San Diego is home of the most consistent and beautiful weather in the world. You can enjoy the fresh air from the ocean, or on many large and clean beaches. View the many spectacular sunsets that are created here. There are so many things to do in San Diego all within minutes by car, bus and the transit system. With so many things to see and do in paradise you will want to make plans. Here are Ninety Nine suggested things to do in San Diego, California.
In 1542, Portuguese sailor Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo landed near the tip of Point Loma and claimed the Pacific coast for Spain. Some 227 years after explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo landed, the Portolá expedition built a presidio and Padre Serra founded California's first mission. On the site of that first settlement in Presidio Park stands the Junipero Serra Museum 2727 Presidio Dr. San Diego, Ca. Phone: 1-619-297-3258. Closed Mon.; adm. fee), which focuses on the period before the American conquest. The city remained isolated until the transcontinental railroad arrived in 1885, then grew during World War I as a Navy home port.
The 1915 Panama-California Exposition took place at Balboa Park (Laurel St. between Park and 6th Aves. San Diego, Ca. Phone: 1-619-239-0512), where fine Spanish revival buildings remain. (Visitor Center, Horton Plaza at 1st Ave. and F St. San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-236-1212 ) Highlights of San Diego Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá (10818 San Diego Mission Rd. San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-281-8449. Adm. fee) Dating from 1774, this plain white mission features a wall of bells and Padre Serra's original quarters. Built in 1769 under the direction of Father Junâpero Serra, and the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (4002 Wallace St. San Diego, Ca. Phone: 1-619-220-5422), which dates back to 1821, shortly after Mexico gained independence from Spain.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (Off I-5 at Old Town Ave. Visitor Center at Robinson-Rose House. San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-220-5422) Surrounded by adobe-and-wood buildings, this plaza is an outdoor museum of mid-19th-century San Diego. Highlights include the 1867 Seeley Stable, with its collection of stagecoaches and Western gear, and the furnished 1827 adobe hacienda of a presidio comandante.
Gaslamp Quarter (Bounded by 4th and 6th Aves., Broadway, and Harbor Dr.) The 16-block national historic district known as the Gaslamp Quarter (Between 4th and 6th Aves. from Broadway to Harbor Dr.), with its many 1880s Victorian commercial buildings, was once the site of San Diego's notorious red-light district. In its heyday the Gaslamp Quarter counted more than 70 saloons and 120 bawdy houses, as well as opium dens, dance halls, and gambling houses. For information on walking tours, contact the Gaslamp Quarter Association (614 5th St. Suite E. San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-233-5227. Adm. fee). Saturday walking tours leave the William Heath Davis House Museum (410 Island Ave. San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-233-4692. Adm. fee), a New England saltbox house shipped around Cape Horn in 1850.
Cabrillo National Monument (1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr. San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-557-5450. Adm. fee) Located on the lofty point where Cabrillo first made landfall are a Visitor Center focused on Spanish exploration and the 1855 Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which has been refurbished. Cabrillo National Monument commemorates Cabrillo's discovery; this is also a favorite spot to view the gray whale migrations in spring and fall.
In 1868, San Diego set aside 1,400 acres of cactus and chaparral as a public park. Today Balboa Park San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-239-0512), the city's most elegant public space, provides a lush setting for serene gardens, striking architecture, picnic grounds, golf courses, and the world-class San Diego Zoo San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-234-3153. Adm. fee), which showcases pygmy chimps, sun bears from Malaysia, and 22 new aviaries called the Wings of Australasia. This most famous Zoo in the World, features over 4,000 rare birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians await you, with over 100 acres of award-winning gardens, entertaining tours and shows. Another star attraction, the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center (619-238-1233. Adm. fee) houses an Omnimax theater and hands-on exhibits. Also on the grounds are the Museum of Photographic Arts . San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-238-7559. Adm. fee), the Natural History Museum . San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-232-3821. Adm. fee), the Model Railroad Museum (San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-696-0199. Closed Mon.-Tues.; adm. fee), and the San Diego Museum of Art San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-232-7931. Closed Mon.; adm. fee).
Down on the Embarcadero waterfront, sailors will delight in the three historic ships moored at the Maritime Museum 1492 N. Harbor Drive. San Diego, Ca Phone: 1-619-234-9153. Adm. fee): the 1863 tall ship Star of India (the oldest iron-hulled vessel afloat), the 1898 San Francisco Bay ferry Berkeley, and the 1904 steam-powered yacht Medea.
Points of Interest
San Diego has so many interesting places to see, it will take a plan to accomplish this task. People from around the world have come to love and enjoy these excellent attractions.
