Our UK team sets the record straight on how to sit in stillness.
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Emily Ratajkowski may have summed up SD life best when she said, “I grew up in San Diego, California, and I spent a lot of time in the summer basically living in a bathing suit, you know, get in the car and drive straight to the beach and spend the entire day in that thing, so I always approached bathing suits thinking that they are very much like outfits.”
Beyond helping Ratajkowski appear in not one, but two Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions, San Diego also encapsulates the term “wellness.” But what exactly does wellness mean? If you explore #SanDiegoWellness on Instagram, you’ll find a community sharing many different forms of wellness—after all, it is one of the healthiest cities in the country. Whether its warrior poses on Sunset Cliffs, beach volleyball in the sand, or yoga studios surrounded by beautiful plant babies, wellness is whatever you make it. And in San Diego, it comes with a year-round side of sunshine.
Located just 120 miles south of Los Angeles, San Diego is a mecca for outdoor and wellness lovers. Whether you need an acai bowl from Northside Shack in Point Loma before catching a few barrels at Blacks Beach, or you want to go for a recharging run around Mission Bay, this sunny SoCal town is the place to be for all things fitness, wellness, and beauty. Check out our guide to a few of the latest and greatest spots and activities in America’s Finest City!
According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, San Diego ranks third on the list of most active cities in America, with 82% of its residents working out at least once a week. With an array of studios to try, we’re not shocked SD residents are finding so many different ways to sweat. From heated barre and boxing to a bevy of bootcamps and runs on the La Jolla Shores, here’s your go-to guide to Fitness in San Diego.
A trifecta made up of aerial yoga, an infrared-heated studio space, and a vegan café, Trilogy Sanctuary really lives up to its name. The La Jolla location even has a rooftop with daily aerial yoga classes that overlook the ocean, along with a few cozy spots to savor your organic snacks. Zen and a meal? Sounds like the perfect combo. Need a little more harmony in your routine? Click here.
Not your typical barre class, Belle + Barre takes this traditional workout to a whole other level. Set in a heated room, you’ll mix strength training and cardio, and work on strengthening and lengthening through isometric holds and movements—all while sweating up a storm. Not a fan of the heat? Book one of B +B’s unheated classes.
An enhanced fitness experience that combines yoga, Pilates, cardio, and strength training, each Relevate class is designed to challenge the body. Get your sweat on in this balanced workout with weights, followed by a sculpting sequence that pumps up your legs, glutes, and core. From barre to Reiki healing, it's a new way to move and restore.
Never thrown a punch in your life? Don’t sweat it. BoxFit is all about helping you tap into your body’s power and potential. Focusing on functional movements and cultivating a passion for fitness at all levels, these classes will leave you sweaty, yet stress-free.
With locations in Hillcrest and Point Loma, ￼Renegade Fitcamp￼ is intense. Sweat like never before with hour-long group classes that combine HIIT-style cardio, a weight rack workout, and floor work with battle ropes and kettlebells. Workin’ on your fitness? Explore San Diego’s #1 group fitness gym.
A revamp in the San Diego downtown scene; Waterfront Park is the place to be on an extra sunny day. With the perfect playground to a giant green park where you can roll out your yoga mat, just pack a lunch or grab some food from the many tasty spots nearby (we’re lookin’ at you, Café Gratitude).
Home to the famous Scripps Institute of Oceanography (and the picturesque pier), La Jolla Shores is a San Diego staple. You can lounge in the grass, put your feet in the sand, or—if you’re into something more active—you can kayak, snorkel, and surf! You might even run into a few leopard sharks while you're in the water (they're harmless, we promise).
With a proud history as San Diego’s Naval Training Center, Liberty Station in Point Loma was renovated into a prime spot for unique restaurants, boutique shops, and beautiful green parks. Just minutes from Cabrillo National Monument, there are so many things to do. Wander around the Liberty Public Market (a foodie’s paradise), shop your favorite home décor at Pigment, or grab a unique IPA and some appetizers at Stone Brewing.
Whether you’re in North Park or Encinitas, it seems like there’s an eco-friendly beauty boutique on every corner. With a clean-beauty battle cry and realistic approach to beauty, here are a few hidden gems we’ve found in San Diego.
Combining the trendiest wellness experiences with ancient spa rituals, Eco Chateau Spa and Wellness Center is a luxurious space to unwind your body and mind. With everything from cupping to infrared body wraps and facials, this spot will leave you feeling relaxed and recharged.
Welcome to Evian, a sophisticated salon and spa. Located in beautiful La Jolla, Evian exudes style with its sleek design and state-of-the-art equipment. Combining a modern, yet classy atmosphere, this salon provides its clients with advanced hair care such as Kevin Murphy, Kerastase, and more.
A modern SPAce for wellness, Four Moons Spa is rooted in authenticity, integrity, and innovation. Passionate about beauty, healing, and wellness, their mission is to curate a high-vibrational, nurturing environment that supports guests on their self-care journeys. Book anything from an astrology reading to a calming Rose Quartz Gem facial at this cute little Leucadia-based spa.
