San Diego

Best Things To Do In San Diego

10 minutes, 31 seconds Read

Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

San Diego, a traditional coastal California town, welcomes guests with picture-perfect weather and an unexpected diversity of things to do in San Diego. You may climb mountains, go on desert hikes, and surf at one of those palm-lined beaches within the city limits. Visitors can also discover about military & Spanish colonization and indulge in fresh seafood and Mexican cuisine. San Diego has something for everyone, from its laid-back beach areas like Ocean, Mission, and Pacific beaches to the lively nightlife and downtown eating hotspots of Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter.

10 Best Things To Do In San Diego

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway is a museum in downtown San Diego dedicated to America’s world’s oldest aircraft of the twentieth century. The immersive museum is now a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the whole family, allowing visitors to walk in the footprints of the 225,000 men who served on the battleship Midway. In addition, visitors can visit a floating city at the ocean, the incredible flying deck with its 29 preserved aircraft, simulators, and the Battle of Midway Theater, which is involved with admission. A self-guided tour told by Mid sailors in English, Japanese, Mandarin, French, Spanish, and German is also included with admission. Visiting Midway will be an excellent opportunity in San Diego, known as the “Navy Town, USA” worldwide.

Key Information:

Address: 910 North Harbor Drive
Price: $10 for kids (6-12); $23 for adults
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Type: Museum
Time to Spend: 2 Hrs-half day

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is a wildlife sanctuary with over 3,500 rare and endangered animals representing over 650 species and subspecies and a significant botanical collection of over 700,000 unique plants. Balboa Park is situated in the north of downtown San Diego. Most importantly, the San Diego Zoological Institute for Conservation Research, the San Diego Zoological Safari Park,  and the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy operate by San Diego Zoo Global, a non-profit corporation.

Key Information:

Address: 2929 Zoo Drive
Price: $46 for kids (3-11); $56 for adults
Hours: Depends on the seasons
Type: Aquarium and Zoo
Time to Spend: Half day-Full day

Gaslamp Quarter

The 16 blocks of Gaslamp Quarter are lined with Victorian-style architecture that now houses a variety of stores, art galleries, theatres, trendy restaurants, and pubs and clubs. The region includes Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth avenues, First Avenue at G Street, and extends from L Street to Broadway. The Horton Plaza shopping center, located at First and G Streets, is the perfect site to begin your tour of the Gaslamp Quarter. You can then tour the neighborhood’s side streets, leading you to the main thoroughfares. Alternatively, you can start your journey at the Gaslamp Quarter Gate, situated at L Street and Fifth Avenue.

Key Information:

Address: 5th Avenue, San Diego, 92101
Price: $0
Hours: 24/7
Type: Nightlife & entertainment, Neighborhood Area type
Time to Spend: 2Hrs-half day

Seaport Village

Seaport Village is the place to go if you want to spend an afternoon sipping coffee and shopping for souvenirs while watching ships glide in or out of the harbor. The 14-acre hamlet, located on the beachfront is not far from USS Midway Museum, is house to more than 50 stores and 13 dining establishments.

In addition, summer apparel can be found at Seaport Island Fashion, artistry at Wyland Galleries, and eco-friendly products at Cariloha Bamboo. Additionally, a popular hangout spot is Hot Licks, the hot sauce business. With so much diversity, you’re bound to find something unique to commemorate your visit to San Diego. Even those who aren’t fond of shopping noted that roaming through the bright outdoor complex was enjoyable.

Key Information:

Address: 849 W Harbor Dr
Price: $0
Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m, September through May
Type: Cafes, Shopping,  Neighborhood Area type
Time to Spend: 2Hrs-half day

Sunset Cliffs

Tourists say this will be the following finest site for sea view in Point Loma after the Cabrillo Monument. Sunset Cliffs is a 68-acre park that covers 1.5 miles along the western shoreline of the Point Loma peninsula, about 9 miles west of the city of San Diego. However, the towering sandstone cliffs, pristine greenery, and breathtaking ocean views make for a beautiful day or night ramble. Although reaching them would be difficult, there are a few quiet beaches nearby, although getting them would be difficult. Meanwhile, a beach popular with residents may be found right at the start of Cordova Street, just off Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, and it requires a trek down the rocky bluffs.