Balboa Park On the northeastern edge of downtown San Diego. Many of the park's buildings sport a Spanish Colonial theme. San Diego Museum of Art, which houses a modest collection of European paintings, American landscapes and Asian artifacts. Timkin Museum of Art has a collection of famous European art work. The Centro Cultural de la Raza exhibits Mexican and Native American art. The Casa be Balboa houses four museums, San Diego's History Museum, Model Railroad Museum and Photographic arts. One of the park's best places is the Rueben H Fleet Space Theater & Science Center, a hands-on science museum, and houses the large format Omnimax theater. The Museum of Man currently has a new permanent exhibition on human evolution to the west coast. and also specializes in Indian artifacts from the American Southwest from the San Diego area. San Diego's Automotive Museum has an excellent collection of antique cars and Motorcycles, and a couple of beautiful Harleys. The Aerospace Museum has a very large collection of Airplanes from the WWI and WWII era and a very good collection from the NASA space program. The San Diego Natural History Museum is dedicated to interpreting the natural world through research, education, and exhibits of the evolution and diversity of Southern California and the peninsula of Baja California.
Old Town This area was the site of the first civilian Spanish settlement in California, known as the Pueblo de San Diego.Old Town is 2.5 miles (4km) northwest of downtown. It remained the center of San Diego until 1872, when the city's focus moved to the current downtown area. In 1968, Old Town became a State Historic Park, and a few surviving original buildings were restored. Visit the 1820s Casa de Carrillo, the oldest house in San Diego.
Hotel del Coronado Just across the bay from downtown San Diego. This wood building with conical towers, cupolas, turrets, balconies and dormer windows. Opened in 1888, the hotel was where Edward Prince of Wales first met Mrs Simpson and where parts of the 1959 Marilyn Monroe movie "Some Like It Hot" was filmed. Coronado Hotel is next to one of the most spectacular beaches in San Diego, this beach actually has flecks of gold in the sand. One of the best ways to experience the Del is their Sunday brunch. Call 1-619-522-8490 for reservations.
Gaslamp Quarter In the city's early days, this downtown neighborhood was home to San Diego's most profitable businesses - saloons, gambling joints, bordellos and opium dens. Wyatt Earp operated three gambling halls and learn about the Gaslamp Quarter's oldest wooden structure William Heath Davis House which was constructed in 1850. Now, restaurants, bars and galleries occupy restored buildings dating back to the 1860s, and wrought iron street lamps in the style of 19th century gas lamps lead to give the area its historic name. By night this is a very vibrant partying neighborhood. Theater, upscale shops, fine dining or dancing the night away, this place you want to visit.
The Embarcadero and Seaport Village Just West of downtown San Diego. The "original" ship dock is home of an old sailing ship, "The Star of Idia". There's many great restaurants, a public fishing pier and an open-air amphitheater where free concerts are held during summer in the Embarcadero Marina Park. The Embarcadero is situated along Harbor Drive and the Port of San Diego. Docked here is the harbor landmark, Star of India, a beautiful windjammer built in 1863, and now part of the Maritime Museum, open daily from 9 a.m. a collection of three ships that have been restored and are open to the public (619) 234-9153. A quartermile boardwalk connects the Embarcadero with the Convention Center and a waterfront shopping and dining complex, Seaport Village, located at West Harbor Drive at Kettner Boulevard.
Mount Soledad This mountain just east of La Jolla has a an unbelievable 360° view and now is home to memorial. Soledad National Veterans Memorial stands tall above La Jolla and the entire San Diego region. It’s a special place that evokes strong feelings. Mount Soledad is known as one of the most prominent landmarks in San Diego. Known primarily for its veteran's memorial, it offers 360 degree panoramic views of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean.
