Melissa Sonico is a fiction writer, English composition professor, jewellery designer and fashion/lifestyle blogger. She lives in Southern California with her husband Johnny and their almost two-year-old son Harrison. Johnny also teaches and has the summer off from work, so they’ve been spending the summer relaxing, enjoying Southern California and travelling together. Read her South California travel guide below.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?
I was born and raised here, so it’s been 34 years!
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING HERE?
My favourite thing is the weather, of course- we are so lucky. We have the best of everything: the desert (Palm Springs), the beach (Orange County and San Diego), the woods/mountains (Yosemite, Big Sur), and the city (Los Angeles).
WHEN DO YOU THINK YOUR CITY IS MOST MAGICAL?
I’ve always been a big fan of fall/autumn. I know people say California doesn’t have seasons, but we get our share. In the fall, there’s the best apple-picking in Oak Glen!
We have the best of everything: the desert, the beach, the woods, mountains and the city.
FAVOURITE THING TO DO IN SUMMER & WINTER?
In summer, I love going to the beach, especially now that Harrison is running around. He loves collecting shells and running along the surf. This summer, we went to San Diego which is one of our favourite places. We went to the beach, Balboa Park and rode the train, and the aquarium. Harrison is really into fish right now. During winter, we’ll go up to Big Bear to play in the snow and be with family!
WHAT’S THE BEST THING TO DO DURING WEEKENDS?
During the weekends, we’ll go to the Saturday farmers market and get some tamales for breakfast and go to the bookstore. Or we’ll go into LA and get brunch and do some shopping.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO HANG OUT WITH YOUR LITTLE ONE?
Balboa Park is the best! There’s a carousel, the San Diego Zoo train, and the botanical garden. Lots to do for little money. They also have a lot of kid-friendly restaurants in San Diego, but Harrison loves ramen noodles, so we went to a couple different ones including Tajima and Underbelly. The Scripps Reserve was a beautiful easy hike for Harrison over-looking the beach.
ANY SPECIAL EVENT THAT HAPPENS EVERY YEAR?
Johnny and I’ve always loved going to the Festival of Book in Los Angeles every year, and now we’re excited to take Harrison! Also, there’s a concert series in our town every summer at the outdoor amphitheatre that’s free so we look forward to that every year. Apple picking in Oak Glen too!
WHAT RESTAURANT WOULD YOU GO TO AND SPLURGE FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION?
Our favourite place to splurge for brunch is Sqirl in Los Angeles. Harrison loves the ricotta toast with jam. For dinner, we love this Caribbean restaurant near our house called Dhat Island. Best beignets!
SIGHTSEEING PLACES NOT TO BE MISSED?
San Diego Zoo, Big Sur, Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, Huntington Botanical Gardens, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs… so many!
ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE VISITING FOR THE FIRST TIME?
If you can make it out here when it isn’t summer, it’ll be less crazy, and you can avoid the crowds– and the weather is always great so you can pretty much go to the beach all year long!
AND FINALLY, WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?
Family. It’s where I grew up, most of my family lives here, it’s where Johnny and I met and where we started our own family. I think even if we were to move somewhere else temporarily, we’d always end up back here!
With thanks to Melissa X
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