Learn about all the fun things to do in San Diego
Living in San Diego is a uniquely wonderful experience. The Southern California city offers incredible weather year-round, some of the best neighborhoods, incredible restaurants, and no shortage of fun things to do. It’s no wonder that this area attracts both new residents making their home here and tourists looking to enjoy a San Diego vacation.
Whether you’re planning to move to San Diego, or you’re just visiting for a weekend getaway or day trip, you’re sure to be impressed by all the fun things to do in San Diego. From the natural beauty of San Diego County to the countless attractions, the only hard part is narrowing down your list of activities.
Thankfully, we have you covered. To help you make the most of this seaside city, we’ve created this guide that discusses all the fun things to do in San Diego. Read on to learn more about how you can have a great time whether you’re in Downtown San Diego or on Coronado Island.
There are plenty of fun things to do in San Diego if you’re an animal lover
You might be surprised to learn that a major city like San Diego is a great place to visit if you love animals. Although this metro area is large, it offers plenty of opportunities to observe local wildlife in their natural habitats. There are also quite a few places that are home to animal species from around the world.
It only makes sense to mention the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park first on our list of fun things to do in San Diego. This California zoo is world famous for being one of the biggest and best zoos in the United States and the world. The institution is home to one of the largest collections of rare and endangered animals on the planet. The affiliated Safari Park, which is about 32 miles north of the zoo, is home to even more furry and feathered animals.
If you’d like to see even more creatures that hail from the marine world, Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla is the place for you. The renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego allows the public to view dozens of habitats that house fish and invertebrates from the Pacific Northwest to the Caribbean.
As far as seeing local wildlife goes, visiting La Jolla Cove to see the sea lions is another fun thing to do in San Diego. Tons of these adorable pinnipeds call this area home, and it’s free to watch them. Another great option for animal lovers is to go whale watching. From December to April, you can watch the gray whales from the coastline as they migrate. From June to September, you can take a day trip on a boat to see the blue whales.
You can visit one of the many museums in San Diego
Another one of the fun things to do in San Diego is visit one or more of the many museums. Conveniently, many of these museums are in a centralized location in Balboa Park. This makes it a breeze to check several San Diego museums off your list.
If you love enriching your life with artwork, San Diego has plenty of museums to keep you happy. There’s the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Art Institute, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of Art. Each museum or art gallery offers different types of art from a wide variety of creators, so you’ll never get bored.
San Diego also offers museums for those who love planes, trains, and automobiles. The San Diego Air & Space Museum features all things related to air and space travel. Gearheads will find tons to enjoy at the San Diego Automotive Museum, while the nearby Maritime Museum of San Diego will appeal to anyone who is interested in ships.
Fans of science and history will delight in exploring the various institutions that are dedicated to these topics. There’s the Fleet Science Center, which features more than 100 interactive exhibits that will appeal to guests of all ages. There’s also the San Diego History Center. There, you’ll find exhibits that highlight the history of this great city and what makes San Diego so unique.
Old Town San Diego also has a variety of museums. Another fun activity Old Town San Diego offers is the Old Town trolley tours. The Old Town trolley tours showcase historic buildings, parks, and interesting places in San Diego.
When it comes to beaches and parks, San Diego delivers plenty of options
Thanks to San Diego’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the city is blessed with tons of amazing beaches that allow both residents and tourists to enjoy endless sand and surf. There are also plenty of parks where you can do everything from relax to take a hike. As a result, enjoying the great outdoors is one of the fun things to do in San Diego.
Variety is the name of the game when it comes to San Diego beaches. There’s Coronado Beach, which provides postcard-worthy views of San Diego and Coronado Island. These views and the opportunities for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing have earned this beach the reputation as one of America’s best beaches.
If you’re looking for a classic boardwalk beach town that features clear waters for surfing and swimming, you’ll want to visit Mission Beach. This San Diego beach features nearly two miles of boardwalk, an amusement park and plenty of sun, sand, and surf.
Other popular beaches among tourists and locals include La Jolla Beach, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach. Each one of these beaches offers a different vibe, unique views, and tons of fun things to do.
Beaches don’t have a monopoly on natural beauty in San Diego. In fact, you won’t want to miss visiting Sunset Cliff Natural Park on Point Loma’s western shoreline. On the hiking trails, you can take in ocean views and check out the cliffs and caves that give this area its one-of-a-kind appearance.
In Balboa Park, visitors can experience the botanical garden, beautiful trails, and a variety of museums. Another great place to check out is the San Diego Bay. San Diego Bay has many restaurants and places to sightsee as well.
Finally, no mention of San Diego’s natural wonders would be complete without mentioning the Cabrillo National Monument Tide Pools. During low tide at the intertidal area, you can explore the tide pools and enjoy beautiful views of the rocky landscapes and the animals that call the tide pools home.
There is no shortage of family-friendly options for fun in San Diego
Many of the options on this list are perfect for everyone, including families with children. However, the San Diego Zoo isn’t the only place for family fun in San Diego. The city offers something for kids of all ages and interests.
Nothing says fun quite like LEGOLAND California. Both children and adults will love visiting LEGOLAND California to try out the rides, activities and live shows. This park is part amusement park, part waterpark and 100% LEGO fun. You can check out large-scale LEGO models of famous buildings from around the world, while the little ones can enjoy building in DUPLO Playtown.
There are even a few museums dedicated to kids, including The New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego and the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido. The New Children’s Museum focuses on allowing kids of all ages to experience the arts, so it offers arts and crafts and performing arts. As for the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, it’s more focused on learning through play. That means you’ll find everything from interactive exhibits about conservation to chicken coops and worm farms.
Another fun thing to do in San Diego with kids is visit Seaport Village. While tourists do like to flock here, locals also enjoy it. Families love visiting the fudge store and a kite shop that’s near a grassy area. They also take in the ocean views and chow down at one of the dozens of great restaurants in the area.