Things to Do in San Diego

You are here

San Diego is beaches, bays, estuaries, lakes, hills, canyons, meadows, mountains, deserts, an international border and really nice sunsets. It’s a hub for outdoor sports and activities. The region has unique cities, towns and neighborhoods that offer international appeal, great dining and eclectic entertainment and activities. Cultural arts abound throughout the area, although the hub is considered to be Balboa Park where the city’s major cultural institutions are located. But don’t look for the avant-garde or cutting-edge groups there. Those organizations are strewn throughout the city, like jewels waiting to be discovered.

You can’t beat San Diego for sightseeing, whether it is watching a Navy ship returning from sea at the Cabrillo National Monument on the tip of the Point Loma peninsula, or sitting on the sea wall along South Mission Beach to watch the teams compete in beach volleyball. The beach is a way of life in San Diego and stretches from the border with Mexico up through Oceanside, featuring miles of public beaches that grace seaside cities and communities along historic Pacific Coast Highway. The hills of the eastern edges of the county beckon for many, too. Hundreds of people hike Mission Trails Regional Park’s Cowles Mountain every day, burning calories and enjoying the 360-degree views from the peak before the sun sets. Mountain bikers have hundreds of miles of trails to ride, and horse-back riders are often trail mates for hikers in the state and national parks located in San Diego. If you’re curious, you’ll find it.

Most days are mild with the daily temperature ranges from 55 to 77 degrees year round, although there are day-time highs and night-time lows for every season in every distinct area. America’s Finest City has countless activities for residents and tourists alike. Some of San Diego’s most popular visitor destinations are listed below or you can visit the Tourism Authority for more information.

Seaport Village

Seaport Village offers free entertainment, leisurely strolling and window-shopping at any of the 54 specialty shops. Enjoy a day of relaxation by hanging out on the grass and watching the yachts and ships pass by on the San Diego Bay, or dine at one of seventeen bay-view eateries.

Gaslamp Quarter

A historic San Diego neighborhood, consisting of 16½ blocks of renovated turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture, boutiques, art galleries, specialty shops and more. Enjoy fine dining options from 100 restaurants, in addition to nightlife and entertainment.

Old Town San Diego

Old Town is a legacy of San Diego history. This neighborhood’s historic buildings include the blacksmith shop, Seeley Stables, Stewart House, Estudillo House and the oldest schoolhouse in San Diego. You’ll also enjoy wonderful Mexican cuisine, art galleries and shops that sell unique and one-of-a-kind merchandise.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is known for its beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. It also offers 15 museums (select museums free on Tuesdays for San Diego residents), free daily park tours, public organ concerts (Sundays), and spectacular gardens (seven are free daily).

San Diego Zoo (Located in Balboa Park) and San Diego Zoo Safari Park (less than 40 miles from downtown San Diego)