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Things to do in San Diego

Things to do in  San Diego

Welcome to San Diego

A quintessentially coastal California town, San Diego welcomes visitors with picture-perfect weather and a surprising variety of things to do. Within its vast city limits, you can scale mountains, embark on desert hikes, and surf at one of many palm tree–lined beaches. You can also learn about military and Spanish colonial history, and eat fresh seafood and Mexican cuisine to your heart’s content. From its laid-back beach neighborhoods—like Ocean, Mission and Pacific beaches—to the bustling nightlife and downtown dining destinations of Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego offers something fun for every traveler.

Top 10 attractions in San Diego

#1
San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, part of the larger San Diego Zoo, is an 1,800-acre (728-hectare) open-range park housing some 3,500 animals from about 430 species. The park’s open layout allows herds of giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other animals indigenous to Africa to roam the re-created valley floor.More
#2
Coronado

Coronado

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Across the bay from downtown San Diego, the small resort town of Coronado is an idyllic escape from the city with a wide, sandy coastline and a tree-lined main drag that’s home to shops and restaurants. Visitors go to hang out on the beach, tour historical sites, and watch the sunset.More
#3
San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

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The world-famous San Diego Zoo presents a stunning variety of nature’s largest, smallest, exotic, and most endangered creatures. The epic zoo has more than 3,700 animals representing over 800 species in a beautifully landscaped 100 acres (40.5 hectares), typically in lush enclosures that replicate their natural habitat. San Diego Zoo is considered to be one of the best and well-known zoos in the world, and is a must-see attraction in sunny Southern California.More
#4
Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter

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The epicenter of San Diego’s party scene, the lively Gaslamp Quarter offers much more than just pulsating nightlife. The charming downtown neighborhood is also rich with cultural museums, art galleries, concert venues, and symphony halls, plus loads of lovely alfresco eateries. But back to the nightlife: Clubs, dive bars, and cocktail lounges draw the university crowd, while diverse audiences fill the Spreckels and Balboa theaters for performing arts, comedy shows, and live music.More
#5
Balboa Park

Balboa Park

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Home to world-class museums, manicured gardens, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park tops the list of San Diego city sights. Its 1,200 lush acres (486 hectares) comprise the largest urban park in the United States. Apart from its many attractions, Balboa Park also features lengthy walking and hiking trails, distinctive landscaping, Golden Age Spanish buildings, and one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs.More
#6
USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum

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Formerly the US Navy’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century (1945 to 1991), the USS Midway is now a floating museum docked off the coast of California. Aboard the hulking vessel, visitors can now explore more than 60 exhibits as well as peek inside the museum’s impressive aircraft collection.More
#7
Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

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On the southern tip of the Point Loma peninsula, which separates the Pacific Ocean from San Diego Bay, Cabrillo National Monument stands in honor of Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who journeyed up the California coast in the mid-1500s. Stop at the statue for views of the open sea, bay, and San Diego skyline.More
#8
Seaport Village

Seaport Village

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A harborside hub buzzing with shopping, dining, and entertainment, Seaport Village attracts tourists and locals alike. The historic-style waterfront has everything from upscale eateries to vendors selling fresh fish. Stroll the boardwalk, ride the carousel, or indulge in seafood while listening to live music.More
#9
Little Italy San Diego

Little Italy San Diego

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Once home to generations of Italian families who who made their living in San Diego’s flourishing fishing industry, Little Italy is now a lively neighborhood packed with restaurants, patio cafés, craft brewpubs, urban wineries, and little plazas with fountains and views of the bay. The trendy, walkable neighborhood—in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter—also has upscale boutiques, art galleries, chic shops, boutique hotels, and live music venues, so there is far more to experience here than just the delicious food.More
#10
Point Loma

Point Loma

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Point Loma sits on a hilly peninsula west of Downtown San Diego, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. This seaside community is best known for its tide pools, historical landmarks, and sweeping views of the bay and the San Diego skyline. With plenty to do and see, it’s no wonder it’s one of the city’s most photographed spots.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in San Diego

How to Spend 1 Day in San Diego

How to Spend 2 Days in San Diego

How to Spend 2 Days in San Diego

Mexico Tours from San Diego

Mexico Tours from San Diego

Top activities in San Diego

San Diego Harbor Cruise

San Diego Harbor Cruise

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From
US$30.00
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

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US$85.00
San Diego Bay Jet Boat Ride

San Diego Bay Jet Boat Ride

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US$35.00
Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour

Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour

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US$48.00
San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

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US$110.90
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

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US$45.00
San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise
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San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise

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US$91.08
San Diego Seal Tour

San Diego Seal Tour

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US$44.00
Small Group Classic Sunset Sail in San Diego
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San Diego Scenic Tour

