Best Things to Do in San Diego
The second-largest city in California, San Diego is known for its gorgeous climate, clean beaches, and tons of attractions and events for the whole family. If you are visiting this southern Cali spot, check out this list of things to do during your stay.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
The catchphrase for San Diego horse racing is where “the turf meets the surf.” At the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, fans of the sport come in droves to see their favorite horses race around the track. The season begins mid-July and runs until early September, with the sport’s popularity dating back to the 1930s. The track even boasts celebrity guests in its history such as Bing Crosby and the infamous 1938 race where Seabiscuit won by a nose.
Del Mar Fair
The Del Mar Fair is San Diego’s top summer community event. Typically held from mid-June to early July, the fair is located on 370 acres of land and features tons of carnival rides for both kids and adults as well as exciting exhibits and a petting zoo. While you and your family and friends shop and explore, the children in your party get to ride ponies or watch a magic show. There are even pig races and a section of rides designed for toddlers, making it something for everyone!
Golf enthusiasts have plenty to choose from when they visit the area. The Torrey Pines Golf Course offers 36 holes and is situated on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There is also the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club if you are looking for a more private golfing experience. Is mini-golf more your game? Check out the fun putting greens with your friends and family.
San Diego Zoo
Founded in 1915 and one of the first to have cageless exhibits, the San Diego Zoo is one of the top zoos in the world, providing natural habitat homes to more than 650 species. The location offers guided tours that include most of the park or you can navigate the exhibits via the Skyfari tramway, including the free-flight aviaries, the Arctic woodlands, or the African rainforest, home to the gorillas. Visit the tigers, gazelles, giraffes, rhinos, and the Giant Pandas, which are only in four zoos in the US.
When you think of California, you probably think of surfing, and San Diego is a top spot for the sport. With 70 miles of coastline, the area has a long list of favorite surf spots whether you want to ride the waves yourself or just want to watch the pros do it. Head to Swami’s, the popular location named in the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA.” The point break at Trestles is another must-see and is also the host of many competitions from May to September.
San Diego Old Town
San Diego Old Town is the site of the first European settlement in the area, offering historic adobe buildings built between 1820 and 1870. The preserved streets and the State Historical Park transport visitors to another time. It is also a great place for authentic Mexican food, specialty shops, and art galleries. If you visit around the holidays, you will be greeted with lively, colorful festivities all season long.
USS Midway Museum
Moored in San Diego’s Embarcadero since 2004, the USS Midway is the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the world. Initially commissioned in 1945, it continued to be used during the Vietnam War as well as Desert Storm. Now it is the largest museum dedicated to aircraft carriers and naval aviation worldwide. Tours of the vessel feature 30 restored aircraft, the galley, and brig, as well as the sleeping quarters and engine room. An accompanying audio tour provides information from people who served on the midway, and guests can even participate in testing simulators. Nearby, catch the one-hour cruise around San Diego Bay, which covers more than 50 landmarks such as the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. You may also glimpse some of the local marine wildlife like sea lions and pelicans.
San Diego is the perfect place to view the migration of the California Gray Whales as they move from Northern Alaska to Baja for their birthing season. Catch these majestic creatures between December and April on whale-watching cruises that can last as long as four hours. These comfortable tours feature plenty of seating and an expert on board to share information about whales. You may even catch dolphins, seals, and sea lions on your trip.
About 20 minutes from San Diego is Carlsbad, one of California’s most relaxing spots for anyone looking to explore the beauty of the coast. Visitors who love the water can rent wave runners, canoes, paddleboats, and more for an exciting time on the beautiful blue water. There are even surf schools and air tours in addition to shopping, water parks, aquariums, and so much more. Your family can even stop by Legoland and explore the amazing exhibits.
Have you heard about Coronado Island? If not, you are in for a treat. The area features top restaurants, shopping, plenty of beaches and parks for those who love the outdoors, and tours such as the Public Art Walking Tour that guides you through sculptures, local art, galleries, and more. Don’t forget to sign up for the Legendary Tours at the Hotel Del Coronado.
Whether you choose snorkeling at La Jolla Cove or you relax on the beach, this small stretch of serene shores is protected by cliffs, offering relaxation and privacy. The spot is also a marine life reserve, which is why snorkelers and divers choose it when they want to view life under the sea.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center
Water sports are a must when you visit the San Diego region. At the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, sign up for lessons in sailing, surfing, wakeboarding, kayaking, and much more. You can also rent sailboats, paddleboats, and rowing vessels for a fun day on the water. Have a special birthday coming up? Ask about their party packages.
De Anza Cove
Image provided by californiabeaches.com
Located in North Mission Bay is De Anza Cove, a park perfect for volleyball, picnics, jogging, biking, and water sports like boating and jet skiing. After a day of swimming or sailing, check out their comfort stations complete with showers before heading to your next destination or joining a game in the sandlot.