Living in San Diego Hacks

Living in San Diego Hacks

Welcome back to Off The 56! Today we’re sharing some useful hacks for living in San Diego!

Museum Pass at a Discount

If you and your family enjoy visiting some of the great museums here in San Diego, you’ll love this first hack! If you become a member of select museums in other areas of the country that are part of the NARM (North American Reciprocal Museum Association), you may be able to get a reciprocal membership for The NAT and The Fleet Science Center in San Diego – and save yourself tons of money in the process. Check out the NARM website here to learn more!

Travel on a Budget

After moving to San Diego, you’ll quickly realize that the San Diego International Airport is not the cheapest airport. In fact, it only has one runway. This means international flights are generally more expensive and there are less flight options. We recommend checking out flight options from Los Angeles International Airport for international travel or even the Tijuana Airport if you’re heading south of the border. You can save a lot of money by exploring other airports!

Parking at the Airport

Although there are airport parking options, it can quickly get expensive. So if you need to leave your car at the airport during a quick trip, check out this hack!  The Sheraton Hotel and Marina is right across the street from the airport and only $12 a day for valet parking! Plus, there are shuttles that run every ten minutes to take you to and from the airport. The Four Points by Sheraton also allows you to park your car nearby, at only $10 a day.

California State Explorer Parking Pass

If you are a regular to our channel, you have definitely heard this hack already! But we just had to mention it one more time. This parking pass allows you to park at almost every state beach and park in California for one annual fee! Check out the details here.

Kids Go Free to the San Diego Zoo in October

Every October, the San Diego Zoo allows children free admission! If you have children in your family, this is a great offer to take advantage of!

Balboa Park Free Museum Days

Balboa Park also offers free days at select museums for residents each month, usually on Tuesdays. This is a great way to save some money and entertain your whole family while getting a little education at one of Balboa Park’s many fabulous museums.

SeaWorld Preschool Pass

SeaWorld also offers a free pass for kids ages 3-5 living in San Diego or Orange County for the entire month of December! December is a great time to take your family to the park, as they decorate for the Holidays! Just be sure to claim your spot ahead of time, as there are only 10,000 free tickets allotted each year. For more details, click here.

Military Discounts

San Diego has a large military population, so there are many deals for both active military and veterans to take advantage of! In fact, they actually have a ticket office at the commissaries on base with amazing discounts to Legoland California, Disneyland, and more! It also doesn’t hurt to ask businesses if they offer a military discount – they most likely do!

Farmers Markets

San Diego County has lots of farmers markets running throughout the weekdays and weekend. This is not only a great way to get fresh, affordable produce, it’s an opportunity to meet locals and get involved in the community. Check out the full list of San Diego County markets here.

We hope you liked our San Diego Hacks video. Let us know your favorite hack in the comments below! And we’ll see you next time on Off The 56!

Copa Vida Coffee in San Diego

Copa Vida Coffee in San Diego

If you’re a coffee lover, you’ll definitely want to stick around for this episode of Off The 56! Join me as I meet with co-owner, Steve Chang, of local coffee shop, Copa Vida.

Steve Chang was kind enough to sit down with us today and talk about his beautiful new space in the Carmel Mountain area of North County. Copa Vida was started seven years ago in Pasadena, California and quickly gained its popularity. Since the opening of the first shop, Copa Vida has expanded to seven locations and a roasting facility all located in Southern California.

After leaving his family business, Passport Food Group, Chang began his journey in the coffee industry. He says he “used coffee as an excuse to travel the world.” And I could not be more jealous of his learning adventure! After traveling to every coffee capital in the U.S. and to countries like Italy, Spain, France, and Costa Rica, Chang knew what he wanted for his very own coffee shop. Click here to learn more about the history of Copa Vida.

Steve Chang took his vast knowledge of coffee and incorporated his prior experience of the food industry into his new endeavor. Copa Vida has a delicious menu that is a step above what most coffee shops have to offer. Whether you’re in the mood for avocado toast, chilaquiles, or a hearty breakfast burrito, stop by Copa Vida and enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch with your cup of joe.

Want to check out more coffee spots Off the 56? Click here to check out a past tour I did of five coffee shops located along the 56 freeway.

Have an idea for a local business we should feature on Off the 56? Suggest your idea here!

Living in Cardiff by The Sea

Living in Cardiff by The Sea

Today on Off the 56, we’re taking a tour of the beachside community, Cardiff by The Sea. Let’s go!

Our first stop on our tour is Seaside State Beach in Cardiff. This beautiful beach is known for its white sandy beaches, beautiful cliffs, and great surfing! In fact, the surfing is so great it attracts famous San Diego surfers like Rob Machado, who lives locally. Seaside Beach is also known for its expansive tide pools that can keep kids and adults alike entertained for hours! The tide pools are full of a variety of sea creatures and plants you may have never seen before in the wild. And the famous California Explorer State Park Pass is accepted at Seaside State Beach too! (We love easy parking in SoCal!)

