Top 8 Best Things to See And Do in San Diego – USA

A view of one of San Diego's beaches

The best things to do in San Diego as a tourist

A metropolitan city in the state of California, San Diego is a fine example of a city “Living the American Dream”. It is where laid back lifestyle meets the eternally fast-paced metro life to give you an unmatched experience. Sunny weather, bustling beaches, vivacious nightlife, and signature Mexican food. A weekend in San Diego is a perfect vacation choice. Here are a variety of fun things to do in San Diego.


Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach in San Diego – © Wikimedia

A visit to the beaches every day to laze at the shacks and enjoy the Sun, sand, and sea is a must on your itinerary.  In San Diego, surfing is quite popular with break waves to suit the style of beginner and professional surfers. Mission Beach, Ocean beach, and Pacific Beach are the best beaches in the region for surfing.

Mission Beach will also give you opportunities to skateboard, bike, and participate in many beachfront activities.

Visit the La Jolla Cove beach- popular for gorgeous turquoise waters and seals & sea lions dotting the coves!

Balboa Park

Balboa Park in San Diego
Balboa Park – © Wikimedia

Imagine Central Park in New York but bigger and better! Balboa Park is a cultural wonderland that has everything – from museums to live performances to scientific centres to theatres screening plays, and from puppet shows to IMAX movies; you name it and you will have it!

The 1200 acre park has always been popular with locals and tourists alike for its many recreational activities, offering multiple choices to everyone.

Be sure to book your tour tickets before arrival to avoid queuing up!

USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum

aircraft carrier museum
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum – © Flickr

If you are a history buff, then the USS Midway Museum is a must visit! An aircraft carrier with a distinguished career spanning from World war to the Gulf War, it is like having a date with history.

The restored American warship has a record to its name – the longest-serving Aircraft carrier to date in American history! The tours to fascinating restored jets and exhibits are fully complemented by audio guides and few retired sailors, to delight with some extraordinary fun facts.

Do remember to come here early to avoid long queues for tickets!

Children’s Pool Beach

Children’s Pool Beach San Diego
Children’s Pool Beach – © Wikimedia

Don’t go by the name! Even though it’s a great thing to do with kids in San Diego, Children’s pool beach is not just for kids. It got its name from the seawall constructed in the 1930s to safeguard kids from turbulent waves, and is open for people of all ages.

Due to calm waves, the beach has become a natural habitat for seals. It’s a great fun to watch seals playing in the sand and clicking pictures of them will surely make it even more memorable.

This beach is great to soak up the sun and laze around but due to high bacterial content in the water, swimming is not recommended.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park – © Wikimedia

Let’s go back in time to the days of the first European settlement in California! San Diego was the first city to settle in the state of California. At old town park, you will have a close experience with its culture and history through its authentic Mexican art, mariachi music, and native food.

You will find many attractions here – Seeley Stable & Livery showcasing horse-drawn carriages; Blacksmith shop; Colorado House.

The entry to the park and museums are free of cost but guided tours are available with a fee.

San Diego Zoo

the san diego zoo
A lion at San Diego’s zoo – © Pixabay

If you are visiting with kids, then the largest zoo in the United States has to be on the list of things to do in San Diego with Kids. The zoo is famous for its Pandas, whose natural habitats have been recreated here.

It also offers amazing tours where you can have exclusive access to behind-the-scenes and close  experiences with the animals. Make sure you get your skip-the-line tickets ahead of time!

You can also visit San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which offers wildlife safaris.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
People watching the sunset at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park – © Wikimedia

Another great experience to have on the list of things to do in San Diego is a visit to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

It is a place to be if you want to escape the urban city life and enjoy beautiful sunsets with your loved ones. The beautiful sunsets here are bound to make you fall in love with the picturesque setting.

Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter
Nightlife in Gaslamp Quarter San Diego – © Flickr

Once you are done with your outdoor activities in the day time, it is now time for you to hit the nightlife zone – Gaslamp Quarter National Historic District. The Victorian architecture here dates back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The district has an enchanting vibe and captivates you with its live performances and music. The 16-block district is also home to the Broadway and restaurants here give some of the best fine-dining experiences.

Once you are done with the dinner, you may want to stroll down to the souvenir shops to take memories back home.

Hotels San Diego

hotel in san diego
The famous Coronado Hotel in San Diego – © Flickr

You will find all kinds of hotels in San Diego to suit your pocket! From budget hotels to mid-range like Courtyard by Marriot to Luxury Hotels like Manchester Grand Hyatt, there is no dearth of hotels to match your preference.

Find hotels San Diego by the beach to stay minutes away from the beach.

Already visited San Diego? Why not check out our guide of the best things to do in Taipei!

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