Student internship guides

San Diego Summer Internship Guide

Brown arrow 21 Written by Jonathan Lau on Jun 01, 2012

Sd1Settled on San Diego as your summer internship destination? That's great because you have chosen to be in one of the most beautiful cities in America. San Diego is the land of sun kissed beaches, surfer dudes and some of the most laid back people on earth. It's the California that everybody dreams about.

Of course, just because the beach is always at most a 10 minute drive away doesn't mean San Diegans are all slackers. Quite the contrary, as the top biotech and life science cluster in the country and home to the largest naval fleet in the world, San Diegans embody the ethos of "work hard, party hard."

At InternMatch we want you to get the most out of your summer in San Diego so we took the time to create an Internship City Guide that gives you a crash course in navigating the city. The guide covers everything from transportation and networking opportunities to things that only seasoned locals would know. See our housing guide for a full breakdown of neighborhoods and summer housing resources.

Exploring San Diego

The hardest part about going to the beach in San Diego is deciding which one to go to as there are just so many. Always wanted to learn how to surf? Head on to Pacific Beach to grab some waves and maybe a beer afterwards at one of the area’s many bars. If you prefer a quiet beach, check out Black’s beach where there are tide pools to explore and play in, however, beware of wandering too far north as it becomes a nude beach.

*Local Tip: High above Black’s Beach is a place UCSD students refer to as “the cliffs.” Boasting magnificent views of the coast below, this is one of San Diego’s best kept secrets. The hard to spot entrance is on Whitecliff Dr. and La Jolla Farms Rd.

In addition to the beach, San Diego’s outdoors also offers great hiking trails. The Mount Woodson Trail or better known as the “Potato Chip Rock Hike” offers great views and a photo opportunity at the summit. For something less strenuous, take a walk along the Sunset Cliffs at Ocean Beach, rumored to be the best place to watch the sunset in San Diego. 

Sd2If you are in the city, the world famous San Diego Zoo is not to be missed. After the zoo, check out the surrounding museums in Balboa Park. Head to sea and climb aboard a decommissioned aircraft carrier at the USS Midway museum. If you time it right, you can catch a Padres game after all that museum learning before ending your day at a classy restaurant in the historic Glasslamp Quarter.   

*Local Tip: On your way out of the city, consider attending a late night improv show at the National Comedy Theatre.

Getting Around San Diego: Transportation

San Diego, like all of Southern California is an automotive city; expect your mobility to be severely limited without a car. Parking in San Diego is a pretty easy affair, there is a lot of parking and the lot prices are affordable.

Public transit in the form of buses is slow and often not on time. The trolley system is better than the bus system but mainly serves downtown San Diego. For frequent users of public transit, a prepaid Compass Card is a must and can be easily bought in a variety of ways.

Local Food and Drink Spots

San Diegans take food very seriously and it shows by the large number of world class restaurants in the city.

A short list of must try places include Truluck’s, a seafood restaurant in La Jolla that was named the "Best of the best" by San Diego magazine. Normally, it's a bit pricey for an intern's salary, but if you go during happy hour it's quite affordable. If you want a great view with your meal go to George's at the Cove in downtown La Jolla, where you can look over the beach while enjoying a reasonably priced lunch that serves the best that California farms have to offer. A stay in San Diego is not complete without a visit to Phil's BBQ, hands down the most famous restaurant in San Diego. 

Sd3

Taco Tuesday

Every Tuesday, Mexican restaurants in San Diego offer highly discounted tacos. $2 can get you a fish taco, the local favorite and if you feel like splurging a little, give the lobster taco a try. The most popular destinations for Taco Tuesday are World Famous and South Beach Bar and Grille. Arrive early at (around 5pm), if you do not want to wait 30 minutes or more to be seated.

*Local Tip: Oscar’s Mexican Seafood a hole in the wall taco shack in Pacific Beach serves a better fish taco than any of the previously mentioned destinations. In addition, it's located near Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, which serves the best coffee in San Diego. 

Breweries

San Diego has perhaps the largest concentration of independent brewers in the country. The most well-known brewery in the area is Karl Strauss, which has multiple brewery restaurant locations. Every Thursday is cask night at Karl Strauss, where you can try an unique cask conditioned ale that is not available at any other time, in addition, the ale changes every week. Craft beer enthusiasts will need to head over Stone Brewing Company and Green Flash Brewery, both well-known San Diegan brands. All the beers at these breweries are reasonably priced, and even more so during happy hour.

*Local Tip: Though you can usually get these brands on tap at a local San Diego bar, it is highly suggested that you go visit the brewery because they have a unique atmosphere, knowledgeable bartenders and a much wider selection on tap.

Asian cuisine

Hampering for some Asian cuisine? Head down to Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa where pretty much all of San Diego's notable Asian restaurants reside. Grab a bowl of delicious ramen at Tajima(open till 3am!), or hot pho at Phuong Trang. Avoid the Chinese restaurants as they tend to be expensive and quite bad. Wash that meal down with a cup of boba milk tea at Tea Station.

Staying Fit


Keeping in shape to look good on the beach is a must for many San Diegans. No surprise that there always seems to be some local gym or 24 Hour Fitness nearby. Yoga has taken San Diego by storm and there are probably just as many yoga studios as there are gyms.   

For the more adventurous, San Diego hosts some of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) schools in the country. University of Jiu Jitsu and Andre Galvao San Diego Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy are just two of many schools in San Diego that are taught by BJJ world champions. If you want to train like and with professional MMA fighters, pay a visit to The Arena, Black House or Victory MMA.

Entrepreneurs Wanted!


Sd4San Diego has a fast growing startup scene and there is at least one networking event or workshop a week. Most of the events are free and provide a chance to learn valuable skills. In addition, it’s also a great way to meet interesting people over some great and oftentimes free beer.

*Local Tip: See all upcoming startup events at sdtechscene.org. Sign up for the San Diego Startup Digest and Ansir Innovation Center newsletter for curated lists of events.

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