Recent Searches
Clear
Things to do in San Diego

Things to do in  San Diego

Welcome to San Diego

A quintessentially coastal California town, San Diego welcomes visitors with picture-perfect weather and a surprising variety of things to do. Within its vast city limits, you can scale mountains, embark on desert hikes, and surf at one of many palm tree–lined beaches. You can also learn about military and Spanish colonial history, and eat fresh seafood and Mexican cuisine to your heart’s content. From its laid-back beach neighborhoods—like Ocean, Mission and Pacific beaches—to the bustling nightlife and downtown dining destinations of Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego offers something fun for every traveler.

Top 10 attractions in San Diego

#1
San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

star-4278
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, part of the larger San Diego Zoo, is an 1,800-acre (728-hectare) open-range park housing some 3,500 animals from about 430 species. The park’s open layout allows herds of giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other animals indigenous to Africa to roam the re-created valley floor.More
#2
Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter

star-52,167
The epicenter of San Diego’s party scene, the lively Gaslamp Quarter offers much more than just pulsating nightlife. The charming downtown neighborhood is also rich with cultural museums, art galleries, concert venues, and symphony halls, plus loads of lovely alfresco eateries. But back to the nightlife: Clubs, dive bars, and cocktail lounges draw the university crowd, while diverse audiences fill the Spreckels and Balboa theaters for performing arts, comedy shows, and live music.More
#3
Balboa Park

Balboa Park

star-51,930
Home to world-class museums, manicured gardens, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park tops the list of San Diego city sights. Its 1,200 lush acres (486 hectares) comprise the largest urban park in the United States. Apart from its many attractions, Balboa Park also features lengthy walking and hiking trails, distinctive landscaping, Golden Age Spanish buildings, and one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs.More
#4
San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

star-51,099
The world-famous San Diego Zoo presents a stunning variety of nature’s largest, smallest, exotic, and most endangered creatures. The epic zoo has more than 3,700 animals representing over 800 species in a beautifully landscaped 100 acres (40.5 hectares), typically in lush enclosures that replicate their natural habitat. San Diego Zoo is considered to be one of the best and well-known zoos in the world, and is a must-see attraction in sunny Southern California.More
#5
Coronado

Coronado

star-54,256
Across the bay from downtown San Diego, the small resort town of Coronado is an idyllic escape from the city with a wide, sandy coastline and a tree-lined main drag that’s home to shops and restaurants. Visitors go to hang out on the beach, tour historical sites, and watch the sunset.More
#6
USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum

star-53,807
Formerly the US Navy’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century (1945 to 1991), the USS Midway is now a floating museum docked off the coast of California. Aboard the hulking vessel, visitors can now explore more than 60 exhibits as well as peek inside the museum’s impressive aircraft collection.More
#7
Belmont Park

Belmont Park

star-4.522
A San Diego family favorite since 1925, Belmont Park features boardwalk-style rides, amusements, and a restaurant—all right on the beachfront. Get your adrenaline pumping on the vintage Giant Dipper roller coaster and zipline ride, or enjoy fun for all ages with mini golf, midway games, and beach rentals.More
#8
Petco Park

Petco Park

star-4.5257
Home to the San Diego Padres major league baseball team, Petco Park opened in 2004, replacing the old Qualcomm Stadium with a new venue whose design reflects San Diego’s coastal setting. Visitors can enjoy modern amenities, views of the city skyline, and even behind-the-scenes tours.More
#9
Whaley House Museum

Whaley House Museum

star-4.5455
If walls could talk, the Whaley House Museum could fill history books. Completed in the 1857, it served as the home of the Whaley Family, Mr. Whaley's general store, San Diego's first commercial theater, and the second county courthouse. All aspects of the home have been restored and today it is open to the public as a historic house museum.A classic example of mid-nineteenth century Greek Revival architecture, the Whaley House was designed by Thomas Whaley and built using bricks from his own brickyard.On the basic tour, visitors explore on their own, but docents are available to answer questions about the house’s history and ghost stories. Rumor has it the house has been haunted since it was built. The Whaleys reportedly believed the spirit of Yankee Jim Robinson haunted the house. Robinson was hanged on the property before the house was built. According to legend, there is a list of ghosts that roam the house, including the Whaley’s daughter Violet, who committed suicide in 1885.The Whaley House offers evening ghost hunting tours for visitors more interested in the supernatural then architecture.More
#10
Little Italy San Diego

