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San Diego coastal gem

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Time Out: San Diego

Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock

Photo by Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

You’ve got an extra day to kill in America’s Finest City. Here’s what you do.

San Diego still embraces its palm trees, beaches and surfers, but the city’s recent creative renaissance is giving the laid-back locale a new identity. For foodies, the influence of nearby Baja and big-name chefs has polished the dining landscape, while the internationally recognized craft beer scene continues to expand at an astonishing rate (look for local Stone Brewing Co. to open in Berlin, Germany, later this spring). Elsewhere, well-curated boutiques suit design-lovers, gastropubs share turf with museums and the consistently amiable weather is a savior for the winter-weary. The city is a playground for families, couples and singles alike, with a stylish new edge to boot.

At The Crack Shack in Little Italy, Top Chef Richard Blais goes fast-casual with organic, non-GMO and cage-free chicken and egg dishes. Grab a second-floor seat at the stunning Bracero Cocina de Raiz, where buzzy chef Javier Plascencia pays tribute to Mexican cuisine. More than 30 mostly local vendors selling empanadas, coffee, cheese, seafood, flowers and more converge at San Diego’s indoor-outdoor food hall Liberty Public Market, expected to open this month.

In Miramar, ground zero for the city’s craft beer scene, sip on IPAs at Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits’ staggering 107,000-square-foot brewery and tasting room. Pair Balboa Park’s theaters and hiking trails with brews and elevated pub grub at Panama 66, located in the sculpture garden of the San Diego Museum of Art. For craft cocktails, head to Fairweather, where sunny-weather libations such as mai tais and mojitos are served on a lively rooftop perched above Petco Park.

Clock in a workout with ocean views at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, which includes six trails dotted with its rare namesake trees. Find a moment of Zen at the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, where a lush, secluded garden of succulents and koi ponds overlooks the beach.

Stroll through the hip, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of North Park, located four miles from downtown. Peruse colorful and stylish home décor and giftables at Pigment, get a taste of San Diego’s new legion of elevated Mexican food at City Tacos and try on surf-inspired apparel at Aloha Beach Club.

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