The Best Things To Do In San Diego

Written By: Kristen Cook

With over 250 days of sunshine, San Diego is the perfect beach escape in Southern California. The laid back atmosphere and countless attractions give tourists something to do all year long – with amazing weather, there’s really no bad time to visit!

Whether you have children and want to find family-friendly attractions or are traveling alone (or as a couple!) there is no end to the possibilities. During the summer months, head over to Petco Park to cheer on the local baseball team, the San Diego Padres, in a home game! Take a walk along Seaport Village, home to numerous boutique shops and restaurants that will appeal to any interest or budget. Restaurants in Seaport Village offer gorgeous views of the bay, which create a romantic ambiance when you’re dining with that special someone.

San Diego is home to a substantial military community, as it’s a major base for the United States Marine Corps. If you want to tour a famous aircraft carrier, you’re in luck! The USS Midway Museum is a fascination destination, allowing you to walk throughout the massive carrier ship to explore various interactive exhibits and try your luck at flight simulators – entertainment and education for the entire family. Other family-friendly destinations include the San Diego Zoo, which houses more than 3,700 animals in its 100-acre park, complete with open-air enclosures. If you want to enjoy a theme park for the day, Legoland is located nearby, as is SeaWorld.

There are many districts to explore throughout San Diego, one of the most popular being the historic Gaslamp District. Shops and restaurants are open at all hours of the day and offer an ideal starting and stopping point as you explore the city. California is home to many historic missions – the first Franciscan mission is located in the city, Mission San Diego de Alcala. Explore the gardens and step back in time as you walk through the many buildings and chapel!

Being a coastal city, there is no shortage of beach options in San Diego – check out famed Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach for year-round surfing and tanning.


The Gaslamp Quarter

If you find your way to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, you have found the entertainment hub of the city! Famous for its bars and restaurants – as well as music theatres – you’re in for a big night here! The district – that extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and takes in 4th to 6th Avenue – is nothing short of beautiful, so make sure you take the time to meander! Enjoy the wrought iron street lamps and the architecture of the historic buildings, there really is nothing else like it in the city.


San Diego Zoo

Take a break from touring and have a relaxing day at San Diego Zoo. Located close to the city centre – on Zoo Drive – you can explore the zoo’s nine zones, and meet over three thousand animals from around the world. Take a guided bus tour or explore at your own pace, and enjoy the shows and educational talks that are scheduled throughout the day. You can also let the kids pet some of the smaller animals while you re-charge your batteries for a while!


San Diego Zoo Safari Park

For a great day out with the entire family, head to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the San Pasqual Valley. Explore 1,800 acres or parkland, which more than 3,500 animals call home. From giraffes and rhinos, to creatures from Australia, the animals of the world are all right here. The enclosures are so natural that it’s sometimes even hard to notice them all! And if you still want more, take a guided tour to get a better understanding of the animals, and to see extra enclosures that are closed to the general public.


SeaWorld San Diego

There is something for everyone at Sea World San Diego! There are rides for the tiny-tots and the adrenalin junkies alike, as you thrill on the Electric Eel and giggle on Abby’s Sea Star Spin. See the many shows, with orcas, dolphins and sea lions, and explore the beautiful aquariums that let you get so close to so much marine life, that you just won’t believe it’s possible! The children will take home life-long memories from the touch pools and the Sesame Street Parade – you just shouldn’t miss this one!



Head to the Embarcadero – on the eastern shore of San Diego Bay – to soak up the best of the country’s maritime history! With a smorgasbord of ships and museums to explore, including the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the USS Midway Museum, and the famous Star of India, this is a history lovers’ dream! If it all gets a bit too much, take a break and stroll through the shops and restaurants, or make a day of it on a cruise!


USS Midway Museum

It can’t get more real than this; the USS Midway Museum is housed on the actual aircraft carrier that operated from 1945 to 1991. The entire family will love the sixty exhibits and the thirty restored aircraft. Explore above and below decks, with the engine room, the sleeping quarters, the war room, and the control tower, just some of the places to see. Take a break and watch old films at the Battle of Midway Theatre, and you can even have a go at the flight simulator!


Mission Beach

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of sightseeing in San Diego, and join the locals at Mission Beach. Go back-to-basics and enjoy the fun of the beach – just relax, or stroll along the pathways and take in the views. People-watch as they play beach volleyball or surf, and if you get restless, Sea World is not far away!


San Diego Harbor

San Diego Harbor is an exciting hub of the city, and a great place to visit with no set itinerary. Meander at your leisure, and find the many hidden gems that this city has to offer. You will come across a wide range of museums, great shops and enticing restaurants. Explore the attractions or sit for a while, taking in the vessels going about their business on the waters of the bay.


Cabrillo National Monument

If you head to Point Loma, you won’t miss the Cabrillo National Monument, which honours the first European to land on the west coast of the country, in 1542. Take in the great views of the city, and if you visit between January and March, keep an eye out for whales. Soak up the history at the lighthouse, and at low tide explore the unique ecosystem of the tide pools!


Legoland California

Remember those colourful little building blocks we all grew up with? Well, watch them explode into beautiful and magnificent creations at LEGOLAND California! From pirate ships to city skylines, the things you will see are just magical. And the creations are just the beginning – meet the LEGO Costume Characters, as well as Emmet and Wyldstyle from the movie! Enjoy the shows, head to the waterpark, or visit the exciting aquarium – there is just so much to see and do at LEGOLAND California!

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