About 20 minutes north of San Diego, lies the small and charming coastal town of Del Mar, founded in 1885 by railroad contractor Theodore Loop and rancher Jacob Shell Taylor. Besides its world-famous thoroughbred racetrack, Del Mar is known for its pristine beaches, sunny weather and historic downtown village. This year, the racing season begins on July 20 and goes through September 7, so start making your plans now.
Del Mar Village
Camino Del Mar and 15th Street
Del Mar, CA 92014
This quaint village runs along Camino Del Mar/Hwy 101 and has over 60 shops, including upscale apparel, specialty items and art galleries. Several restaurants have ocean views, many of which can be found at the two-level European marketplace, Del Mar Plaza Shopping Center. Indulge in a delicious Italian lunch at Il Fornaio or Japanese tapas at Shimbashi Izakaya.
1601 Coast Boulevard
Del Mar, CA 92014-2318
Afterward, walk two blocks west on 15th Street to Seagrove Park, which sits along a bluff overlooking the ocean. If you’re lucky, you might spot some dolphins, which are often seen near the shore break. This picturesque park is an ideal spot to picnic, throw a ball around or simply relax. Those looking for more adventure can follow the hiking trails to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
Just below the park, past the train tracks, is another large grassy area (Powerhouse Park), a playground and the beach. During summer, concert goers gather at Powerhouse Park to enjoy the Del Mar Twilight Summer Concert series.
The Grand Del Mar
5300 Grand Del Mar Court
San Diego, CA 92130
If you’re looking for a truly special stay at a luxury resort, look no further than the Grand Del Mar, which seamlessly blends the charm and sophistication of an old-world Mediterranean estate with modern décor and elegance. This serene destination is located within the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and is surrounded by nature and beauty. Guest rooms and suites are spacious, beautifully decorated and offer scenic views of the champion golf course or canyon preserve. Several swimming pools and a Renaissance-inspired spa provide sumptuous ways to relax.
The jewel of the property is the resort’s signature dining venue, Addison, Southern California’s only Five-Star and Five Diamond restaurant, which was also named as one of the country’s “Best New Restaurants of 2007” by Esquire magazine. Chef William Bradley creates culinary masterpieces, putting a contemporary twist on French cuisine while using fresh, local ingredients. The service is impeccable and the dining experience is like no other.
Trust me, this is one very special place that you won’t forget. It’s easy to see why the Grand Del Mar was recently named as one of the “World’s Best Places to Stay” by Condé Nast Traveler. Go see for yourself.
Liz Laing is a writer, Web designer and photographer who lives in Los Angeles. Her latest projects may be followed on LizLaing.com.