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Essential Guide on Where to Eat, Where to Go, and What to Do

Things to do in San Diego

Our hand-selected list of recommended attractions|places|events

Whether you have just the weekend or an entire week, there is so much to do in San Diego. Regardless of what time of year you visit, you can always count on beautiful sunsets. See below for the sightseeing and fun activity recommendations.

Museums

Water Activities

Parks / Amusement Parks

Beaches

Walkabouts

Day Trip Destinations - coming soon!

 

Museums

San Diego Natural History Museum

The San Diego Natural History Museum is a museum located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. It was founded in 1874 as the San Diego Society of Natural History. It is the second oldest scientific institution west of the Mississippi and the oldest in Southern California.

Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum of San Diego enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels. The museum has one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship Star of India. Our collection of ships and exhibits are available for daily public tours. One of the best things to do in San Diego!

Children's Museum

From creative classes to climbable sculptures, contemporary art for kids, in a bright, modern space.

USS Midway

USS Midway Museum. Even if you are not a history buff or a Navy enthusiast, this real aircraft carrier turned museum is worth checking out. You can climb on the ship, check out different quarters. There are often Groupon coupons for discount tickets, so be sure to check out the link below to purchase your tickets.

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Water Activities

Snorkeling or Kayaking Tour in La Jolla

Kayak along scenic La Jolla cliff sides and snorkel among sea lions, bat rays, and shovel nose guitar fish

Duffy Boat in Mission Bay

Board a luxurious 22-foot Duffy Boat and cruise around Mission Bay while sipping a bottle of wine and artisan snacking

San Diego Seal Tour

Participants may enjoy the picturesque streets of San Diego and marvel at the views of the San Diego Bay during a 90-minute sightseeing tour

Flagship Sunset Cruise

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Parks / Amusement Parks

San Diego Zoo

One of the biggest zoos in the country. You could spend an entire day!

Seaworld San Diego

Visitors can enjoy thrilling rides, fascinating shows, and up-close encounters with the sea’s most extraordinary.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido

1,800-acre safari park lets visitors get close and personal with wild animals, including elephants, lions, and rare Sumatran tigers

Legoland

LEGOLAND California Resort has over 60 rides and attractions. The resort is also home to SEA LIFE aquarium and LEGOLAND Water Park.

Balboa Park

​It is a cultural hub nestled inside of a lush city park. It is where the famous San Diego Zoo is located, but even if you aren't interested in checking out the zoo, there is still a lot of things going on at the park that would justify your visit.

  • Museums: you can buy a museum pass here, but also there are free museums (by donation only) such as Timken Museum of Art

  • Garden: Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful and tranquil space. Also, check out the Botanical Garden (free entrance). It's an iconic backdrop to many couples taking their wedding photos

  • Spreckels Organ Pavillion: free concerts on Sundays at 2pm

  • Cabrillo Bridge: entrance into the park. Beautiful walk from Banker's Hill into the park in the evening

  • International Cottages: 34 cottages that showcase different cultures. They are open to visitors on Sat and Sun 12-5pm

Cabrillo National Park

Located at the tip of Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument is located inside a US National Park. It commemorates the statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who was the first European explorer to land on the West Coast of the US. Read the full story here. In addition to the historic statue, you will get a fantastic view of San Diego across the San Diego Bay. There is also a nice trail that you can walk on, which will take you down to the Low Tide Tidepool. Another point of interest is the Ballast Point Light Station. It is not a working light house, but now is a well-preserved museum with interesting historical facts. Since it is a National Park, there is an entrance fee to enter - $15/car or $7/person. The pass is good for 7 days, so you can come back multiple times to enjoy the view.

If you are here until sunset, the view from Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is also a good place to make a quick stop. It is a federal military cemetery perched up on a hill to give you beautiful sunset colors.

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Beaches

La Jolla

La Jolla is one of the most visited areas of San Diego. It's a great place to watch the seals and their pups bathing in the sun, take kids to the Children's pool, or if you want some water activity, head over to the sea caves for a kayak tour. 

Imperial Beach

This southern-most beach in San Diego is so close to Mexico, you can see it in distance. It is an underrated beach that not many visitors know about but the locals favor. The drive to IB is also pretty unique - you drive through a narrow strip of land called the Silver Strand, and I've always enjoyed the drive at sunset. The IB pier is the focal point of this beach so be sure to check that out. There is usually plenty of parking near the beach - the best bet is to park a couple of blocks out and bring your beach gear from there. Check out the Happy Hour at SEA 180 restaurant (inside of Pier South Resort), they have a wonderful waterfront patio. 

Mission Beach

This is our go-to beach for several reasons: clean sand, boardwalk along the shoreline, and the relaxing vibes. Sandwiched between Pacific Beach to the north and Ocean Beach to the south, it's the perfect beach to come to if you want to lie on the sand and soak up the sun and jump in the water (when the water is warm). It's also a great place to take a surf lesson, and on the other side, you can go for paddle-boarding and kayaking at Mission Bay. You can also walk down the beach to reach Belmont Park, which has an old-timey vibes with a few rides. It's good to walk around here. One thing to note is that parking is definitely challenging. You are constantly competing with locals who need to park on the streets and a big influx of people. The best place to park is along Mission Blvd., but be prepared to quickly spot a space and parallel park. Also, getting in and out during rush hour is challenging, so to avoid the hassle, take Uber/Lyft and come before lunch time and leave before dinner time. Our go-to joint for fish tacos is La Playa Taco Shop. The wait can be long during lunch time, so you can call ahead and order for pick up and eat on the beach, or if you have time to hangout, you can sit on their patio.