Things to Do
San Diego offers every kind of activity imaginable; from world-renowned attractions, unlimited outdoor recreation, a thriving arts and culture community, sightseeing tours and award-winning restaurants, you're sure to find a host of things to entertain and inspire.
San Diego is home to many of Southern California's top tourist attractions which provide exhilaration, education and excitement for adults and kids of all ages.
LEGOLAND California, is a 128-acre theme park featuring more than 60 interactive attractions, shows and rides that are "kid powered" where kids push, pull, steer, pedal, squirt, climb, or build their way through a wonderland of activities. LEGOLAND Water Park has fun slides and a lazy river where you can build your own LEGO themed raft and at SEA LIFE™ Aquarium, guests can view undersea creatures like sea stars, sharks and stingrays!
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is a world-famous 100-acre tropical garden that houses 4,000 animals of 800 rare and exotic species. The zoo has the largest population of Giant Pandas in the U.S. and is one of the only four facilities in the nation to house critically endangered Giant Pandas.Spectacular bioclimatic exhibits like Monkey Trails, Absolutely Apes, Ituri Forest, Rain Forest Aviary, Polar Bear Plunge, Gorilla Tropics, Sun Bear Forest and Tiger River house endangered species in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. Popular zoo activities include a three-mile guided bus tour, sky tram, children's petting zoo, and baby animal nursery.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Formerly known as the Wild Animal Park, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a 1,800-acre preserve where animals from Africa and Asia roam free over vast expanses of land as they would in their native habitats. Take the African Tram Safari for an exciting expedition and guided tour of rhinos, giraffes, antelope, gazelles and more as they roam this huge field exhibit.Located just 30 miles northeast of downtown in San Diego's north inland region, the Zoo Safari Park allows visitors to experience wild nature at its best. Wear comfortable walking shoes and plan on a full day of exploration as you watch a cheetah run at full speed, come face to face with an African lion and gaze up tracking eagles, owls and an Andean condor.
Aquatica San Diego
SeaWorld's water park, Aquatica San Diego combines up-close animal experiences, running waters from serene to extreme, high-speed thrills of water slides and a sandy beach setting into a one of a kind water park. Lounge lazily in a river or scream at the top of your lungs as you plunge down a thrilling water slide. A fun-filled day of water entertainment for all ages. Visit Aquatica and take the heat off!
USS Midway Museum
Floating along the Embarcadero, the USS Midway Museum offers visitors to explore alleys, officer's country, sleeping quarters, 4 acre flight deck and over 20 aircraft. The included audio guide tour narrated by Midway sailors, describes over 60 locations from the engine room to the control tower. Kids can request a child's audio guide tour with content geared specifically for 7-12 year olds. Before you disembark, don't miss out riding one of the three flight simulators and taking a picture or two in the ejection seat gallery.
Day Trip to Disneyland
San Diego is an excellent home base to enjoy not only San Diego's major attractions but also a day trip to Disneyland. Just 90 minutes from downtown San Diego, you can reach Disneyland by car or by train - then spend the day after relaxing on a beautiful San Diego beach.
Bustling with activity, Mission Valley is an epicenter of dining, shopping and entertainment, with plenty of restaurants, retail malls, movie theaters, Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, and the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center.
The two main shopping centers in the area, Mission Valley and Fashion Valley malls offer an oasis of retail therapy. The upscale Fashion Valley Mall contains luxury department stores, including Bloomingdales and Neiman-Marcus, as well as premium brand shops by the likes of Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, the Apple Store and many more. After a day of shopping, relax and grab a bite at any of the restaurants located on the mall premises, or take in a flick at the 18-screen movie theater. Mission Valley Center Mall also hosts a theater, along with retail shops for the value-conscious shoppers, like Target and Nordstrom Rack.
Parks and Gardens
Recently rated in the top 10 parks in the United States in the Trip Advisor Travelers Choice Awards, Balboa Park features 16 unique gardens including the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden featuring over 2,400 rose bushes, and the Botanical Building with adjacent Koi and Lily Pond. The Botanical Building features over 2,100 plants including a fascinating collection of cycads, ferns, orchids and palms. Balboa Park also home to 15 museums and theaters as well as the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
And speaking of the Zoo, both the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, boast wonderful botanical collections. Both parks employ a team of horticulturists, arborists and gardeners who care for more than a million plants on a combined 1,900 acres. One of only six zoos recognized for their plant collections by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the Zoo holds distinctions in acacias, aloes, bamboos, coral trees, cycads, figs, gingers, orchids, and palms. The Safari Park's accredited collections are the Baja Garden, Old World Succulent Garden, Conifer Forest, figs, palms, and the Native Scapes Garden.
A don't miss for plant lovers, the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas encompasses four miles of garden trails, including a wide collection of native and endangered plants, a whimsical children's garden, and the nation's largest collection of bamboo species. The garden offers a full line up of events including workshops, plant sales and bird watching tours.
Art & Culture
San Diego's vibrant arts and culture scene teems with lively performances, thought-provoking exhibitions, and engaging historic sites and monuments. Known as the Smithsonian of the West, Balboa Park hosts an incredible concentration of arts and culture offerings including 15 museums and performing arts venues. San Diego is also home to two Tony® Award-winning theaters, historic sites, public art, music venues, dance performances, film festivals, galleries, missions and more. Whatever inspires you, there's always something happening in San Diego to engage your senses and enrich your mind.
Tours and Sightseeing
The story of San Diego is one of missions and millionaires, museums and military, haunted hotels and heavenly haciendas, crafty brews and beautiful beaches, sunset sails and bay adventures. Whether by foot, boat, bus, balloon, trolley, kayak or even on a Segway, the hidden gems and tales of San Diego await, along with expert guides to the city. From historic Old Town and Coronado to La Jolla, up the coast and inland, San Diego offers breweries, vineyards, bird-filled estuaries, historic houses, hidden coves, secret gardens and a dolphin and whale-filled ocean just waiting to be toured by you.
When it comes to dining, San Diego has a flavor all its own. With easy access to fresh fish and local produce, plus its proximity to Mexico, San Diego's Cali-Baja cuisine reflects the heart and soul of the region. What is Cali-Baja cuisine? As California's southernmost city, San Diego sits at the unique intersection of two culinary styles: California cuisine, distinguished for its devotion to fresh local ingredients and farm-to-table roots, and Mexico's Baja Med cuisine, a food revolution that began in Tijuana and is gaining worldwide recognition for combining traditional Mexican ingredients with those of the Mediterranean. It's no wonder that San Diego's top chefs and restaurateurs created a seafood and produce-centric cuisine that blends cooking techniques from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The resulting Cali-Baja culinary style offers a wealth of exciting gastronomic experiences that can only be found in the San Diego-Tijuana region.