San Diego’s newest wellness hotspot, Saffron & Sage is a holistic health club in the trendy Little Italy neighborhood. Focused on mind-body-spirit wellness, they have a team of over 30 practitioners, ranging from medical doctors to movement therapists and psychotherapists. Not only do they offer everything from acupuncture to fire cupping, energy therapy, and botanical medicine, you can also sign up for wellness classes on cleansing meditation, breathwork, yoga, and more.
"Restaurants of San Diego are delivering the taste and talent to keep people coming back for more.” Agreed, Eater, agreed. With a more mindful audience focused on meatless eating, vegan and vegetarian food have a larger share of the market than ever before. From gluten-free and juice bars to healthy fast food (yeah, you heard that right), we’ve rounded up some of the best Healthy Eating in San Diego.
Nestled in Little Italy, Café Gratitude is a go-to for vegan eaters. Their menu is 100% plant-based and even labeled to give you an ego boost and amp to your overall well-being. Whether you’re feelin’ Fabulous (that’s the name of their raw Mexican lasagna), or Dazzling (kale Caesar salad), you can find tasty dishes like no other at this healthy spot.
Travel down to South Park to dine at KINDRED, an eccentric vegan restaurant known for its wild décor, heavy metal jams, and modern menu. Chef Jeremy Scullin (relocated from Philly’s infamous Vedge) creates big, loud flavors with this food. Try out the crispy risotto with mint carrot top pesto, roasted rainbow carrots, carrot confit pureé, toasted pistachios, and pink peppercorn—it’s as delicious as it is beautiful.
If you’re looking for a quick, healthy spot to grab a filling, out-of-the-box sandwich or yummy salad, look no further than Mendocino Farms. Come ready to devour the Green Goddess Turkey Avocado Toast with shaved turkey, avocado, wild rice and toasted sesame, sprouts, pickled radishes, and topped off with vegan Green Goddess dressing. If you can eat both halves, you’re the real MVP.
After brightening up La Jolla’s foodie scene, you can now check out Parakeet Café’s cozy spot in Little Italy, too. The café offers an all-day breakfast menu with an array of unique eats. Matcha waffles? Yes please. Make your next taco Tuesday gluten-free and vegan with hibiscus lettuce cups. They are filled with the good stuff: braised hibiscus flowers, grilled pineapple habanero salsa, avocado, and cashew cilantro-lime crema. We’ll take ten, thanks.
Starting as a juice bar, Beaming has evolved into an “Organic Superfood Café.” With three different locations around the San Diego area, this plant-based spot has a variety of superfood snacks, cold-pressed juices, grab & go salads, wraps, smoothies, and dairy-free baked goods. Stop at the La Jolla location for an Almond Butter Acai bowl before you head out to the beach, you won’t be sorry.
A colorful café with a tasty menu of fresh salads, bowls, and wraps, Del Mar’s Flower Child is the Bohemian-styled space of your dreams. Featuring chic decor, hearty—and vegan-friendly—options, there’s even a lemonade and iced tea station, with flavors that change with the season.
Looking for a vegan paradise? Right on Highway 101, EVE Encinitas serves fresh buddha bowls, smoothies, and local kombuchas in a mega-relaxing space. Order a few of these Instagram-worthy treats loaded with flavor and color! Find yourself even further north? Check out their new location in Oceanside as well!
This 100% plant-based joint might just be the future of fast food. With locations in Ocean Beach, Encinitas, and on San Diego State’s campus, Plant Power Fast Food will even have your meat-loving friends coming back for seconds. Swing through the drive-thru and order the “Chicken” and Waffles, The Wake & “Bacon” burger, or the Buffalo “Chicken” Sandwich.
Sound healing, meditation, beautiful hikes along the ocean—Southern California knows how to do wellness. Whether it’s hiking Torrey Pines or riding beach cruisers along the Mission and Pacific Beach boardwalks, there’s a wellness activity that everyone can enjoy in this definitive guide to Practicing Wellness in San Diego.
Just east of San Diego, near Julian, is Three Sisters Falls. A popular, 4.2-mile hike that leads to one of SoCal’s most iconic waterfalls, you’ll trek through beautiful rocky scenery, and you might even catch some of the local wildlife. Pro tip: The best time to go is during the rainy season—the falls are really flowin’, so you’ll get that perfect Instagram shot.
What the heck is sound healing, you might ask? At Riffs Yoga Studios in Ocean Beach and Bird Rock, a sound healing session works to bring the body and mind into a state of deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and energetic alignment. The vibrations of the instruments help you harmonize with your energetic body, release pent-up tension from traumatic events, and dispel high levels of toxicity. Some sessions incorporate meditation, the use of crystal bowls, and instruments such as gongs and chimes to help you slip into an uber relaxed mood.
Torrey Pines trails are the quintessential hike in San Diego. The well-structured pathways lead you to the edge of the cliffs, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean north of La Jolla. Hop on the 2.3-mile Beach Trail Loop for a zen-filled stroll along the bluffs or choose your own path at any of the other trails in the area!
