43 Superior Issues to Do in San Diego

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In the event you’re planning a visit and on the lookout for issues to do in San Diego, you’ve come to the proper place. As certainly one of our favourite cities within the USA we’ve spent a bunch of time in San Diego. 

Town of San Diego is likely one of the hottest vacationer locations within the US. It’s straightforward to see why: San Diego is the right mixture of wealthy historical past, pure magnificence, and distinctive tradition. And the climate, let’s not overlook in regards to the blissful climate. 

Typically thought of to be LA’s extra laid-back cousin, San Diego has additionally topped lists of the friendliest cities in America. With its relaxed vibe and 70 miles of seashores, it’s the right place to unwind. In the event you’re on the lookout for a extra fast-paced trip, although, there are dozens of world-class sights, as nicely.

Issues to Do in San Diego

With all these choices, how have you learnt the place to begin? We’ve bought a listing of the most effective issues to do in San Diego for you.

Please word – A few of our choices comprise affiliate hyperlinks. These enable us to earn a small share each time you make a reserving. Utilizing our hyperlinks permits us to offer all the data discovered on this website freed from cost.

USS Halfway Museum

This essential piece of army historical past is likely one of the most well-known sights within the metropolis. As such, it must be on the high of your record of issues to do in San Diego. The USS Halfway had essential roles in each the Vietnam Conflict and Operation Desert Storm. It now holds the title of the longest-serving plane service of the twentieth century. 

Now completely docked in San Diego, this army relic has been reworked right into a museum that includes 10 acres of reveals. Aboard the museum, you’ll encounter 30 restored plane and 8 helicopters. It’s also possible to discover the residing quarters under deck: the galleys, mess halls, sleeping quarters, and extra. 

What makes this museum particular is the quantity of interactive alternatives it’s important to expertise what life was like onboard. You’ll hear snippets from veterans, check simulators, discover the cockpits of the plane, and participate in demonstrations. In the event you’re in any respect interested by life as a member of the navy, that is the place to go to.

You may simply spend the whole day exploring the museum. You’ll acquire a brand new appreciation for naval veterans and be taught rather a lot in regards to the nation’s army historical past.

TOUR OPTION: It may get crowded, so take a look at this tour with an non-compulsory audio information that permits you to skip the road.

La Jolla Cove

Solely 20 minutes from downtown, La Jolla is likely one of the finest areas to discover in San Diego. It’s residence to La Jolla Shores, unimaginable surroundings, distinctive family-owned cafes and boutiques, and most significantly, La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is arguably the world’s most well-known attraction and is probably the most photographed a part of the state’s shoreline. The cove is understood to be a preferred spot for wildlife similar to sea lions and seals. Its sea cliffs and hidden coves are a part of a protected reserve teeming with marine life. With the robust surf, the seaside at La Jolla Cove is probably not best for swimming. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to at all times discover different methods to get out on the water.

TOUR OPTION: Try this kayak tour that takes you thru all seven of the caves within the La Jolla Ecological Reserve. 

Whale Watching 

a whale breaches the surface of the Pacific Ocean near Monterey California

In the event you’re visiting between the months of December and April, you’re in luck! That is the most effective time to identify the California Grey Whale throughout its migration from Alaska all the way down to Baja, California. There are about 20,000 whales that migrate throughout this time, so that you’re nearly assured to identify one. In the event you go whale watching, it’s extremely probably that you just’ll additionally spot dolphins, sea lions, seals, and different marine life. 

TOUR OPTION: The easiest way to go whale watching is with a tour in San Diego Bay. With the tour, you’ll be accompanied aboard a yacht with an skilled crew of ocean specialists. They’ll present commentary, information you to the most effective spots in line with the migration path, and reply any questions you might have. 

Balboa Par

Balboa Park is likely one of the most well-known locations in San Diego, and for good cause. Its huge and homes lots of the metropolis’s in style sights. The park covers 1200 acres and is a Nationwide Historic Landmark. It’s residence to stunning greenery, Spanish Revival structure, 30 museums, the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, and extra. 

The Botanical Constructing is little doubt one of many biggest attracts of the park. One of many largest lath buildings on the planet, it homes over 2100 crops. Take your time strolling by way of all it has to supply, together with tropical crops and orchid gardens. It’s additionally one of the photographed locations inside the park, fronted by a serene pond topped with lilies. 

Balboa Park can be residence to the Previous Globe Theatre, modeled after London’s Globe Theatre made well-known by Shakespeare. This cultural establishment has gained a number of Tony awards and continues to be placing on productions. It is a nice alternative to seize a ticket and soak up a present! 

For museum-goers, take a look at the San Diego Museum of Artwork, Museum of Photographic Arts,  and the Fleet Science Heart. In the event you’re not into museums, wander by way of the park’s rose backyard and palm tree canyon. Or, cool your heels at one of many many eating places and cafes.  In the event you’re on the lookout for a enjoyable option to discover the park, you’ll be able to select to take part in a scavenger hunt. There’s at all times one thing occurring right here, so that you’ll be coming again many times throughout your go to to San Diego. 

