What to See and Do in San Diego

San Diego is a wonderful vacation destination. The following are just a few of the many ways to enjoy this lovely city.

First, check out Balboa Park, which features flowering gardens, neo-classical Spanish architecture, intriguing museums, and a gorgeous clock tower. Balboa Park is also home to the San Diego Zoo – arguably the best in North America. With more than 100 acres of animals to see, you’ll need to plan a full day at the zoo to see all there is to see! And if animals are your passion, be sure to make the 30 mile drive up to Escondido to see the San Diego Zoo’s 1800 acre sister park, The Wild Animal Park. And, of course, no mention of animals in San Diego would be complete with including Shamuu, SeaWorld San Diego’s most famous resident.


The other aquatic residents of San Diego are harbor seals, which can be found at the Children’s Cove in the La Jolla area. The Birch Aquarium – another sight worth seeing – includes a massive kelp tank, as well as oceanography exhibits to interest the whole family. You can explore secluded beaches and ocean coves on your own or, if you’re less adventurous, try exploring the local restaurants, coffee shops, and high end shopping outlets.

Perhaps ghosts are more your speed? Then be sure to include a visit to Old Town’s Whaley House, which is said to be haunted. The Old Town historic district is filled with living history performances, 19th century cannons and preserved buildings and icons of the Old West and the city’s Spanish heritage.

But if your ghostly experience in Old Town leaves you in need of comfort, you might enjoy visiting the oldest mission in California, the Mission San Diego de Alcala, in Mission Valley.

Or, if you want to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, there’s no better place to do it than the Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma Lighthouse. From here, you can see the Naval Air Station and the Coronado Bridge, and even the mountains in the distant. The Cabrillo National Monument is also a wonderful place to watch for migrating California gray whales in February.

The military has a strong history in San Diego, and you can explore it at the San Diego Maritime Museum. Here you can see 19th century sailing ships and the Star of India – the oldest, still-active sailing ship in the world. Next, head to the USS Midway Museum and tour the former US Navy aircraft carrier. While you’re downtown, you’ll also find plenty of shopping, fine dining, and night life to keep you entertained.

When it comes to activities in San Diego, the sky’s the limit. Swim, surf, sail, or just relax on the beach. You can even relax au naturale at Black’s Beach, a clothing optional beach in La Jolla. Keep your clothing on, though, if you’re heading out to scuba dive – this is cold water diving, and while the visibility may not be the best, swimming with the sea lions is certainly enough fun to make up for it.

When you’re organizing your visit to San Diego, plan to get a Go San Diego Card. This card gives you free admission to many attractions. Or, if the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, and Universal Studios Hollywood are on your agenda, check out the Southern California CityPass which will help save you money on your San Diego vacation.