Cabrillo National Monument More than just an epic view, the Cabrillo National Monument on 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive in Point Loma offers everything from historical displays to tidepools. You can go inside the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and check out interior rooms, furnished the same as they were a century ago. Climb to thetop for an unrestricted view around Point Loma. Theres also an exhibit on Point Lomas place in WWII history. It was a strategic point for West Coast defense, and the exhibit involves videos and recordings that commemorate Pearl Harbor Day. Annual events include the Cabrillo Festival in September and Whale Watch Weekend in January. 619-557-5450
Carlsbad Located a few miles - around 16 miles, north of La Jolla, Carlsbad offers lots of attractions. The Museum of Making Music, 5790 Armada Drive. Jazz, rock and more. Phone: 1-877-551-9976
LEGOLANDCalifornia Resort is a great outing for the whole entire family. with tons of LEGO fun for the whole family. This San Diego amusement park is great for toddlers, kids Phone: 1-760-918-5346
Children's Discovery Museum of North County Experience all of the Museum exhibits and daily programs for one low price. The Museum's outdoor Children's Discovery Garden captivates children with a wide variety of nature-based science. 320 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025. Phone: 1-760-720-0737
Palomar Observatory A museum features stunning astrophotography and a video about the observatorys operations. You can also tour the dome and see Palomar's 200-inch telescope. The observatory, located on Palomar Mountain in northeast San Diego County, 66 miles from downtown San Diego, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone: 1-760-742-2119
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), the aquarium has more than 30 tanks displaying habitats, a 55,000-gallon kelp-forest exhibit and the Exploring the Blue Planet museum, the country's largest museum of oceanography. Various interactive displays on currents, tides and waves, information on weather and plate tectonics and more make this informative and fascinating. Another exhibit relates Scripps research to global change. Free guided minivan or walking tours of UCSD are held Sundays at 2 p.m. Phone: 1-858-534-4414 or 1-858-534-3474. for reservations.
Temecula Wine Country is nestled in the north eastern erea of San Diego,22 miles from the ocean, is about an hours drive north of San Diego on I-15. With more than 300 antique shops and 1890s buildings, to hot-air ballooning and golf. Hart Winery is open daily for tastings. Thornton Winery, in a charming French chateau, produces Café Champagne. Callaway Vineyard Winery is open daily for tasting and tours, and offers a grape arbor for picnics. Maurice Carrie Winery has a lovely picnic area.
Recommended Romantic Spots
San Diego is possibally the most romantic places in California. Romantics can find a variatiy of places to romance the ones the love.
Balboa Park oseems to be on every list to see, this park truely has a multitude of different things to see and do. You can stroll along the many rose and flower gardens.
Mount Soledad This mountain is a great place to enjoy with someone special. Just east of La Jolla, this mountain has a an unbeleavalbe 360° view of San Diego. You can see the sun rise and set on almost any day. It can sometimes get chilly, you might want to bring a coat, or not bring one that you maight have to hold your love one.
San Diego Harbor Excursion Enjoy San Diego's stunning harbor and scenic skyline. View the North Island Naval Air Station, Harbor and Shelter Islands, the Naval Sub Base and the Cabrillo National Monument. Harbor and Shelter Islands, Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument, North Island Naval Air Station, the Submarine Base, as well as the Coronado Bridge, and much more. San Diego Harbor Excursion also offers the ultimate waterfront dining experience. or dance the evening away under the stars with music.
Panorama Balloon Tours cast adventurers and romantics aloft for tranquil, beautiful balloon flights across sunny Southern California. Don't miss the coastal Del Mar Sunset flight, it is truly unforgettable. All Panorama balloon rides include complementary hors d'ouevres and beverages. They also do weddings. This sunset balloon flight is a must for the romantic at heart.
The Gondola Company brings Venice to San Diego Bay. Experience the romance as you gently cruise in your own private gondola through the enchanting canals and waterways of the Coronado Cays. Romantic cruises are from 11 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Cruises are approximately one hour. All cruises include a complimentary hors d'oeuvre or dessert plate. Blankets, an ice bucket, and wine glasses are provided. You may bring your own beverage. For additional information and reservations, call 619-429-6317.
Top O' the Cove has a breathtaking view of La Jolla Cove and is a traditional spot for proffering engagement rings, and at which to celebrate the ensuing union for decades after. Flowers, candlelight, a plush décor renovated just in time for the golden anniversary, and highly professional servers all contribute greatly to make the experience memorable, as it should be, given that the prices are among the highest in San Diego County. You'll want to call ahead of time to make reservations. 858-454-7779
George's at the Cove is another gem of La Jolla. This Restaurant makes frequent appearances in San Deigo magazine's annual Best Restaurants issues. George's offers serious dining on the first floor, a second-floor bar and, on the rooftop terrace, an inexpensive open-air dining in view of La Jolla Cove.
Located on 1250 Prospect St. La Jolla, you'll want to call ahead of time to make reservations. 858-454-4244
Recommended Parks and Beaches
San Diego has so many beaches it can be hard to figure out which is best for you.
BEST QUIET BEACHES Coronado Silver Strand It can get windy here and it might be a little unnerving when the military helicopters fly over you throughout the day, but Silver Strand is a great young family beach because the shore drops gradually. With 4 parking lots and an RV campground (first come, first served), good choice for a quiet beach. Sunset Cliffs Located beneath the cliffs of Point Loma, this secluded beach is popular with surfers, tide pool hunters, and locals. No restrooms, so this is not the place for those with weak bladders or adversity to doing it as the fish do in the waves.
