We decided on visiting Downtown San Diego. We've been there many times before, but this was the first time with our little one. We left in the early AM on a weekend, and got there in just over an hour. It can take up to 2 or more hours if you leave later in the day, just a friendly warning. You also have the option of taking the train, which is a beautiful 2 hour ride along the coast, not a bad option when travelling during peak hours. However with an infant, you may opt to have your own vehicle.
We spent a day in Balboa Park. We parked in a big lot on Presidents Way (free parking), they had a tram stop there that picks up visitors and drops them off at the main plaza. We decided to simply walk around and enjoy the beautiful architecture and landscaping, but if your kids are a tad older they would enjoy the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum, Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego Hall of Champions, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and the San Diego Zoo. There are fees to enter these museums, you can check their website for pricing. They've also put together a family activity guide that kids can follow. You can find that guide to download here http://friendsofbalboapark.org/author/nick We brought our Maclaren Quest umbrella stroller, this was perfect since all areas were paved.
The Prado at Balboa Park
We were fortunate to stumble upon the Prado, and would highly recommend if you have time to dine there! If you plan ahead, make reservations, they get busy. They've got a beautiful terrace for outdoor seating. Or you can eat in the courtyard with a "limited" but delicious menu.
For an afternoon snack, we stopped at the Panama 66. This was a great spot, open air, adjacent to a grassy area with sculptures everywhere. They also had lots of tasty beers on draft which was a nice plus. On busy weekends, the lines can get long, so if you just want a beverage, there is a separate line in the middle of the bar seating area.
DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO
There are too many great places to eat in Downtown SD. One stand out that I must share is Extraordinary Desserts. I've never seen a more beautiful dessert case. It was like a dessert/flower shop. They have a couple locations, so if you have a chance to stop there, I'd highly recommend it.
I'd love to hear any suggestions on other mini getaways with infants from Los Angeles or Orange County. Hope you have a chance to get out and away from the norm for some fun with the little one(s)!