It’s day two, and Comic-Con has the pedal to the floor. The panels, the announcements, the cosplay, the lines. Even the city of San Diego, whose populace was once a little “get off my lawn” about the event, is excited. In a recent poll, they ranked keeping Comic-Con higher than hanging onto the local NFL team.
That being said, a full four-day weekend at Comic-Con can turn into a bit of a slog. It’s important to take a break, see a bit of the city, and remind yourself what the outdoors look like.
Eat a California burrito. Somehow, with small restaurants and holes-in-the-wall getting priced out all across the city, scruffy burrito shops are still thriving in the Ocean, Mission, and Pacific Beach neighborhoods. The “California burrito” served in SD doesn’t claim to be Mexican food; it’s a different sort of hybrid all together. Wrapped in yellow paper, a true California burrito is made with carne asada and features french fries inside (rather than rice and beans) with a deep red salsa that sends a clear spice warning. Have a cold beer on hand. You’ll need it. MXN has multiple locations through the city, but it wasn’t always that way: Many longtime residents still remember this as “Santana’s” where you could drive through and order day or night. These days the name is different, but the hours are the same. So is the food; nap inducing but absolutely delicious. Nico’s is another legend of the SD beach burrito scene, with both a website and prices that feel stuck in the late ’90s.
Visit a skate park. Skateboarding is not a crime in San Diego. In fact, it’s celebrated. The city has a wide-ranging selection of skate parks for riders of all abilities. Most neighborhoods have their own parks, where the skate scene is revered rather than reviled. Two of the best are the Carmel Valley Skate Park and the Alex Road Skate Park a little ways north, in Oceanside; both spots have street skate features and deep bowls for more experienced riders.
Drink a craft beer. Somewhere in the mid-2000s, San Diego started creeping up on stalwarts like Portland, Ore. and Denver for the title of best beer city in the country. In recent years, the scene has exploded, which certainly isn’t bothering the locals any. If you go, it’s nice to mix and match a (relative) veteran establishment with a newcomer to the scene. Green Flash has been around since 2002, and their West Coast IPA has fans across the country. For something brand new, try Half Door Brewing, which is built into a two-story house right downtown. Looking for more places to try? Paste Magazine has a thorough guide to San Diego’s breweries that can put any aficionado on the right track.
Try a kitschy dessert. These days, you can’t just serve ice cream in San Diego; you have to have a hook. Try the French Toast Donut at the Donut Bar, a frozen-fruit paleta at Viva Pops, a hot-pressed ice cream sandwich at the Baked Bear, or an ice cream flight featuring six of the 93 different flavors available at Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream. If you like your treats with alcohol, try Zymology 21, where they serve sangria Popsicles in a glass of ale and test tube flights of “shrubs” (mixers made by fermenting fruit in vinegar and water) to blend with your favorite spirit.