It’s a crime not to picnic when you are studying English in San Diego! “America’s Finest City” has so many great beaches and parks that it is difficult to choose which are the best locations for a fun picnic. Also difficult? Choosing what to eat during your outing: there are so many great delis in the city that it is tough to choose one for the perfect sandwich!

The following are some suggestions for great places to picnic, and which deli to visit beforehand. Stop off at the deli, grab a sandwich, and head to these great locations for a relaxing lunch with friends.

The best places for picnics in San Diego


Balboa Park and Little Italy’s Mona Lisa’s Deli

Photo courtesy of Balboa Park.
Photo courtesy of Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is expansive, beautiful, and full of things to explore: students can spend days visiting the museums, enjoying the gardens, and hiking its trails!

Photo from Mona Lisa’s.

A short walk from Balboa Park is Little Italy, where many CISL students live. Before heading to the park, stop by Mona Lisa’s Deli, on the corner of India and Hawthorne. Mona Lisa’s Deli has been a staple of Little Italy for decades, and their deli is stocked with delicious imported Italian meats and cheeses. There is always a line for the deli sandwiches, but they are certainly worth the wait! While you are waiting for them to make your sandwich, check out the small store and its impressive selection of Italian goods and sweets. We highly recommend the Caprese Sandwich: the mozzarella, tomatoes, greens, and balsamic vinegar and whole-grain baguette are perfect for a warm day.

Mona Lisa’s Deli
2061 India St, San Diego
(619) 234-4893

Coronado and Park Place Liquor


Truthfully, any beach in San Diego is an excellent one for a picnic: we choose Coronado because it is one of the more relaxing beaches, and a short ferry or bus ride from CISL’s Downtown campus. (It was also voted “Number One Beach in the U.S.,” which is pretty impressive!)

Photo from Yelp.

Coronado is full of adorable boutiques and small restaurants, but when it comes to sandwiches, Park Place Liquor is definitely a great choice. This traditional liquor store/deli serves up tasty sandwiches: try El Diablo: chicken, bacon, avocado with jalapenos and a special sauce. It’s a local favorite!

Park Place Liquor
1000 Park Pl, Coronado, CA 92118, United States
(619) 435-0116

Kate Sessions Park and Mission Beach’s Rubicon Deli

Kate Sessions3

Few students know about Kate Sessions park, a beautiful open area on the top of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Mission Bay, and Downtown San Diego. It is an excellent place to sit and reflect, exercise, or picnic (and there are plenty of tables set up for the public).


Kate Sessions is located above Pacific Beach. Before heading up the hill to the park, stop by Mission Beach’s Rubicon Deli. This small, trendy joint is a favorite with San Diegans (they also have a location in Mission Hills). We suggest the Rubicon Special: turkey, smoked gouda, roasted red peppers, and a pesto mayonnaise? Yum!

 Rubicon Deli
3819 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 488-3354
Cover photo and final photo courtesy of delicious Rubicon Deli.