Discovered by the Germans in 1904, San Diego, the beautiful coastal city of 1.4 million is lot smaller and quieter than LA and a little bit warmer than San Francisco. It’s the home of Ron Burgundy, the San Diego Zoo, and seemingly perfect weather year round. I was down in the great SD last weekend, soaking up the sun and meeting up with some good friends from university and I decided that I should list off some of the best ways to spend a weekend in SD. We’re not talking Lego Land here, let’s talk about things to do with your guy friends.

Soak up the sun and get your surf on at Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach, with its beach-front bars, paved bike path and, *ahem*, plentiful eye candy, is a great place to spend a lazy day. If you’ve never surfed before it’s a great place to get lessons or rent a board – just drop by one of the many shops along the beach. PB has consistent small-wave surf which is great for beginners. Once you’re worn out from surfing you can grab some food and a beer or two from one of the many beach-side restaurants like Lahaina Beach House. If you still have the energy rent some bikes and head up the paved beach path or, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, rent some Segways.

Take a sweet ride up the coast

The Pacific Coast Highway is the road to drive in California. Take the I5 north to where it meets the Coast Highway.  Get on and it will take you as far as San Francisco. The PCH provides a slower pace than the straight-forward Interstate 5 but much, much more scenic views. Grab some motorcycles or rent a nice car, lose track of time and just cruise up along the coast. Unfortunately the minivan that we rented (don’t judge, there were seven of us) wasn’t quite the sexy coast cruiser that we could have hoped for. Maybe next time.

Afternoon boat ride in Mission Bay

Unlike Pacific Beach, Mission Bay is composed of nice, calm waters – perfect for a pontoon boat and some afternoon beers. Bring a group of friends along and the cost becomes fairly reasonable – it was about $50 each for 8 of us for 4 hours. Drinking on boats in California is legal as long as you’re not the driver, so make sure you choose a DD.

Swank it up in downtown Gaslamp

The Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego has a pretty good mix of swanky clubs, relaxing pubs, and everything in between. If you want a really classy nightlife experience, dress up in shirts and ties, find a rooftop club and sip on $15 glasses of scotch all night.

Take a hike

There are quite a few unique hiking trails around San Diego. From mountains to canyons, the landscape may change but the beauty remains. I personally really enjoy the Los Peñasquitos Canyon trail. It’s a nice easy walk through a canyon with dusty sand trails, wooden fences, streams, and waterfalls along the way. It really makes you feel like you’re in the old west. Come back after with mountain bikes to explore the ups and downs of some of the winding side trails.Los Peñasquitos Canyon in San Diego

Pub crawl in PB

Pacific Beach becomes a whole different beast as the sun sets. Start the night off right with some fish tacos for supper and hop from bar to bar throughout the evening. Bars around here tend to be more laid back than Gaslamp – typical beach attire will do most of the time and drinks often come in gigantic goblets. Grab a six-pack from 7-11 and end off the night on the beach reminiscing about life.

Fire off some gunsScott firing off a shotgun in San Diego

Nothing screams “manly as Burgundy’s mustache” like firing off some weapons. Sure, it can be done anywhere in America, so listing it under things to do in San Diego might seem to be a little off, but as a bunch of Canadians who rarely handle weapons we just couldn’t pass up the novelty of firing some magnum rounds from a shotgun.  This is a must-do for any Canadian who wants to get some adrenaline running while they’re down in America.

Tijuana

While not exactly in San Diego, I couldn’t write this article and just ignore Tijuana completely. The party city for local college students and the city of cheap drinks and loose morals, what goes on in Tijuana, stays in Tijuana. Whatever you happen to be looking for in Tijuana (I don’t judge) you will find it. This includes trouble, so just remember to be careful out there. The drug cartels have made Tijuana an increasingly dangerous place to be, but if you take the proper precautions you should be alright. Either way, you should at least get a good story out of it.