Things to do in San Diego

Downtown Skyline in Spring -Courtesy Joanne DiBona


Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is located 13 miles north of downtown San Diego. It houses 5000+ fish in more than 60 habitats. Visitors can interact with hands-on exhibits, learn about cutting-edge research discoveries, and view a large variety of colorful marine life at the aquarium.

LEGOLAND California is a great park for families with younger children, with many of the Lego themed rides suitable for younger kids. It is located about 35 miles north of downtown San Diego in Carlsbad.

Downtown PETCO Park -Courtesy Joanne DiBona
Petco Park, home to the San Diego Padres, is located in downtown San Diego. Come out and watch a Padres baseball game with breathtaking views of San Diego.

San Diego Zoo is a world famous zoo located in Balboa Park housing over 3700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies in 100 acres.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located about 30 miles north of downtown San Diego in Escondido. Here visitors will be able to view some of Africa’s most beloved animals roaming free through 8 different Safaris.

SeaWorld San Diego is 190 acres big inside the city’s Mission Bay Park near Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. Activities include family-friendly shows and thrilling rides.


Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southernmost tip of Point Loma. The main reason visitors travel to the monument is for the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, Point Loma naval base, Coronado, and downtown San Diego. On clear days, you are able to see the mountains of Tijuana, Mexico. It is often mentioned this area has the best views in San Diego. Additional activities include visiting the Point Loma Tide Pools and walking on the nearby trails.
Downtown View from Point Loma -Courtesy Joanne DiBona
Maritime Museum of San Diego, located on the San Diego Bay, offers an interactive experience with one of the largest collections of historic sea vessels in the US. Visitors are able to learn about the workmanship and skill required of sailors through viewing a variety of historic sea vessels, including the Star of India.
USS Midway Museum is a maritime museum located at Navy Pier in downtown San Diego. The USS Midway was an aircraft carrier that served in the Cold War.
USS Midway's Kissing Statue


Downtown Gaslamp Sign -Courtesy Joanne DiBona
Gaslamp Quarter is a historic district in downtown San Diego. The 16 block neighborhood is full of shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries with an exciting nightlife making it a must see attraction when visiting San Diego.


Balboa Park is 1200 acre park located in downtown San Diego that has something for everyone. The park includes gardens, walking trails, theaters, museums, and the San Diego Zoo. The Botanical Building is a must see attraction when visiting the park.
Balboa Park California Tower -Courtesy Museum of Man

Coronado Beach is located just across the bay from San Diego and offers calmer waves, fewer visitors, and more pristine waterfront compared to Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. The miles-long shoreline allows plenty of room for visitors to spread out and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and picturesque scenery.

La Jolla Cove is strikingly beautiful, ideal for outdoor sporting activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. Sea lions and seals can be seen from the beach, and they even venture onto the beach at times.

La Jolla Shores has gentle waves perfect to surfing and beautiful, clean beaches for a fun afternoon relaxing on the beach. The beach is a mile long and has life guards on duty year round. Snorkeling rentals, kayaking tours, and scuba diving classes can be purchased here.
La Jolla Beach Sunset -Courtesy
Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are a connected shoreline offering plenty of attractions and amenities including the boardwalk, Belmont Park (beachfront amusement park), restaurants, sports equipment rental shops, and surfing of both high and low swells.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is 68 acres with 1.5 miles of shoreline, providing stunning ocean vistas along the dramatic sandstone cliffs. The park offers plenty of walking trails and the beach is popular with local surfers. The most popular time to visit the beach is during sunset.
Torrey Pines Beach looking North -Courtesy Lisa Field
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is 1500 acres of wild, natural land 18 miles north of downtown San Diego. Visitors experience stunning overlooks with plenty of hiking opportunities.


Seeing the city through one of the variety of tours is a great way to experience San Diego with limited time. Some examples include: The Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Tour with Old Town Trolley Tours San Diego includes 10 stops throughout the city. The San Diego GoCar Tour allows you to enjoy a self-drive tour of the city (guided by talking GPS) at your own pace in a two-passenger, three-wheeled GoCar vehicle. There are a variety of boat tours to choose from to see the city from a new visa, the San Diego Bay. Additional tour options can be found here, including biking, Segway, walking, brewery, winery, and high adventure tours.
Downtown Seaport Village Marina -Courtesy Joanne DiBona
Whale Breaching -Courtesy Next Level Sailing
Whale watching is a recommended activity that is only available certain times of the year. Starting around mid-June, visitors are able to spot blue whales near the San Diego coast through boat tours. The magnificent blue whale, which can be up to 100 feet long, is the largest creature on earth.

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