THINGS TO DO IN SAN DIEGO
As one of the biggest cities in California, San Diego offers many different activities and
sights for new travelers and veteran locals to explore. Here is our list of must-see attractions to experience in the city.
This historic, free-to-enter park in Mission Beach is perfect for singles and families alike. With 12 rides, 6 carnival games, mini golf, go-karts, and over 70 arcade games, you can spend all day at Belmont and never run out of fun things to do. The park is also located on the beach and has several spots to dine, including Cannonball and Draft Republic. Whether you’re in the mood for some American grub and brews, or a fine glass of wine on a rooftop sushi restaurant overlooking the water, Belmont has the perfect place for you to sit down and decompress after an adventure-packed day at the park. Enjoy a beautiful oceanfront sunset steps away from the park after dinner.
The San Diego Zoo is home to over 3,700 animals representing 660 different species. Located just north of downtown San Diego in Balboa Park, this 100 acre wildlife park is known for its conservation efforts and endangered species rehabilitation. The zoo takes part in substantial research and breeding programs to stabilize and rebuild wild animal populations of endangered species. Be sure to prepare yourself for an all day walking experience, as the park is massive and will take a considerable amount of energy to see all of the exhibits.
Plenty of water and rest is advised, but the journey is worth seeing such incredible animals in their natural, cage-free habitats enjoying the perfect San Diego weather. Fortunately the zoo provides bus tours, mini trains, and an aerial tram where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Zoo and the surrounding.
Balboa Park area. There is plenty of dining and shopping to do if you need a break as well. Bring your family and friends to experience one of San Diego’s most popular attractions!
San Diego hosts around 50 certified farmer’s markets Monday through Sunday. They are a great opportunity to try organic, local produce and taste what Southern California has to offer. Sometimes there is live music to listen to as you walk along the stalls of fresh food and handmade crafts.
Personal favorites include Ocean Beach and Little Italy. Feel free to bring the kiddos as some markets also offer kid-friendly arts and crafts booths. The biggest draw to the farmer’s markets has to be the incredible sense of local community.
Everyone is friendly and the vendors are more than willing to engage in conversation about the market and their products. You will always leave the farmer’s market feeling closer to your community and full of delicious food and beverage.
This historic chunk of downtown is the epicenter of San Diego’s nightlife. Leave the kids at home with the babysitter while you explore the countless restaurants, pubs, and bars like Metl Bar and The Tipsy Crow. There is plenty of cute boutiques where you can shop and buy some souvenirs of your trip. Gaslamp is a very walkable area where any need you have is met at your fingertips. You only need to take a few steps to find yourself at the door of an upscale hotel with a rooftop lounge, a bustling bar with live music, or an aromatic restaurant popular among tourists and locals alike. During baseball season you are only a few blocks away from Petco Park where you can experience the San Diego Padres play. Petco Park is also home to many concerts where you can experience wonderful music while enjoying local beers on tap. The buzzing nightclubs are full of live DJ’s, yummy cocktails, and huge dance floors where you have room to let your dance moves shine. You can stop at the Gaslamp any time of day or night and you will be sure to find your preferred scene ready for you to come in and have fun.
Wear your Sunday’s best along with a big, fun sunhat when you go place bets on horses at the racetrack. Tickets are cheap at just $8 and bets start at a minimum of $2, so no need to break the bank. Racing season takes place July through September and also through the month of November.
The season features the nation’s top racehorses, jockeys, and trainers competing for winnings up to half a million dollars. Just a few hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean, the picturesque racetrack offers a beautiful ocean view as well as incredible architecture. The track is easy to navigate and you won’t face any issues with the $10 parking provided. There’s live music, food and beverage available to enjoy along with seeing the beautiful thoroughbred horses race around the 1 mile long track. Win or lose, you are guaranteed to have fun watching the races where the surf meets the turf.
With a population of one million people and taking up almost 400 square miles of the West Coast, San Diego has much to offer. Whether you like going to the beach, dining out, or trying something unconventional, San Diego can provide you with a plethora of different things to do to enjoy your beautiful, sunny day
Jordyn Reardon | UCLA alum English Major | San Diego native with an affinity for adventure. Loves discovering hidden gems across Southern California and writing about them for the greater community.