Travel Guide: Tap into Big-City Buzz and the SoCal Lifestyle in San Diego

Enjoy sunshine and sophistication in the Golden State.

Kick back at the Pendry’s sprawling rooftop pool and lounge. / Photo by Christian Horan Photography


Hotel California

San Diego combines SoCal living with big-city buzz. Tap into both at the swanky Pendry San Diego, a Travel & Leisure “World’s Best”–nominated hotel located in the Gaslamp Quarter. The rooms at the amenity-filled hotel (rooftop pool, anyone?) perfectly complement their downtown surroundings thanks to luxe details such as black-paneled windows, trendy mixed materials, and a cool blue palette that reflects nearby San Diego Bay. Also available at the Pendry: a whopping six bars and restaurants, rentable skateboards and Cadillacs, and an honest-to-God Moët & Chandon vending machine on-site. Hey, you’re on vacation.

A Callie menu highlight, the Aleppo chicken is grilled over charcoal and served with sumac pickles. / Photo by Lucianna McIntosh

Studio UNLTD designed Callie’s interior to emulate the “golden hour” just before day becomes night. / Photo by Lucianna McIntosh


Sol Food

San Diego Magazine named Callie its best new restaurant of 2021. Swing by the chic East Village spot and you’ll see why—chef-owner Travis Swikard, who cut his teeth at Daniel Boulud’s New York City restaurants, draws on Mediterranean and Californian influences for what he dubs cuisine du soleil. Among Callie’s stunningly presented plates are a tart and spicy Japanese kanpachi with black lime and avocado, plus guest favorites like the blackened Aleppo chicken and the zhoug-topped hummus with pita. Rounding out the experience? Fun, bespoke cocktails such as the “Blood Ritual,” a vodka sipper combining palo santo with curaçao and local blood orange.

Snag some glam finds at Badlands Vintage in Oceanside. / Photo courtesy of Badlands Vintage


Unique Finds

Looking for a velvet sectional or leather armchair to make your living room pop? Make a pit stop at Badlands Vintage, Brittany Joseph’s new furniture store in Oceanside. The Black-owned business—which ships nationwide—stocks gorgeous secondhand pieces primarily from the midcentury-modern and postmodern eras, creating a minimalist vibe with a bit of glam in her showroom (and hopefully your home). Want a more packable souvenir? Head to Sew Loka in Barrio Logan for one-of-a-kind streetwear from seamstress Claudia Rodríguez-Biezunski, who uses scrap fabric to add edgy touches to flannels, denim, and more.;