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What Is There to Do in San Diego

What Is There to Do in San Diego

Welcome to San Diego, a city that has it all! From its iconic attractions and beautiful beaches to vibrant neighborhoods and diverse culinary scene, there’s something for everyone in this Southern California gem. Ready to explore and discover what is there to do in San Diego? Let’s dive in and create unforgettable memories!

Blog Summary

  • Explore iconic attractions, stunning San Diego beaches and vibrant neighborhoods.
  • Enjoy outdoor adventures, delicious food & drinks, family fun activities and annual events like Comic Con!
  • Experience an unforgettable adventure with exciting things to do in 2023!

Discover San Diego's Iconic Attractions

A view of downtown San Diego with the San Diego skyline in the background

San Diego is home to some of the most iconic attractions in Southern California, perfect for visitors of all ages. Immerse yourself in the rich history, art, and culture of Balboa Park, or marvel at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. So, why not visit San Diego and experience these amazing attractions for yourself?

San Diego offers world class museums such as the USS Midway Museum, a fascinating insight into naval history. And for an unforgettable adventure, don’t miss the thrilling marine exhibits and rides at SeaWorld San Diego.

Balboa Park

Located near the beautiful San Diego Bay, Balboa Park is an amazing 1,200-acre cultural park filled with Spanish-style architecture, 17 incredible museums, stunning gardens, and invigorating hiking trails, perfect for an unforgettable day of exploration. Discover museums such as the San Diego Air & Space Museum and The Old Globe Theatre, and take the time to wander through the peaceful Spanish-inspired Alcazar garden, the lily pond in front of the charming botanical garden building, and the vibrant Spanish Village Art Center.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the free Balboa Park Tram that runs every 10 to 15 minutes to explore the park and save money with a Balboa Park Explorer Pass, which offers discounts at park museums. Given its wealth of attractions, it’s clear why Balboa Park is a top choice for visitors in San Diego.

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo, situated within Balboa Park, is an attraction you can’t afford to miss. It houses over 3,500 animals and 650 species in open-air, cageless exhibits. Some of the animals you can see at the zoo include:

  • Amur leopards
  • Jaguars
  • Red pandas
  • Giraffes

The zoo truly offers a unique experience for all ages.

To make the most of your visit, take a thrilling 35-minute guided bus tour of the park or the Skyfari Aerial Tram that transports visitors from one end of the park to the other, offering a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the exhibits below.

Pioneering in animal conservation with its innovative concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that beautifully mimic natural habitats, the San Diego Zoo is an essential visit for animal enthusiasts.

USS Midway Museum

For a fascinating glimpse into naval history, the USS Midway Museum is a fantastic opportunity to explore restored ships, aircraft carrier exhibits, and self-guided audio tours. With knowledgeable docents on hand to answer questions and provide insight into life on an aircraft carrier, this museum is both educational and entertaining for the whole family.

Located along the stunning San Diego harbor, the USS Midway Museum also offers breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline, the iconic San Diego Coronado Bridge, and the bustling harbor. This experience should not be missed during your San Diego visit.

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego promises a day filled with adventure, offering fascinating marine exhibits, thrilling rides, and engaging interactive experiences suitable for all ages. Experience the amazing marine exhibits. With exhibits such as the Australian Outback habitat, Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey and more, it’s a great day out you won’t want to miss! Unfortunately, the Children’s Zoo is currently closed for renovation.

Don’t forget to check out the park’s exciting rides, such as the Emperor, California’s tallest and fastest roller coaster boasting a 14-story vertical drop and thrilling speeds of up to 60 mph. From awe-inspiring marine life to exhilarating rides, SeaWorld San Diego is a family attraction that should not be missed.

Bask in San Diego's Beautiful Beaches

A view of Coronado Central Beach with the Coronado Bridge in the background

Your San Diego trip won’t be complete without spending some time on its stunning sandy beaches. With a variety of stunning beach locales, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the ocean breeze.

  • Coronado Central Beach: family-friendly beach
  • La Jolla Cove: picturesque beach
  • Pacific Beach: lively beach
  • Del Mar Beach: charming beach

There’s a beach experience for everyone in San Diego.

Coronado Central Beach

With its expansive sandy shore, calm waves, and ample amenities like restrooms, showers, and picnic tables, Coronado Central Beach is perfect for families. Located in Coronado, California, this stunning beach is renowned for its tranquil waves, expansive stretch of sand, and close proximity to the iconic Coronado Bridge.

