San Diego has a jewel in Ruby’s diners sprinkled along the entire Southern California coast, but the three you need to know about are the Balboa Park location (which has a patio and sits right on the pier sporting a phenomenal view), the location within minutes of Legoland, the Ruby’s at Oceanside Pier in Oceanside (a 30- minute drive north from downtown) and the Laguna Beach location. Totally spiffed up for kids, some Ruby’s have trains that circle overhead, others have antique cars. They serve Lilliputian-sized complimentary ice cream cones at the end of the meal and have a menu loaded with burgers, shakes, fries and great breakfasts too. The Ruby’s at Oceanside Pier is particularly great for families because it’s close to a beach playground as well as a half mile long walk on the pier. Kids can also catch the surfers and peek into the fishermen’s catch barrels. (Consider pairing this Ruby’s with the Surf Museum.)
Balboa Pier, #1 Balboa Pier, Balboa 949-675-7829.
Laguna Beach, 30622 South Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949-497-7829.
Oceanside, 1 Oceanside Pier, Oceanside, 760-433-7829.