This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read our disclosure policy.
Looking for things to do in San Diego? Look no further! In this post we’ve highlighted some of the top activities you must not miss. Read on and learn about it!
Located on the coastal edge of California, San Diego is a perfect destination for all the sun-seekers and adventure lovers. Since San Diego is the eighth biggest city in the United States and California’s second-largest, it makes it a must-visit city for all the charming neighborhood including the essential parts of Gaslamp Quarter, Del Mar, La Mesa, Chula Vista, and Barrio Logan to name a few.
Whether you want to go hiking alongside the sandstone cliffs of Torrey State Reservoir or enjoy the walk on the Coronado Beach’s frothy surf, there are plenty of reasons why you can stray around the city to appreciate the natural wonders.
So, for all those planning to visit, but hasn’t been able to finalize the places and what to see in San Diego and also the things to do in San Diego here’s your chance to get your hands on the guide that tells you about this lovely city.
Here's the latest travel deals we got for you
→ Save money on Airbnb. Use our link to sign up and you'll get $33 off your first booking and an additional $12 off if you book/buy tours and experiences from Airbnb. Thanks over $47 of savings!
→ Find great deals on hotels on Booking.com! We found great discounts from this hotel booking website and has scored few luxury hotels that are up to 50% off. If you've used them enough, you'll get an access to more deals and discounts.
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in San Diego, CA, U.S.A
- 2 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in San Diego, CA, U.S.A
Find the best fish tacos
San Diego offers a wide variety of seafood options, and if you are one of those visitors who would want to give your taste buds a tasty little treat, you got to try San Diego’s Fish Tacos. However, it won’t be an easy task to pick the right fish taco eating joint, because, in all honesty, there is a good number of options to choose from.
For all those who are new to the fish tacos, a Baja style taco is lightly battered with a corn tortilla with the toppings of fresh salsa, cabbage, and a cream sauce and a lime wedge. However, every restaurant in San Diego likes to add their flavors, use fish of their choice, and give fish tacos a different style and taste. Options are ranging from upscale dining experience in the places like George’s at the Cove to fast food circles of Rubio’s.
There are plenty of recommended places to eat in San Diego from famous Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista to Taco Stand and other Fish joints in downtown where you can order Baja taco and other side dishes to go along. Experiment with your taste buds and enjoy the fresh ingredients and of course, the traditional Baja fish flair that will still linger in your taste buds every time you crave the fish tacos again.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Museums in San Diego enjoys a global reputation in keeping their legacies intact with excellent restoration and still using them as historic vessels, and one such museum is the Maritime Museum of San Diego that contains world’s one of the most beautiful ship collections from the history including “Star of India”, the oldest and active ship present.
The museum exhibits the collection daily and can be easily considered as one of the best things to do in San Diego. not limited to the history lovers, but any visitor longing to see a fantastic ship collection, including the Maritime Museum of San Diego in your to-do list in San Diego.
Hike Torrey Pines
Another unique thing to do in San Diego would be to get away from the city and indulge in the outdoor activities by taking a hike on the trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. There are many trails suitable for every age group based on distance, altitude, and landscape, giving you some stunning and peaceful scenic views.
Located within the city limits, it is still the wildest stretch of vast land towards the southern California coast. The reserve includes the maritime chaparral, unspoiled beaches, rare Torrey Pines, and the lagoon for migratory sea birds.
Thousands of travelers visit the reserve from across the world for its beautiful environment and hiking in the Torrey Pines. Therefore, spend some quality time at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve hiking, walking, and appreciating nature.
Take the ferry to Coronado
Thinking of going a little off the San Diego city, Coronado Island gives you sparkling sand beaches, charming streets, and gentle surfing experience. Since, San Diego transportation gives you the best of its expertise, sail around the bay between the Coronado and San Diego on an iconic ferry ride.
