20+ BEST things to do in San Diego

San Diego is a beautiful beach city, just 2 hours south of Los Angeles.

Citybop has the coolest things to do in San Diego

San Diego is more than just a beach town.  It has some world-class cultural attractions and restaurant districts.  Find the best things to do in San Diego on citybop.

Discover fabulous museums, gardens and galleries at Balboa Park. Stroll along the stunning San Diego waterfront and discover fascinating attractions like an aircraft carrier that you can tour. Explore unique places to eat and shop at the Gas Lamp Quarter, Liberty Station, Little Italy and Seaport Village, and experience soaring views from the Cabrillo National Monument. 

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a must-see with lush gardens and Spanish-renaissance buildings from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.  It's home to the famous San Diego Zoo and 17 museums. 

Visit the Museum of Man,  San Diego Museum of Art,  Timken Museum of Art, and Natural History Museum.  The Fleet Science Center is perfect for toddlers and kids.  Aviation enthusiasts will love the Air and Space Museum, and car lovers the Auto Museum.  Balboa Park is on everyone's list of the best things to do in San Diego.


Attend a dolphin, orca or sea lion show at Seaworld San Diego, or ride the thrilling roller-coasters.  Little kids will love the Sesame Street themed Bay of Play at SeaWorld with fun rides, a jungle gym, jumping areas, and a splash pad.  

Cabrillo National Monument

Enjoy soaring views over San Diego from the Cabrillo National Monument.  Stop at the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center then tour the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Follow the trail to the Whale Overlook to see migrating whales.  Include the Cabrillo National Monument on your list of things to do in San Diego.  Dramatic Sunset Cliffs is just north of the Cabrillo National Monument.

San Diego Waterfront

Tour a post-WWII aircraft carrier at the USS Midway Museum.  The iconic Embracing Peace statue is adjacent to it.  Visit a flotilla of historic ships docked at the waterfront at the San Diego Maritime Museum.  Cross the road to the Waterfront Park where kids can enjoy the playground, giant wading pool and fountains.  

San Diego Old Town

Enjoy the festive atmosphere and restaurants at San Diego Old Town.  San Diego Old Town is full of historic museums and five original adobes from when San Diego was under Spanish Rule.  Tour 19th Century historic homes at San Diego Old Town, like McCoy House and Whaley House. Drive up the hill to the breathtaking Junipero Serra Museum at the site of the mission constructed in 1769 by the Spanish Franciscans.  This is one of the most historic things to do in San Diego.

Gas Lamp Quarter

Enjoy the best of San Diego's nightlife at the Gas Lamp Quarter, with so many restaurants and bars to choose from.

Seaport Village  

Seaport Village is a charming, open-air mall on the waterfront, with Spanish-style buildings.  Enjoy a waterfront meal and shop for souvenirs at Seaport Village, then walk to other attractions on the waterfront like the USS Midway Museum, Maritime Museum, and Waterfront Park with playground and wading pool.

Little Italy

Little Italy is a few blocks back from all the major attractions at the waterfront.  It covers 50 city blocks and is the biggest Little Italy in America, with a fantastic selection of restaurants.  The new Piazza Della Famiglia is a wonderful place to hang-out.

Liberty Station

Liberty Station is a historic Naval Training Center near the airport, and thousands of sailors once completed their basic training here.  The stunning buildings and grounds now house the Liberty Station Market, a broad array of trendy restaurants and cafes, artisan shops, and a luxurious cinema.  Spend hours soaking up the fascinating military history at this unique site.

La Jolla

Just 20-minutes north of downtown San Diego, experience La Jolla's spectacular coastline.  It has glorious white sandy beaches and enchanting coves. Take your kids to the Childrens Pool at La Jolla, or go snorkeling at La Jolla Cove. Watch surfers at Windansea Beach, then plan a relaxing beach day at La Jolla ShoresLa Jolla village has a bustling retail district and plenty of oceanfront restaurants.  Just north of La Jolla village enjoy magnificent views from the Birch Aquarium.


Drive out to Coronado for shopping and restaurants along Orange Avenue.  Visit the gorgeous, white sand Coronado Beach. Peek inside the lobby of the historic Hotel del Coronado.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach is west of Mission Bay. Visit Belmont Park overlooking Mission Beach with a vintage roller-coaster, bumper cars, and a carousel and mini-train for kids.  Purchase an ice-cream then stroll or bike along the bustling pathway at lovely Mission Beach.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is north of Mission Beach.  This stunning beach has a fabulous array of both upscale and laidback hotels and restaurants.  You can also stay in a cottage out on the pier!  This is the perfect destination for a beach getaway.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is a casual neighborhood south of Mission Bay.  It has quirky murals, surf shops and relaxed beach grills along Newport Avenue.  Stroll out along the West Coast's longest pier at Ocean Beach, and enjoy a snack at the pier's cafe.

San Diego Children's Museum

Travel a short distance from the San Diego Waterfront to the San Diego Childrens Museum.  There's lots for kids to explore including a huge treehouse, sandbox and race car track.

Fleet Science Center

Prepare to be wowed by the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.  There are two floors of interactive, science-themed activities, and a thrilling IMAX cinema. This is perfect place to spend an afternoon with the kids.  There's also a toddler play area for the little ones.

Birch Aquarium

Enjoy panoramic ocean vistas from the hilltop location of the Birch Aquarium at La Jolla.  There's also touchpools, a kelp tank, shark pool, and hall of fishes.