San Diego is synonymous with surfing. Pacific Beach—or PB, as the locals call it—is a mecca for beginners with soft waves, perfect for kids and adults to learn. Jog down south, and you’ll see Crystal Pier, which has big, more lined-up waves that beautifully break off the end of the pilings. If you’re looking for a cool place to stay, check out the cottages on the pier. Sleeping over crashing waves sounds so serene.
Channel your inner peace on Adams Avenue at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga. Find calm and harmony while juggling that busy schedule in on-going, free meditation classes. You can start at any time to learn techniques for relaxation, concentration, and visualization.
Rent a beach cruiser and ride along the PB boardwalk! With some of the best people-watching in San Diego, the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach boardwalk is home to some famous personalities, like Slo-Mo. Plus, when you’re feelin’ hangry, you can hop off and check out several of the restaurants, coffee shops, and bars along the way.
Meet Balboa Park—the Central Park of San Diego. A 1,200-acre park filled with iconic architecture, 17 different museums, and a giant koi pond, this massive park should be on everyone’s bucket list. Whether you want to see a play at The Old Globe, walk the Palm Canyon Trail, or be one with nature in the Botanical Building, Balboa Park has something for everyone.
The Self-Realization Fellowship was founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, often called “The Father of Yoga in the West.” If you’re in Encinitas, be sure to stop by the Meditation Gardens for some peaceful reflection. Clear your schedule, bring a journal or sketchbook, or try some guided meditations in these beautiful, quiet gardens overlooking the ocean.
So, did we just about cover it? If you’re an SD native searching for a new fitness class or you just moved here and don’t know where the best beauty spots are, this list should give you a good start on where to find the right wellness dimension for you. And if you’re on the go, as most of San Diego is, grab the Mindbody app and get the best of America’s Finest City in your pocket.
Now get out there and share your fitness and wellness adventures with us on social using #MBSanDiegoWellness!
Times are strange right now, as you all know. We’ve all heard the phrase “new normal” about a million times already, and all the while, things are still changing every day. If you asked me a few months ago what I’d be writing about right now, I would never have guessed I’d be interviewing someone about what it’s like to get a haircut.
Nonetheless, we’re all doing our best to band together and help each other out right now. You may have noticed salons and spas offering messages of support, video tutorials for DIY beauty, and now, waitlists and announcements of reopening their doors. But as we all know, this isn’t the “old normal” anymore, and there will be changes.
Here’s what you can expect to be different when you finally head back into the salon or spa:
As salons and spas begin to reopen, they’ll likely have to make changes due to new social distancing requirements. When you enter the space, you’ll probably see a complete rearrangement. Stations will be separated by at least six feet, and some might even be removed to allow for more space. Salons that don’t have that much space to spare are putting in temporary walls or partitions.
On top of that, there may be fewer appointments scheduled at the same time (and definitely no walk-ins) to limit the number of people in the building. Say goodbye to waiting rooms and lobbies—you’ll likely be asked to wait outside or in your car until the exact start time of your appointment to prevent too many people crowding the front.
In addition to their increase in space, salons and spas will likely up their cleaning standards and procedures. We surveyed active consumers on the Mindbody app and learned that among the many changes beauty and wellness businesses can make upon reopening, following rigorous sanitization guidelines is the most important. You’ll probably see social posts or confirmation emails that outline new cleaning protocols, and you may notice some signage hanging around the building to reassure that the areas have been disinfected. Employees, and even guests, will be wearing masks and/or gloves, and you may even get a spritz of hand sanitizer at the door. According to Salon 124 Group, getting these supplies is turning out to be one of the largest obstacles for reopening.
In between each appointment, they’ll thoroughly disinfect the area before the next client arrives. Not only that, but each time you move to a new station (like from shampoo to haircut), they may also wipe down the station as soon as you get up to make sure it’s clean for the next guest.
After a good haircut, we all want to check ourselves out. And now that we’re all more cautious of germs and bacteria, we also want to literally check ourselves out at the end of our appointments. Out of the various fitness, beauty, and wellness businesses on our platform, consumers feel most comfortable returning to hair salons, and 62.7% said hair cutting, coloring, styling, barbering, or blow-drying would be the first beauty service they book once restrictions are lifted. An extra, important layer of comfort can be added in the form of contactless payments.
Many salons and spas will likely be incorporating some sort of contactless checkout process to limit touch points. They may end up taking your payment information at check-in via text and removing the front desk, so you don’t have to interact with another person face-to-face.
All-in-all, you can expect changes—and lots of them. Whether it’s increased retail offerings, curbside pickups, virtual consultations, at-home appointments, or video tutorials, many salons and spas are getting creative with how they offer support to their clients. Above all, they want to help us feel beautiful, confident, and somewhat normal during this time—and for that, we’re so thankful.
Want to hear about a real salon experience firsthand? One of our own got her hair done at a reopened salon in Georgia—here’s how it went.
Are you a salon owner yourself? Check out the Reboot Kit for Salons, Spas, & Wellness Businesses for extensive info and advice on how to prepare for reopening.