Little Italy San Diego

star-51,625
Once home to generations of Italian families who who made their living in San Diego’s flourishing fishing industry, Little Italy is now a lively neighborhood packed with restaurants, patio cafés, craft brewpubs, urban wineries, and little plazas with fountains and views of the bay. The trendy, walkable neighborhood—in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter—also has upscale boutiques, art galleries, chic shops, boutique hotels, and live music venues, so there is far more to experience here than just the delicious food.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in San Diego

How to Spend 1 Day in San Diego

How to Spend 2 Days in San Diego

How to Spend 2 Days in San Diego

Mexico Tours from San Diego

Mexico Tours from San Diego

Top activities in San Diego

San Diego Harbor Cruise

San Diego Harbor Cruise

star-4.5
1073
From
$30.00
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
San Diego Bay Jet Boat Ride
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

San Diego Bay Jet Boat Ride

star-5
221
From
$35.00
Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour

Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour

star-4.5
255
From
$48.00
San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

star-4
309
From
$110.90
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

star-4.5
232
From
$45.00
San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise

star-4.5
103
From
$91.08
San Diego Seal Tour

San Diego Seal Tour

star-4.5
398
From
$46.00
Luxury Sunset Sail Experience on San Diego Bay - Small Group
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
San Diego Premier Brunch Cruise

San Diego Premier Brunch Cruise

star-4.5
76
From
$127.78
San Diego Premier Dinner Cruise

San Diego Premier Dinner Cruise

star-4
151
From
$154.71
San Diego Scenic Tour

San Diego Scenic Tour

star-5
226
From
$79.00

Recent reviews from experiences in San Diego

star-5
Fun and Full of Beautiful Views
Stephen_K, Feb 2022
San Diego Seal Tour
Excellent way to see San Diego in addition to the land tours.
star-5
Roxana was amazing….. I...
Estrella_W, Feb 2022
San Diego Scenic Tour
San Diego is a wonderful place to visit.
star-5
San Diego Highlights
Jeanne_W, Feb 2022
San Diego Harbor Cruise
We all saw some new things and look forward to visit in again in depth.
star-5
Beautiful afternoon at sea!
Lauren_B, Jan 2022
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
It was also so much fun to see more of San Diego Bay & be out in the ocean beyond Point Loma.
star-4
Give it a try!
Michele_C, Jan 2022
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
The tour is a great way to see the tourist sites in San Diego!
star-5
Top Notch Tour
Fernando_M, Dec 2021
San Diego Scenic Tour
Saw the best sites to see in San Diego, CA from a top notch tour guide, all were excellent.
star-5
Jennifer was a wealth of...
Michael_F, Dec 2021
Balboa Park Highlights Tour with Coffee
As east coasters is was interesting to see the “Smithsonian of the west.
star-5
A must do!
Connie, Nov 2021
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
It was a great way to see the different sites.
star-5
Don't miss this tour!
marchan1956, Nov 2021
San Diego Seal Tour
It was a great experience to see how this huge bus turns into a boat!
star-5
Whale Watching Expedition 11.06.2021
Susan_S, Nov 2021
Whale Watching Cruise from Mission Bay
Sea World team enroute to see if thet can help free him.
star-5
Relaxing and romantic
Mario_L, Nov 2021
San Diego Harbor Cruise
This is our first time visiting San Diego and the 2 hour cruise is a great way to see what the city has to offer.
star-4
Fun experience
Shiela_F, Sep 2021
San Diego Shore Excursion: San Diego Seal Tour
Was surprised how slow the “bus” moved in the water but fun to see the seals and sea lions.
star-5
Great
Merlin_D, Sep 2021
Small Group Classic Sunset Sail in San Diego
Nice pleasurable, relaxing trip to see San Diego from the water.
star-5
Great Tour!!
Lulu_C, Feb 2022
Crossing Borders: Tijuana Day Trip from San Diego
My husband and I decided to visit Tijuana since it was only 30 minutes from where we were in San Diego.
star-5
Start your San Diego Trip with this Tour
Samit_C, Feb 2022
Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones Culinary Tour of San Diego
Kirk also has great tips for other interesting things to do in San Diego.
star-5
An individualized, intimate and beautiful once in a lifetime experience.
Kayla_O, Feb 2022
San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
We also got to see many gray whales and their individualized flukes.
star-5
Vintage sailing in beautiful San Diego Bay
Jim_S, Feb 2022
Small Group San Diego Day Sail
He was able to navigate close to many areas in the bay, and we were able to see a couple of aircraft carriers coming in to port.
star-5
Unforgettable family adventure
Thelma_M, Jan 2022
San Diego GPS Talking GoCar: Best Value - All Day for the Price of 5 Hours
This is best way to visit San Diego tourist spot.
star-4
Felt like a child again
Bertha_M, Aug 2021
San Diego Zoo Safari Park 1-Day Pass Ticket, No Reservations Required!
I visited San Diego to visit my son and he suggested a visit to the zoo.
star-5
Great Tour
Daniel_S, Aug 2021
San Diego Best of the Bay 2 Hour Harbor Cruise
Much to see on this adventure and the views are awesome.

