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  • Writer's pictureThe Travel Mom

10 Things to Do when visiting San Diego, California

San Diego, California is one of my favorite destinations in the US. This city is truly unlike many as the downtown area is right on the beach! There is something for everyone with modern and fun downtown to the nearby beaches that are some of the best in California. Here is my list of the 10 best things to do when visiting San Diego.

Downtown San Diego & the Gas Lamp District

There is so much to do and see in downtown San Diego and the Gas Lamp District is the center of all the fun. The street is only a few minute walk from the water but has some of the best and most fun dining experiences. The street comes to life at night with tons of restaurants and bars to choose from.

Balboa Park

Known as the "Central Park" of San Diego, Balboa park is a destination to visit with over 1200 acres of gardens and museums. It is also home to beautiful Botanical Gardens and one of San Diego's most famous attractions, the San Diego Zoo.

La Jolla Cove & La Jolla Shores

The La Jolla neighborhood is 20 minutes North of Downtown San Diego and a must visit destination. Head to La Jolla Cove to watch the seals and sea lions sun bathing on shore. The La Jolla Village is only steps away which is their Main Street with dining and shopping all with beautiful coastline views of the Pacific Ocean

If you are looking for a sandy beach, head to La Jolla Shores which has a large beach with fire pits perfect for enjoying the beach day and night. Additionally, you can walk a few minutes along the sand and see the beautiful Scripps Pier which is home to some of the best surfing waves in town. You can also head out on a Kayak Tour from this beach where you can paddle over to some amazing rock formations and sea caves!

La Jolla Leopard Sharks

The best thing in La Jolla is actually IN the water. In the Summer and Fall months you will see tons of wild life in the waters. Don't be alarmed but enjoy the hundreds of Leopard Sharks that will be swimming just off the shore. Be sure to grab a snorkel and a waterproof camera and capture the amazing moment.

Catch a Baseball Game at Petco Park

Whether you are a baseball fan or not, the atmosphere at Petco Park is unlike many others. The stadium is located in downtown and is extremely pet friendly thanks to their Stadium Sponsor. Be sure to stay the entire time because they will be shooting off fireworks in the city right after a win!


There are tons of great hikes with beautiful coastal views. Head north of La Jolla and visit the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for beautiful canyon hikes and views. Stand on top of the dramatic coastal cliffs and watch the waves crash below.

Hanggliding in Torrey Pines

Head over to the Torrey Pines Gliderport or just watch from below as there will be tons of hang gliders going up and down the coastline.

Coronado Island

Head south of the city and over the bridge to Coronado Island for the beautiful and small neighborhood beach town. The beaches over here are the largest and there is tons of great place to enjoy the great outdoors on the bay or the Pacific Ocean. Head over to the famous Hotel Del Coronado for lunch or drinks or even an overnight stay!

The Beaches

Last but not least, the BEACHES! San Diego has the best beaches in all of California with beautiful coastal rock cliffs and some of the warmest and clearest waters in the entire West Coast. There is no shortage of good beach towns but be sure to check out Pacific Beach & Mission Beach.

Amusement Parks

From the family friendly fun Lego Land and Balboa Park to Sea World, there are so many amazing places to bring your friends and family for a fun day of excitement and adventure.


Head over to one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of San Diego at the coastal neighborhood of Sunset Cliffs. This beach comes a live during extreme low tides where you can access beautiful sea caves!

5 Kommentare

22. März 2023

We recently moved to Murrieta CA. From Texas! And have spent many days visiting San Diego area. I pronounced La Jolla as “La Hola” the first few visits! Until I was corrected into calling it “La Hoya“ I feel like Belmont Pier was missing from your list!!!! its one of our favorites!!! no matter, because Gas Lamp district is still on our list of things to see! And hotel Del Coronado! love the blog!!! and Look forward to anything you recommend in SD!

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The Travel Mom
The Travel Mom
22. März 2023
Antwort an

So glad you love it and find it useful. There are lots of places that should be on this list 😂 - maybe we will make a top 20 next

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26. Jan. 2023


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The Travel Mom
The Travel Mom
09. Feb. 2023
Antwort an

A visit to San Diego never disappoints!!

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