Browsing in San Diego

two people with sur boards walking towards the sea

Would it not be a visit to the west coast with out making an attempt your hand at browsing? We don’t assume so, both. Get away your wetsuit and get out on the water. This iconic California pastime is price a strive whether or not you’re an skilled or an newbie. San Diego’s shoreline stretches for 70 miles, so there’s no scarcity of browsing spots for any and all ranges. 

Swami’s, Del Mar, and Oceanside are a number of the hottest spots in northern San Diego. There’s additionally loads of good surf round La Jolla and Mission Bay. In the event you’re a newbie, you’ll be able to head to La Jolla for a 90-minute lesson

In the event you’re extra into watching browsing than truly doing it, there are additionally tons of fine locations for spectators. World Browsing League competitions are held at Trestles, whereas you will discover some good newbie motion at Windansea or Black’s. Irrespective of your browsing expertise, you’ll be able to’t depart San Diego till you get a style of this cultural exercise.

Take pleasure in native foods and drinks

San Diego is a melting pot of various cultures. Based by the Spanish and influenced by Mexico, the meals – and the tequila – has a kick to it. Mix this Latin affect with recent seafood and also you’ve bought a foodie scene to die for. You’ll need to strive the fish tacos, carne asada, and naturally, the California Burrito. The California Burrito, containing french fries and carne asada, was invented in San Diego, so it’s a must-try. 

As for consuming, San Diego’s craft beer scene has lengthy since been well-established. With tons of distinctive award-winning breweries and tequila and cocktails straight from Mexico, there’s one thing right here for each style.

TOUR OPTION: In the event you’re extra into wine, take a tour to Carlsbad Village to pattern a few of California’s finest wine and meals. 

Previous City

San Diego is the place European explorers first stepped foot in present-day California, and there’s a preserved settlement to show it. A visit to San Diego’s Previous City is a visit again in time. Lovely adobe buildings from the 1800s abound, together with the San Diego Mission and Presidio, each established in 1769. 

Previous City can be residence to the Previous City San Diego State Historic Park. Free to enter, right here you’ll discover preserved buildings and replicas. You’ll stroll by way of what life was like all through numerous intervals of California’s historical past up till the Gold Rush. Should-sees in Previous City embrace the Whaley Home, the Junipero Serra Museum, and Casa de Estudillo

Previous City is residence to artwork galleries, outlets and boutiques, and eating places serving home made Mexican meals. The realm additionally hosts festivals similar to Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Muertos.

TOUR OPTION: In the event you’re seeking to be taught extra about San Diego’s Previous City, there are hop-on hop-off narrated excursions obtainable. 

Harbor Cruise

Top-of-the-line methods to see the skyline of San Diego is from the water.

TOUR OPTION: A harbor cruise by way of the San Diego Bay is the right option to accomplish this. You’ll set sail on a three-level luxurious ship providing each indoor and outside seating for the most effective views attainable. The tour is narrated by knowledgeable who will inform you in regards to the landmarks you’re passing. You’ll be capable to see landmarks just like the USS Halfway Museum, the Coronado Bridge, and extra. 

Other than the landmarks, you’ll find out about naval historical past and what’s being executed to scrub up the marine habitat. Your tour ship additionally serves drinks and snacks if you happen to get a bit peckish whereas on board. You may e book both a 1-hour or a 2-hour tour, so the variety of landmarks will rely in your selection. 

Petco Park

interior view of petco park san diego

Top-of-the-line Main League baseball stadiums in America, Petco Park is situated proper within the coronary heart of downtown. Cheer on the San Diego Padres whereas taking within the view of the East Village skyline and San Diego Bay. Petco Park can be well-known for its plethora of meals choices. Whereas they serve typical fare like scorching canine and hamburgers, you can even discover fish tacos, sashimi, salads, and extra. 

In the event you’re not on the town for a sport, you’ll be able to at all times take a guided tour by way of the stadium. You’ll go to the dugout, the press field, and the Padres Corridor of Fame. You’ll be in awe on the sandstone development and plush palm tree decor, making Petco Park certainly one of a sort. 

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

This distinctive construction was established in 1769 because the first mission in California. Nonetheless useful, it hosts a day by day Mass you’ll be able to attend if you happen to so want. With a white stucco exterior and a roof lined in purple Spanish tiles, the mission is a singular sight. In the event you tour the church compound, you’ll uncover the remnants of the friars’ houses, the choir stalls, and extra. There’s additionally a Mission Museum the place you’ll be able to browse historic instruments, images, weapons, pottery, artwork, and extra. 

If nothing else, a go to to the mission is price it for the view of Previous City. Perched atop a hill, the mission overlooks Previous City and the 40-acre Presidio Park.

Hit the seaside

Would it not actually be a visit to SoCal with no seaside day or 5? We expect not. With 70 miles of shoreline, it’s not exhausting to search out a gorgeous seaside to arrange store for the day.

Head throughout the San Diego-Coronado Bridge to Coronado Seaside. Characterised by the long-lasting Resort del Coronado, that is the right place to chill out for the day. Shielded from the strongest surf by close by Level Loma, this seaside is calmer than most in SoCal. There are additionally lifeguards on obligation in case of an emergency. In the event you’re staying for the sundown, hearth pits can be found in case you need to make s’mores or roast sausages.

