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While Southern California is just about as beautiful as any place on Earth, the local parks and green spaces in San Diego are hard to match. From city parks to ocean views and bayfront property, there’s a spot that everyone can enjoy.
The Central Park of San Diego, this place is 1,200 acres of museums, gardens, trails, and landscapes. You can travel from Amazonian-like jungles to rose gardens to the cacti-filled desert-scape all within 15 minutes of walking. Little known fact: There are a few places where alcohol is allowed, making this the perfect brunch park (we’ll bring the OJ)!
As the name suggests, this Adams Avenue park was once the site of a streetcar barn that housed trolley cars next to an ostrich farm (you guessed the part about the ostrich farm, right?). Currently, it’s home to a playground and some shaded grassy areas that are great for when you just want to lounge outside on a sunny day.
The “NTC” in this park’s title stands for Naval Training Center, where the Navy held much of its San Diego-based operations from 1921 until 1993. Pretty cool, right? Even better, there’s plenty to see and do. You’ll find charming boutiques, a public market, a golf course, and a 46-acre waterfront green space full of playgrounds, running trails, and historic markers. You could (and should) definitely plan to spend an entire day here.
The grassy knoll where Law Street runs into the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Beach is known for two things: surfers checking out the break both south at the pier and north at Tourmaline, and yoga. Every Saturday and Sunday at 10am, a donation-based yoga class is held on these bluffs. Join the 100+ other yogis for unobstructed ocean views as you namaste with Namasteve.
BirdRock is the small community between Pacific Beach and La Jolla, and it’s known for mansions that are true architectural masterpieces and its pristine coastline. But you don’t need to be a multi-millionaire to enjoy the view. Park it on a bench at Calumet Park and enjoy the coastline while the surfers take advantage of Rock Pile down below.
Nestled in Cuvier Park in La Jolla Cove is a great little stretch of green space known as the Wedding Bowl. If you couldn’t tell by the name, this tranquil spot is a super popular destination for—yup—weddings! So popular, in fact, that there’s a lottery process to get a permit to be married there. Luckily, no lottery is needed to simply enjoy the space and the surrounding park before, perhaps, heading up to the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, which is just across the street.
Just north of La Jolla cove is La Jolla Shores, which is capped off by the famous Scripps Institute of Oceanography and its perfect pier. And at this park, you’ve got options. Hang in the sand by the beach, lounge in the grass, play on the playground — it’s all at your fingertips. Fitt Tip: Go during late August or early September during leopard shark season. Hundreds of (harmless to you) leopard sharks take over the waters off the shores, and you can snorkel, kayak, or surf right next to them!
Tidelands Park has arguably the best view of any place on this list. From the magical crown jewel of Coronado, you’ll be gazing over the San Diego Bay at the Coronado Bridge and the San Diego skyline. But the coolest part? You can take the ferry from downtown there and back — a $4 well spent.
About two or three years ago, San Diego put a large chunk of change into revamping the bayfront Waterfront Park — and the result is pretty great. From a water feature for cooling off during hot summer days to a massive green park perfect for laying out your yoga mat or a picnic blanket, we can’t say enough good things about this outdoor oasis. You don’t even have to bring your lunch; there are some delicious spots to grab grub just across the street (try Carnitas Snack Shack as a splurge meal).
Shoreline Park is a hidden gem along the San Diego Bay. Come during the day to lounge on the perfectly-manicured grass, and stay until the evening — right across the way is Humphrey’s by the Bay, an outdoor concert venue. Fitt Tip: rent a kayak or canoe and paddle up to the venue to watch the show (for free!) from the comfort of your own vessel.
Name a place where you can run, bike, swim, and stand-up paddleboard all in the same day. If you guessed Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach, you’d be right on the money. This park sits on a picturesque stretch of beach along the bay, so whether you’re a land lover or can’t get enough of the water, you’ll have a variety of activities to choose from.
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.