BEST FOR SINGLES
Mission Bay and Mission Beach, San Diegos center of tourist activity,the gorgeous, 4,600-acre Mission Bay Park offers swimming, power boating, sailing, windsurfing, fishing, boat tours, whale-watching excursions, picnic and playground areas, and some of the citys most expansive ocean views. Also located in the park is the ever-popular Sea World (open daily; 619-226-3901). A favorite way to tour the bay is aboard the Bahia Belle, a restored paddleboat that provides sunset cruises (858-488-0551). Belmont Park features the Plunge and Giant Dipper roller coasters. Contact the Visitor Information Center at 2688 E. Mission Bay Drive (619-276-8200). Pacific Beach and Mission Beach South of La Jolla, the boardwalk that lines Pacific Beach and Mission Beach welcomes throngs of roller skaters, bicyclers and pedestrians who browse or breeze past oceanfront shops and eateries. At the south end of Mission Beach lies Belmont Park, home of the historic roller coaster, The Giant Dipper, and a new seaside shopping center. Point Loma stretches south from Mission Bay along a finger of land that separates the ocean and San Diego Bay. Near Point Lomas northern border are the hillside communities of Sunset Cliffs and Ocean Beach (among the best of San Diegos surfing spots
BEST FOR SINGLES AND FAMILIES
Pacific Beach is popular with tourists and locals alike, and for good reason. It's a nice mix of singles and families. You might not see as many hardbodies here, but you also won't have to put up with some idiot with a boombox blasting hip-hop music putting down a towel next to yours. Parking is often difficult and parking 5 or more blocks away is not unsusual, so pack light and get ready to walk. Diamond Street is a good place to start hunting for your piece of sand.
Carlsbad State Beach is one of the nicest stretches of sand in North County. Start at South Carlsbad Beach (where you can camp overnight with an RV), and keep going until you get to Carlsbad Village. All along the way you will find excellent, mostly local and typically uncrowded beaches. These are some of my favorite beaches if all you want is the sun, the sand, a beer and no hassle.
BEST ALL AROUND BEACHES
Coronado Beach is by the Hotel Del Coronado Excellent public beaches located right outside the "Del". Like the Silver Strand, the gradually sloping shoreline is safe for kids, the surf is generally small, and restrooms are close enough. Parking during midday can be a very tough thing to do. La Jolla has every type of beach you can imagine, the beauty of the area and the pristine beaches will absolutely astound you.
Tourmaline Beach: Take Mission Blvd, which turns into La Jolla Blvd, and turn right west on Tourmaline St. Popular with surfers and sailboarders.
Windansea Beach: Take La Jolla Blvd and turn west onto Nautilus St. Big waves, great scenery, and great sunsets.
Children's Pool: With live seals taking up the bulk of the beach, probably not the best place to lay down your towel but certainly an excellent place to get some pictures.
Shell Beach: Just north of the Children's Pool is Shell Beach, a small and secluded beach. Ignore the crowds on the sidewalk above you and instead watch for seals and dolphins in the waves.
La Jolla Cove: Has to be one of the best beaches and most beautiful spots in the entire world. If this doesn't impress you, nothing will. Don't forget that there's a short hiking trail starting by the Cave Store.
La Jolla Shores: The busiest beach perhaps in all of San Diego on a hot summer day, and Local Wally's choice for top beach for "Visitors with only one beach day". Sure it's busy, and yes, parking is an absolute joke. But get there early and plan to stay all day and, yes, all night! Get yourself some firewood, some hotdogs,. When you get to the beach, grab a fire ring then. They'll be all gone within minutes after you get there. Then when the sun goes down, make a fire and have a beach party! Got an old guitar?
Blacks Beach: This is the unofficial "clothing optional" beach, a Nude Beach. Best Top Surfing
Torrey Pines This place a good alternative to La Jolla. Located just north, Torrey Pines offers a mix of forested pine trees, the Torrey Pines only grow here in San Diego and sunny California beach. You can hike the trails along the bluffs.
BEST BBQ SPOT
Del Mar The tourists thin a bit when you reach Del Mar, a nice upscale beach community, though summer can still get pretty crowded. "Where the Surf Meets the Turf" is the town's unofficial logo, and the beach where this happens is north of where the downtown area ends. Just drive until you see the big Del Mar Plaza on the right, then turn left to get to the ocean. Public parking is across the street, and the nice grassy area is perfect area to set up the BBQ
BEST DOG BEACH
Ocean Beach One unique feature of Ocean Beach is a section designated for all Dog lovers, This section of Ocean Beach has been named Dog Beach, which is located at the north end of OB. All Dogs are allowed to run and are permitted without a leash at all hours of the day. Dog owners are fully responsible for the control and cleanup of their dogs. Standard dog laws apply on other portions of Ocean Beach and are strictly enforced. Please be under control of your Dog at all times regardless of the leash law, children have been hurt by ill-responsibilities. Ultra laid back and casual, OB is for the young and odd. North of San Diego, 15 miles, is Del Mar's Dog Beach located just south of Via De La Valle by the fairgrounds. This is also a great place to take your dogs.
