Tag Archives: zoo

everybody loves…San Diego

San Diego is purported to be one of America’s most beautiful cities. Now that I’ve spent a week there, I can wholeheartedly agree. The perfect weather and beautiful coastline were as-advertised and I now understand why people head west and never come back. Below is my travelogue recap, along with a few of my wife’s photos showing the tourist attractions* that I unfortunately missed. Enjoy!

* I went to SD for a work conference. Wanting, nay, needing a vacation after not traveling sans child for nearly three years, my wife decided to procure the babysitting services of Grandma, Inc. and accompany me. Therefore, she got to explore the city all day long without having to listen to me or him whining for more Goldfish.

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Seaport Village

Our hotel was nicely nestled next to this swanky enclave of seaside shops and restaurants. The view of the bay from the harbor pier was stunning, and a stroll down the boardwalk brought many interesting sights such as the Unconditional Surrender statue, musical pedi-cabs and only mildly-shady street performers. The overall vibe is “upscale touristy” so I’d imagine that a local could denounce the area as trite. Luckily I’m an upscale tourist so the village was perfect for me!

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Coronado

The island oasis of Coronado is just a quick ferry ride across the bay from downtown San Diego and is well-deserving of its ranking as the best beach in the United States. For starters, the sand is as well-groomed and white as the people that stroll across it. Another highlight is the charming Victorian architecture of the historic Hotel Del Coronado. It’s supposedly haunted by the ghost of turn of the century con-artist Kate Morgan, who’s not to be confused with adult film star Katie Morgan (who can haunt me anytime).

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Old Town San Diego

Old Town is appropriately named. It’s an 1800’s-style neighborhood full of old-timey shops and exhibits which range from actually historic to artificially touristy. After meandering around this area for an hour under the blazing hot sun, we sought respite (and authentic Mexican food) at El Agave Tequileria. My taquitos de pescado were delicious, and the thousands of tequila bottles lining the walls made for a nice decorative element that I hope to incorporate into my future man-cave.

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La Jolla

Um…there really isn’t much to say about this area other than it is f*ckin’ beautiful. It made Ocean City, New Jersey look like Newark, New Jersey…

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Gaslamp Quarter

At 38 years old, the idea of spending a night barhopping sounds more like a punishment than a pleasure. Therefore, my wife and I really didn’t take advantage of the numerous bars and clubs that inhabit the Gaslamp Quarter.

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We did have a nice dinner at the chic gastropub Seersucker*, but I was still back in bed by the time the Victorian-era gas lamps started illuminating the night sky. If I was only ten years younger, I’m sure that I would have had a helluva time getting turnt up just like Brad and Robin from Real World San Diego!

* Here’s my quick Seersucker restaurant review. It possessed a rustic, maritime vibe that elevated it past the typical speakeasy milieu. The duck fat fries were to die for, and the companion chipotle ketchup added a nice touch of smokiness to the savory unctuousness of the fries. Highly recommended!

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USS Midway Museum & San Diego Zoo

I didn’t get a chance to visit any of these places, but my wife did. Please enjoy her pictures!

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Pittsburgh Weekend Activities – September 14

The Penn Brewery Oktoberfest is one of the best annual happenings that Pittsburgh has to offer.  At its historic location on the North Side, Penn Brewery honors this traditional German festival with great local beer and Bavarian treats served in their spacious outdoor party area.  The beer comes in big plastic jugs that help add to the relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere where drunks’ young and old can dance and sing to accordion music.  The Hofbräuhaus on the South Side does gives revelers the opportunity to chant “ziggy zoggy ziggy zoggy oye oye oye” all year round but its ambiance feels manufactured and just doesn’t compare to Penn Brewery’s two weekends of celebration.


Unfortunately the immense popularity of this event has made finding a place to park an adventure.  In your pursuit of a space you’ll likely end up exploring the sketchy surrounding area quite extensively.  Just remember that sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to partake in a fun activity.  And, Allegheny General Hospital is just down the street so if you do get stabbed you’ll be able to make it there lickety-split.

Another opportunity to imbibe outdoors this weekend is The Zoo Brew, which is taking place Friday at the Pittsburgh Zoo (natch).  I originally had a lot of interest in this event because I’ve attended previously and had a fun time.  However when I looked further into this years details I found out that there were some major changes that made this activity much less desirable.  First of all admission is $60 per person which is a 20% increase over last year.  It starts an hour earlier (6:00) and the whole event is half an hour shorter (3.5 hours vs. 4).  They also are not offering a discounted designated driver ticket this year.  My wife does not drink beer so this was previously a great opportunity for me to drink with impunity because I knew I’d get home safely. If I did attend I would have to try to get my moneys worth by attempting to drink $120 worth of beer and this would most likely lead to me getting into a drunken fight with a pelican.

The funds collected from ticket sales go to the Zoo whereas formerly the money went to fight UMDF.  This charitable connection prompted local restaurants to donate food in the past but now the appetizers will come from a hired caterer so the quality is a mystery.  Due to these known-knowns, known-unknowns and of course unknown-unknowns, I’m going to save my money and just do the ZooZilla 5K next month. There won’t be alcohol but at least I’ll be a harder target to hit with poop as I run past the monkey habitat.

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