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How to Spend 3 Days in San Diego

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How to Spend 3 Days in San Diego
A full San Diego experience can be had in three days if you plan an itinerary with tours that combine the sights, culture, and adventures of Southern California’s Pacific coast. Here are our top ideas for how to spend your time, including a day trip to wine country or Mexico.
 
Day 1: Check Out Top Attractions
Get oriented to the city on a hop-on hop-off trolley tour, which provides transportation to popular destinations such as Old Town, Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, or Little Italy. The Go San Diego Card complements the independent nature of the trolley tour with entrance to participating venues at one price. Depending on your interests, check out one or two of San Diego’s major attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo (home to the giant pandas), SeaWorld San Diego in Mission Bay, or the USS Midway Museum on the San Diego Bay waterfront. Then enjoy the city from the water on a San Diego Bay dinner cruise, which typically includes a meal with sides and dessert. Some cruises include additional features such as Champagne or a DJ. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase if not included in the price.
 
Day 2: Get Active
With its near year-round pleasant weather, San Diego is made for outdoor activities. Explore the sea caves of La Jolla on a kayaking tour for the chance to spot wildlife such as seabirds, sea lions, and perhaps dolphins, or go further into the ocean on a whale-watching cruise to look for migrating whales and other marine life. On land, discover Balboa Park by Segway on a tour of the gardens, architecture, and cultural sites of this urban oasis, or head to Coronado on a Segway adventure that takes you on the ferry, to the beach, and past the historic Hotel del Coronado. Spend the evening on a food and drinks walking tour themed around a piece of the city’s history, such as the seedy aspects of the Gaslamp Quarter, now a nightlife district, or the Mexican and Native American heritage of Old Town, including tequila tastings.
 
Day 3: Get Away for the Day
San Diego sits less than 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of Mexico, making it easy to visit on a day trip. Tijuana is the closest destination, which you can explore on a Baja California coastal tour. You have the chance to go sightseeing and shop for gifts and souvenirs along Avenida Revolución, and then continue down the coast to Rosarito for free time to hit the beach or walk around town. Alternatively, discover one of California’s lesser-known wine regions on a day trip to Temecula, located inland between San Diego and Los Angeles. Enjoy tastings of different varietals at local wineries, and learn about winemaking in an area sandwiched between the desert and the ocean.
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San Diego Tours & Activities (10)
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San Diego Whale Watching CruiseDay Cruises

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

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Go whale watching from San Diego aboard a replica of a historic sailing schooner that won the world’s first America’s Cup sailing competition in 1851. Throughout your cruise, your expert guide shares informative commentary about gray whales, dolphins, and other marine animals, along with details about the US Navy sites you pass as you head out on the Pacific Ocean.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
US$85.00 
From  
US$85.00 
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Skip the Line: USS Midway Museum Admission TicketAttraction Tickets

Skip the Line: USS Midway Museum Admission Ticket

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Take a trip through American naval history with admission to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. This enormous ship, known as the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, now offers a range of interactive exhibits, a self-guided audio tour and numerous restored aircraft across its 4-acre (1.6-hectare) flight deck and sections below. It’s an essential piece of San Diego’s, and America’s, military history. For your safety, our below deck tour routes, guided Island Tour, “Battle of Midway” theater, simulator & Virtual Reality experiences, and climb aboard cockpits are temporarily closed.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
US$26.00 
From  
US$26.00 
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off TrolleyHistorical Tours

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

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Explore some of the top highlights of San Diego with your silver, gold, or platinum day pass (depending on option selected) for the city’s Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Tour. Choose your own adventure as you get on and off the trolley at any of the 12 included stops, covering famous sights including the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway and the Cruise Ship Terminal, Little Italy, and many more. This San Diego trolley tour also features live commentary from the on-board guide during your ride.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
US$42.00 
From  
US$42.00 
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Skip the Ticket Line: San Diego Zoo TicketAttraction Tickets

