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Fun Things To Do in San Diego

a view of a city with tall buildings in the background

You are visiting and want some ideas of what to do in San Diego. We got you! We have put together a list of the top things to do and places to see in the San Diego area.

Get Out on the Water

With 70 miles of beautiful coastline, San Diego is home to an incredible variety of stunning beaches and harbors. If you are at all unsure of what to do in San Diego, the first place to look is on the water.

If you are looking for an adventure try kayaking out to Coronado Island. Let the soft sandy beaches and sparkling water keep you relaxed while you work up a sweat. Just make sure you keep an eye out for dolphins and if you are out after dark, try to see if you can spot the bioluminescent plankton in the surf.

If paddling seems like way too much work, you might want to check out a speedboat tour. Rocket around the coast of San Diego on a speedboat and drive right up to the USS Midway, an enormous aircraft carrier that has been turned into a museum.

Who could talk about things to do in San Diego without mentioning whale watching? The first time you see a whale breaching in front of you is truly an awe-inspiring experience. Whale watching season runs from mid December to April, and thankfully San Diego never gets cold.

Soak up the Sun at Mission Beach

a group of people walking on a wooden bench

While every beach in San Diego is beautiful, Mission Beach is the best one to check out if you want something to do beyond the regular beach activities. Outside of just splashing and sunbathing, Mission beach is lined with cozy cafes, cute shops, and tasty eateries.

What really brings people to Mission Beach is the surfing. The large and small waves make it a perfect place for both experienced and novice surfers. The long length of the beach ensures it’s never too crowded to catch some waves.

Never surfed before? Mission beach is the perfect place to learn thanks to the Surfari Surf School. Book a one-hour class online and after a professional instructor teaches you for an hour you get to keep the board for an extra hour to really get some practice in.

Other great amenities include Belmont Park on the north end of the beach and the Ocean Front Walk which stretches along it. Belmont park offers the classic beach amusement park experience with thrilling rides and a classic roller coaster. The Ocean Front Walk is a lovely path winding along the beach popular with rollerbladers, bikers, and runners.

Explore Balboa Park

a large stone building

This stunning 1,200-acre park is located near downtown San Diego and is sure to be a hit. With over 16 museums, performing arts venues, beautiful gardens, and historic buildings there is always something to do here.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance on the north side of Balboa holds over 650 different species from aardvarks to zebras. Bring the whole family and learn about hundreds of rare and endangered animals and the zoo’s efforts to help conserve them.

If wildlife is not really your cup of tea, there are plenty of other attractions in Balboa Park for you to check out. The San Diego Air & Space Museum is a great choice for anyone interested in aviation. Learn about the history of aviation from hot air balloons to the space shuttle and see some really cool historic planes.

If you are looking for free things to do in San Diego, the Botanical Building in Balboa Park and its adjoining lily pond are a great place to see thousands of exotic plants and flowers. The building itself was built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition and is a hot spot for photographers due to its unique construction and historical significance.

Cruise the City

a view of a city with tall buildings in the background

Electric scooters are an incredible way to cover lots of ground sightseeing while avoiding traffic and giving your legs some much needed rest. Cruise down the Gaslamp Quarter and see the historic heart of the city and the epicenter of San Diego’s nightlife scene. Check out the incredible cultural offerings including theaters, art galleries, symphony halls, and much more.

When you start getting hungry make sure to head over to Lolita’s Mexican Food for some killer carne asada fries, a local classic of fries covered in steak, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. If that sounds too messy you can always get a California burrito, which is the exact same thing but held together inside a tortilla.

Take a Day Trip Out of Town

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Did you do everything there is to do in San Diego? Impossible! But we’ve still got you covered if you are looking to expand your horizons. There are even more incredible experiences to be had just outside of town.

If you want to gorge yourself on lobster, you need to take a day trip down to Puerto Nuevo. This small lobster fishing village in Baja California has some of the best seafood on the planet.

The best way to get to Baja California is to join a tour. This incredible trip starts in San Diego and takes you south to the Tijuana Cultural Center, the Botanical Gardens, and finally Puerto Nuevo for some incredible lobster and craft beer. It is the best way to visit Mexico from San Diego!

What are You Waiting For?

With all these incredible things to do in San Diego waiting for you, it’s hard to know where to start. Just scroll down to see a few easy-to-book activities we talked about earlier in this post. These take seconds to book so you can spend less time planning and more time experiencing San Diego.