Key Information:

Address: Sunset Cliff
Price: $0
Hours: 24/7
Type: Recreation, Pool/Swimming, Hiking
Time to Spend: 1-2 hours

Petco Park

Petco Park, often regarded as one of the greatest baseball stadiums in the nation, is a must-see for Padres fans or who wish to see a baseball game while taking in the stunning San Diego skyline. The light sandstone facade and beautiful palm trees and foliage, and the stadium’s numerous eating options represent its Southern California locale. In addition to traditional stadium fares such as hot dogs and hamburgers, some who work up an appetite rooting for the team can have sashimi, kale quinoa salad, or fish tacos. However, visitors believe the food is one of the ballpark’s best features, and several residents admit to going to games solely for the delicious food.

Key Information:

Address: 100 Park, Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
Price: $20 for adults, Games prices will vary
Hours: 24/7
Type: Sports
Time to Spend: 2Hrs-Half day

Maritime Museum of San Diego

The Maritime Museum gives visitors a hands-on experience of San Diego’s former life as a thriving harbor. You can explore a variety of ancient warships, from sailboats to submarines, including the Star of India, the oldest known active ship. According to recent guests, the boat tours gave them a new appreciation for the craftsmanship and expertise required of sailors. Previous passengers have also advised that you should dress in slacks and hiking boots to navigate the ships’ tiny, low hallways. Besides the boat tours, various permanent and temporary displays use art and artifacts to illustrate San Diego’s nautical history. The exhibits are fascinating, even for children, by visitors.

Key Information:

Address: 1492 North Harbor Drive
Price: $8 for kids (3-12 years); $18 for adults
Hours: 9 a.m. 8/9 p.m.
Type: Museum
Time to Spend: 2Hrs-half day

Liberty Public Market

If you’re hungry and near the San Diego Bay, Liberty Public Market is the place to go for a fantastic meal. And over 30 independently owned food stalls dot the market, each with its distinct personality. First, however, visitors can take a stroll through the lively market and try food from worldwide. For example, Venissimo Cheese offers artisanal cheeses in various formats, including sandwiches, crackers, charcuterie platters, etc. Baker & Olive, which sells excellent olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and Holistic, which sells natural dog and cat food, are two stalls with more unique products. Inside, you can get beer, wine, and drinks. Therefore, according to visitors, the Liberty Public Market is ideal for anyone coming with a large party because everyone will find something.

Key Information:

Address: 2820 Historic Decatur Road
Price: $0
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Type: Shopping, Cafes
Time to Spend: 1-2 hours

Also read: Things To Do In Annapolis

Belmont Park

A journey to San Diego isn’t complete without a stop at Belmont Park, a coastal amusement park and boardwalk. Those seeking excitement can ride the legendary Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the spinning Beach Blaster. In contrast, those seeking relaxation can ride the carousel, play mini-golf, or visit the arcade. Rock climbing,  zip-lining, bumper cars, and laser tag are among the other activities and attractions available. Past visitors commented on the short lines despite the park’s bustling location. However, they recommend going early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid long lines. Sun Diego and a bike & beach equipment rental company are among the shops at Belmont Park. The Plunge at Fit is also a popular attraction for visitors because of its indoor pool with a beach view.

Key Information:

Address: 3146 Mission Boulevard
Price: Price per ride (Entry is free)
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Type: Amusement Park, Beach
Time to Spend: Half day-Full day

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is a great place to unwind for a few hours, thanks to its calm waves and lively beachgoers. Locals and visitors flock to this shore to surf, explore marine life, and relax in the clear ocean sand and water. In addition, families travel to La Jolla Shores because of the constant presence of lifeguards and accessible public bathrooms.

