San Diego Things To Do
General San Diego Visitor Guide
San Diego is the second largest city in California, with over 70 miles of coastline, and an average temperature of 72 degrees year round. No wonder why it is one of the most desirable places in the world to live. San Diego sits just north of the Mexican border, and spans over 4,200 square miles, with desert, mountains, vibrant downtowns and of course, beaches. The options for things to do is endless. Whether you feel like taking a hike, scuba diving a shipwreck, learning to surf, or spending the day at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego has something for everyone.
San Diego is made up of several neighborhoods. Downtown has a very urban vibe, with tons of great restaurants, bars, shops, and sites such as Old Town, the Embarcadero, Gaslamp District, Seaport Village, Petco Park (home of the Padres), Horton Plaza, and Balboa Park, the largest urban park in the US. Just across the bridge from San Diego is Coronado, where you will find wide white sandy beaches, and a quaint town seeming with history. East of San Diego you can explore the Vegas style casinos, Anza Borrego State Park (the largest state park in California), Palomar Mountain, and the charming town of Julian, known for their apple pies. To the north – inland and coastal, is known as North County San Diego. This is where beach towns dot the coast, each with a very laid back, surf vibe. In North County, you will find the Del Mar Racetrack, Birch Aquarium, Legoland, breathtaking golf courses, flower fields, world-famous surf spots and more!
San Diego Activities and Attractions
San Diego Theaters:
- La Jolla Playhouse – Tony Award-winning professional non-profit theatre. Current and Upcoming shows include “Ruined” and “Little Miss Sunshine”
- Old Globe Theater – Internationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning, the Old Globe is one of the most renowned regional theatres in the country, and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institute for over 70 years. Current and upcoming shows include “The Winter’s Tale” and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
- San Diego Civic Theatre and Balboa Theatre – Non-profit theatres providing world-class theatre-going experience in a vibrant downtown theatre district. Current and upcoming shows include “The Color Purple”, “The Nutcracker”, Holiday concerts, and comedy roadshows.
- National Comedy Theatre – San Diego’s Home for Improv Comedy. Shoes every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and 9:45 PM
- Comedy Store La Jolla – Sister store to the famous Comedy Store on Sunset Strip, shows run nightly and feature nationally renowned comedians with individual talent show and best of shows.
Free Things to do in San Diego!
- Head to San Diego’s many beaches, all free to the public, to swim, body surf or hang-ten. Play in the sand, collect seashells or just bask in the sun.
- Visit La Jolla Cove and see the magnificent sunset on the ocean. La Jolla Cove is one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world. Great for a daytime or sunset picnic.
- Visit Seaport Village during the weekends for free entertainment and hours of leisurely strolling and window-shopping. Or just sit in the grass and gaze at passing yachts and ships on picturesque San Diego Bay.
- Stroll through the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego and view the renovated turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture, home to boutiques, art galleries, specialty shops and more.
- Fly a kite along the grassy field in the Tecolote Shores of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park. Here, away from trees and overhead wires, friends and family gather to launch colorful kites into the bay breezes.
- Enjoy free organ concerts at 2 p.m. on Sundays at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park. The Organ Pavillion features one of world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, a San Diego landmark since 1914, where organists play traditional favorites, waltzes and show tunes on enormous 32-foot pipes.
- Visit Old Town and witness the living legacy of San Diego history. Guests are also invited to wander free through Old Town’s historic buildings, including the blacksmith shop, Seeley Stables, Stewart House, Estudillo House and the oldest schoolhouse in San Diego.
- Bike or jog along Mission Bay Park’s many trails. Joggers and walkers share more than 20 miles of scenic running paths that wind through sunlight and shade near the shoreline and feature workout courses at planned stations along the route.
- Stargaze outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park on the first Wednesday of every month. The San Diego Astronomy Association sets up huge telescopes to offer guests a great view of all the stars in the night sky.
- Take a scenic, one-hour drive to Mt. Laguna. Once there, hop out for an invigorating hike and enjoy the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines.
- Step back in time with a stop in Julian, a century-old gold mining town in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Pick up a free map at the Chamber of Commerce for a self-guided walking tour of the area’s historic sites and later enjoy a slice of homemade apple pie – a Julian specialty!
- Grab your picnic basket and head to Torrey Pines State Park where you can watch talented and daring hang-gliders do tricks in the strong winds that sweep along the coastline cliffs.
- Rollerblade, skateboard or bicycle along the Mission Beach Boardwalk, a scenic 3-mile boardwalk along picturesque Mission and Pacific Beaches.
- Visit Mission Trails Regional Park to explore the cultural, historical and recreational aspects of San Diego. Stop at the Visitor’s Center and learn about the wonders of nature and the people who once lived on the land. Or, roam through the park’s 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
- Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego’s shores and see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Cove offers some of the clearest waters on the California coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserves to explore.
- Go bird watching at the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Located high above Torrey Pines State Beach, the area is home of the rare and ancient Torrey Pine as well as a beautiful protected habitat for swifts, thrashers, woodpeckers and wrentits.
- Stroll through Balboa Park and marvel at its beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. While there, take advantage of the park’s variety of offerings, including 15 museums (select museums free on Tuesdays), free daily park tours, public organ concerts (Sundays), and spectacular gardens (seven are free daily).
- Visit other museums around town that offer similar free days. In its La Jolla facility, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is free on the third Tuesday of each month; the downtown facility is free daily.
- Gather family, friends and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of the beaches in San Diego County, including Moonlight Beach.
- Explore the tidepools in Point Loma at low tide and get up close and personal with flowery anemones, scampering shore crabs, elusive octopus, spongy deadman’s fingers and many other magnificent sea creatures.
- Drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego, including the gently curving La Jolla coastline and Mission Bay. Spectacular views of San Diego’s East County communities also await guests at the top of Mt. Helix.
- Visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and experience the natural beauty of the desert. The 600,000-acre park is one of the largest state parks in the United States and each spring, following winter rains, explodes into a rainbow of colorful wildflower blossoms.
- Take a scenic walk along The Big Bay, San Diego’s “largest attraction.” With 27 miles of waterfront featuring bayside parks, marinas, hundreds of shops and restaurants, and miles of promenades and bikeways, the Big Bay appeals to all ages and interests.
(Taken from sandiego.org)
View all attraction tickets and discounts on the Official San Diego Visitor’s website