A local’s pocket guide to San Diego

Sasha Lozovoy

A Viator account manager, California native, and La Jolla resident, Sasha can be found enjoying the sunshine, petting dogs, and seeking out the tastiest acai bowl San Diego has to offer.

The first thing you should do in San Diego is...

rent a car. You’ll need a set of wheels to explore the multitude of diverse neighborhoods in San Diego and try the fish tacos each has to offer.

A perfect Saturday in San Diego...

starts with a hike around Torrey Pines State Reserve, where you can enjoy views of the Pacific, the golf course, and the gliderport. Cap off your day with carbonara at Barbusa in Little Italy.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Coronado Island. Grab brunch at Parakeet Cafe and wander through the whimsical and historical Hotel del Coronado. Don’t be surprised if you witness a beachfront wedding or proposal!

To discover the "real" San Diego...

walk along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Jump in a game of volleyball, take a dip, grab a bite, or simply people-watch. You’ll find a harmonious collection of locals, tourists, college students, roller skaters, and more.

For the best view of the city...

most people would say a rooftop in the Gaslamp District, but try Point Loma Lighthouse in Cabrillo National Monument instead. Explore the tide pools below if you visit during low tide.

One thing people get wrong...

is assuming everyone surfs. On any given day, you’ll get your fair share of sandy folks out riding tubes, but it’s by no means a prerequisite for visiting or living in the area.

People Also Ask

What can you do in San Diego?

Soak up San Diego’s famous sunshine with a day swimming or surfing at one of the city’s many beaches. Get a dose of culture at a Balboa Park museums, take the kids to the San Diego Zoo, explore Spanish history in Old Town, or enjoy the diverse nightlife of the Gaslamp Quarter.

...More
What is a good day trip from San Diego?

Popular day trips from San Diego include a ferry ride across San Diego Bay to charming Coronado Island or a drive to the posh seaside village of La Jolla. The historic missions of San Juan Capistrano and theme parks like LEGOLAND® and Disneyland® are also within easy driving distance.

...More
What's San Diego known for?

San Diego is best known for its world-class beaches and warm, sunny weather. The city is also home to a wealth of cultural attractions including Balboa Park, Old Town, the USS Midway Museum, and the famous San Diego Zoo.

...More
What should I not miss in San Diego?

San Diego’s can’t-miss sights include beautiful Balboa Park, Ocean Beach, and harborside attractions like the USS Midway Museum and Maritime Museum. It’s also worth taking a ferry across the bay to historic Coronado Island, or planning a night of grown-up fun in the trendy Gaslamp Quarter.

...More
Is San Diego worth visiting?

Yes. San Diego is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US for good reason. Miles of sandy beaches and nearly perfect weather year-round make it ideal for outdoor fun. There’s plenty of culture, too, from Old Town’s historic Spanish missions to the museums of Balboa Park.

...More
What locals do in San Diego?

Most San Diego locals love to be outdoors, so favorite activities include surfing at Mission Beach, tide pooling at Silver Strand, hiking at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, or soaking up the sun in Balboa Park. Find locally loved restaurants in Little Italy, North Park, or Liberty Station at Point Loma.

...More
How can I spend 3 days in San Diego?

If you have 3 days in San Diego, spend your first day learning about California history in Old Town and getting cultured at Balboa Park’s museums. You'll also want to dedicate a day to riding the ferry to Coronado Island or driving down the coast to La Jolla, followed by a night out in the Gaslamp Quarter. Finish with a day at the beach.

...More
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in San Diego?
Q:
What are the top activities in San Diego?
Q:
What are the top things to do near San Diego?
A:
Q:
What do I need to know before visiting San Diego?