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African plains at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Northeastern San Diego is the northeastern region of San Diego, consisting mostly of hilly terrain and suburbs. For the purposes of this travel guide, "Northeastern San Diego" contains just about everything north of Mission Valley and east of I-5.
Northeastern San Diego contains the communities of:
- Clairemont, a large suburban area located east of Pacific Beach, west of Kearny Mesa, and south of SR-52.
- Kearny Mesa, located on a wide, flat mid-city plain, this neighborhood just south of Miramar is one center of San Diego's Asian population.
- Miramar, home to the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.
- Mira Mesa, an inland suburb located just north of Miramar.
- Rancho Bernardo, a master-planned community in the northern part of the region, near Escondido.
- Rancho Penasquitos, a large suburban community west of Poway.
- San Pasqual Valley, the northernmost neighborhood of San Diego, home to the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
- Sorrento Valley, located closer to the coast, near the I-5/I-805 intersection.
I-5 and I-15 are the main north-south interstates through the area, with I-5 marking the western boundary of the area and I-15 running through the central and eastern parts of the area. Additionally, SR-163 and I-805 connect the area to the south, with SR-163 continuing through Mission Valley to Downtown and I-805 heading through Mission Valley and the Mid-City area down to I-5 near the US-Mexico border. SR-52 is a main east-west highway, running from near La Jolla past Clairemont and Kearny Mesa out to Santee. Further north, SR-56 runs between I-5 near Del Mar and I-15 near Poway.
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)  runs buses throughout San Diego, but bus service in these parts is often infrequent. The North County Transit District (NCTD)  operates bus routes through northern San Diego County and a couple of those routes serve parts of Northeastern San Diego, including Route 386 which connects Escondido to the San Pasqual Valley and the Wild Animal Park. The COASTER , a regional rail line that runs along the coast between Downtown San Diego and Oceanside, stops at Sorrento Valley. From there, a number of shuttle routes connect the station to the immediate area.
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly the San Diego Wild Animal Park), 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road (in the San Pasqual Valley, east of Escondido on SR-78), +1 760 747-8702, . Sister park to the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, the Wild Animal Park is a massive (1,800 acres) zoo with large, naturalistic free-range enclosures containing animals from all over the world. Highlights include the huge Africa area, the California Condor exhibit, and a tram ride which takes you past some of the large free-range areas (extra admission required). Winter: 9AM-4PM, Summer: 9AM-8PM. $35 adults, $26 children, free for military and children under 3 (Parking is $9/vehicle, $14/RV).
- San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park, 15808 San Pasqual Valley Road, +1 760 737-2201, . Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. On December 6, 1846, one of the bloodiest battles of the Mexican-American war took place here. The visitor center on-site has displays on the history of the site. Free.
- Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, Visitor Center, 12020 Black Mountain Road (take SR-56 to Black Mountain Road exit, turn south, and proceed into the park), +1 858 484-7504, . Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM. A large park stretching several miles between the I-5/I-805 intersection and I-15, just south and roughly parallel to SR-56. There is much beautiful scenery which can be explored via the system of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. The park also contains a few historical landmarks, including the Rancho de los Penasquitos, one of the oldest surviving homes in the region, dating back to 1823. Tours of the house are available every Saturday at 11AM. Admission is free.
- Marian Bear Memorial Park, . Located in the San Clemente Canyon along SR-52 from I-5 to I-805, this large park contains some very scenic trails.
Mission Trails Regional Park
- Mission Trails Regional Park, Visitor Center, One Father Junipero Serra Trail (take Mission Gorge Road from either Mission Valley to the southwest or Santee to the east and proceed into the park), +1 619 668-3281, . Located along the San Diego River between San Diego and Santee, this massive park is a hidden jewel among the city's park system. Consisting mostly of rugged, hilly scrubland, Mission Trails offers an excellent diversion from the hustle and bustle of the city. Numerous trails criss cross through the park, and there's an excellent visitor center with exhibits on the flora, fauna, and the human history in the area. You can also see the Old Mission Dam, which once provided water to the original mission community of San Diego just to the west in Mission Valley. Cowles Mountain, the tallest point in the city (1,591 feet above sea level), offers a lovely view of the surrounding area clear out to the ocean and is popular with runners and hikers, with several challenging trails ranging from three to five miles (round trip) featuring steep climbs, wooden steps, and rock crossings. Mission Gorge is one of the most popular rock climbing spots in the area, with over 150 routes from 5.0 to 5.12 grades, and suitable for the novice and the experienced climber. In the summers the gorge can be extremely hot in the direct sun, but the crag stays cool and shaded in the until around noon or 1PM. The rest of the year you can climb all day. Also within the park is Lake Murray Reservoir, which is open to boating and fishing. Admission to the park is free.
