San Diego Burgers Teens (and Adults) Will Love

hodads san diego burgers

If there’s one thing San Diego knows how to do, it’s make a great burger – just ask the readers of Travel + Leisure. If your burger tastes run toward the exotic, then Trioli’s Crazee Burger is for you where burger ingredients include venison, buffalo and kangaroo.  But for my family (which includes a teenage boy), the classics done really well are what we crave. Here’s a short list of some of our favorites.

Five Guys

five guys burgers san diego

Five Guys has several locations around San Diego.

If you don’t have a Five Guys Burgers & Fries near you or haven’t tried one yet, then make this a stop on your San Diego vacation. There are four San Diego locations including HillcrestPoint LomaCoronado and Barrio Logan. Made to order just the way you like it and very reasonably priced, Five Guys serves up a great burger. Plus, they don’t charge extra for any of the dozen toppings offered.

Burger Lounge

burger lounge san diego

Turkey burgers are a popular option at Burger Lounge (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of  Serious Eats. Read the complete Burger Lounge review at Serious Eats.)

With several locations in LA and seven (soon to be eight) in San Diego, Burger Lounge is a Southern California favorite that started in San Diego. Touted as 100% fresh, single source American grass-fed beef and cooked on a high temperature flat top grill, this is just a terrific bite. Burgers are served with fresh toppings and their own fresh baked buns.


smashburger-san-diego burgers

Smashburger wins the teen vote (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of Serious Eats. Check out Erin’s complete review of Smashburger.)

Hands down my teenage son’s favorite burger, Smashburger is another chain exploding across the U.S. and San Diego is lucky enough to have 11 locations including three near downtown, two in Mid-City, three along the North County coast and two in East County. What makes Smashburger so fantastic is the fresh, not frozen, Angus beef, which is very tasty and juicy. The burgers are served with fresh produce, lots of toppings and your pick of an artisan bun. They also have awesome milkshakes made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream.


hodads san diego burgers

Hodad’s loads up their burgers (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of Serious Eats. Read the full review of Hodad’s on Serious Eats.)

Only found in San Diego, Hodad’s has been recognized by CNN as one of the top 5 burger joints in the country, and for good reason. With sizes from a mini to a double double, these extra-large, extra tasty burgers come conveniently served with large cut homemade fries in a combo.  There are three locations in San Diego, boasting a classic surf grunge atmosphere, including the original in Ocean Beach and two in downtown on Broadway Ave. and in Petco Park.

The Waterfront

waterfront san diego restaurant tavern burger

The Waterfront serves up a classic burger (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of Serious Eats. See the Serious Eats full review of the Waterfront’s burger. )

Located in Little Italy, the Waterfront is San Diego oldest tavern.  Opened in 1933, the Waterfront remains true to its origin: a neighborhood hangout serving cold drinks and delicious noshables.  The tavern is 21 and over only and has a revolving calendar of bands and events.  But the real draw is the burgers.  Big, tasty and loaded with grilled onions – yum.

Do you have a favorite teenager-approved San Diego burger? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Special thanks to Erin Jackson, burger blogger for Serious Eats, for the photos. Check out her reviews for more San Diego burgers at SeriousEats.com


Teen Dream Day – Segway Tour in San Diego

Segway Tour with Another Side Tours

Just like a golf cart, teens love “driving” around on a Segway Tour

I’m always looking for new fun ways to engage my teenage son and this past weekend I hit the jackpot. We took a Segway tour through downtown San Diego and the embarcadero that was in a word, awesome. One of the things that made the day so special was seeing my teenager display the fun-filled enthusiasm that used to be so common but these days is hard tap.

There are a couple of good Segway companies in San Diego including San Diego Segway Tours but we chose Another Side of San Diego Tours for our adventure. The staff there is wonderful and they are conveniently located adjacent to Horton Plaza, where you can park for three hours if you spend $10 in the mall.

Our Segway Tour Through Downtown San Diego

Our tour guide was a hospitality college student named Evgeni and he had just the right mix of youth and professionalism to make for a great time for both my son and I. Since we had never been on a Segway before, we started the day watching a 15 minute movie on safety and then about a 10 minute lesson on how to mount the Segway, go forwards, backwards, make turns, and go up and down ramps. While a little shaky at first, we honestly felt like old pros within about two blocks of riding.

The tour started at Horton Plaza and took us by Petco Park, the Convention Center, the famous Gaslamp Sign, and then down to the waterfront embarcadero. We passed several beautiful marinas, the famous “kiss” statue and the USS Midway Museum. Along the way Evgeni had fun facts and trivia about historic buildings, dining recommends and celebrity gossip that added to the overall stunning scenery and views.

Throughout the tour my son was zipping and zagging on the Segway, showing pure delight at driving his own motorized vehicle through the streets of San Diego. At one point he exclaimed, “Wow, I’d like race one of these things.”

Overall, the tour lasted two hours which was enough for me but my son could have continued on for the rest of the day. When I asked him what was his favorite part of the tour he answered (with an inflection only available to teenagers), “Mom, that’s like asking what’s the best part of eating a hamburger. It’s the hamburger.”

Needless to say, I’d highly recommend booking a Segway tour with Another Side of San Diego Tours the next time you’re traveling to San Diego with a teenager. You won’t be disappointed.

> Find more San Diego Tour and Sightseeing Options

Have a San Diego activity your teen loves? Help out other parents by letting them know in the comments below.