Vacation Tips from Locals: San Diego, Washington D.C. and Pembroke Pines

Generali Global Assistance has three office locations in beautiful cities across the U.S. that are also great travel destinations. We asked for vacation advice from some of our local colleagues to get you insider tips for your next vacation. See what they suggest for your next trip to…

Pembroke Pines

Pembroke Pines has great weather, beautiful beaches, and amazing views, and it is only about 20 miles north of Miami. The diversity of cultures in South Florida allows you to take in a variety of international experiences in the Tri-County area.

When to Visit

The best time to visit our city is between March and May. During these months you will be able to fully enjoy our beautiful sunny temperatures.

Where to Go

Wynwood Walls Art District - It’s not a hidden gem, however everyone enjoys the bright and elaborate artworks displayed up and down the street.

Joia Beach – Explore this hidden day-to-night restaurant and beach club in the heart of Miami! Dine and relax outdoors with a beautiful ocean front view and great music all day. Described as an enclave and oasis, the vibrant atmosphere is perfect for brunch, lunch, dinner or just cocktails by the beach getting tanned. 

Baia Beach Club - This is another special waterfront restaurant, located at the Mondrian South Beach hotel. Here you can find one of the best views in all of Miami. I recommend making a reservation for sunset. My favorite dish is the lobster spaghetti.

Also read: 8 Great Florida Vacation Destinations (That Aren’t Miami or Orlando)

Eat Like a Local

Havana 1957 - An amazing taste of Cuban food located right next to our Pembroke Pines office inside The Shops at Pembroke Gardens. This location will not disappoint, and the mojitos are amazing. I highly recommend sitting inside to enjoy the experience of Un Dia En La Havana.

Bahama Breeze – The perfect place to explore all types of island flavors. Cocktails are amazing and the food is excellent.  

Also read:: Your Vacation Guide To Miami’s Best Beaches

San Diego

San Diego is a dream vacation spot. We are close to the ocean, the mountains, the snow and the desert. We have over 70 miles of beaches to choose from, the best Mexican food outside of Mexico and the most perfect weather conditions in North America.

When to Visit

Allen: The best times to visit San Diego are also the busiest. During spring and summer you can visit the city’s endless choices of beaches, as long as you can find parking. Also, don’t miss out on San Diego’s annual county fair, the largest fair in California, offering a variety of food, entertainment, exhibits, rides, and games.

Also read: The Best Places to Travel This Year

Where to Go

Allen: Want to have a picnic at the park and catch San Diego’s sunset over the Pacific? Visit Kate Sessions park for its amazing view of south San Diego with a glimpse of Mexico just miles away. Or you can see the best of both views, north and south at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial which is also considered one of the most unique veterans memorials in America.

Matt: The Hotel Del Coronado - Built in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado is one of the last surviving wooden Victorian beach resorts in the world. Anyone can enjoy lunch or drinks on the decks overlooking Coronado Beach. The best thing I like about the Del is that Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis, was filmed here. Also, find the candy store in the basement shops for some of the sweetest chocolate covered strawberries you’ll ever taste. 

The Tidepools at the Cabrillo National Monument Such a great spot for anyone interested in the ocean and its ecosystem. The rock pools are exposed at low tide below sandstone cliffs showcasing rich sea life. This is also the location where the Spanish landed when coming to explore the West Coast in 1542. Late fall and winter are the best times to visit to the tidepools.

Also read: 7 Great Destinations for Your Next California Vacation

Eat Like a Local

Matt: If you really want to eat like a local, visit one of the many Taco Shops scattered throughout each neighborhood in San Diego. Carne asada burritos, rolled tacos and quesadillas are true staples but try a California Burrito (French fries in the burrito) or a Torta (Mexican sandwich) to give yourself a real San Diego experience. My favorite spot for rolled tacos right now is Los Panchitos in Point Loma but there’s a saying among those in the know, “you can’t go wrong with any taco shop name that ends in ‘berto’s.’”

Allen: If you are looking for great food and a unique dining experience, you won’t be disappointed at Rei De Gado Brazilian Steak House and Seafood in downtown San Diego, where the meat options are served table side. Or if you would like to start crackin’ into some finger licking goodness, try Crab Hut’s seafood boils. Another option is Liberty Station which has stylish bars, restaurants, and boutiques, as well as Liberty Public Market, filled with gourmet eateries and shops.

Also read: 6 Fantastic Food Tours and Travel Destinations Around the World

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. has a lot to offer for everyone, which makes it a great place to visit for a variety of reasons. Of course, you can take in the D.C. monument sights, but it also has a lot to offer in the different cultural enclaves throughout the city. Whatever you or your family is into, I’m sure you can find something for everyone.

When to Visit

Cherry Blossom Season. Gifted to the United States as a sign of friendship in 1912 from the People of Japan, these beautiful cherry blossoms line the waterfront of downtown D.C. and begin to bloom around the last week of March. Many tourists from around the world flock to D.C. during this time to take in the beauty and attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

If you are like me and revel in the perks of off-season traveling, the winter months are a great time to visit D.C. Not only are there over 70 museums to visit, 17 of which are free Smithsonian museums, you will find yourself whizzing in and out with no lines or need to buy advanced tickets. Sometimes you’ll feel like you are in your own private collections as you walk through the empty gallery halls. My personal favorites are the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and of course the National Geographic Museum.

Hidden Gems

While D.C. doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to being bicycle-friendly, it does have some great bike trails for a leisurely ride. Rent a city bike for the day and hop on the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda, MD and ride the 11-mile trail all the way to Georgetown. And if that’s not enough for you, cross the bridge in Virginia and continue your ride on the 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail.

Also read: Best U.S. Historical Places to Visit with Kids or Grandkids

Eat Like a Local

Washington D.C. is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, but you can easily find all of those online. Here are my go-to food spots that sometimes fall under the radar:

Vace’s – Great affordable Italian lunch spot for a quick slice of pizza and great authentic old world Italian hoagies. I disagree with the reviews online of those who say the workers are “rude”; those reviewers likely just order too slow and this is a no-frills type of spot.

Keren – D.C. is home to the largest concentration of Ethiopians in the U.S., and Keren is by far my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in the city. Affordable and delicious, but there is usually a short line to get in on the weekends.

Tacos el Costilila – This spot isn’t in D.C. proper, but it is worth the trip to Alexandria for some authentic Mexican food. I go here once, sometimes twice a week.

Also read: Travel Tips for All Types of Love Languages

*"The Capital Crescent Trail DC" by S Pakhrin, used under CC BY / Cropped from original
"Hotel Del Coronado" by Sim Br, used under CC BY / Cropped from original


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