San Diego Scenic Tour

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US$79.00
Luxury Sunset Sail Experience on San Diego Bay - Small Group
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Recent reviews from experiences in San Diego

star-5
Top Notch Tour
Fernando_M, Dec 2021
San Diego Scenic Tour
Saw the best sites to see in San Diego, CA from a top notch tour guide, all were excellent.
star-5
Jennifer was a wealth of...
Michael_F, Dec 2021
Balboa Park Highlights Tour with Coffee
As east coasters is was interesting to see the “Smithsonian of the west.
star-5
A must do!
Connie, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
It was a great way to see the different sites.
star-5
Don't miss this tour!
marchan1956, Nov 2021
San Diego Seal Tour
It was a great experience to see how this huge bus turns into a boat!
star-5
We enjoyed ourselves. ...
Marie_S, Nov 2021
San Diego Scenic Tour
We would have liked to see more beaches.
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Whale Watching Expedition 11.06.2021
Susan_S, Nov 2021
Whale Watching Cruise from Mission Bay
Sea World team enroute to see if thet can help free him.
star-5
Definitely a tour to take!
Valorie_O, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
You really get an opportunity to see and hear the history of SD!
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Relaxing and romantic
Mario_L, Nov 2021
San Diego Harbor Cruise
This is our first time visiting San Diego and the 2 hour cruise is a great way to see what the city has to offer.
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Top San Diego experience!
Gayle_L, Oct 2021
San Diego Harbor Cruise
A great way to see the San Diego skyline and all the different neighborhoods.
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Locals should try it too
Nancy_J, Sep 2021
San Diego Seal Tour
Fun way to see our ciry from a different perspective
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Fun experience
Shiela_F, Sep 2021
San Diego Shore Excursion: San Diego Seal Tour
Was surprised how slow the “bus” moved in the water but fun to see the seals and sea lions.
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Great
Merlin_D, Sep 2021
Small Group Classic Sunset Sail in San Diego
Nice pleasurable, relaxing trip to see San Diego from the water.
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Felt like a child again
Bertha_M, Aug 2021
San Diego Zoo Safari Park 1-Day Pass Ticket, No Reservations Required!
I visited San Diego to visit my son and he suggested a visit to the zoo.
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Dolphins!
Monica_L, Aug 2021
Whale Watching Cruise from Mission Bay
We were then lucky enough to see a large pod of dolphins which was the highlight of the trip.
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A most enjoyable part of our trip!
Gale, Jul 2021
Luxury Sunset Sail Experience on San Diego Bay - Small Group
A great way to see San Diego at night.
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Jim ROCKS!!!
David_A, Jul 2021
Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour
We went on a tour to Coors field, and got to see the visitors locker room & dugout.
star-5
Amazing workout and ride!
Elizabeth_A, Jul 2021
1 HOUR Eco Pedal Boat Rental in San Diego Bay
We got to see beautiful views of San Diego and other boat life.
star-5
Great way to see San Diego in 4 hrs!
DGRS32, Oct 2021
San Diego Scenic Tour
Great way to see the key points in San Diego area!
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Great experience
Joan, Jul 2021
San Diego Zoo 1-Day Pass Ticket, No Reservations Required!
Particularly enjoyed observing some enrichment activities provided to the animals.
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I love the Harbor cruise...
Kathleen_H, Sep 2021
San Diego Harbor Cruise
I love the Harbor cruise and it is great when visitors come to see San Diego!

A local’s pocket guide to San Diego

Sasha Lozovoy

A Viator account manager, California native, and La Jolla resident, Sasha can be found enjoying the sunshine, petting dogs, and seeking out the tastiest acai bowl San Diego has to offer.

The first thing you should do in San Diego is...

rent a car. You’ll need a set of wheels to explore the multitude of diverse neighborhoods in San Diego and try the fish tacos each has to offer.

A perfect Saturday in San Diego...

starts with a hike around Torrey Pines State Reserve, where you can enjoy views of the Pacific, the golf course, and the gliderport. Cap off your day with carbonara at Barbusa in Little Italy.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Coronado Island. Grab brunch at Parakeet Cafe and wander through the whimsical and historical Hotel del Coronado. Don’t be surprised if you witness a beachfront wedding or proposal!

To discover the "real" San Diego...

walk along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Jump in a game of volleyball, take a dip, grab a bite, or simply people-watch. You’ll find a harmonious collection of locals, tourists, college students, roller skaters, and more.

For the best view of the city...

most people would say a rooftop in the Gaslamp District, but try Point Loma Lighthouse in Cabrillo National Monument instead. Explore the tide pools below if you visit during low tide.

One thing people get wrong...

is assuming everyone surfs. On any given day, you’ll get your fair share of sandy folks out riding tubes, but it’s by no means a prerequisite for visiting or living in the area.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in San Diego?
Q:
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Q:
What do I need to know before visiting San Diego?