Up next is Cardiff State Beach. And it isn’t a trip to Cardiff Beach without a visit to the Cardiff Kook, who is celebrating his 50th year at the beach! The Cardiff Kook is a controversial statue of a surfer that’s attracted a cult following over the years who love to dress him up in “kooky” outfits! Cardiff Beach is another beach where you can use your California Explorer State Park Pass, but the parking lot (and the beach) is on the smaller side, so you may have to resort to street parking on busy summer days.

Behind Cardiff State Beach are the San Elijo State Beach Campgrounds. This is a highly coveted camping park that sits right off the sand. You can tent camp or RV camp here and wake up to the sound of waves. If you want to camp here, be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time, as it usually books at full capacity! Spots are usually opened six months in advance. Pro tip: if you don’t get a spot, be sure to check back often, as you may be able to take advantage of a cancellation!

Courtney and I both agree Cardiff is a very traditional beach town. Most homes have full or peek ocean views! Residents in this community tend to be avid beachgoers and surfers. Although it is close to Encinitas and many other North County San Diego neighborhoods, Cardiff has a special, close-knit vibe that sets it apart.

Last on our list is Seaside Market! Seaside is well known among locals for its tri-tip, which is popularly referred to as “Cardiff Crack”, because it is just that good! Seaside Market is also known for its impressive desserts and pastries, fresh seafood, and delicious to-go sides you must try.

There are also lots of great restaurants in the area, including Pipes Café, Fish 101, Las Olas, and The Chart House just to name a few. And of course, we couldn’t do a neighborhood tour without stopping for a donut! In Cardiff, we love VG Donut, which has been in business since 1969, and is definitely worth a stop when you’re in the area! Aside from their outstanding donuts, they also sell cookies, pastries, and cake.

Are you loving the San Diego community of Cardiff by The Sea? If you’re interested in moving to Cardiff or another North County neighborhood, give me a call! Let’s chat about what neighborhood is right for you.

22 Fun Facts About San Diego

22 Fun Facts About San Diego

Today on Off the 56 we’re doing something a little different. I thought it would be fun to test Courtney’s knowledge about San Diego County. All twenty-two of the San Diego facts I quizzed her on are listed below, but you’ll need to watch the video for the answers!

  1. Is it illegal to shoot jack rabbits from the back of a streetcar in San Diego?
  2. What is the top employer in San Diego?
  3. What pop singer owns a 5.5 acre avocado farm in San Diego?
  4. What lubricant product for squeaky doors was created in San Diego?
  5. What horror movie was filmed in the Rancho Peñasquitos community?
  6. What well-known skater has a day named after him on May 29th?
  7. True or False: The City of San Diego has never won an NBA title or Superbowl?
  8. What well-known Charlie’s Angel was born in San Diego in 1972?
  9. The Country’s first drive-in was started in San Diego. What was it called?
  10. What is the name of the County’s (and Country’s!) largest wooden structure?
  11. San Diego was home to everyone’s favorite wacky children’s author, Theodor Geisel, who was also known as?
  12. The San Diego Zoo was supposedly shown in the 2004 Will Ferrell movie, Anchorman. Where were those scenes actually shot?
  13. What well-known punk band grew up in the city of Poway?
  14. San Diego is home to the oldest, active sailing ship. What is its name?
  15. What San Diego County city is the avocado capital of the world?
  16. What San Diego roller coaster is a historic landmark?
  17. San Diego has more of these insects than any other city?
  18. In the 1930s, La Jolla had a group of tiny houses that actors from this movie lived in. What was the name of the film?
  19. True or False: San Diego has sent more shows to Broadway than any other city.
  20. Where is the longest zip line in California located?
  21. What San Diego city is nicknamed the “Jewel of San Diego?”
  22. What is the name of the San Diego Padre’s mascot?

So how did you do? Let us know how many facts you got right in the comments below!

Weather in San Diego

Weather in San Diego

Today on Off The 56, Courtney Solis and I are talking about the weather! Follow along below to learn all about the weather in San Diego County.

No Extreme Weather

San Diego has no extreme weather such as blizzards, hurricanes, or monsoons. In fact, it has only snowed in San Diego 5 times over the last 125 years of weather record-keeping! The last time it snowed was on February 14, 2008, and the last measurable snow was in December of 1967.


San Diego gets about 266 days of sunshine a year! Even in the winter months, if the temperature falls, the sun is typically still shining. The temperature does drop significantly in the evening, so be sure to keep a light jacket or sweatshirt on hand! San Diego has a coastal-desert kind of climate here, meaning we have very little, to no humidity. This is great during the warm summer months.

