At Casa Palmera treatment center in Del Mar, California, our patients and visitors will enjoy the calm, cool vibe of the easygoing beach community. But for those who crave big city sites and scenes, San Diego provides it all: bustling downtown neighborhoods, fine dining, world-class shopping and world-renowned attractions such as SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, and the historic Balboa Park.
Downtown San Diego is home to the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and the marina-front Embarcadero neighborhood. The Gaslamp Quarter is the city’s premier dining, shopping and entertainment district. The National Historic District covers 16 ½ blocks, and the lamp-lit streets are lined with restored Victorian buildings dating to the mid- and late-1800s. Today, the Gaslamp Quarter boasts more than 200 restaurants, endless shops, boutiques and art galleries.
For a slightly quieter downtown experience, Little Italy is a charming neighborhood several blocks northwest of the bustling Gaslamp Quarter. The area was once primarily an Italian fishing neighborhood, but today Little Italy – anchored by India Street – offers dozens of restaurants and boutiques. Tucked along the sidewalks in Little Italy, visitors will find public courtyards, complete with café tables, seating and fountains, that provide the perfect place to enjoy a cappuccino, a cup of gelato, or a game of chess.
On the western edge of downtown, the marina-front Embarcadero (Spanish for “landing place”) is home to commercial ship terminals, the USS Midway Museum at Navy Pier, and the San Diego Maritime Museum, which provides tours of the 1863 Star of India windjammer, a Russian submarine and several other historic vessels. Take a walk or hail a pedicab on the waterfront esplanade that runs from Broadway Pier on the north end of Harbor Drive south to Seaport Village, a shopping center with more than 50 stores and 17 restaurants and cafés. Visitors can also catch a ferry across San Diego Bay to Coronado Island.
Some of San Diego’s attractions hardly need an introduction: SeaWorld San Diego sits just off Interstate 5 a few minutes north of downtown, and Petco Park – home of the Padres – is located in the Embarcadero neighborhood. The world-famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are located in the city’s historic Balboa Park, which is adjacent to downtown.
One of the wonders of San Diego is the 1,200-acre Balboa Park. Authorities set aside land for the park in 1835, but Balboa Park is much more than green space. In addition to grassy greenbelts, walking paths, koi ponds and manicured gardens, the urban cultural center is home to art and history museums, several theaters, restaurants and gift shops. Guests can also visit the park’s International Cottages, a cluster of historic bungalows built in 1935, each one featuring the history and culture of a different country. Every Sunday at 2 p.m., visitors can enjoy a free live concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, which was built in 1915 and houses one of the world’s largest outdoor organs.
Getting to San Diego from Casa Palmera drug and alcohol treatment center is a snap. Del Mar is only 20 miles – about a 30-minute drive – north of San Diego, or visitors can hop on the Coaster, a commuter train that runs seven days a week north-south through San Diego County.
The Coaster has eight stations between Oceanside and downtown San Diego, and the Solana Beach train station is only 3.5 miles from Casa Palmera behavioral health facility. More than 20 Coaster trains – each with at least five passenger cars – run every weekday, with limited service on weekends. The rail line hugs the Pacific Coast, and the commute – about 35 minutes from Solana Beach to downtown San Diego – provides stunning views of the ocean, coastal lagoons and inland canyons. Casa Palmera patients and visiting family members can also take the Coaster north to the beach cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside.
Breeze buses offer another easy public transit option in north San Diego County. The bus system serves the coastal communities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. Breeze buses run inland to Escondido and Ramona and north to Fallbrook and San Clemente.