California dreamers, endless coastline, and sunshine
Things to do
Places to Eat & Drink
As if all that sunshine weren’t enough, San Diego is a waterfront city with top-notch restaurants, beautiful ocean-sprayed vistas, neighborhoods that are steeped in history and culture, and a centrally located urban park. Whether you’re spending a few days indulging in the city’s myriad of beaches and surf spots, visiting the aquatic attractions SeaWorld San Diego and Mission Bay Aquatic Park, or exploring the inland offerings of the city, San Diego will not disappoint.
Perhaps the best place to start is in Balboa Park, 1,200 acres of pristine emerald green in the heart of the city, home to 17 museums, the most populous koala colony outside of Australia, and the largest outdoor instrument in the world. Get a sense of this oasis’ many wonders by beginning the day at the San Diego Zoo. Next, stop for a photo at the stunning Botanical Building, overlooking a lily pond, and venture inside the free-entry Timken Museum next door. Enjoy a peaceful sushi lunch at the Japanese Friendship Garden before strolling to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (on Sunday afternoons, you can hear the 5,017 pipes come to life). Or check out one of the many exceptional museums like Fleet Science Center or Museum of Us (formerly the Museum of Man).
Explore can’t-miss shops and hangouts in key neighborhoods such as the Gaslamp Quarter, the East Village, North Park, Old Town, and others, and learn how you can leave your car—and parking worries—out of your daily plans and get around via the extensive system of trolleys, light rail, trains, buses, and water taxis.
When eating in San Diego, seafood and Mexican—and sometimes both, as with its famous fish tacos—often take center stage. From food trucks to super casual eateries to bucket-list fine dining, dozens of delicious options dot the city. When the craving for fresh fish served dockside strikes, hit Coasterra, Mitch’s Seafood, or Royal Rooster. For unbeatable views of the La Jolla surf coupled with world-class California fare, book a rooftop table at George’s on the Cove. If you can’t get enough tacos, you really can’t go wrong in this town—but for creative, elevated options, head to Puesto (multiple locations) or Lola 55 (downtown). (There’s more taco exploration where that came from on this Southern California Taco Tour road trip.)