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Best things to do in San Diego

Discover the city through the eyes of locals. Find the best things to do, places to eat, and get priceless advice from the people who live here.

Theme Park Ride / Attraction
“ https://www.balboapark.org/ explore/attractions See the huge colorful murals at the Centro Cultural de la Raza See perfectly manicured bonsai & koi at the Japanese Friendship Garden Discover hidden worlds through a lens at the Museum of Photographic Arts Go one-on-one with science at the Fleet Science Center Enjoy a 4D multi-sensory experience at the San Diego Air and Space Museum See the latest experimental & modern art at the San Diego Art Institute See Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car at the San Diego Automotive Museum See a film about Balboa Park’s history at the San Diego History Center Delight in 115 miles of railroad tracks at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum See the famous El Greco painting at The San Diego Museum of Art Engage with monsters & human culture at the San Diego Museum of Man Time travel & meet “Al the Allosaurus” at the San Diego Natural History Museum See an actual Rembrandt painting at the Timken Museum of Art Find the pen that ended World War II at the Veterans Museum Hear how music, art, dance and culture help us heal at the WorldBeat Center Must-see attractions are everywhere throughout Balboa Park. From iconic San Diego landmarks, to massive trees, to watching artists at work, to the World Famous San Diego Zoo, experience the history of yesterday, the beauty of today, and the potential of tomorrow through these memorable attractions, and their stories.”
1059local recommendations
Zoo
$$$
“World famous San Diego zoo can eat up most of your day exploring the beautiful and expansive grounds.”
811local recommendations
Zoo
“Wait, what? San Diego has another zoo? Yes! San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a.k.a. Wild Animal Park, will give you a different view of the animals in a more natural space!”
269local recommendations
Theme Park
“Spend the day with the family at Sea World. Discount tickets often available at Costco or online. ”
333local recommendations
Park
“Incredible hike and great ocean views, red rocks and sometimes even dolphins!”
506local recommendations
Shopping Mall
“Embrace the coastal chic lifestyle at Southern California's trendiest destination, Fashion Valley. Accented by living succulent walls, gorgeous palm trees and an array of high end brands. Fashion Valley Mall is an upscale, open-air shopping mall in Mission Valley in San Diego.”
302local recommendations
Museum
“The USS Midway Museum is a historical naval aircraft carrier museum located in downtown San Diego, at the pier. The museum consists of the aircraft carrier Midway. The ship houses an extensive collection of aircraft, many of which were built in Southern California.”
260local recommendations
Neighbourhood
“Discover San Diego's Urban Side The heartbeat of every city lives in its downtown, and San Diego is no exception. Located only minutes from the airport, San Diego's thriving urban center offers an abundance of options for accommodations, activities, dining and cultural attractions, all easily accessible by foot, bike, car or public transportation. In the historic Gaslamp Quarter, where modern architecture and Victorian-Age buildings stand side-by-side, you'll discover eclectic galleries, chic boutiques, trendy nightclubs, rooftop bars, gastropubs, craft beer haunts and fine dining restaurants lining the streets. During the day, families can enjoy compelling cultural attractions in San Diego's downtown, like The New Children's Museum, take in a baseball game at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, or catch the trolley to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. With plenty of places to eat, shop and explore, families can enjoy a true California urban safari. After dark, the city transforms into a sophisticated playground for adults. With an endless variety of posh night clubs, sizzling music venues and sky-high rooftop bars, there's plenty of ways to enjoy a memorable night on the town. The waterfront Embarcadero (or "landing place" in Spanish) lines the western edge of downtown. Its boardwalk hugs the San Diego Bay, home to the cruise terminal, the Navy Pier and Seaport Village. Climb aboard to explore the ships at the USS Midway Museum, the Star of India, or the Maritime Museum of San Diego. If a moving sea vessel is more your style, hop on a harbor cruise and explore the bay, while taking in the skyline views. For fun on land, head to the Headquarters at Seaport Village to grab a gourmet bite or browse for one-of-a-kind take-home treasures. If you're looking for some authentic local flavor, immerse yourself in San Diego's Little Italy district, just north of downtown, where you can grab a slice of pizza or an espresso and biscotti from a local café, or dine at one of the celebrity chef restaurants located on bustling Kettner Boulevard known as "Top Chef Alley." Just south of downtown sits the vibrant East Village, a revitalized warehouse district with a hip social scene, and trendy cafes, craft beer bars and high energy vibe. East of downtown you'll find Barrio Logan, the epicenter of San Diego's Hispanic community, where art and food converge in a symphony of sights, sounds and tastes. The colorful murals and outstanding fare are worth the trip.”
448local recommendations
Beach
“La Jolla Cove is a very small beach, tucked between sandstone cliffs. Because of its extraordinary beauty, La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California. With small surf in the summer months, the north facing La Jolla Cove is ideal for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Water visibility at the Cove can sometimes exceed 30 feet. La Jolla Cove lies within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, which helps to ensure that marine life remains plentiful. ”
400local recommendations
Shopping Plaza
$$
“Lots of changes here...food, shopping, street vendors right on the water downtown. ”
290local recommendations
Baseball Stadium
“One of the best ballparks in all of MLB! Best food, great vibes and right downtown in the Gaslamp Quarter - which makes partying after the Padres win a must!”
247local recommendations
Neighbourhood
“Old Town is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. It contains 230 acres and is bounded by Interstate 8 on the north, Interstate 5 on the west, Mission Hills on the east and Bankers Hill on the south.”
370local recommendations
Theme Park
“Go online and get passes on Group on if available. Less expensive and typically a great value. This place is fun to hang out and one definitely must go on The Big Dipper but can get really crowded so if you’re not a fan of crowds then I definitely do not recommend this place.”
230local recommendations
Theme Park Ride / Attraction
“There are numerous museums, a beautiful arboretum, access to the famous San Diego Zoo right next door, beautiful strolls through a well-preserved San Diego landmark. ”
381local recommendations
National Park
“Excellent place with awesome views. I think its the best place in San Diego for views. National Parks pass is free to enter $10 per vehicle”
313local recommendations
Theme Park
“Marine life shows, rides, aquariums, and plenty of other opportunities to see what San Diego has to offer!”
158local recommendations