W hen I first arrived in San Diego, shrouded in a thick cloud of Bay Area smug, I figured I'd give it a year. I thought I had the city pegged: an insecure beach town trying desperately to escape the long shadow of Los Angeles, an overgrown suburb as shallow and flat as the MGD in a beer pong cup. And I, well, I was an intellectual (or at least a wannabe). I needed culture! Museums! People who wanted to think and make art and spend hours talking about books. You know what people talked about in San Diego? Burritos.
I knew San Diego was capable of producing creative people -- Tom Waits and Eddie Vedder and Frank Zappa all started their first bands here -- but I was pretty sure the real artists just got rounded up every few years and put on a Greyhound bound for New York or LA. San Diego couldn't get them to stick around, and it wouldn't keep me either. A year, max.
See a Rembrandt in the morning, tan your naked butt in the afternoon, attend a lucha libre match at night.
La Mona, Tijuana | Flickr/Martha Silva
Our Silences in San Diego's Embarcadero | Sherry V Smith/shutterstock
They will tell you Tijuana is dangerous and will discourage you from going. Ignore these people.
Our Silences in San Diego's Embarcadero | pikappa51/Shutterstock


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