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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
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 Museum comprises an entire floating city. Aboard the hulking vessel docked in San Diego, California, visitors can now explore more than 60 exhibits as well as peek inside the museum’s impressive aircraft collection.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
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
#4
San Diego Harbor

San Diego Harbor

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The city’s waterfront Embarcadero district is one of the San Diego Bay's most vibrant areas. From museums to maritime attractions, and from Seaport Village's shops and restaurants to the area’s parks, the San Diego Harbor is known for its entertainment offerings and family-friendly attractions.More
#5
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
#6
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
#7
Maritime Museum of San Diego

Maritime Museum of San Diego

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From steamships to submarines, the Maritime Museum of San Diego welcomes you aboard an array of historic ships, letting you delve into the rich maritime history of San Diego. Each vessel offers its own exhibits and experiences. The museum’s fleet ranges from the world’s oldest active sailing ship—Star of India—to modern submarines.More
#8
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
#9
Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego

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Dating to 1769, Old Town San Diego is the site of California’s first European settlement. To see the district's prime attraction, stop at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park with its preserved adobe buildings and living history demonstrations such as blacksmithing. The area is also home to restaurants, shops, and live entertainment.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

Recent reviews from experiences in San Diego

star-5
Trolley
Amy_V, Oct 2020
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The trolley is a great way to see the highlights of San Diego.
star-5
Seal Boat is a blast!
Gary_L, Oct 2020
San Diego Seal Tour
What a wonderful way to SEE a portion of San Diego from the ground level - and then from sea level!
star-5
The amazing views
Beats, Sep 2020
San Diego City Lights Night Tour
You get to see the night life of San Diego, all the beautiful lights.
star-5
Going over the overpass and onto a fast moving street so i was able to do the max speed
Cee, Sep 2020
GoCar Talking GoCar 2Hr Tour: Downtown & Old Town
Im into motorcycles, go carts, 4 wheeler, and so many other adventurous things to do so this was definitely a great experience.
star-5
San Diego Waterfront
Stephanie_V, Sep 2020
San Diego Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Doing a scavenger hunt was a great way to see San Diego.
star-5
Must Do!
MEL-C, Sep 2020
Classic Sunset Sail in San Diego
What a great way to see San Diego!
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San Diego cruise
Christine_W, Sep 2020
San Diego Harbor Cruise
The views and being able to see San Diego from a different perspective was very enjoyable.
star-5
A great experience! I highly recommend.
SaylesFam, Feb 2021
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
Just as interesting were the navy vessels we got to see as we came in and out of the bay.
star-5
A lot of San Diego
Whitney_M, Aug 2020
San Diego Scenic Tour
A great way to see multiple things in San Diego.
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Cruise
Hamid_M, Aug 2020
San Diego Harbor Cruise
Good trip in sea by ship It was a great time to see ocean and bay in san Diego for first time Thanks
star-5
Thank you Captain Shon!
Danielle_H, Aug 2020
Small-Group San Diego Sunset Sailing Excursion
He made our boat excursion such an enjoyable time and we enjoyed getting to see the beautiful views of San Diego!
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San Diego
viviennelyons, Feb 2020
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
I really enjoyed this tour Mark the guide was very knowledgeable and friendly You get to see all the important places and you can chose which one you want to get off at so it gives you a good idea of San Diego
star-5
Get to know Balboa Park
Julieit, Sep 2019
San Diego Small Group Tour: Best of Balboa Park Tour with Coffee
I have always wanted to visit Balboa Park but didn't know where to begin--it's a big place!.
star-5
Wonderful Experience
Timberwolf123, Jul 2019
Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past
This tour was a wonderful way to see & experience the Gaslamp District of San Diego.
star-5
Fun Tour
827lydiar, May 2019
San Diego Seal Tour
A wonderful way to see San Diego's beautiful waterfront, and to hear about the amazing naval history of this city.
star-5
Excellent tour. Very personable, knowledgeable and helpful guide.
hhorwitzintune, Aug 2018
San Diego Scenic Tour
Got to see a good selection get a good taste of San Diego attractions.
star-4
It was something different to do from...
Charlie M, May 2015
San Diego Bay Jet Boat Ride
It was something different to do from the normal San Diego Attractions.
star-5
Trip was worth it. Captain was very...
tar, Aug 2017
Small-Group San Diego Afternoon Sailing Excursion
Great way to see San Diego and surrounding areas with a different perspective.
star-5
Beautiful drive in San Diego and the...
MD, Mar 2018
San Diego Shore Excursion: San Diego Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley
Very nice way to see the most important sites with options to get off/on at your leisure.
star-5
We loved this experience. We...
Nancy D, Sep 2017
Skip the Line: USS Midway Museum Admission Ticket in San Diego
We thought that 3-4 hours would allow us time to see everything.

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?
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What are the top activities in San Diego?
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