Credit: Skidmore
Credit: Skidmore

A Local’s Guide to Exploring The Charming Town of Solana Beach

10 Things to Do in Solana Beach During Your Next Visit

If you’ve yet to visit this lesser-known beach town, here’s why the city of Solana Beach deserves to be on your radar. Just 30 minutes from downtown San Diego, this coastal town is teeming with vibrant local businesses, art galleries, boutique floral shops, hand-roasted coffee purveyors and more. Fun fact—the name Solana is of Spanish and Latin origins and loosely translates to “sunny spot.” Whether you’re a lifelong resident or you haven’t spent much time in Solana Beach, check out this neighborhood guide to one of San Diego’s most underrated neighborhoods. Solana Beach Itinerary

 

DINE

Ranch 45

Credit: Ranch 45

Since opening in 2018, Ranch 45 has been a gathering spot for foodies and conscientious diners. They’re a restaurant, butchery and catering company all in one with a focus on locally sourced, farm-to-table produce and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. The butchery carries beef from family-owned Brandt Beef, third generation ranchers from the Imperial Valley. You can find cuts of just about everything from ribeye and skirt steaks to tomahawks and all-natural beef hot dogs. 

On Thursday through Saturday nights from 5 to 8:30 p.m., Ranch 45 has a full dinner service curated by Executive Chef Aron Schwartz. Diners can choose from selections like dry-aged steak and even Kagoshima A5 Wagyu. There are also more humble entrees that are just as mouthwatering, such as ocean trout or jidori chicken. If you’d prefer to be pleasantly surprised, order the chef’s tasting menu, which is a pre-selected five course dinner. 

 

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Local Insight: To see Ranch 45’s full menu, click here!

Solana Beach Itinerary

Claire’s on Cedros

There’s no better place for breakfast in Solana Beach than Claire’s on Cedros. Everything is as local as it gets with fresh bread delivered daily from Prager Brothers in Carlsbad and pastries from Isabelle’s French Bakery in Encinitas. All omelets are made with free-range eggs from Ramona. But if you’re looking for more of a grab-n-go meal, their sister coffee shop is just around the corner and is ready to help you fuel up with a latte and croissant.

 

The Fish Market

Credit: Raindrop

Both a restaurant and working fishery, you can stop by The Fish Market to pick up some quality cuts of sushi-grade salmon or a dozen freshly shucked oysters or take a seat for some crab cioppino and an ice-cold margarita. We highly recommend their panko-crusted calamari steak—it’s one of their most popular items, and once you have this, you won’t be able to go back to eating plain ol’ fried calamari.

Solana Beach Itinerary

Lofty Coffee Co.

Credit: Lofty Coffee Co.

This open-air coffee bar serves up organic, micro-batch roasted coffee, gluten-free goods and pastries. For something unique, get the Lofty Style Nola, which is a Kyoto cold brew with steeped chicory and scratch-made vanilla with a splash of Straus milk poured over ice. They also have a full breakfast menu and are famous for their special poached eggs, which are served with artisan sourdough, organic butter and seasonal fruit jam. 

 

Carruth Cellars Urban Winery

Credit: Carruth Cellars

This winery features award-winning wines from Carruth Cellars, made with grapes exclusively from the West Coast. The vibe is unpretentious and relaxed, so have a glass or maybe even a flight. If you call ahead, you can book a private 90-minute wine tasting, where an expert vintner will explain the wine and wine-making process and guide you while you sip on reds and snack on cheese and crackers.

Solana Beach Itinerary

SHOP

Cedros Design District

Credit: Pirch

Solana Beach residents consider Cedros Avenue the heart and soul of the city. This historic district is home to over 80 different retailers, including bookstores, novelty shops and fine jewelry boutiques. You’ll also find an eclectic mix of galleries featuring local artists and photographers, art studios and more. If you need a break from shopping, pamper yourself with a facial at Kika Skin Care or grab a bite at Homestead

 

Solana Beach Farmers Market

Credit: Solana Beach Farmer’s Market

This farmers market takes place right on Cedros Avenue every Sunday morning, rain or shine. After serving Solana Beach for 15 years, it was voted one of San Diego’s greatest farmers markets, and with an open-air food court, craft area for the kids and tons of specialty products, it’s easy to see why. In addition to locally grown produce and meats, shoppers can also find handmade chocolate, soaps, jewelry and clothing.

Solana Beach Itinerary

DO

Explore Annie’s Canyon Trail

Credit: Bailey L / Unsplash

Annie’s Canyon is a relatively simple 2-mile loop that will make you feel like you’re in a different state. Part of the loop will take you through a naturally eroding sandstone canyon; you’ll have to hug the walls a little, but the experience is well worth it. Hikers come for the small challenge the slot canyon brings as well as panoramic views of the ocean and San Elijo Lagoon.

 

See a Show at Belly Up Tavern

This rock ‘n’ roll venue has been open and rocking since 1974, having hosted legends like The Rolling Stones, Etta James and Lady Gaga. Here, you can catch live music and enjoy delicious grub just about every night. You’ll feel the iconic tavern’s rich history as soon as you step foot through the door. Stop by and soak up some of this electric energy for yourself!

Solana Beach Itinerary

Catch a Sunset at Fletcher Cove

Credit: Leosprspctive / Unsplash

Affectionately known as “Pillbox” by locals, Fletcher Cove Beach is a scenic and secluded beach with a small park and picnic tables. Calm, easy waves make this beach great for kayaking, surfing and bodyboarding. The beach is protected on both sides by high bluffs, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific. When the tide rises around sunset, you’ll want to make sure you’re perched up on the bluff for some spectacular views.

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