Travel Nurse Guide to San Diego

Jun 1, 2019
Chelsea Rolfes, RN

Ode to land of mesmerizing sunsets, fish tacos and days off at the beach no matter what month of the year. This city is bustling with smiling, laid back people, great vibes and endless coastal views. Neighborhoods range from charming Little Italy to the night scene of Gaslamp and high end La Jolla to the surfer-filled Pacific Beach.

If you're a travel nurse looking to explore San Diego, we’ve put together the Trusted Guide to San Diego to walk you through all of our favorite must-hit spots.

Brunch in San Diego

Brunching. It’s a thing in San Diego, no doubt about it. Do you prefer bottomless mimosas, seaside views or world class fried chicken?

On the weekends Duck Dive is quite the hot ticket. Lines out the door, a young lively crowd, and mimosas til you drop. If you only have time for one brunch and can’t get enough of the ocean views, opt for Caroline’s Seaside Cafe or Cody’s La Jolla. The tops of the palm trees will be at eye level while you nom on your hash browns. Be sure to walk down to the beach under Scripps Pier and down to the tide pools if you go to Caroline’s. For the seafood eaters, the Crab Cake Benedicts at Cody’s are imperative. Saved the chicken and eggs story for last, this outdoor coop is that good. So good they call it Crack Shack.

Sunday in San Diego

Sunday funday? We got you! Liberty Public Market is the perfect place to post up outside for the day. Inside this old Navy building, the halls are lined with all sorts of eateries (ehhemm, we favor the tacos), crafty vendors and even a brewery. For your produce haul, fresh flowers and food samples, grab a coffee at Lofty Coffee and stroll through Little Italy Mercado Farmers’ Market from 8:00am-2:00pm.

Be sure to pack your dancing shoes and brush up on country music lyrics, you’ll want to hit up San Diego’s favorite country bar for some beers and exciting entertainment. Lucky for you they’ve got two locationsMoonshine Flats and Moonshine Beach. Another must see is the one and only Petco Park. Just one tip- go on an empty stomach cuz it’s a total foodie and craft beer haven. For you peeps that love being active and outdoors, you won’t run out of activities. Set out in a kayak to tour the caves of La Jolla Cove, roller blade along the beach or rent a boat in Mission Bay. Lucky for you the sunshine will leave you plenty of room for outdoor endeavors.

Little Italy

Of the countless Little Italy’s in the world, San Diego’s is undoubtedly adored. You’ll see why when you walk the charming streets. For you coffee lovers, check out James Coffee. It’s housed in a building they call “the space” along with some noteworthy shops. We’re getting to the pasta, hold your horses. Juice Crafters whips up some pretty delicious smoothies for an afternoon pick-me-up and Ironside Fish and Oyster has fresh seafood galore. Civico 1845 is our first pick for authentic Italian with the most delightful vibes. Don’t be surprised if one of the owners (brothers Dario or Pietro) pours you your first glass of wine and takes your order. If your Italian feast doesn’t leave you in a food coma we know where to go next. Head across the street for gelato or down the road to False Idol, a tiki speakeasy hidden inside Craft and Commerce.


Cannot forget the views. You certainly won’t have to go looking, but we’ll give you our go-tos. Torrey Pines, a state nature reserve, is home to various hiking trails and one heck of a beach. You can visit here multiple times before you cover all the grounds have to offer. If you want to get in a hill climb, Cowles Mountain is a three mile trek to San Diego’s highest point with 360 degree views. Ocean Beach is a neighborhood of its own and worth a visit for sure. Go in the evening, pack your blanket, and after you’ve scoped the hood, head to Sunset Cliffs for quite the beauteous scene.


Coffee por favor? Yuppp, all over it. You’ll find a Better Buzz on more than one street corner, but if you are looking to set up shop for the day we recommend the one in Pacific Beach. Right off Garnet Ave, you can’t miss the giant swings, open air and dog populated spot to get your buzz on. For all the Instagrammable vibes, the most lovely lavender lattes and even a boutique florist, head to Communal Coffee. No shoes? No prob. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is local terrain. This quaint neighborhood spot is packed with bikers and loyal go-ers every day of the week.


There’s two types of “buzz.” I already filled you in on where to get your caffeine fix, lets talk the alternate. Btw, we’re into rooftops. We might argue PB Shore Club the most ideal casual spot for sunset, or just ocean views and a good crowd. For the spicy margarita lover, you might prefer the rooftop at El Prez. Another gem is Amplified Ale Works. This local brewery has inside seating, outdoor picnic tables, and some fantastic Mediterranean foodies. Oh yeah, and order the Doner Fries. Thank me later. For a swankier, and higher, rooftop, Mr. A’s downtown will fit the bill.

Tacos, duh.

Saved the best for last. Wanna taco bout it? You better. Cuz in case you hadn’t heard, San Diego is the land of fish tacos. Don’t let the menu at Puesto intimidate you when you see cactus tacos, they’re quite tasty. This La Jolla joint has style and good Mexican. Extra guac please! Now for the fish. There’s no way to pick a winner so we’ve narrowed it to two. Order at the counter and take your number to the community tables or outdoor fire pit at Fish Shop. Did we mention it’s bring your own wine and no cork fees? Plus, you get to pick your very own sauce (big sauce fans over here). Just blocks from the beach you can pop in Oscar’s for surf and turf, ceviche or even breakfast tacos. One rule: no amount of tacos is too many tacos.

Happy San Diego-ing!

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Interested in traveling to another city? Check out our Trusted Guide to Seattle!