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Best of San Diego 2023

From a Michelin-starred chef’s game of “Guess Who” to zero-gravity camping and one legendary goose, here are 70 of our current local favorites

By Danielle Allaire, Beth Demmon, Cherie Gough, Mateo Hoke, Jennifer Ianni, Troy Johnson, Marissa Kozma, Reanna Lebitski, Nicolle Monico, Kai Oliver-Kurtin, Will Riddell, Amelia Rodriguez, Emily Roethle, Drew Sitton, Jeff Terich, and Claire Trageser

Best of San Diego Magazine 2023 Ocean Beach

Best of San Diego Magazine 2023 Ocean Beach

Food + Drink | Arts + Culture

Health + Wellness | For The Kids | Retail | Reader’s Picks

Think we’ve run out of stuff to wax poetic about after seven-and-a-half decades of celebrating San Diego? Think again. Ever-evolving and always awesome, the city’s got a nonstop supply of cool places to eat, shop, and play. From a Michelin-starred chef’s game of “Guess Who” to zero-gravity camping, bioluminescent boozing, and one legendary goose, here are 70 of our current local favorites. (Plus more than 100 of your picks, too!)

Click on the links above to see our full list in each category.

Food + Drink

Best Way to Sabbath

Juniper & Ivy

Juniper & Ivy was one of the restaurants that put Little Italy on the serious-food map. It opened with Richard Blais holding the reins. Now, for nearly 10 years, it’s been Anthony Wells (protégé of Thomas Keller and Jonathan Benno) who keeps it flying high. While they’re usually a nice-shirt kinda place, they’ve introduced a Sunday Supper, a more casual, family-style, three-course meal using the best of hyper-local farms, fish, and ferments. It’s set to return in September. Wipe great food on your jeans. –TJ

Arts + Culture

Best New North County Noise

The Sound

Nearly 50 years after local institution Belly Up Tavern opened in Solana Beach, it finally got a sibling—one three times as large. The Sound, a new 1,900-person-capacity concert hall operated by the Belly Up and housed on the San Diego County Fairgrounds, brings a much-needed mid-size venue to North County. With a state-of-the-art sound system and the space to accommodate headliners such as M83 and The Flaming Lips, it’s a thrilling addition to the live music landscape. –JT

Health + Wellness

Best Place to Sleep in a Tree

Alter Experiences at Mt. Laguna

Husband-wife hosts Rami Abdel and Shantel Seoane created Alter Experiences as a haven away from city hustle. They thought of everything to make tent camping accessible and hassle-free (including luxurious linens and outdoor kitchens), but what makes this place extra special are the tree hammocks. Equipped with super cozy, warm sleeping bags and lights that make them glow like fireflies or aliens (depending on your imagination), they offer a unique, weightless outdoor sleeping experience.

For The Kids

Best Childcare with Chaturangas

If I Was A Bird Yoga

Sure, there are plenty of so-called “Mommy & Me” yoga classes, where you’re trying to manage your kindergartener and somehow downward dog at the same time. Then there’s If I Was A Bird Yoga studio, which has locations throughout the county (Liberty Station, Mission Hills, Del Mar) and offers drop-off kids’ yoga classes. You can send in your little to learn cat-cow with a very patient instructor, and then head to your own workout class. They even offer an art and yoga class for children as young as two, where you have the option of bidding your baby adieu or staying for the class.


Best Spot For, Well, A Meet-Cute

Meet Cute Bookshop

Not a single Dan Brown thriller in sight. Queer-owned North Park bookshop Meet Cute exclusively stocks romance novels, with particular focus on LGBTQ and BIPOC authors (and an allowance for the occasional queer memoir or nonfiction writing guide). And if you happen to reach for a book at the same time as a fellow hopeless romantic… Well, we know how this story goes.

Reader’s Picks

You voted! And here’s what you had to say. All the city’s best things to do, places to eat, and hidden gems to explore as voted on by our readers. 

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