Best of San Diego: Coronado

Best of San Diego: Coronado

Adjacent to downtown San Diego is Coronado, an island-turned-peninsula connected by a stretch of land known as the Silver Strand. In 1969 the San Diego-Coronado Bridge was opened, which allows for easy access to downtown San Diego. With approximately 24,000 residents on the waterfront peninsula, it has a small town feel despite the military town bustle. Coronado is Spanish for “crowned one” and is therefore familiar to residents as The Crown City. Known for the beachfront Hotel del Coronado which opened in 1888, the western stretch of sand has regularly been voted the #1 beach in the United States. Located just north of the hotel is Coronado’s Naval Air Station North Island celebrated as the birthplace of naval aviation. On the other side of the island are the Coronado Ferry Landing shops and restaurants boasting San Diego skyline views and a pier where you can take a ferry across the bay to downtown San Diego.

Hi there, I’m Lindsay! I am grateful to have grown up in Coronado and continue to reside here with my husband and our two girls. We love island life and can’t imagine ever leaving. Home to Navy SEALs and Olympic Water Polo players, Coronado is great for families who love being outdoors and especially love being around the water (surrounded by it, in fact). We love to sail, swim, and SUP year round however I am out exploring all of San Diego with my girls weekly. Follow our adventures on my Instagram account over at @sdadventuremom and message me if I can help you plan your visit to Coronado.

spreckels park coronado

Spreckels Park
601 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

This 8-acre park hosts summer “Concerts in the Park” every Sunday under the iconic gazebo and has a large playground for kids of all ages. It is conveniently located right across the street from the Coronado Public Library so you can plan a trip to see both!

tidelands park

Tidelands Park
2000 Mullinex Dr
Coronado, CA 92118

This beautiful playground is situated right along the San Diego Bay with stunning views of the Coronado Bridge and beyond. Ride your bike along the waterfront bike path and pack a lunch so you can eat at the picnic tables situated right next to the playground. There is a beach nearby, as well.

Other playgrounds to explore:

Glorietta Bay Park
1975 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118

Matthewson Park or “Pomona park”
700 Pomona Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

coronado library

Coronado Library
640 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Bring your toddlers to the Library for story time and songs every Tuesday & Friday at 10:10am. Preschoolers enjoy stories directly after at 10:45AM. Spanish story time is enjoyed on Wednesdays, 11-11:30AM. Hours: M-F 9:30AM-9PM, S 10AM-6PM, SUN 1PM-5PM

hollands coronado

Rent a surrey from Hollands Bikes
1201 1st St #122
Coronado, CA 92118

Choose from a 1 or 2 bench surrey depending on how many are in your party. Peddle your way around the island or even just along the bayside. 1 hr rental for 1 bench surrey = 25$

Other great things to do with kids:

Earn a Junior Ranger badge at the Silver Strand State Beach- 5000 Highway 75 Coronado, CA 92118 Saturdays, 3:30-4:30PM

coronado ferry

Ride the ferry
1201 1st St
Coronado, CA 92118

Take a 15 minute ride across the San Diego Bay, the kids will love it! Commuters ride free between 5:40-8:50AM. Children 3 and under are free, otherwise it is 5$ per person one way. Feel free to bring your bike onboard with you!

SS Monte Carlo Coronado

Check out the SS Monte Carlo wreckage at low tide
Coronado Shores beach Parking Lot
1830 Avenida del Mundo
Coronado, CA 92118

Back in the 1930’s the SS Monte Carlo operated as a gambling ship just off the beaches of Coronado. On New Years Day, 1937, it became unanchored offshore and a storm brought the ship to the shore where its wreckage still remains. During low tide, parts of the vessel are still visible. During extreme low tides, you can walk across the wreckage, just be careful of any sharp corners! 

coronado surfing academy

Take a surf lesson with Coronado Surfing Academy
1880 Avenida Del Sol
Coronado, CA 92118

Teevan and Corey will ensure you’re in good hands and having a great time! Hop on a board at the beautiful Coronado Shores beach front, located right by the Hotel del Coronado. For a private 90 minute lesson, the cost is $90. Enjoy in a group setting or come solo.

Other things to do by the water:

Head to the beach 920 Ocean Blvd, Coronado, CA 92118

Rent a SUP at the Coronado Clubroom and Boathouse 1985 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118


Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

A staple in Coronado, the historic beachfront property is the second largest wooden structure in the United States. It has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities through the years and opened in 1888. Right around Thanksgiving each year, an ice rink takes over the ocean front Windsor Lawn and you can ice skate by the sea, San Diego’s only beachfront ice skating rink.

coronado marriott flamingos

Check out the flamingos at the Coronado Island Marriott
2000 Second Street
Coronado, CA 92118

As you make your way in to the Coronado Island Marriott‘s entryway area, head to the right side of the hotel where there is a small lagoon area with pink flamingos. My kids love to bike by this area as there is a path here that connects to the Bayshore Bikeway along the San Diego Bay waterfront.  

Frank Baum home coronado-2-courtesy-coronado-historical-association

Wizard of Oz house
1101 Star Park Cir
Coronado, CA 92118

L. Frank Baum authored Wizard of Oz during his stays at this charming Victorian home. The nearby Hotel del Coronado was Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City. Fun fact: there is a surf shop in Coronado called Emerald City, an ode to the city’s history. 

