Balboa Park National Geographic Traveler says: 'You can't possibly see everything in a single day.' CityBeat says: That's true, but if you walk from Sixth Avenue, across the Cabrillo Bridge, through the Prado and by the museums, and then cross Park Boulevard to the Cactus Garden, you'll see more of it than the average San Diegan.
The Gay Scene Hidden Southern California says: 'Ironically, it's thanks to the strong presence of the U.S. Navy that San Diego has such a significant gay scene.' CityBeat says: That's not ironic. That's predictable.
Spreckels Organ Pavilion Hidden Southern California says: 'En route, you'll pass the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Those 4,416 pipes make it the largest outdoor instrument of its kind.' CityBeat says: Don't just note the pavilion in passing-make a point of going for one of the free shows held every Sunday at 2 p.m. The city employs one of the nation's few municipal organists, and we can say from experience that she knows her pipes.
Julian Top 10 San Diego says: 'Julian would have become the county seat if San Diego supporters had not supplied the voters of Julian with liquor on that election day.' CityBeat says: Setting a precedent for the next 150 years of local government. Still, we like Julian as a jumping-off point for day hikes in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Stop back into town for an apple turnover on the way home.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop Fodor's San Diego says: 'It's an oasis of calm in the Gaslamp Quarter.' CityBeat says: No it ain't, or at least it ain't if you're there on a warm weekend day in the summer. If it's calm you seek and fine ice cream you crave, head up India Street to Gelato Vero. Local flavor, and better ice cream.
Rama Fodor's San Diego says: 'Without question the best Thai restaurant in San Diego.' CityBeat says: It's awfully good-don't get us wrong-but Amarin Thai in Hillcrest has a more interesting variety of dishes, all of which are perfectly prepared, plus it has a secluded outdoor seating area for enjoying a fine summer day.
El Indio Moon Handbook says: 'El Indio is where locals go for Mexican.' CityBeat says: Damn straight. Plus, they own the parking lot across the street, so it's one of only a couple of restaurants down there you can park at. Order your food inside, then cross the street to one of the umbrella-shaded tables for a leisurely summer lunch.
The Casbah San Diego: The Best of Sunshine City says: 'Local groups such as Jivewire, Rockets from the Crypt and Three Mile Pilot are featured.' CityBeat says: Well, ouch. Jivewire is a dance night, not a band. There's only one 'Rocket' in Rocket from the Crypt, and they've split up. Three Mile Pilot has also called it quits-although, luckily, Sunshine City is so out of date that the band's now working on its reunion album!
Lestat's Insider's Guide to San Diego says: 'Nightly entertainment is featured here: ska, jazz, acoustic, folk, and even some music from the Middle Ages every once in a while. The clientele is largely but not exclusively gay at this 24-hour coffee house.' CityBeat says: We don't know where they got idea that the Normal Heights venue holds semi-regular Renaissance Fairs, but you will find the best acoustic singer-songwriters in San Diego at Lestat's. As for the 'largely but not exclusively gay' crowd-hmmm, not unless artsy teenagers who love fantasy games are the new gay people.
Winston's Fodor's says: '[The venue] hosts local bands, reggae groups, and, occasionally, 1960s style bands. The crowd, mostly locals, are typically mellow, but can get rowdy.' CityBeat says: The only thing 1960s about Ocean Beach's favorite live-music joint is the clientele, who show visible affection for communal living, hemp-based artifacts and facial hair. The venue is best known as the place in San Diego for hippie music-whether it's jazz or jam. The crowd is mostly local, indeed. But they're more likely to get high before they get 'rowdy.'
Soma Fodor's says: '[The venue hosts] some of the top indie rock and punk bands.' CityBeat says: We think Senor Fodor mistook Soma for The Casbah. What the former movie theater is more famous for is emo, screamo and metal-the genres that are huge among its all-ages crowd. Very few San Diego venues (save for The Jumping Turtle in San Marcos) are serving this sector of the music scene, and Soma knows what the kids want.
Hillcrest Landmark Theatre Insider's Guide to San Diego says: 'This five-theatre complex tucked away in the Village Hillcrest Shopping Center shows first-run foreign films and independent American films. The theatres are on the small side, lending a cozy atmosphere to the experience, but the amenities are modern and first-rate.' CityBeat says: While the Ken Cinema is the ultimate in local art-house film theatres (and Insider's does mention the Ken), what about the San Diego Public Library? Film curator Ralph DeLauro puts together an outstanding, ever-unpredictable selection for the thinking person. And the films are always free. As for amenities, the library has indoor plumbing. Concession stand? Nope, but movie-theater popcorn's not good for you, anyhow.
Street Scene Top 10 San Diego says: 'Pile in and around the Gaslamp to enjoy three days of non-stop music.' CityBeat says: If this book had been published three years ago, we'd forgive the error, but the most recent edition came out this year. For shame.
Bookstar Insider's Guide to San Diego says: 'Bookstar is a smaller version of the giant superstores.... Don't think for a moment you won't find a huge selection of titles; these stores are just smaller and have a cozier atmosphere. The sales staff at Bookstar's great for helping you locate a title in their computerized inventory.' CityBeat says: What about La Jolla biblio-gem D.G. Wills? It's cozy to the hilt, and there's a 99.9-percent chance owner Dennis Wills already read whatever book you're looking for-twice.
Hillcrest shopping Frommer's recommends: Plasticland and Shwoomp! CityBeat says: Closed and closed. How about hopping on over to South Park and checking out Maeve Riley for clothes and Clarity for hand-made soap and candles? Stop at Daily Scoop for an ice cream cone, too.
Nordstrom's Top 10 San Diego says: 'Holding an almost cult-like status among shopping fanatics, ‘Nordies' remains as popular as ever for its vast clothing selection and impressive shoe department. CityBeat says: Yawn. 'Nordies' is so '80s. It's Bloomies, consumers-Bloomies.
Black's Beach Hidden Southern California says: 'Black's [Beach] is San Diego's unofficial, illegal, ever-loving nude beach. And a beautiful strip of landscape it is.' CityBeat says: We have nothing to add.