Month to Month

The hottest months in San Diego are typically August, September, and October. Because we are a coastal city, the marine layer affects our weather every season. If you live in Southern California you’ll quickly learn the phrases “May Grey” and “June Gloom”. The marina layer rolls in during these months and creates a gloomy, overcast layer across the coast. It usually burns off by the late afternoon, but it can get old for us spoiled San Diegans!

Coastal Living

Because San Diego County is pretty spread out, the temperature varies throughout the area. For example, if it is 70 degrees at the beach it is likely 5- 10 degrees warmer just 10 minutes inland. A good rule of thumb is the further inland, the warmer it will be.

The Pacific Ocean

If you grew up on the East Coast like Courtney and I, this one might come as a surprise- the Pacific Ocean is cold! Although people lay out in bathing suits year-round, don’t let that fool you! The ocean hovers around a refreshing 70 degrees in the heat of summer, so if you want to go swimming any other time, you’ll likely want a wet suit to stay warm.

Santa Ana Winds

This is when hot air comes in from the desert to the coast, rather from the coast, inland. This causes very hot weather and dry air. For many, it causes allergies, as the air picks up a lot of dirt and dust from the desert. Santa Ana winds can happen year-round, so when it happens in the summer it can get pretty hot, but in the winter,  it can be a nice little heat wave.

Did you learn something new about San Diego weather today? Let us know in the comments below! And as always, if you’re thinking of making the move to San Diego, feel free to reach out. Let’s get started on your move to Sunny Southern California! (858)737-5255

Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego

Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego

We’re not going to lie; San Diego is a pretty awesome place to live. But today on Off The 56, we’re talking about the pros and cons of living in San Diego County.


1.Cost of Living

San Diego is not the cheapest place to live! In fact, it ranks #13 of the most expensive places to live in the Country. The median house price for a single-family home in San Diego is $645,000. Of course, this depends on what part of San Diego you want to live in. The closer to the coast, the higher the home prices get. That being said, you can definitely find a budget-friendly home if you don’t mind living more inland. If you’re thinking of making the move to San Diego, give me a call. I would be happy to help find the right neighborhood and home for you!


If you’re a big sports fan, San Diego might not be the perfect city for you. We only have one major sports team currently, the San Diego Padres. The home of the Padres is located in Downtown San Diego at Petco Park. This beautiful stadium is surrounded by great bars and restaurants and the park is used for many different events year-round.

3.Lack of Seasons

For some this one may be a pro, but for others, the lack of seasons can be a bit boring. Luckily, San Diego is located within driving distance to snow! You can hop in your car and be at  Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear, or Julian to get your season-fix. 


San Diego is not a very old city, so there is not a ton of history here. The most historical area and museums are located in Balboa Park. Downtown San Diego also has some beautiful historic buildings, but compared to cities on the East Coast, San Diego is a very young and we are still growing!


Although neighborhoods in San Diego are walkable, the County is fairly spread out. This means that most San Diegans own cars, which means, traffic. San Diego ranks #40 for traffic in the Country, so it is tolerable, but still something to note if you live in a small city now. It is also worth mentioning that our public transportation system is not as built up as other major metropolitan cities. We have a bus system and the Coaster Commuter Rail that goes up and down the coast from Downtown to Oceanside.



One of the best pros of San Diego is an obvious one, the weather! The weather in San Diego is typically a perfect 75 degrees, just about anywhere in San Diego County. We have about 10 days of rain a year, and it gets chilly in the evenings during the winter, but typically we stay around the low 70s.

2. Schools

San Diego County has some of the best public schools in California! There are 5 San Diego school districts that are ranked in the top 30 in all of California! Click here to learn more about our awesome public schools.

3. Beaches

This is another obvious one, but we have to mention our beautiful beaches! There is truly a beach for everyone in San Diego and we think that’s pretty cool. One of my favorites is the Torrey Pines State Beach. Whether you like to lay out in the sun or enjoy some water sports we got you covered. San Diego beaches are known to be great for surfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, kayaking, wind surfing, and more!

4. The Great Outdoors

Because of our awesome weather, San Diegans spend lots of time outside! If you’ve ever visited San Diego you’ll quickly notice how active our community is. There are great hiking and biking trails near the beaches, in the mountains, and even in the surrounding desert areas. The Torrey Pines Hiking Trail is a beautiful trail that is known for its stunning ocean views. There is also the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve that has 22 sq. miles of trails to explore!

5. Family Friendly City

San Diego is a very family friendly city! There are countless activities to do with your kids all over San Diego County, free and otherwise. Apart from our awesome public parks, we also have SeaWorld San Diego, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, LegoLand California, Children’s Museums in Balboa Park, and so much more.

We hope you liked our Pros and Cons of Living in San Diego. Let us know what you like best about San Diego in the comments below.

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