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Plan Your Trip to San Diego: Best of San Diego Tourism

About San Diego
With postcard-perfect beaches and year-round sunshine, San Diego is laid-back California at its best. Yes, surfing is big here, but San Diego is also a major city, full of Michelin-starred restaurants, world-class museums, and a strong craft beer scene. Snorkel with sea lions in La Jolla, then spend the afternoon shopping in historic Old Town. Definitely go to the San Diego Zoo but don't miss the rest of Balboa Park—there's tons to eat, see, and do (check out the Mingei International Museum). For dinner, head to Little Italy, where mainstay trattorias sit next to newer hotspots (and you can't go wrong with either). After, hopheads can hit up the breweries in North Park, while night owls can bar hop in the Gaslamp Quarter. There’s lots more where that came from—check out our recs below.

Travel Advice

Essential San Diego

How to do San Diego in 1 day

Sun-kissed beaches, vibrant neighbourhoods, and lesser-known favourite spots
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Get Active Outdoors in Sunny San Diego

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7 best outdoor activities in San Diego

As a San Diego native, SoCal’s wild landscapes have been my lifelong playground. You can often find me biking around Coronado island, hiking the coastal trails, or surfing at a pristine beach. In fact, it’s hard not to go outside when the weather is always beautiful—San Diego has 266 days of sunshine (fair enough for America’s Finest City!). Here are the nature adventures you won’t want to miss.
Chantae R, Suva, Fiji
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
    Lace up your hiking boots and admire the Pacific Ocean panorama atop the bluffs at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. For an easy walk, I enjoy the one-mile Guy Fleming Loop. Covered in cacti and wildflowers, it features fantastic scenic points (keep your eyes peeled for dolphins!). If you want to see the reserve from all angles, follow the two-mile Beach Loop Trail. Tip: Make sure you only go at low tide.
  • La Jolla Cove
    The seals and sea lions of La Jolla Cove are endlessly entertaining—pups play in the water while elders bark orders. Rent a kayak for an up-close encounter with the pinnipeds, pelicans, and dolphins. I also like to scuba dive (or snorkel) among the cove’s kelp beds and search for reef sharks, octopi, rays, and garibaldi, California’s bright orange state fish. Prefer to stay dry? Snag a table on Brockton Villa’s deck overlooking the cove instead.
  • Coronado Island
    There’s nothing like feeling the sea breeze against your skin as you bike around Coronado island. The six-mile lap takes you past one of my favourite hotels in San Diego, the Hotel Del Coronado. In its heyday, the hotel was a hotspot for glamourous Hollywood stars; today, it’s a fun resort to pull over for a lunch break. Even the journey to Coronado is gorgeous: The ferry boasts the best views of the city skyline.
  • Balboa Park
    You can’t go to San Diego without visiting Balboa Park. Sprawling across 1,200 acres in the heart of the city, Balboa is an impressive compound of museums, theatres, and the world-famous zoo. However, its 19 underrated gardens are also worth your time. There are sections dedicated to lily ponds, cacti, roses, palm trees, and medicinal plants. The Zoro Garden—originally designed to be a nudist colony in the mid-1930s—is now a haven for butterflies and ficus trees.
  • La Jolla Shores Park
    Surfing is a way of life for many San Diego locals. Learn how to catch a wave at the beginner-friendly La Jolla Shores Park. If you’ve come with children in tow, they’ll love its mile-long stretch of sandcastle real estate and the large grass lawn with an oceanfront jungle gym. More experienced surfers can head north toward Scripps Pier and Blacks Beach (note: topless tanning is common here).
  • Torrey Pines Gliderport
    Soar in the sky over the ocean with a tandem paragliding experience at Torrey Pines. The gliderport has been active for over a century, and you’ll find paragliders and hang gliders here whenever the weather is clear. If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, it’s still a great spot to go for the bird’s-eye views and excellent coffee, served at the on-site café. Tip: Flights are first-come first-served.
  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
    Sunset Cliffs is a prime place to look for marine life. Stroll along the edge of the bluffs, and you may be lucky enough to see pods of migrating grey whales breach and splash in the water below. As a child, I’d spend afternoons searching for crustaceans and anemones hiding in the tide pools at the bottom of the rocks. If the swell is up, surfers always paddle out—this wave is one of my grandfather’s favourites.

Browse collections

Head to the water

Sailing, whale-watching, and more

Fun for foodies

Eat and cook your heart out

Bring the fam

Child-friendly activities everyone will enjoy

Worth the splurge

San Diego spots where you can go all out

Soak up wine country

Tasting tours and day trips