This post may contain affiliate links, please read our disclosure policy.
If you are planning a trip to San Diego, be sure to check out these tops things to do in San Diego. These ideas are great for families as well as solo adventurers.
15 Top Things To Do In San Diego
When planning your vacation, it’s always a good idea to consider what you would like to do and where you would like to do it. If you’re planning a trip to San Diego, there’s no need to worry about what to do – the city has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for beaches and sunny weather or history and cultural attractions, there’s a lot to see and do in San Diego.
Here are 15 of the top things to do in San Diego:
Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
If you know me, you know that this would be my #1 recommendation. I love going on guided tours because they are one of the best ways to learn about the place you are visiting from someone is knowledgeable. Add in wine and beautiful views…you got yourself a must do while in San Diego. My friend and I went on the San Diego Beer, Wine and Spirits Tours Chauffeured Vineyard Adventure and LOVED IT. Not only was our tour guide, Paul Anthony, extremely informative about the area, the wines and the wineries we visited but he was also a genuinely nice person!
Our Vineyard Tour started around noon and went until almost 6 PM. We went to two stunning wineries where we indulged in wine and delicious food. During those 6 hours we also made friends…the other 5 people that were on the tour with us were absolutely amazing people that we plan on keeping in touch with.
When you are planning your trip to San Diego I can’t recommend the San Diego Beer, Wine and Spirits Tours Chauffeured Vineyard Adventure enough, if I went back to San Diego again tomorrow, I would 100% do this tour again.
Check out my IG Reel of some of the highlights of the Winery Tour.
While I did receive a discount on our tour, our opinions are 100% our own!
Cruise Through Seaport Village
Seaport Village was a short walk from our hotel, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, so we actually just stumbled upon this adorable area, but we loved it so much, we walked through it every morning! There are shops, restaurants and incredible views along the water. And as we kept walking, we ended up at the USS Midway.
If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity to do in San Diego, California, visit the USS Midway Museum.
The USS Midway Museum is home to a number of exhibits that chronicle the history of naval aviation. You can explore more than 60 aircraft on display, including fighter jets and helicopters. The museum also has a 4D theater where you can watch immersive short films about naval history. In addition, there are several interactive exhibits where you can learn more about life on a naval ship.
The museum is located on the Navy Pier at 910 N. Harbor Drive and is open from 10am to 5pm daily. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-17.
This incredible hotel has been around since 1888 and has the ghost stories to prove it! Even if you aren’t staying at the iconic hotel, grab an uber and check it out! We ate on the Sundeck, watched the sunset, then walked the haunted halls of the hotel. The staff was really friendly and shared all the interesting details with us. The food, the views, and being able to stick your feet in the Pacific make the Hotel del Coronado a must-do while in San Diego.
We grabbed a margarita from the beach bar, walked the beach, then ate at the Sundeck. After that we explored the famous hotel.
Balboa Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Diego, California. There are plenty of things to do in this 1,200 acre park, which was founded in 1868. Visitors can enjoy walking or biking through the gardens, touring the museums, and watching the street performers. There are also several restaurants and cafes located in Balboa Park.
We only spent a few hours in the park, and that wasn’t nearly enough to see everything there! We did enjoy shopping in the Spanish Arts Center and walking through the insanely beautiful rose gardens.
The San Diego Zoo is a world-renowned zoo located in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. It was founded in 1916 by Dr. Harry Wegeforth and is one of the largest zoos in the United States. The zoo features a wide variety of animals from all over the world, as well as a botanical garden with more than 4,000 different plants. There are also several restaurants and cafes on the premises.
Take a stroll down the lively Embarcadero Center
Here you will find coastal restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
Take a trip to the beach
San Diego is a beautiful city with many things to do, including visiting the beach. The beaches in San Diego are some of the best in California. They have great waves for surfing, sand for sunbathing, and cliffs for hiking. There are also several restaurants and bars near the beaches, so visitors can enjoy a meal or drink while taking in the ocean views.
Sample some of the city’s best food
San Diego is a foodie’s paradise, with cuisine options to suit any palate. Sample the city’s famous fish tacos, burritos, and carne asada fries. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a cold craft beer or local San Diego wine. If you’re looking for something sweet, indulge in a churro or Mexican donut. There are also plenty of international restaurants to explore, from Thai to Indian. Whatever you’re in the mood for, San Diego has got you covered.
We enjoyed tacos at several stops and the bagels at Spill The Beans were the best bagels we have EVER had…we even brought some home! Be sure to walk through Little Italy and the Gaslamp District.
Catch a Padres Game
The baseball team plays at PETCO Park, which is located in the heart of downtown. If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly activity, a Padres game is the perfect choice. In addition to watching the action on the field, there are also plenty of things to do in and around the stadium. You can enjoy food and drinks from one of the many concession stands, take a walk around the park, or check out one of the team’s merchandise stores. If you’re looking for a more unique experience, consider buying tickets to one of the stadium’s luxury suites.
Insider tip: if you are over 21, head to the Altitude Sky Lounge, it’s a rooftop bar right next door to the stadium.
Sailing is a great way to enjoy the California coastline. There are many sailing clubs in San Diego, and most of them offer lessons for beginners. You can also rent boats from many of the clubs. If you’re not a member, you can still go sailing by taking a tour.
There are several places in San Diego where you can go sailing. The most popular spot is Mission Bay, which has miles of coastline to explore. Other good spots include Point Loma, La Jolla Cove, and Torrey Pines State Park.
Sailing is a great way to see the sights of San Diego. You can watch dolphins play in the water, admire the beautiful cliff sides, and explore hidden coves. It’s also a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air.
Visit the Museums
There are many wonderful museums in San Diego, California. The Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-see for art lovers. It has a great collection of pieces from local and international artists. If you’re interested in history, the San Diego Maritime Museum is a great option. It features exhibits on naval history and maritime culture. Kids will love the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, which has interactive exhibits on science and technology.
4WD Tours in San Diego
If you’re looking for a unique way to explore San Diego, consider going on a 4WD tour. These tours are available through a variety of companies, and they offer visitors the chance to see some of the most beautiful and inaccessible areas of the city.
Some of the highlights of 4WD tours include visits to Torrey Pines State Reserve, Mount Palomar Observatory, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. You’ll also have the opportunity to go off-road, so be prepared for some bumpy terrain.
Many people enjoy 4WD tours because they offer a mix of sightseeing and adventure. If you’re looking for an exciting way to see San Diego, this is definitely the option for you.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a 68-acre park located in the Point Loma community of San Diego, California. The park features dramatic ocean views, a variety of coastal vegetation, and access to a wide variety of outdoor activities.
The cliffs are home to a large variety of bird life, including cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants, pelicans, and gulls. The beach below the cliffs is popular with surfers and body boarders. The reef at the entrance to the cove is popular with divers.
The park offers a number of hiking trails that lead to viewpoints overlooking the ocean and the city of San Diego. One trail leads down to the beach below the cliffs. A stairway provides access to the beach from Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
Insider Tip: San Diego is known to have beautiful weather just about any time of the year, but they do say describe May as “Gray May” and June “Gloom June”, so if you visit during those 2 months you may not catch the most amazing sunsets, but you’ll still have a great time….Promise!
La Jolla Caves
If you’re looking for an interesting and unusual things to do in San Diego, California, La Jolla Caves is a great place to explore. These natural caves are located in the La Jolla area of San Diego and offer a unique experience for visitors.
The caves are open to the public and can be explored on your own or as part of a guided tour. The caves are home to a variety of wildlife, including bats, and offer a beautiful setting for a nature hike.
There is no fee to visit the caves, and they are open every day from sunrise to sunset. So if you’re looking for something different to do while in San Diego, be sure to check out La Jolla Caves.
We visited with the locals while in La Jolla….the sea lions 🙂 They were so cool to see, so I definitely recommend paying them a visit.
While in La Jolla, make a reservation at The Marine Room. I can’t stress this enough….It is a restaurant that literally sits on the beach and has the most incredible food…and staff! I have to say, that dining at The Marine Room was by far the most incredible culinary experience I have ever had.
We literally never even opened the menu while we were there, our server asked us what we liked and paired absolutely each course perfectly with a wine. From the appetizers, to the main course, to dessert. It could have been more perfect. And the views you guys…the views are INSANE.
When you are planning your trip to San Diego….please, do yourself a favor, and make the reservation at The Marine Room.