You know it has been at least a semi-successful season when the Wildcats are playing in a bowl game with warm weather. That can certainly be said for this year as Pat Fitzgerald takes his team to San Diego, California, for the Holiday Bowl.
Here are some suggestions of things to do to fill your time in America’s Friendliest City if you’re headed to the Holiday Bowl:
Visit the San Diego Zoo
Located in sprawling Balboa Park (also worth a walkaround), the San Diego Zoo is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, zoos in the world. You could spend an entire day there, entertaining yourself with 650 species and subspecies of animals, including the giant pandas and koalas. For a true Holiday Bowl experience, spend an extra $109 per person and splurge on the “Crazy about Cats” experience. The behind-the-scenes tour includes behind-the-scenes access, a private guide and sometimes visits with different species of wildcats. The zoo is perfect for a day’s excursion, especially in San Diego’s predictable, sunny, warm-but-not-hot weather.
Find your beach
It’s Southern California, after all. The temperature might not be scorching, but the sun is likely to be shining, and an afternoon facing the Pacific could give your skin some much-needed color, especially if you spent fall quarter hanging by Lake Michigan. You might even see some SoCal surfers try their luck and conquer the waves.
Hike and/or golf Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines State Reserve, located just 20 miles up the coast from downtown San Diego, is home to a picturesque beach, breathtaking hikes and a world-famous golf course. Don’t be thrown off by the fog, as a unique combination of environmental factors produces a seemingly perpetual fog off the coast, but a rewarding hike produces panoramic views of the Pacific and suffixes for leg day (depending on who you are). If you’d rather hit the links, you can try to emulate Tiger Woods’ stunning 2008 US Open win, but good luck finding a tee time.
Explore La Jolla
Just north of San Diego is the posh suburb of La Jolla, a town famous for its sea lion-frequented cove and its wealth. Have lunch outdoors to soak in the sun and then walk around the downtown area to window shop or drop enough cash that you have to bet on the ‘Cats against the spread to refill the wallet. If you’re feeling adventurous, embark on a kayak tour to get up close and personal with the sea lions and explore the coastline.
Go to the USS Midway Museum and Coronado
San Diego’s a big military city, with a special emphasis on the Navy. Immerse yourself in some naval history before watching a decidedly American sport. Depending on how much time you spend on the carrier — a couple hours is likely enough — make the short trip across the bay to Coronado and enjoy the 1.5-mile walk along the peaceful beach.
There’s plenty more to enjoy in San Diego and its region, but this should get you started. Whatever you do, make sure to take advantage of the weather: it’s typically guaranteed, exactly the opposite of Chicago’s North Shore.