- San Diego Ice Arena, 11048 Ice Skate Place, (858) 530-1826, .
- Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, Visitor Center, 5180 Tecolote Road (take I-5 to the Tecolote Road exit about a mile north of I-8, then proceed east on Tecolote Road), +1 858 581-9944, . Located in the neighborhood of Clairemont, Tecolote Canyon is a narrow coastal valley which offers miles of trails open to hiking and biking. The visitor center at the mouth of the canyon offers exhibits on the flora and fauna found in the park. Admission is free.
- Vertical Hold, Mira Mesa. The largest full service indoor climbing gym in the San Diego area.
- 99 Ranch Market, 7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd (in Kearny Mesa), +1 858 565-7799, . A mostly California chain of Asian supermarkets. Here you can come face to face with your dinner - live! The entire back wall of this full-size supermarket is the fish department - and many of them are still swimming. This is such a special and unique market that a local cooking school offers group tours.
- Chorus Karaoke and Cafe, 4428 Convoy St. Ste. 290, +1 858 576-0700. Korean food and a great place for karaoke.
- K Sandwiches, 7604 Linda Vista Rd (just south of the I-805 and SR-163 intersection), +1 858 278-8961. M-Sa 6AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM. A local favorite, with incredibly good, cheap, and authentic banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches).
- Pearl Chinese Seafood, 1166 Avena Pl (just off of the I-15 near the Bernardo Center Drive Exit), +1 858 487-3388. M-F 11AM-10:30PM, Sa-Su 9AM-10:30PM. Good Cantonese (Chinese) dim sum with a good view of Webb Park.
- Rosa's Pizza, 3860 Convoy St. (805 & 163 Freeways), ☎ +1 858 278 1222, . 11AM-10PM. Large Pizza with Cheese & 1-Topping (special) $9.99. $1 internet delivery special. $9.99.
A surprise find is Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa, home to dozens of excellent Asian restaurants that cater primarily to the lunch crowd from the surrounding commercial areas. Having a job in the Kearny Mesa area can be a joy just for the ability to eat oneself from one end of Convoy to the other, and not hit the same spot twice in a month.
- O'Brien's, 4646 Convoy St (in Kearny Mesa), +1 858 715-1745. This place has a great low-key friendly atmosphere>. There is outdoor seating and a wonderful selection of Belgian local microbrews, with an extra emphasis on hoppy brews. They have a surprisingly good bar food as well. The pub made the top 10 in Beer Advocate's Top 50 Places to have a beer in America .
- The WineSellar & Brasserie, 9550 Waples Street (in Mira Mesa), +1 858 450-9557, .
- Four Points Sheraton San Diego, 8110 Aero Dr, +1 858 277-8888, .
- Hampton Inn San Diego, 5434 Kearny Mesa Rd, +1 858 292-1482, .
- Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar, 3939 Ocean Bluff Avenue, ☎ 858-720-9500, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12 noon.
- Hilton Garden Inn Rancho Bernardo, 17240 Bernardo Center Dr., ☎ 858-676-1660, . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton® San Diego-Del Mar, 11025 Vista Sorrento Parkway, ☎ 858-523-0500 (fax: 858-523-0591), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Don't be fooled by the name. This hotel is not in Del Mar, but in the neighborhood of Sorrento Valley. The location is actually more convenient to points south of the I-5/I-805 merge.
- Rodeway Inn Rancho Bernardo, 16929 W. Bernardo Dr, ☎ 858-487-0445, . .
- Woodfin Hotel, 10044 Pacific Mesa Boulevard, ☎ 858-597-0500, .
- Doubletree Golf Resort San Diego, 14455 Penasquitos Dr (Carmel Mountain), ☎ 1-858-672-9100, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM.
- Residence Inn San Diego Rancho Bernardo/Carmel Mountain Ranch, 11002 Rancho Carmel Drive, San Diego, California 92128, ☎ 858-673-1900, . North San Diego hotel located near attractions such as Old Town, Sea World, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Del Mar Race Track and Legoland. Offers free breakfast, WiFi and suites with separate living and sleeping areas.
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