Main menu Open search menu

Top Things To Do In San Diego

San Diego is famous for its beaches, parks, and unrivaled California weather. The city is way more than just whale watching, tide pools, and local breweries, though — this popular vacation spot has authentic Mexican food and a trendy Little Italy. Be sure to pack your swimsuits, a towel, and plenty of sunscreen to make the most of your time in San Diego. Kick-off your trip with some of these things to do San Diego.

San Diego is known for having near 70-degree weather year round. This, in addition to the city’s natural beauty and infinite list of attractions, make it easy to find activities everyone will enjoy.

The best things to do near San Diego include:

  • Catch a sunset at Sunset cliffs
  • Venture through the streets of Hillcrest have to offer
  • Take the ferry to Coronado Island
  • Get your camera ready and head to Seaport Village
  • Hike up to one of the highest point of San Diego, Soledad Mountain

You can enjoy an entire day at the beach in San Diego without spending a dime. Save a few bucks by checking out one of these free or affordable San Diego activities.

Cheap attractions near San Diego include:

  • See the dolphins migrating up the San Diego coastline
  • Go whale watching on one of many tours or, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse as they migrate up the coast
  • Explore First Fridays at Liberty Station
  • Ascend California Tower’s 125 steps for an iconic view of the horizon
  • Find great views of the San Diego harbor and skyline at Cabrillo National Monument

With miles of beaches accompanied by classic boardwalk activities, it’s no surprise that San Diego stands as one of the most visited cities in the world. If you’re deciding on what to do during your trip to San Diego, here’s a few tips on the best things to do.

Popular attractions near San Diego include:

  • Take an Instagram photo atop Potato Chip Rock
  • Learn about why Belgian ale tastes different than American ale at White Labs
  • Check out the Midway and its 60 on-board exhibits
  • Swim with the leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores
  • See the Flower Fields while they’re blooming in spring

Being home to the Padres, the Sockers, and the Gulls, San Diego is a coastal hub for professional sports games. Plus, the wonderful weather ensures the action is never delayed due to rain.

Exciting activities near San Diego include:

  • Get the freshest catch at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market
  • Browse the eateries, bars, and craft vendors at Liberty Public Market
  • Visit the Torrey Pines State Reserve
  • Eat at Las Cuatro Milpas, with Mexican food that’s worth the wait
  • Eat at South Beach Bar & Grille for ocean views and microbrews

Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean it’s time to turn in, San Diego comes alive at night. Explore the city’s lively bars, restaurants, and clubs after sunset.

Nighttime attractions near San Diego include:

  • Order a goblet full of vodka Red Bull slushie at PB Shore Club
  • See one of the best tiki experiences in San Diego at Cat Eye Club
  • See if Lady Luck is smiling at you at Saycuan Casino
  • Go downtown after sundown at Parq Restaurant & Nightclub
  • Head to the 16 blocks of partying in downtown SD’s lively Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego has an assortment of exceptional shopping venues, tide pools, and neighborhoods to keep you occupied until Monday. From the scenic Seaport Village to Horton Plaza and the Gaslamp Quarter, there’s always a new place in San Diego to explore on the weekend.

Weekend activities near San Diego include:

  • Go tide pooling at Cabrillo National Monument tide pools, Shell Beach tide pools, and more
  • Try a Mai Tai at Bali Hai
  • Hit a rooftop pool party in the Gaslamp
  • Silver Fox, one of SD’s most notable dive bars
  • Head to Bassmnt for a bottle service, house music, and a basement feel

With weather ideal for any family vacation, taking the kids to San Diego can be a lot more affordable than you think. There are plenty of kid-friendly beaches for your family to sprawl out on.

Family-friendly attractions near San Diego include:

  • Take the kids to meet more than 3,700 animals at the San Diego Zoo
  • Get ice cream at Mr. Frostie, a Pacific Beach ice cream shop serving dessert since 1949
  • Pick strawberries at Suzie’s Farm
  • See sleight-of-hand and other stage magic at Red Spade Theater
  • Enjoy SeaWorld San Diego, an aquatic theme park

Mere miles away from Mexico, San Diego serves up some of the country’s most sought after Mexican cuisine. That means margaritas and mezcal are mainstays to San Diego’s best date spots.   

Date night ideas near San Diego include:

  • Sip mezcal together at Cantina Mayahuel
  • Celebrate an anniversary at the Wine Vault and Bistro’s wine pairing dinners
  • Go on a full moon dinner cruise aboard Hornblower Cruises
  • Explore the tiki menu of The Nolen, a high-design rooftop spot
  • Try upscale dim sum at Fung Fung Yuen

San Diego is a popular destination for those travelling with friends or family. Do your research and pick a few group activities in San Diego that everyone will enjoy.  

Things to do with your friends near San Diego include:

  • Paddle out with a crew with San Diego Kayaking Meetup
  • Spend the day exploring Balboa Park
  • Plan a trivia night at Park & Rec in University Heights
  • Share an ice cream flight at Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream
  • Try food from a different country at Taste of the Himalayas

San Diego’s warm weather makes it easy to stay outside, yet there are still plenty of things to do indoors. Learn all about the San Diego settlers, see historic buildings, and enjoy intriguing sites.

Indoor attractions near San Diego include:

  • Book a spa day at the iconic Hotel Del Coronado
  • Order a rum punch at Crowne Plaza San Diego
  • Catch a movie at the retro-inspired Pearl Hotel
  • Scope out North County’s best brews at Pinzgauer
  • Make the pinball wizard proud at Coin-Op Game Room

Discover the best San Diego beaches for bbq’s, surfing, and scuba diving. San Diego has many outdoor activities to keep everyone entertained.

Outdoor attractions in San Diego include:

  • Hike to the best vantage point on Blacks Beach
  • Give surfing a try at any of its many beaches, like Carlsbad, Del Mar, or Encinitas Beaches
  • Fly high at Torrey Pines Gliderport
  • Go snorkeling in La Jolla Cave
  • Play golf at Torrey Pines

While it’s easy to spend all day near the ocean, San Diego is much more than sandy beaches and great weather. Try some of its staple Mexican food options, or check out where the sea lions like to play.

Must-see places near San Diego include:

  • Eat a California burrito (French fries et al) at Nico’s Mexican food
  • See the seals and sea lions lounging at La Jolla Cove
  • Head to Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, a hole-in-the-wall taco stand
  • Head to Kindred, a vegan restaurant that hosts a tropical tiki takeover on Thursdays
  • Enter the French-style speakeasy called Caché