunities in San Diego

Photo Opportunities San Diego

Lee Van Grack

As "America's Finest City," San Diego sets the standard for a good urban American lifestyle in so many ways. The fact that the city trolley runs on an honor system, where tickets are rarely checked, is testimony to the integrity of the city's inhabitants. As one of the estimated 2.5 million visitors that enjoy San Diego's beautiful sunshine and vibrant night life each month, I was deeply affected by the laid-back atmosphere of the ocean-front city. Here are some spots that offer good photo opportunities in San Diego, Calif.

1. The Romantic Photo: Gaslamp Quarter

The 16-block historical neighborhood known as the Gaslamp Quarter is filled with late-night bars, clubs and restaurants of all sorts – including Irish pubs like the Field, which features lively Irish music performances and local bands, as well as trendy Japanese sushi bars like Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel. It also borders Westfield Horton Plaza, where essential parts of Judd Apatow and Steve Carrell's comedy 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' was shot. My boyfriend and I spent many a good nights enjoying good frozen drinks and half-off Mexican appetizers in the dim yet romantically-lit La Puerta restaurant and took many tipsy/happy (and romantic, too) snapshots. Make sure to get a shot in front of one of the famous gaslamp lights that dot the bustling streets.

2. The Quirky Photo: Seaport Village

Right on the harbor, a quaint little grouping of adjoined cottages make up the shopping and restaurant community collectively known as Seaport Village. Although commercial, Seaport Village gives visitors a cozy feeling with its unique stores filled with items of all sorts, from souvenir nick nacks to boutique tea sets, gallery art and cute baby accessories. Some of my favorite Seaport Village stores include The Little Viking Scandinavian Gift Shoppe, Haberdashery, Captain's Cove, A Few of My Favorite Things, American Nostalgia, Carousel Music Box Company and California Original Sunglasses. The real gem of the village is Upstart Crow Bookstore & Coffeehouse, a unique and colorful establishment named for William Shakespeare. The aroma of coffee and sweet taste of cheesecake uplifts the spirit as one browses the plethora of unique gifts and books offered. Or play a game of checkers with board pieces as big as your palm! Best of all, take a picture of Seaport Village and the harbor that stretches beyond – its beauty and novelty provides a unique photo opportunity of the most cozy and interesting shopping experience in the city. Seaport Village is located at the end of Pacific Highway, just five minutes from the San Diego Airport.

3. The Family Fun Photo: U.S.S. Midway Museum

The first aircraft carrier to be commissioned after World War II, the U.S.S. Midway was active for nearly 50 years, serving through both the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. It is now a fun and educative museum for children and adults alike. Visitors will learn of U.S. wartime history and of how soldiers lived on board the U.S.S. Midway for months – or even years. Strike a pose as you fly a simulation plane or sit in the cockpit of a retired fighter jet. Or take pictures with wax-figure military men in the fully-furnished cafeterias, strategy rooms, officers' bedrooms, laundry rooms and machine rooms. It's a great way to spend the afternoon. Located on North Harbor Drive, just north of Seaport Village. The Midway is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 10AM PT to 5PM PT with last admissions at 4PM PT. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, $10 for kids and retired military, and free for children under 5 and active-duty military.

4. The Scenic Photo: La Jolla Village

La Jolla, one most gorgeous beachfront suburb in San Diego, California, is a bit of heaven on earth, and provides an excellent photo opportunity. Happily, we are fortunate that we do not need to die to be there to enjoy the ocean breeze, the rolling blue waters and the bright golden sun that shines down upon us as we stroll the trendy sports-car lined streets. Treat your taste buds to a lunch or an early dinner at George's at the Cove, which offers elegant outdoor seating on the roof. The panoramic view of the water and La Jolla's unique seaside terrain is a feast for the eyes as much as the food is to the mouth. If it suits your fancy, window shop the rows of expensive (and sometimes tacky) art boutiques along the main shopping district in La Jolla. Or watch the seals sunbathe together on the shore. Better yet, enjoy a cup of java at an open cafe that overlooks the sea. La Jolla offers a truly relaxing experience that feels like a extremely mellow version of Beverly Hills. La Jolla is a 15-minute drive north up the I-5 from the downtown area.

5. The Classic Photo: Ferry Ride to Coronado

For those of us who don't own a yacht, the 15-minute ferry ride across the bay to Coronado is a fantastic alternative to driving or busing across the bridge to the quaint residential island of Coronado. The panoramic view from the water is great for photo opportunities of San Diego, California's beautiful skyscrapers, with the majestic U.S.S. Midway in the forefront. Coronado itself is a treasure cove of fun and photo ops. Visitors can rent bikes to ride around the lovely neighborhoods, stopping take a snapshot of the Hotel del Coronado, the famous Coronado landmark. Channel your inner Marilyn Monroe ("Some Like It Hot" was shot here, with the hotel pretending to be in Miami Beach) and strike a classic pose on the beach. Crossing tickets are $3.75 or free for children under 3 and depart from either Broadway Pier or the Convention Center.

Other fun attractions include the San Diego Zoo, Little Italy and Old Town. For those looking for an extended excursion, Tijuana south of the border is a short trolley ride away. San Diego is a perfect destination for families and couples alike, fun and easily accessible by train, car and air (the airport is within minutes of downtown San Diego). See you in San Diego!

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