There are two ferry docks and each one filled with cafes, restaurants, and shops. Besides that, during the 15 minutes ride on the San Diego waterfront, you are also close to the Maritime Museum and can enjoy the sunset while taking the ride beyond the Coronado Island docks.
From an incredible coastline to the award-winning culinary experience creations, La Jolla Cove sparkles every visitor’s heart with the sight of the picturesque village where the life is immersed in calm, casual related luxury. La Jolla is California’s favorite beach destination surrounded by sea and steep hilly slopes of Mt. Soledad.
The place has an upscale village like lifestyle, adventure activities such as snorkeling, water rafting, etc., giving it a nickname “the jewel of San Diego.” La Jolla promises to provide you with a sun-kissed experience with seaside serenity. Loved by both visitors and locals, the majestic sunset and breathtaking sea lions gives you a taste of classy yet a lazy lifestyle to enjoy.
Go to an old fashioned drive-in movie
Sounds a little different from any other things to do in a big city like San Diego? Well, worth trying; the old fashioned drive-in movie. With the excellent state of the art projectors and the average 70-degree pleasant weather of San Diego, drive-in theatres are the perfect thing to do in San Diego at night.
There are multiple screens and drive-in theatres in the South Bay and Santee to plan your first dates or night outs for families. Ticket prices are way less than the big multiplexes, and the whole idea of watching a movie under the stars can be a memorable experience for you. You can easily rent a car in San Diego and drive to these theatres with your travel partner or take a solo trip.
With so many places to visit and things to do in San Diego, Balboa Park is 1200 acre cultural park which is home to almost 16 museums and various performing art spaces, trails, and gardens, including the San Diego Zoo and other recreational attractions. That means everything in one place for those who wouldn’t want to take extra hassle in finding different places to visit in San Diego.
Simplify your travel with curated tours with different itineraries based on the preferences and enjoy the natural vegetations, gardens, and walking paths for shopping and other leisure activities. You can easily get car rental in San Diego to travel from one part of the city to the another in reasonable prices.
If you are looking to cover Torrey Pine State and La Jolla Shores, Black’s Beach is arguably one of the best locations that are located in the vicinity of San Diego campus of University of California. The area is very famous among the surfers during the winter swells and quite famous among international tourists as San Diego’s nude beach.
However, the surfers prefer main peaks over Glider port trail. In case you are not motivated enough for surfing you can pretty much head out to La Jolla or hike in Torrey Pines reserve. There are many interesting facts from the late 1940s and rich history of Black’s family who built premier Thoroughbred horse farm from the ground up. Sounds interesting? Add it to your list and explore the realms of Black’s Beach for this summer’s memory lane.
Adding to your history notes, Gaslamp Quarter is a famous district in San Diego with its historically famous 16½ block neighborhood. It is also the site for various entertainment venues where they have scheduled festivals including Music Festival, Mardi Gras, ShamROCK and, also the St. Patrick’s Day. The district is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the district and also the best known.
Gaslamp Quarter can get very interesting if you explore all the buildings and learn the history going way back to 1850s. There are guided tours across the district throughout the day and night.
It’s also the epicenter of the city’s nightlife scene, giving you excellent cultural experience include theatres, symphony halls, art galleries, museums, and concert venues which gives you plenty of things to do in San Diego at night.
Cabrillo National Monument
San Diego is a city known for its skyline and harbor, and Cabrillo National Monument offers an excellent view of these harbors including San Diego’s iconic Old Point Loma Lighthouse since 1854. So what brings so many tourists to this place? It’s the 144 acres of monumental surroundings with spectacular panoramic views of the bay area and the ocean.
Other exciting things to do in San Diego are hiking trails, visit the vintage lighthouse, tide pools. World War II military structures, and also the whale watching in certain seasons. The visit to this little area is a way to say hello to San Diego sunshine, which also among the best free things to do in San Diego.
All these places in San Diego are famous for their individuality and unique experience. The city offers something to offer to every type of visitor and inevitably seeps into your adventure, loving heart to plan another trip.
Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.