Skip the Ticket Line: San Diego Zoo Ticket

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Meet some of the world's most exotic animals with your admission ticket to the renowned San Diego Zoo, one of California's top family-friendly attractions. More than 4,000 animals representing 800 species live in this state-of-the-art zoo, including some that are rarely seen at other zoos. Admire the animals and go in-depth during daily keeper talks and guided bus tours. With mobile tickets, simply scan your phone for direct entry into the San Diego Zoo.
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  • 1 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
US$58.00 
From  
US$58.00 
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  • 1 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

San Diego Luxury Dinner Cruise Night Cruises

San Diego Luxury Dinner Cruise

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On this experience, relax in style aboard a luxury dinner cruise. Enjoy panoramic views from the boat's deck and take your time over a gourmet, 3-course meal, as you cruise past twinkling city lights that ring San Diego Bay. Listen to relaxing background music and enjoy an unforgettable evening, or celebrate a birthday, anniversary or another special occasion. Viator Exclusive: Upgrade to a guaranteed, private table by a window and bottle of Champagne.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
US$116.98 
From  
US$116.98 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

La Jolla Sea Caves Kayak TourNature and Wildlife

La Jolla Sea Caves Kayak Tour

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Enjoy the sublime coastal scenery as you spot abundant marine life during this kayaking trip in La Jolla’s sea caves and ecological reserve. Paddle along with your expert naturalist guide as you observe the numerous species of birds, dolphins, sea lions and even orcas that inhabit the area. Also, kayak among the lush kelp beds that grow in the reserve and, if conditions permit, explore inside the sea caves that dot the area’s rocky coastline. This La Jolla caves trip includes all necessary equipment, a life jacket, guide, and optional wetsuit rental.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
US$35.00 
From  
US$35.00 
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

San Diego Harbor Dinner CruiseDay Cruises

San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

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Take an evening cruise wining and dining aboard the ‘Spirit of San Diego,’ enjoying top-notch food and drink, plus sparkling skyline views during this San Diego dinner cruise. Dig into your included gourmet meal, accompanied by a complimentary cocktail and live on-board entertainment, as you cruise 25-miles worth of California’s beautiful coastline and gaze at the twinkling stars above. You can also upgrade your cruise to include an unlimited open bar for an additional price.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
US$110.90 
From  
US$110.90 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Private Balboa Park Segway TourCultural Tours

Private Balboa Park Segway Tour

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Take a tour of San Diego's most-popular park during this Segway exploration of Balboa Park. Follow your friendly local guide to all of the hot spots and learn why locals love the laid back vibe of this coastal destination.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$62.94 
From  
US$62.94 
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Coronado Island Segway TourHalf-day Tours

Coronado Island Segway Tour

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Traveling by Segway is not only fun and different, but allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. On this guided and narrated morning or afternoon tour, explore downtown San Diego and admire gorgeous views of San Diego Bay from the Embarcadero. Take a ferry ride to Coronado Island to check out still more sights, including pretty Coronado Beach and the historic Hotel del Coronado.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$169.00 
From  
US$169.00 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Go San Diego All-Inclusive City Pass: Access 55+ AttractionsMulti-day Tours

Go San Diego All-Inclusive City Pass: Access 55+ Attractions

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Get the most out of your visit to San Diego with the Go San Diego™ All-Inclusive Pass, granting you access to over 55 top city attractions, tours and activities plus a range of great shopping and dining discounts. Check out the San Diego Zoo, Knott’s Berry Farm, and LEGOLAND® California, or try kayaking and snorkeling in La Jolla. Save up to 46% off attraction admission prices and enjoy special offers and discounts at included retailers and restaurants. Best of all, there’s no voucher redemption necessary. Just save your pass on your mobile device and start the fun. Please note: Enjoy the extra flexibility in case your travel plans need to change: All passes are valid for one year from purchase date and only become activated with your first attraction visit. After activation your pass will be valid for the number of days purchased.
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  • 7 days
From  
US$99.00 
From  
US$99.00 
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  • 7 days


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