Planning to attend APA's 2010 Annual Convention? Chances are, you'll be spending much of your time in San Diego's airy convention center, presenting your research, networking or listening to presentations by top psychologists. But you can't live on psychology alone. gradPSYCH asked local students to share their favorite places to take a break to eat, sightsee and sunbathe:
For beachcombers. Take the ferry to Coronado. For just $3.75, you'll be transported to small-town America, with a boutique-lined main street and family-friendly beaches. It's also a good stop for shutterbugs, says Chandi Quigley, a former psychology graduate student at San Diego State University. "You can get great pictures of the downtown landscape from there," she says. But perhaps the most picturesque beach in San Diego is La Jolla Cove, a tiny crescent of sand tucked between dramatic cliffs. "You can walk along the rocks, take nice pictures, see sea creatures, watch seals and snorkel," says Ho. Hate tan lines? Blacks Beach is clothing optional.
For animal lovers. Regular-price tickets to the San Diego Zoo are $37, but student conventioneers get in for free, courtesy of APAGS. Visit the APAGS booth in the Exhibit Hall early to pick up a ticket before they run out (limit one per student with convention badge), and head to the zoo on Thursday, Aug. 12, any time after 4 p.m. At 7 p.m., go to the Zoofari party area for a grad student social hour with free appetizers. If you prefer aquatic animals, head to the Stephen Birch Aquarium. The education-focused aquarium is run by the University of California, San Diego, and recently opened its seahorse exhibit. "Plus, you can walk to the La Jolla beach from there," says Tiffany Ho, a psychology graduate student at the University of California, San Diego. Aquarium tickets are $9 for students.
For urban explorers. Take a cab (about $10 from the convention center) to Balboa Park. The 1,000-acre park features meandering garden paths and is lined with museums and performing art centers. On Thursday, Aug. 12, at 6:15 p.m., head to the park's Organ Pavilion for a free outdoor performance by the City Ballet. For a quick break between sessions, walk around the Gaslamp District. Formerly the "red light" district, this shop and restaurant-rich area is just across the street from the San Diego Convention center. While most of the restaurants are mediocre or pricy, there are a few standouts, students say — check out Chopahn Authentic Afghan Cuisine and La Puerta.
For wine lovers. The Hillcrest neighborhood is known for its wine bars and restaurants. Try Wine Steals, which, as its name suggests, offers top-notch wines for affordable prices, including many from California wineries. "It's like a pub for wine, with large, cheap cheese plates and pizza," says Glickman. Also recommended, Bites' four-course prix fixe menu ($20, available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) or share their small plates with friends. "The lamb meatballs are my favorite," says Quigley.
For Mexican food. Old Town San Diego is famous for authentic mariachis and Mexican food. Student favorites include El Cotixan, Super Sergio's and Lolita's Taco Shop. "It's pretty much essential to order a carne asada burrito or carne asada fries when in San Diego," says Ho.
For barhoppers. Check out Hamilton's Tavern, which features shuffleboard and foosball tables as well as a well-appointed beer menu, says Glickman. "People bring their dogs during the week, and it gets packed on the weekends," she says. For cheap drinks and a '60s vibe, head to Nunu's. "Nunu's bar has regular characters and is a real throwback," she says.
Off the beaten track. Make like a local and grill your own steak at the hip Turf Supper Club. Or, go rollerblading at the Pacific Beach boardwalk — you can rent skates at several shops along Ventura Place or Mission Boulevard. If you have a car and like to hike, make the 25-minute drive to the sandy trails at Torrey Pines State Park.