Consider renting an electric beach cruiser to fully appreciate the sights along Coronado Central Beach’s shoreline. With its pristine sands and tranquil atmosphere, Coronado Central Beach is the perfect destination for a relaxing day by the ocean.

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove, located along the stunning California coast, is an incredibly beautiful beach with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, majestic rocky cliffs, and sparkling crystal-clear waters. This ecologically protected area is home to a diverse and beautiful array of wildlife both in and out of the water.

La Jolla Cove is a great spot for snorkeling and kayaking. Beginner snorkelers can explore the area, while advanced snorkelers can take in the breathtaking sea caves located along the bluffs, but only with a guide.

Take a kayak tour to make the most of your visit. Visit the Cave Store, home to a remarkable human-made tunnel that leads directly inside the Sunny Jim Cave.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is famous for its lively boardwalk, scenic sandy beach, and delightful beach bars and eateries. With a lively atmosphere and plenty of beachfront entertainment, Pacific Beach is a popular destination for visitors looking to enjoy San Diego’s beach culture.

In addition to sunbathing and swimming, Pacific Beach offers an array of exciting dining and nightlife options, such as:

  • Beach bars
  • Waterfront restaurants
  • Craft beer tours
  • Food tours

Whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach day or a night out on the town, Pacific Beach has something for everyone.

Del Mar Beach

Offering a beautiful European-inspired village nearby, Del Mar Beach is an excellent place for sunbathing, swimming, and beach volleyball. With its charming atmosphere and wide array of recreational activities, Del Mar Beach is a popular destination for both locals and visitors alike.

Outdoor Adventures in San Diego

A view of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve with the Pacific Ocean in the background

San Diego offers a myriad of options for those seeking outdoor adventures. Here are just a few examples:

  • Hike the scenic trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
  • Take to the water with an array of water sports at Mission Bay
  • Soar through the skies on a paragliding adventure at Torrey Pines Gliderport

With so many thrilling experiences to choose from, San Diego truly offers something for every outdoor enthusiast.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is an unmissable destination for nature enthusiasts, just like the nearby Cabrillo National Monument. This reserve boasts 1,750 acres of untouched land. Among them is the Torrey pine, America’s most unique and majestic tree species. With family-friendly hiking trails, breathtaking ocean views, and the majestic endangered Torrey Pine trees, the reserve offers a unique experience for visitors of all ages.

One of the most popular trails at the reserve is the Beach Trail, a beautiful nearly mile-long trail that leads to the stunning Torrey Pines State Beach. To make the most of your visit, plan your hike for sunset to enjoy the most breathtaking views of the park and its surroundings.

Mission Bay Water Sports

Mission Bay, with its calm waters ideal for activities such as stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, and kayaking, is a dream destination for water sports enthusiasts. In addition to water sports, the bay also features walking and biking trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for families to spend the day.

For a truly memorable water sports experience, consider taking a guided tour or renting equipment from one of the many rental shops around Mission Bay. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced adventurer, the calm waters of Mission Bay provide the perfect setting for a day of fun on the water.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

The Torrey Pines Gliderport offers a unique outdoor adventure with its exhilarating paragliding experience. Offering tandem flights and stunning views of the coastline, this thrilling destination is perfect for both beginners and experienced paragliders alike.

Marvel at the stunning ocean views of the 2,000-acre reserve, its expansive hiking trails, and majestic sandstone cliffs beneath you as you soar through the skies. With experienced instructors and state-of-the-art equipment, the Torrey Pines Gliderport provides a safe and unforgettable adventure for thrill-seekers of all ages.

Explore San Diego's Vibrant Neighborhoods

A picture showcasing the vibrant and diverse activities and attractions of San Diego, perfect for those wondering what is there to do in San Diego

San Diego boasts diverse neighborhoods, each possessing its distinct charm and character. Some of the notable neighborhoods include:

  • Old Town San Diego: The historic heart of the city
  • Gaslamp Quarter: A bustling area known for its nightlife and entertainment
  • Little Italy: A trendy neighborhood with great restaurants and shops
  • La Jolla: An upscale coastal community with beautiful beaches and stunning views

There’s a neighborhood for every taste and interest in San Diego.

Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego, characterized by its Spanish-style architecture, Hispanic culture, art, and food, is an ideal location for a leisurely stroll. As the birthplace of California, Old Town offers a glimpse into the state’s early history, with museums, art galleries, and authentic Mexican food to enjoy.

