Things to do in
Downtown San Diego

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Our most recommended things to do in Downtown San Diego

San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

1. San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

See the sights of San Diego Bay on a fully-narrated cruise. Pass by Seaport Village, Shelter Island, Coronado Island, Point Loma, and Cabrillo National Monument, among other notable points of interest, while taking in beautiful skyline views. Choose between a 1-hour cruise of either the North or South Harbor, or book the 2-hour cruise, which includes both. San Diego’s North Harbor cruise takes you past historic ships in the Maritime Museum, Harbor Island, North Island Naval Air Station, and Shelter Island. The South Harbor route includes sightings of the Coronado Bridge, the U.S.S. Midway Aircraft Carrier, the U.S. Navy Surface Fleet, and the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. As you sail, keep a lookout for wildlife such as blue herons, sea lions, and pelicans Listen as your professional crew provides commentary about the rich local and military history, points of interest, and facts about San Diego Bay. This sightseeing cruise also showcases local environmental conservation efforts through video clips and onboard displays.

San Diego: Sightseeing Dinner Cruise with DJ Music

2. San Diego: Sightseeing Dinner Cruise with DJ Music

Enjoy a dinner cruise from San Diego that combines culinary excellence with unforgettable scenery and ambient DJ music. Look for local wildlife as you sail and admire views of the city skyline, the Coronado Bridge, and the Cabrillo National Monument.  Stroll the spacious decks, watch the sunset before dinner. Dinner is buffet-style with an elaborate wine list, upgrades and additions, and vegetarian option. Savor crisp salads, braised ribs, oven-roasted salmon entrees, and luscious desserts After dinner, listen to relaxing music, as you enjoy your dessert and coffee. Photos are taken at beginning of the cruise and they can be purchased at the end when you return to your meeting point.

Sights & Sips 2-hour Sunset Cruise on San Diego Bay

3. Sights & Sips 2-hour Sunset Cruise on San Diego Bay

Come aboard the only floating happy hour in San Diego. The Sights & Sips Sunset Cruise on San Diego Bay includes complimentary appetizers, a no-host bar featuring refreshing drink specials and a perfectly timed sunset every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer. Get ready to enjoy the sights and sounds of the magnificent San Diego Bay. The bay boasts some of America's most historic warships such as the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Midway as well as playing host to the scenic sights of the Coronado Bay Bridge and Seaport Village. Take part in a cruise experience where the celebration begins the moment you come on-board. Start with cocktails on deck, then relax as our gracious crew transports you to a world of ease and luxury. You and your guests will feel pampered, privileged, relaxed and refreshed. Quench your happy hour thirst aboard the Sights & Sips Sunset Cruise.

San Diego: Harbor Cruise

4. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

Brothels, Bites and Booze: San Diego Gaslamp Walking Tour

5. Brothels, Bites and Booze: San Diego Gaslamp Walking Tour

Join us on a tour of the Gaslamp Quarter and we’ll tell you about the infamous Stingaree District, once a center of scandal and debauchery. We’ll walk along streets that featured 120 brothels at one point, and served as one of Southern California’s major red light districts. On our Brothels, Bites, and Booze Tour you’ll hear tales from the past that are funny and some that are hard to believe! During our 2.5-hour excursion you’ll see how this area has been restored and is now home to San Diego’s main nightlife and dining destinations. The Gaslamp Quarter now features more than 100 restaurants and bars. We’ll take you to some of the best restaurants in the area so you can taste a variety of popular ethnic cuisines and some alcoholic beverages as well! Most guests find that the samples on the tour are quite filling and are at least as much food as a full meal. You might want to eat no more than a very light snack before the tour – or nothing at all!

San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

6. San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

San Diego is one of the best locations to watch whales year-round. Gray Whales migrate winter-spring from feeding grounds in Alaskan waters to calving lagoons in Baja California and back. In summer, the legendary Blue Whales, the largest animals on Earth, commonly feed off-shore of the San Diego coast. You may also spot Fin, Blue, Humpback, and Minke whales during the summer whale watching season. Additionally, you'll often see pods of Dolphins including Risso’s, Common, Pacific White-Sided, and Bottlenose Dolphins. Your captain will also highlight other wildlife such as Sea Lions, various fish like Mola Mola (Sunfish), and a variety of marine birds such as Herons, Terns, Pelicans, and Gulls.  View these extraordinary mammals in the wild on this spectacular cruise. The expert crew will help you locate these creatures and additional marine wildlife, such as dolphins and sea lions. Learn about marine life and local environmental efforts from professional captains and whalers who work at the San Diego Natural History Museum. You may even spot a whale calf traveling with its mother as they return from the Arctic. This is a fantastic and exhilarating journey for all age groups. Guaranteed whale or dolphin sighting. If you don't sight some type of whale or dolphin during the cruise, you'll be issued a pass that's good for another San Diego whale watching or harbor cruise. San Diego is quickly becoming one of the world’s best whale watching locations. The city is home to whales, dolphins, and sea birds, and features one of the world's most beautiful coastlines.  Enjoy live educational narration from captains and trained naturalists employed by the Natural History Museum.  Watch blue whales and dolphins in comfort on a large, fast, and stable boat!

