By Archana Ram
October 13, 2014

The strategy in this SoCal hub: spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Surf: Our favorite place to catch a wave? Black’s Beach, a secluded cove ideal for pros. Arriving is a thrill all its own: it’s a steep 10-minute hike from the road down to the water. Near 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr.

Eat: Queue up with the locals at Oscar’s, a divey taqueria in north Pacific Beach where the smoked- fish tacos—a San Diegan obsession—come loaded with avocado and three types of house-made salsa. There are only 25 seats, mostly outdoors, at the flagship location, but you can walk a few blocks to the shore for an impromptu picnic.

Relax: Find your Zen where the monks do, and head to the beautifully manicured gardens of the Self-Realization Fellowship, in Encinitas. They’re lined with succulents, meditation benches, and koi ponds, all overlooking the Pacific.

See: Whether you walk along the coastal cliffs or settle down with a blanket for a picnic, there’s no wrong way to take in the spectacular evening vistas—and occasional dolphin sightings—at the 68-acre Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Ladera St. near Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

Drink: With a prime location right on the boardwalk, Tower23 Hotel’s sleek bar, Jrdn, draws a perpetually stylish crowd. Find them sipping negronis and mango-chili margaritas from the early afternoon into the evening hours.

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