Take a walking tour of the area to learn about its fascinating history, or simply wander the charming streets and plazas, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of this unique neighborhood.

Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is a bustling downtown district, featuring Victorian-style buildings and fashionable restaurants, bars, and clubs. Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is the perfect destination for a night out on the town, with live music venues, art galleries, and shopping to explore.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night, a lively night out with friends, or a casual evening of people-watching, the Gaslamp Quarter has something for everyone.

Little Italy

Known for its variety of attractions, Little Italy offers something for everyone. This pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is home to:

  • A wide range of restaurants, serving delicious Italian cuisine
  • Bars and music venues, where you can enjoy live music and a vibrant nightlife
  • Boutiques and artisan shops, where you can find unique and stylish items
  • Art galleries, showcasing the work of local artists

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely afternoon or an exciting evening out, Little Italy has it all.

Don’t miss the popular Saturday farmers market, where you can find fresh produce, artisan products, and delicious street food. With its vibrant atmosphere and rich cultural offerings, Little Italy is a must-visit destination in San Diego.

La Jolla

La Jolla, an upscale coastal community, features stunning beaches, boutique shops, art galleries, and exquisite dining options. Known for its breathtaking ocean views and picturesque coastline, La Jolla is a popular destination for both tourists and locals.

Spend a day in La Jolla and enjoy:

  • Exploring the beautiful beaches, such as La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores
  • Taking a stroll through the charming village, browsing the unique shops and galleries
  • Indulging in some of the finest dining San Diego has to offer, with a variety of oceanfront restaurants to choose from.

San Diego's Food and Drink Scene

A view of Fish Tacos being served in San Diego

Savor the incredible food and drink scene that San Diego has to offer. From the local favorite fish tacos to the thriving craft beer scene, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Embark on a food tour to experience the diverse culinary offerings of the city, or indulge in a waterfront dining experience with stunning views and fresh seafood.

Fish Tacos

Fish tacos are a must-try in San Diego, with numerous eateries offering their unique take on this local favorite. Made with:

  • fresh white fish
  • flour or corn tortillas
  • seasonings
  • lime juice
  • red cabbage
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • mayo
  • garlic

These delicious tacos are a true taste of San Diego’s culinary scene.

Some of the best places to find mouthwatering fish tacos include El Pescador Fish Market, The Taco Stand, and The Taco Shop at Underdog’s. Be sure to sample this iconic dish while exploring the city’s vibrant food scene.

Craft Beer Tours

San Diego is known as the craft beer capital of the United States, boasting over 200 breweries throughout the city. To fully immerse yourself in the thriving craft beer scene, consider joining a guided brewery tour, which will take you to some of the city’s most popular breweries, such as Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, and AleSmith.

These tours offer an in-depth look at the brewing process, as well as the opportunity to sample a variety of delicious craft beers. It’s the perfect way to explore San Diego’s rich beer culture and discover new favorites along the way.

Food Tours

Food tours offer a taste of San Diego’s diverse culinary scene, with options such as Old Town culinary history tours and Little Italy wine strolls. These guided tours take you through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, introducing you to local restaurants, food markets, and other culinary attractions.

Booking a food tour is an excellent way to discover San Diego’s culinary scene in an engaging and immersive manner, while also learning about the city’s history and culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste your way through America’s Finest City, San Diego.

Waterfront Dining

Enjoy waterfront dining at restaurants with stunning views, fresh seafood, and unforgettable sunsets. From casual beachside eateries to upscale oceanfront establishments, San Diego offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget.

Some of the best waterfront restaurants in San Diego include:

  • Waterbar San Diego
  • Tidal
  • World Famous
  • Oceana Coastal Kitchen
  • Dockside 1953
  • Casa De Freds, Tacos y Tequila

With their breathtaking views and delicious cuisine, these restaurants provide an unforgettable dining experience in San Diego.

Family Fun in San Diego

A view of Legoland California with the roller coaster in the background

San Diego attractions boasts an abundance of family-friendly activities for everyone’s entertainment. Visit Legoland California for a day of thrilling rides and creative building activities, or head to Belmont Park for an array of exciting carnival rides, laser tag, and arcade games.

Explore the fascinating marine life exhibits at Birch Aquarium at Scripps, or let your child’s imagination run wild at the New Children’s Museum.

