A Point Loma weekend has just about everything you could want in a San Diego getaway. We’re talking food, drink, beach, hiking, nature, sailing, shopping, history, and more. In fact, if you’re looking for a weekend with family members who want to do separate things (like ours) but meet up at the end of the day, Point Loma will likely have something for everyone.
Where is Point Loma?
First things first: Where in San Diego is Point Loma? The Point Loma Peninsula is like a little downward-curving finger that curls past San Diego and Coronado Island. On the western (ocean) side, there’s Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs, and the Cabrillo National Monument. On the bay side, there’s Shelter Island, Fisherman’s Landing, and Liberty Station.
The Point Loma area is an easy two-hour drive from Los Angeles. But if you’re flying in, it’s super-close to the San Diego International Airport, so even if you’re coming from afar, you will land right where you need to be.
Where Should You Stay in Point Loma?
We love the Monsaraz San Diego, a newly renovated hotel in the Tapestry Collection by Hilton. It’s on the bay side and it’s just steps from Fisherman’s Landing, so you can easily step out of your room and walk right over to the restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and local water activities. And if you keep walking, you will find yourself on Shelter Island, where there’s plenty more of the same to discover.
The Monsaraz was built in an Art Deco style, but inside the hotel has been completely refreshed with a clean and modern look. It has a Portuguese theme, with an emphasis on the fishing influences. So you’ll see lots of bright colors, splashy tiles, and the occasional fishing rope trim.
The hotel has a spacious restaurant, but the real draw is the courtyard that has plenty of space for small or large group gatherings, along with an outdoor fireplace and comfy chairs.
If you’d rather look out on the water, you can bring your food and drink up to the third-floor terrace, which looks out over Fisherman’s Landing.
The rooms are clean and spacious, and there is beautiful tile in the hallway and bathrooms.
Two notes about the rooms, however: One, the bathroom doors are simply shutters that slide shut (and don’t really contain any noises). Two, the rooms that face out over Rosecrans tend to be loud with white street noise. If that will bother you, ask for a room facing the courtyard.
The rates at the Monsaraz are extremely reasonable for the area. Through our Hilton Honors program, we stayed for just $211 per night on a weekend, although that’s probably the lowest you will see. Prices – especially during holiday weekends – will vary. Also keep in mind that there’s only valet parking, and it’s a flat rate of $37 per night.
What Should You Do in Point Loma?
Day 1: Arrival in Point Loma
After you check in to your hotel, you will want to stretch your legs. You can take a nice walk all across Fisherman’s Landing and down toward Shelter Island.
Our first stop was Eppig Brewing, a craft brewery and “Waterfront Biergarten.” The Eppig family’s brewing roots date back to 1866 in Brooklyn, NY.
At any given moment, they will have a wide selection of lagers, ales, stouts, and sours. On our recent visit, we went a little radical and had a “spa day” cucumber hard seltzer. It was super-refreshing – just the kind of thing you’d want to drink after a long workout.
If you are willing to try something a little kitschy, the Tiki Time Bay Tours will give you a fun tour of the greater bay area. The two-hour sightseeing tours leave at 6:15 and 6:45 p.m. (The boat promises guides with “comedic wit and improv flair.” Ticket prices are $60 ($54 for senior, military, and children).
When it’s time for dinner, you have an overwhelming number of waterfront restaurants to choose from. If you’re looking for seafood, Mitch’s Seafood is probably the best-known – specializing in “local fish from local fishermen.”
But if you are willing to hop in the car just for a bit, Mikami Sushi is just a 20-minute drive away. There you will find robot waiters and sushi on conveyor belts (take what you like when you see it!). There is also a monorail that delivers special orders right to your table. It’s a super-fun family experience.
Day 2 Morning: Brunch and Hikes
Next, you can start Day 2 with a jaunt down to quirky Ocean Beach. Ocean Beach has a fun array of shops, restaurants, and bars.
In fact, just walking around can keep you busy. But you will get hungry so your first stop should be OB Surf Lodge, where you can have fantastic food with a beachfront view. The restaurant serves its brunch menu daily from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (We highly recommend the Harvest Frittata with a wide array of fresh veggies).
After that you will definitely need to walk off some of that delicious food, so you can head right over to Sunset Cliffs for a pretty hike. You can take the relaxed route and walk along Sunset Cliffs Blvd., stopping at Sunset Cliffs viewpoint (at the end of Hill Road).
Or if you feel more adventurous, you can take the stairs down the cliffs at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. The stairs are at the base of Ladera Street. (Make sure you have sturdy shoes for climbing on the rocks.)
Then for your next stop, you can glide down Cabrillo Memorial Drive to hit the Cabrillo National Monument. (Parking without a parks pass is $20 per vehicle.)
There, you can learn about the history of explorer Juan Cabrillo, visit his statue, and also climb up into the historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
When you’re standing at the precipice of the cliffside, you can see all across the San Diego Bay, including downtown San Diego, Coronado, and even the skyline of Tijuana, Mexico. (And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb the rickety stairs to peer up into the lighthouse tower.)
Day 2 Afternoon: Cocktails and Dinner
After all of that hiking, you will be ready for a drink and an appetizer. We love the hand-crafted cocktails and tasty bites at La Dona in Ocean Beach. The classic cocktail pick is the Dona Margarita, with lime, agave nectar, blanco tequila, and Hiwa Kai salt. (Don’t forget an order of house guacamole, topped with pepitas and served with chicharrones!)
For dinner, you will be lucky if you get a coveted seat at South Beach Bar & Grille. But beware – the line for seats can get long. We love the easy vibe of Ocean Beach Brewery. You order your food (and craft beers) at the bar; then clamber up three flights to the rooftop deck. Before you know it, a server is up with your food, and you can enjoy the ocean and city view. Fun note: If you’re there at 9:00 p.m., you’ll have a great view of the Sea World fireworks.
After that, if you’re still hungry, there’s always Lighthouse Ice Cream – home of the “famous” hot waffle ice cream sandwich. (But note that they close at 9:00 p.m. so you’ll have to choose between ice cream and fireworks-watching on the Ocean Beach Brewery rooftop.)
Day 3: Liberty Station
On your third day, it’s the perfect day to explore San Diego’s Liberty Station (just a three-minute drive from the Monsaraz). Liberty Station is the former Naval Training Center for San Diego. It’s an expansive series of parks and buildings, built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The Navy shut down operations there in 1997, and it has since reopened as a center for commerce, history, and arts. You could walk around, shop, or dine for hours there.
But if you want a center point from which to explore, check out Liberty Public Market. It’s a bustling public market with local purveyors and artisans selling prepared foods, beer, wine, specialty cocktails, produce, fish, desserts and pastries, pastas, arts and crafts, and more. Once you decide on what food you want to eat, you can settle down in the “Mess Hall,” which is a former… mess hall (complete with illustrations of battleships on the walls).
After that, you will once again want to burn off some of those delicious calories. We recommend a SUP (stand up paddleboard) session at West Coast Paddleboard Rentals. If you haven’t SUPped before, don’t fear! It’s surprisingly easy (the paddleboards are wide and steady). Plus, it’s a great way to see the sights – from the water.
And there’s your weekend! Did you get a good sense of all of the fun things to do in Point Loma for the weekend? We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Blogger disclosure: This was not a sponsored trip; except for dinner at Mikami, we paid for our own expenses. All opinions expressed are our own.