Mission Seaside is in style not just for its seaside, but in addition for its nightlife. If that is the scene you’re into, head right here for a day on the sand and keep for the afterparty. Pacific Seaside is true subsequent door, lined by Ocean Boulevard. Pacific Seaside can be residence to Crystal Pier, providing wonderful views of the ocean and the beachfront skyline. 

La Jolla Shores Park is one other in style choice. Identified to be the most effective seaside for households with children, the water right here is shallow and the surf is calm. It’s additionally a preferred spot for divers and kayakers. 

In fact, there are a lot of different seashores to find in San Diego. These are good locations to begin, but it surely’s exhausting to go improper with any of them! 

Level Loma

Situated on the western facet of the bay, Level Loma is the place European settlers first stepped foot in California. To commemorate this, you’ll need to go to the Cabrillo Nationwide Monument on the southern tip of the peninsula. It’s also possible to be taught extra about it on the customer’s heart. 

You’ll additionally need to go to the Previous Level Loma Lighthouse, established in 1855. Whereas now not in service, you’ll be able to browse the museum and see the keeper’s gear, residing quarters, and log e book. In the event you’re fortunate, chances are you’ll catch the re-enactor of Captain Israel, a Nineteenth-century lighthouse keeper.

The Level Loma Tide Swimming pools are additionally price a go to. Enterprise out onto the rocky shoreline to search for marine life within the swimming pools like crabs, octopi, and starfish. 

Lastly, Level Loma has a protracted army historical past. The previous Naval Coaching Heart has been reworked into Liberty Station. It has turn out to be a cultural hub full with eating places, bars, working trails, and an arts space.

Belmont Park

Situated within the Mission Seaside space, Belmont Park was opened in 1925. This small waterfront amusement park is the top of the seaside city. Dwelling to 12 rides, eating places, a mini-golf course and extra, Belmont Park gives a day of enjoyable for all ages. 

The spotlight of the park, nevertheless, is the Large Dipper. This wood curler coaster, which opened in 1925 together with the park, is now a Nationwide Historic Landmark. After a journey on this, if you happen to’re on the lookout for extra you’ll be able to hit up the tilt-a-whirl or the zip line. In the event you’re seeking to gradual issues down a bit, you’ll be able to go to the arcade or the carousel. 

After your adrenaline-filled day, you’ll need to get some ice cream and watch the sundown over the water. 

Sundown Cliffs Pure Park

Situated on the western facet of Level Loma, this 68-acre park is residence to sea cliffs and unimaginable rocky surroundings. It’s additionally the most effective place within the metropolis to look at the sundown, because the title suggests. You may arrive within the afternoon to discover the cliffs, sea caves, and different pure formations. Then, head again as much as the cliff tops for the principle attraction.

There are additionally loads of bistros and cafes close by if you happen to’re on the lookout for a post-sunset cocktail or chew to eat. In the event you’re visiting in the course of the whale migrations, chances are you’ll even catch a glimpse of the whales from right here. 

The place to remain in San Diego

When reserving your lodging, you’ll need to contemplate your funds and the sights you propose to go to. San Diego is a reasonably massive metropolis so that you’ll need to decrease your commute time as a lot as attainable. Listed below are a couple of good choices:

  • Horton Grand Resort: This 4-star lodge is ideal if you happen to’re on the lookout for a luxurious keep. Situated within the coronary heart of downtown, Horton Grand gives fashionable facilities, an on-site restaurant and bar, and a present store. You may stroll to the conference heart and Petco Park, whereas different essential sights are only a brief drive away. 
  • Gaslamp Plaza Suites: One other 4-star choice situated within the Gaslamp Quarter, this historic lodge was in-built 1913. Every room comes with facilities like a espresso machine, a mini-fridge, a microwave, and cable TV. 
  • Cosmopolitan Resort: This historic lodge was in-built 1869 and is situated proper in Previous City San Diego. With Victorian decor and an on-site restaurant and bar, the ambiance of this lodge is difficult to beat. 
  • Previous City Inn: This mid-range choice is nice for vacationers on a funds. Situated an 8-minute stroll from Previous City, you’ll have quick access to the Mission and the Presidio Hills Golf Course. The lodge additionally incorporates a sport room and choose rooms with full kitchens if you happen to plan to prepare dinner.
  • Lamplighter Inn & Suites SDSU: One other nice choice for vacationers on a funds, this lodge is situated simply 4 minutes from San Diego State College. With an outside pool, a poolside barbecue, and a sport room, that is the right place to chill out.

Issues to Do in San Diego Wrap-up

As you’ll be able to see, there are many issues to do in San Diego. Whether or not you’re on the town for a weekend or extra, you’ll at all times be capable to discover one thing to do. These highlights are an incredible place to begin, however in fact, there’s at all times extra to discover! Need to get out of San Diego for a day?

We’ve additionally bought some day journey concepts for you!

As at all times, pleased travels all. We’ll see you on the highway!


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