Legoland California

Legoland California, a family-friendly theme park, features over 60 rides, movies, and building activities, complemented by a water park and one of San diego landmark sites for marine life: SEA LIFE Aquarium. With its incredible attractions, such as:

  • Adventurer’s Club
  • Fun Town
  • Aquazone Wave Racer
  • Imagination Zone
  • Beetle Bounce
  • and many more

There are endless opportunities for fun and adventure for the whole family.

Located just a short drive from San Diego, Legoland California Resort also boasts the SEA LIFE Aquarium and Legoland Water Park for even more unforgettable experiences. Plan a full day at the resort to make the most of all the exciting attractions on offer.

Belmont Park

picture of Belmont park with people

Explore San Diego Belmont Park, a historic amusement park in Mission Beach, offers a variety of attractions, including:

  • Wooden roller coaster
  • Carnival rides
  • Laser tag
  • Arcade games
  • Go-kart track
  • Zip line
  • Lazer maze
  • Sky ropes
  • Rock wall
  • Tiki Town Mini Golf
  • Xanadu 7D Theater

This beachfront amusement park has something for everyone, with thrilling rides like the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and a range of other activities to enjoy.

In addition to the rides and attractions, Belmont Park also offers a variety of dining options, shops, and even a beautiful sunset with delicious sushi at Cannonball’s rooftop terrace. Admission to Belmont Park is complimentary, making it an affordable option for families looking for a fun day out in San Diego.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Perfect for families with young children, Birch Aquarium at Scripps provides educational and entertaining marine life exhibits. After a day at Petco Park, consider visiting some of the attractions at the aquarium, which include:

  • Hall of Fishes
  • Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins
  • Preuss Tide Pool Plaza
  • El Más Allá
  • Energized
  • Ocotillo Sunset
  • Teatro Piñata

There’s plenty to see and do for visitors of all ages.

Located just a short drive from downtown San Diego, Birch Aquarium at Scripps is a great family-friendly attraction that provides a fun and educational experience for kids and adults alike.

New Children's Museum

The New Children’s Museum offers kids hands-on art and creative experiences, though advanced reservations or tickets are required. This innovative museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits and activities, such as:

  • Brian and the Bugs
  • Breathing Room
  • El Más Allá
  • Energized
  • Ocotillo Sunset
  • Teatro Piñata

With so much to explore and create, the New Children’s Museum, a must-visit San Diego museum, is the perfect destination for families in San Diego.

Annual Events in San Diego

Beyond its fantastic attractions, San Diego hosts a range of annual events attracting visitors globally.

One of the most popular events is the world-famous San Diego Comic-Con, showcasing the best in pop culture, comics, movies, and more.

San Diego Comic-Con

Held every summer in San Diego, San Diego Comic-Con is the world’s largest comic book and pop culture convention. This exciting event features:

  • Panels
  • Screenings
  • Autograph signings
  • Various events and activities happening around San Diego during Comic-Con.

With its incredible lineup of guests, exclusive merchandise, and unforgettable experiences, San Diego Comic-Con is a must-attend event for fans of all ages. Be sure to plan your visit in advance, as tickets and accommodations can sell out quickly!


From its iconic attractions and beautiful beaches to its diverse neighborhoods and culinary scene, San Diego truly offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for adventure or a family in search of fun, San Diego promises an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to explore America’s Finest City!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is San Diego best known for?

San Diego is renowned for its stunning beaches, idyllic climate and impressive array of attractions, from the iconic San Diego Zoo to the up-and-coming craft beer industry. With something to please everyone, it's easy to see why this sunny California city has become so popular.

Is San Diego a fun trip?

San Diego is an ideal holiday destination with stunning beaches, year-round sun, delicious food and loads of fun for kids and adults alike. Don't miss out on the amazing surf culture, postcard-perfect weather, Michelin stars and cheap eats when you visit!

Why is San Diego worth visiting?

San Diego's 70 miles of shoreline, diverse beaches and incredible surfing make it a perfect destination for beach-lovers. Whether you want to surf or just spend the day soaking up some sun, San Diego is the ideal spot to visit.

What are some of the iconic attractions in San Diego?

Experience the beauty of Balboa Park, marvel at the wonders of the San Diego Zoo, explore the USS Midway Museum, and have a blast at SeaWorld San Diego – all iconic attractions San Diego has to offer!

What are some of the best beaches to visit in San Diego?

San Diego is home to some of the best beaches in the country, including Coronado Central Beach, La Jolla Cove, Pacific Beach, and Del Mar Beach.

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