Other places to see:

Ferry Landing Shops & Restaurants 1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118

leroys coronado

Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge
1015 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118
Happy Hour: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

$5 Well Drinks, Craft Drafts / $6 Select Glasses of Wine / $8 Specialty Cocktails
Known for diverse seasonal and sustainable flavors, Leroy’s offers a true farm-to-table experience as they regularly partner with nearby farmers and brewers alike. Their craft beer menu highlights the city’s best microbreweries with numerous on-tap options and craft beer flights. Seasonal craft cocktails boast fresh herbs and spices.

the henry

The Henry
1031 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118
Happy Hour 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

$4 Draught Beer / $6 Wine by the Glass / $8 Signature Cocktails
The Henry is new to Coronado but fits right in with its classy coastal vibe. Simply but savory, their dishes are delish and have yet to disappoint. Try the Yacht Club cocktail if you’re a rum and pineapple fan, or their notorious watermelon daiquiri is always an option. I haven’t met a dish or drink that I don’t like…

Other popular Happy Hour spots:

1309 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
Happy Hour: 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
$5 Select Craft Beers / $6 Oyster Shooter, Premium Well Drinks / $7 Select Wines by the Glass / $8 Stake Cocktails & Martinis

coronado brewing company

Coronado Brewing Company
170 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

This beach town brewery is family owned and well loved by locals and not-so-local alike. In 2014 they gained world wide recognition when they won the “World Beer Cup Champion Best Mid-Sized Brewery & Brewmaster” along with a gold medal for its Islander IPA. They regularly collaborate with other local brewers and local artists which you can see for yourself in the restaurant. Your taste buds will thank you after you’ve enjoyed their bar food and beers for yourself.

Miguels Coronado

Miguel’s Cocina
1351 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Tucked away behind the hacienda style El Cordova Hotel is a popular Mexican food restaurant among locals, Miguel’s. Pair a classic margarita with the ever famous jalapeño cream sauce and you’re in business. Kids love this place, it has a great atmosphere with patio seating and indoor dining, coloring menus for the kids, and who doesn’t love a fresh fish taco? We live in San Diego, after all!

Boardwalk Beach Club Coronado , photo courtesy Christine van tuyl

Boardwalk Beach Club
1300 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Brand new to Coronado is the Boardwalk Beach Club, a casual beach eatery featuring a game room and a centered bar area where you can grab an umbrella drink with your cheeseburger. With an outdoor dining area that overlooks Orange Avenue, it’s sure to be the next popular family hangout here in town.

Other Restaurants:

Nicky Rottens Sports Bar 100 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

Village Pizzeria Bayside 1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118

feast and fareway bfast

Feast and Fareway
2000 Visalia Row
Coronado, CA 92118

Breakfast + Lunch: Daily, 7AM-3PM
Located on the Coronado Golf Course with views of San Diego Bay and the Coronado Bridge, not only is the food great but the view is one you won’t soon forget, especially if you’re sitting outside! Banana Foster French Toast is on the menu, as well as a Matcha Smoothie Bowl with toasted coconut.

claytons coronado diner

979 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Breakfast served all day: 6AM-10PM
This all American diner is a staple in Coronado, serving up everything from classic home-cooked dishes to well known milkshakes and pies. Don’t forget to bring quarters for the (mostly) working jukebox inside. If you’re unable to make it inside for a sit down meal, grab a coffee or pastry from their to-go window just around the corner. The honey cinnamon latte is a fun one, and the sprinkled donuts are always popular with my kiddos.

Other breakfast spots:

Crown City Inn & Bistro 520 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

on the rocks at hotel del coronado

On the Rocks food truck at the Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Located on a turf lawn right at the Hotel del Coronado’s beachfront, this seasonal food truck is a great place to grab loaded fries, burgers and salads, while the kids run free on the lawn or in the sand. You can always take your meal, grab a beach towel, and head down to the waterfront for a sunset picnic as well. Does it get any better?!

Poke 123 Coronado

POKÉ 123
1009 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Traditional Hawaiian style POKÉ bowls can be found here along with the lesser known but equally delicious POKÉ “norritos”. Healthy and fresh, Vegan friendly options are available. Do yourself a favor and grab some Mango mochi ice cream to go while you’re at it!

Other places for a quick bite:

High Tide Bottle Shop 933 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

Juice Crafters 943 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118


Mootime Creamery
1025 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118

Handcrafted ice cream and hand rolled cones are made fresh daily here. It’s no wonder it is the go-to spot for ice cream in this town! Try a Moo Taco if you’re up for something different: a house made waffle shell filled with ice cream and cookie dough, dipped in chocolate and topped with almonds, chocolate chips or sprinkles.

coronado cupcakery

Coronado Cupcakery
1201 1st St #104
Coronado, CA 92118

If you’re in the mood for cupcakes, cookies or cake, this is the spot for you. The Coconut Carla and the strawberry yogurt Sassy Jackie are my two favorite flavors, but their classic red velvet is quite popular, too. I order these for my kids birthday parties every year!

Other spots to grab a sweet treat:

Fuzziwigs candy factory 1126 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

Tartine 1106 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118

Do you know of a business in Coronado that should be considered for our SDMB Best Of series? Fill out the form below!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here