Still, a quick walk from the beach has a few food alternatives where guests may have a quick nibble or an excellent supper. Whether bringing a cooler, keep an eye out for hungry seagulls hovering around hunting for food. Visitors should seek out one of the rooftop decks at local bars for a fantastic vantage point, where they can enjoy coastal views and active nightlife.

Key Information:

Address: 8300 Camino del Ora
Price: $0
Hours: 24/7
Time to Spend: 2Hrs-half day

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is San Diego best known for?

San Diego is a city located in Southern California with stunning beaches and beautiful weather. Moreover, it is known for its San Diego Padres, San Diego Zoo, and beer industry. So, it is worth visiting to explore this place.

Is San Diego a fun trip?

Yes, it can be a fun trip for San Diego as it is one of the best places with beaches and beach beach activity. So, you can have a great time with your family and friends by visiting San Diego.

What can you do in San Diego that does not require walking?

If you are in San Diego and don’t prefer walking, then you can explore the Downtown, Balboa Park, water seat tour, and old town trolley. 

What is the most preferred month to visit San Diego?

The most preferred month to visit San Diego is between September to November. So, you can also plan your next trip during this month as well. Also, you’ll get the accommodation on an affordable side as well.

Why is San Diego worth visiting?

Visiting San Diego is totally worth it as it is a waterfront city that has top-notch restaurants and beautiful ocean-sprayed vistas. Not only this, San Diego has an amazing culture and history and a centrally located urban park.

Where should I go for my first time in San Diego?

If you are going to San Diego for the first time, then you must go to the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Bay, Lo Jolla, Seaport Village, Downtown San Diego, etc.

What is the best part of San Diego to stay in?

The best part of San Diego to stay in is Downtown. So, if you are a first-time visitor, then you can also plan your stay in Downtown as well. The airport, waterfront Embarcadero, Seaport Village, restaurants, and cruises are easily accessible from this place. Also, 

Is San Diego too expensive?

Yes, San Diego is too expensive. The cost of living of this place is 40 points higher than the average American city. Price of housing, transportation, utilities, health care, goods, and services, and groceries are really expensive.

Is it safe to explore Downtown, San Diego at night?

Yes, it is safe to walk at night in Downtown, San Diego. So, all the tourists either male or female can explore San Diego even at night.

Can you stay in San Diego without a car?

Yes, you can stay in San Diego without a car. If you are staying Downtown, then you can enjoy the convenient and walkable layout of downtown, San Diego. 

How many days in San Diego is enough?

If you are going to San Diego for the first time, then 3 days will be sufficient for you. In 3 days, you can explore 2-to 3 parks, the city center, the coastal area, and restaurants as well. 

What is the rainiest month in San Diego?

The rainiest month in San Diego is February. The city averages 2.3 inches of rain every year in this month.

What is the most inexpensive month to visit San Diego?

The cheapest month to visit San Diego is from mid-September to November. During this time, the beaches are less crowded and the accommodation rates dip. So, you can plan your trip in these months if you have a tight budget.

What is the coldest month in San Diego?

The coldest month in San Diego in December. The temperature goes 48.9°F in the night. However, the warmest month in San Diego is August.

Can you do a day trip to San Diego?

Yes, if you have less time, then no worries. You can still do a day trip to San Diego. You can explore cruise ship terminals, historic sites, museums and so many other places as well.


David Ross

I'm David Ross, an enthusiastic traveler and writer, deeply passionate about airline travel. My insatiable curiosity for exploring new destinations and my unwavering commitment to assisting fellow travelers in navigating the intricacies of air travel have brought me here to share my knowledge with you. Drawing from my extensive experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to create detailed airline travel guides to ensure your journeys are as hassle-free as possible.

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