BEST UNCROWDED BEACHES
Encinitas' Moonlight Beach (take Encinitas Blvd until it runs right into the ocean) is a fantastic throwback to the beaches of the past. With easy parking, volleyball courts, firepits, and an honest to God concession stand selling ice cream and corn dogs, this is one heck of a great beach experience! For a very local beach, try Beacon Beach in Leucadia. Just take Leucadia Blvd until you hit water, park in the small lot and trek down the stairs. Bet you won't find too many non-locals here, and it's a pretty nice primitive beach. As with all beaches north of Del Mar, traffic can be tough during rush hour, so plan accordingly. If you must leave during rush hour, do what Wally does forget the freeway and take 101 along the coast until you get to Carmel Valley Rd. in Del Mar, then cut back into the freeway. More relaxing, even if there is traffic.
BEST CLOTHING OPTIONAL BEACHES Blacks Beach is an unofficial "clothing optional" beach, a NUDE BEACH. Parking at the Glider port you must hike a 1/4 steep trail to visit this beach.
BEST SURF Blacks Beach This place is known for very advanced surfing. It is considered the "Hawaiian Pipeline of California", and can get very big during the winter months. In Summer the waves are much smaller. Great Place to Surf and Hang Loose
GREAT BEACHES IN SAN DIEGO Border Field State Beach - Located just minutes north of the Mexican border, this beach is popular to hikers and horseback riders. Due to sewage contamination from Tijuana, Mexico swimming is not allowed at any time during the year and definitely in the winter. The beach is open Thursday - Sunday in the summer and it's closed in the winter.
Imperial Beach - The clean beaches are open all year and are protected by the International Boundary Wastewater Treatment Plant. Imperial Beach is known for world-class waves and it's natural surroundings. The Tijuana Estuary is a international favorite for birdwatchers. Coronado Beach - As you head even further north you'll come across Coronado Beach, which is a very popular spot for just sun bathing and relaxing. Though it may get a little busy with locals and tourists. Sunset Cliffs - A popular spot with surfers, and couples who just want to be alone. There is a staircase that leads down to the shore, making it very easy to access.
Ocean Beach - The mile long Ocean Beach is popular spot for just about everyone (surfers, sunbathers, swimmers etc.). The Municipal Pier is located on the south end of the beach.
Mission Beach - Mission Beach is popular with roller blades, swimmers, surfers, and volleyball players consuming mostly the south end of the beach. On the north end of the beach the waters are a little rougher, so you'll sea less beachers however the north end of the beach is home to the Belmont Park roller coaster. -
Pacific Beach - Located just to the north of Mission Beach. Another popular spot for a variety of beachers. There are designated surfing spots and fire rings available. Rather than a boardwalk along the beach front like Mission Beach there are sidewalks, but bike paths and picnic tables are still plentiful.
La Jolla Cove - A palm tree lined park sits on top of cliffs just above the ocean waters. At low tide Divers and snorkelers enjoy exploring the Underwater Ecological Reserve at La Jolla.
La Jolla Shores - It's the people's choice among San Diego beaches.
Black's Beach - One of the northern most beaches in the San Diego area and it's said to be a beach for experienced swimmers because of its rough waters.
Del Mar Beach - Most of the beach is very crowded on nice days, so parking is sometimes a problem. Del Mar Beach is very popular for sun bathers, volleyball players and surfers.
Cardiff State Beach - A nice family beach, though it gets crowded during summer months.
Moonlight Beach - The beach of all beaches, everything you look for in a good beach, no alcohol allowed.
D Street Beach - Quiet and secluded, steep stairs from the top of the bluffs.
Swami's Beach - Immortalized in the Beach Boys' Surfin' USA, long steep stairs lead down to the beach.
Oceanside - Some of the best waves in San Diego. Tubes next to the O'side Pier, and Awesome breaking waves at the harbor. But beware its very "local" out there.
Attractions in San Diego - Google Maps
Hotels / Motels in San Diego - Google Maps
Find The Best Deals. Search Anything in San Diego, California
Coupon Specials Discounts in San Diego, California. Type Keyword + City Location