San Diego: Petco Park Stadium Tour - Home of the Padres

7. San Diego: Petco Park Stadium Tour - Home of the Padres

Visit Petco Park and experience a side of the ballpark that is usually reserved for the players and staff. Stops include Field Warning Track, Cutwater Coronado Club, Padres Hall of Fame Presented by Motorola, Press Box, Private Luxury Suite, and the Breitbard Hall of Fame. Meet your guide at Petco Park and get a behind-the-scenes look into the ballpark. See the press box, also known as writers’ row, and peek inside the Home Plate Club. During your visit, you’ll learn about the history of Petco Park and the San Diego Padres. Visit the Padres Hall of Fame presented by Motorola and learn about the history of baseball in San Diego. Afterward, head to the Breitbard Hall of Fame, which honors athletes in San Diego and native San Diegans who achieved athletic fame outside of San Diego.

San Diego: Patriot Jet Boat Thrill Ride

8. San Diego: Patriot Jet Boat Thrill Ride

Embark on a thrilling adventure on the San Diego bay as you zip and zoom past military ships, along the downtown skyline, and under the iconic Coronado Bridge. With rock music pumping, feel the wind and the refreshing spray of the San Diego bay as the Patriot carves 360-degree turns and reaches speeds upwards of 50 miles per hour. There's no experience like it. Enjoy gorgeous views on a 30-minute tour on an open-air jet boat. No two Patriot trips are the same, but this is not just a random joy ride through the bay. You will be taken past San Diego's most beautiful waterfront sights including: USS Midway Aircraft Carrier, North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado Bridge, Star of India and the iconic ships of the Maritime Museum, as well as the San Diego skyline. You may get wet, but ponchos are provided.

San Diego: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2-7 Attractions

9. San Diego: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2-7 Attractions

Experience San Diego's top attractions and tours and get up to 55% off combined admission with Go City's Explorer Pass. Simply choose 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7 top attractions from over 45 options and go at your own pace - you have 60 days to use your pass from first activation. Visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo or the USS Midway Museum. Explore more of the city with a hop-on hop-off trolley tour, or kayak and snorkel in beautiful La Jolla. The possibilities are endless. Your pass is fully digital and no physical card is required. Simply download your pass directly to your smartphone or print at home. Show your pass at each attraction for quick and easy entrance. Choose from the following things to do in San Diego with the San Diego Explorer Pass: Museums and Places of Interest • San Diego Zoo OR San Diego Zoo Safari Park (choose 1) • USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum • Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass • Maritime Museum of San Diego • Air and Space Museum • Birch Aquarium at Scripps • The Fleet Science Center with IMAX • San Diego Natural History Museum • Museum of Us • Living Coast Discovery Center • The New Children's Museum • San Diego Museum of Art • San Diego Model Railroad Museum • Japanese Friendship Garden • PETCO Park Tour - Home of the San Diego Padres • San Diego Automotive Museum • Museum of Contemporary Art (Downtown) • Mingei International Museum Tours and Activities • 2-Day Hop-On Hop-off Old Town San Diego Trolley • Living Coast Discovery Center • 1-hr San Diego Harbor Cruise by Hornblower • 90-min Best of the Bay Cruise by Hornblower • San Diego Speed Boat Adventures • Jet Ski Rental San Diego Harbor • Go Kart and Thrill Park • Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises • Plunge San Diego • San Diego Fishing Tour • San Diego Hiking Tour • San Diego Harbor: Kayak Rental or Stand Up Paddle Board Rental • La Jolla: Kayak Rental, Snorkel Rental, Stand Up Paddle Board Rental, Surf Board Rental or Bike Rental • Coronado: Kayak Rental, Stand Up Paddle Board Rental, or Bike Rental • UTC Ice Sports Center • Speed Circuit: All Access • San Diego City & Beach Tours • 1-Hour Scooter Rental • GoCar San Diego Tours 1-Hour • San Diego City Tour • Patriot Jet Boat

GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Balboa Park

10. GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Balboa Park

This is the essential San Diego tour. You will see almost all of the greatest sights San Diego has to offer, like the visually stunning Balboa park which is littered with Spanish Renaissance inspired architecture. Pass by over a dozen museums, colorful flower gardens, and world renowned outdoor organ pavilion all the way to the always happening Hillcrest, which has a great variety of shops and restaurants. Hillcrest is known to have some of the best food in the county. But best of all you will also get to see Downtown San Diego at its finest, from the Maritime Museum, to the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Downtown San Diego is one of the best places in the world for its diversity, and visual appeal. Don’t miss the best places San Diego has to offer on this tour.

Frequently asked questions about Downtown San Diego

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Other Sightseeing Options in Downtown San Diego

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What people are saying about Downtown San Diego

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 2,603 reviews

Amazing! you save a lot of money and no issues at all to access the attractions... just make sure that some of them must required reservation like legoland so you must reserve and use this pass (there is no need to pay any money is just the reservation). Thanks Getyourguide team!

This tour was really nice, the appies and food and dessert was really good. The staff was really helpful and nice. They are doing a great job. Thank you all

The best deal possible. We got to see so much with zero stress. Every trolley was on time, clean and the drivers were all friendly and knowledgeable.

This is a great way to see the sights of San Diego. The drivers are incredibly helpful and are the reason the trolley ride is so enjoyable

It was a nice, calm cruise around the bay. Food, drinks and music.