Things to do in San Diego

Last updated on September 26th, 2018 at 08:11 pm

Balboa Park

balboa park

San Diego offers a number of fascinating and impressive attractions, both manmade and natural. Right at the center of the downtown district can be found Balboa Park, which is an excellent place for a picnic, a bike ride, or merely for walking around. The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden is a particularly striking feature, with its distinctive architecture inspired by the Spanish Renaissance. In addition there are museums, a golf complex and activity center, a carousel and miniature train. The San Diego Zoo is also housed within the park’s borders. While in the park, see the highlights on a private segway tour.

San Diego Zoo

san diego zoo flamingos

The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the United States, with its 100 acres housing almost 4,000 different species of animals. For an extra special experience, take a Backstage Pass tour with one of the park’s animal ambassadors. You’ll get the opportunity to touch and help train the animals, and you’ll get a professional photo to take home. With such expansive grounds and such an extensive collection of creatures, there is definitely plenty to see and do at the zoo. In fact, it can be quite a challenge to fit it all in one day, although you will definitely enjoy trying! Buy tickets online now.

Gaslamp Quarter

gaslamp quarter

Covering 16 charming blocks, the Gaslamp Quarter is a must-visit for a glimpse of Victorian-style buildings bedecked with numerous shops, galleries, and restaurants. The area is also home to some of the most popular nightspots in the city, where you could have a few entertaining nights before or after your cruises. Don’t forget to check out the nearby Old Town Trolley Tour as well.  If you like unique food-related tours, check out this Brothels, Bites and Booze Tour: A Culinary Tour of San-Diego’s Questionable Past. You’ll explore the Gaslamp Quarter on foot while learning about it’s seedy history, and getting to sample food and drinks from some of the area’s best restaurants and bars. 

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

torrey pines

Covering 1,700 acres of gorgeous natural reserve land, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is home to a wide array of flora, with the most notable being the Torrey Pine for which the park is named. Take a guided nature walk or visit the lagoon, it is an excellent site for hiking and bird-watching, the park offers stunning views of natural and wild California.

USS Midway Museum

uss midway san diego

 

Don’t forget to go on a tour of the USS Midway Museum for an up-close look at the historic Navy aircraft carrier. The longest-serving aircraft carrier of the United States naval forces, the ship is now the site of 60 fascinating exhibits and 29 different types of aircraft that have all been fully restored to their former glory. If you’re up for an unique adventure, step into the shoes of a pilot with in a flight simulator. Buy tickets now.

Hop-On-Hop-Off Trolley

San Diego Trolley with a view of the city skyline in the background

If you want to see the most of San Diego, consider taking the Hop-On-Hop-Off Trolley. With its narrated tour, and 10 different stops, including Balboa Park/San Diego Zoo and the Gaslamp Quarter, you can choose where you want to get off to explore a little further and then hop right back on when you’re ready to move along.  One of the stops is right at the cruise port, which is perfect if you only have a day to see what San Diego has to offer. Buy tickets now.

See San Diego Excursions

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Top Excursions in San Diego

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San Diego Zoo
See over 4000 animals with your 1 day pass to the renowned San Diego Zoo, including a complimentary guided bus tour and giant panda exhibit. Go in-depth with zoo keeper talks, or take the kids to the Petting Paddock for an up close experience.
Duration: Flexible
Activity Level: Medium
Note: Strollers available for rent
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes - Available for Rent

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USS Midway Museum
Take a tour of the longest-serving aircraft carriers of the 20th Century. Enjoy the restored aircraft atop its 4-acre flight deck, enjoy interactive exhibits and self-guided audio tour.
Duration: Flexible
Activity Level: Medium
Wheelchair Accessibility: 60% of exhibits are accessible

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San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise
Take in the sights along San Diego's waterfront during this 2 hour brunch cruise. Enjoy an extensive, delicious buffet and free-flowing champagne on this family-friendly cruise.
Duration: 2 Hours
Activity Level: Low
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes