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Top 10 things to do in San Diego, CA

Updated on August 2, 2012

Welcome To San Diego!

Here you will find my TOP BEST things to do while in town, from great restaurants, museums and parks to ,of course, the most beautiful beaches in the world. To me sunny San Diego is all about the lay back attitude, the artistic and unique feel of each little community, and its amazing diversity of cultures all absorbed by strong values and a fun almost grown up hippie chic feel. So hope you enjoy this guide that I created from my own lovely and sometimes crazy experiences living there for over 7 years. So grab your flip flops and enjoy the ride!

Work In Progress

Last Updated 06/16/11

The best things to do in San Diego

Old Town San Diego
Old Town San Diego

1. San Diego Old Town

Old Town sidewalks overflow with people who come to revisit history, to shop and to savor some of the best and greatest variety of food that San Diego has to offer. You can expect to see amazing local historic sites museums and parks, experience some yummy and authentic Mexican food and American and many others (but Mexican being highly reccomended), and also expect to to do great shopping as you will be surrounded by great stores as well!


1. Cafe Coyote y Cantina

2. Casa Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant

3. Cold Stone Creamery

4. Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant

5. Freds Mexican Cafe

6. Gila House Restaurant

7. Harney Sushi

8. Jack & Guilio's Italian Restaurant

9. La Pinata Mexican Restaurant

10. Old Town Mexican Cafe Restaurant

Some of the best historic attractions are:

1. Whale House Museum

2. Serra Museum

3. State Historic Park

4. Presidio Park

5. Heritage park

6. Old Town Trolley tours

The shopping spots are:


Covered Wagon, Cold Stone Creamery, Churchill Cigar Lounge, Del Sol of San Diego, Inkas Art, Irish Import Shop, Lowery's Hot Glass, Old, Town Photo, SOHO Museum, Whaley House


Ariana, Artes de Mexico, Laurel Birch Gallerita, Libros, Quatemala Shop, The Gallery, The Design Center, The Kitchen and Dining Shop, Treasures


La Paloma, La Sirena Silver, Desire Home Accessories, Old Town Gift Company, Publito Cuetzalan, Colores de Aztlan, Endless Summer Shop, Love My Pet, Celia's Fashion Dolls, Route 66 Collectibles


Beacon Artworks, Del Cobra Copper Shop, Fiesta Cocina Kitchenware, Hot Licks, La Panderia, Old Town Gift Co., Pasaje del Sol, Temecula Olive Oil Co., The Tile Shop, The Urban Seed, Tienda de Reyes, Viva el Cafe


Alvarado Provisions, Bailey & McGuire Pottery, Cousin's Old Town Candy Shop, Old Town General Store, Racine & Laramie Tobacco, San Diego House, The Johnson House, The Tin Smith, Toby's Candle Shop, Toler's Boot and Shoe, Toler's Leather

Balboa Park Tower San Diego
Balboa Park Tower San Diego

2 - Balboa Park and Museums

Balboa Park is one of the largest urban park in America and it is an amazing place to explore. But be prepared to spend more than a day visiting the park as there is always more to see within the park. A photographer's paradise with amazing natural gardens and vegetation, incredible attractions and over 25 museums to discover Balboa Park is definitely one of the best places to go while in San Diego.

"San Diego's Balboa Park is sometimes called the "Smithsonian of the West" for the concentration of cultural institutions within its boundaries." Betsy Malloy

Balboa park attractions:

1. San Diego Zoo

2. The Botanical Building (Built 1915 with over 2100 tropical plants)

3. Japanese friendship garden

4. Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden

5. Zoro Garden

6. Palm Canyon

7. Dessert Garden

San Diego Animal Park
San Diego Animal Park

3 - San Diego Wild Animal Park and Zoo

Another amazing San Diego Attraction to take the whole family to is a safari experience at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. From Lions, Elephants, to an amazing variety of birds and insects The Wild animal Park is an adventure that any family would enjoy.

Make sure to check the site for special events, attractions and discounts!

Special Experiences:

1.Tours and Safaris

2.Education Programs


4.Catering & Group Events

5. And Much More!

Sea World Adventure Park San Diego
Sea World Adventure Park San Diego

4 - Sea World

If you love the ocean and enjoy the sea life you must reserve a day or two to spend at the Sea World Adventure Park in San Diego. The park attractions will certainty please all the members of the family as the parks offers a complete range of attraction for the kids, for the animals lovers and most importantly for thrill seekers.

To reserve tickets and check out more details about the park uou can visit:

Most Popular Attractions:

1. Believe

2. Blue Horizon

3. Journey to Atlantis

4. Sky Tower

5. Shaker Encounter

6. Penguin Encounter

7. Wild Artic

8. Dolphin interaction Program


5 - Legoland

If you visiting San Diego with the kids one of the best and most creative attractions of the city is the Legoland Park. With numerous rides, shows and attractions the park captivates kids and adults with amazing life-size and over sized lego models.

8 - Mission Bay - So much To do!

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    • starfishfelix lm profile image

      starfishfelix lm 

      6 years ago

      A nice list! Some other places we like to visit are downtown Carlsbad, Moonlight beach, Coronado and of course Mission Bay (all quite inexpensive too!)


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