Top attractions in San Diego
The 10 top sightseeing spots in San Diego
We can see why San Diego calls itself America's Finest City. With more than 100 miles of coastline and world-class attractions, you won't be wondering what to do, but how to fit it all in! Plan your visit with our list of the 10 best things to see.
1. Old Town San Diego Historic Park
Step back in time to the birthplace of California. The beautiful park offers monuments plus a schoolhouse, blacksmith, houses and gardens, adding to the trip down memory lane.
2. theNAT San Diego
This natural history museum is housed in an impressive building. The dinosaur exhibits are always a favourite with kids. Allow half a day and try to catch a movie for extra value.
3. Maritime Museum San Diego
A seaside location means fresh seafood, clean air and plenty of maritime history. This place is a family pleaser as ship tours give a fascinating sense of a life on the open seas.
4. Point Loma
The site of the first European landings in California, Point Loma is a place of historical significance and great beauty. The Old Lighthouse is particularly photogenic at dusk.
5. Birch Aquarium
Possibly the best place to learn about marine biology in California. You can snorkel with leopard sharks, see an amazing array of coral, or learn about protecting the oceans.
6. USS Midway Museum
This historic aircraft carrier dominates the downtown coastline. A hit with teenagers and Top Gun fans alike, you can cover the ship with a self-tour narrated by former servicemen.
7. Balboa Park
Billed as a landscape of arts and culture, this isn't your average park. A historic carousel, miniature railway, Spanish Village, and museums make it at least a full day out.
8. SeaWorld San Diego
Killer whales, dolphins, sharks, and sea lions compete for your attention at this famous attraction. There's plenty to fill an entire day, and admission is cheaper in the week.
9. San Diego Zoo
Animal lovers can get up close with the panda, tigers, leopards, lions, gorillas, elephants, and hundreds more species at this vast zoo. Try to time your day around the feedings.
10. Belmont Park
For an old-school funfair experience head to Belmont Park. Don't miss the Giant Dipper - a wooden roller coaster that opened in 1925. Wristbands are good value if you stay all day.
Planning Your Visit
What about the beaches?
There are plenty of places to swim, surf or sunbathe in San Diego, and it's warm all year round, just don't expect tropical waters: the North Pacific Ocean is famously cool. La Jolla is popular for watersports such as kayaking and snorkeling, while Ocean Beach is lined with palm trees and has an impressive skatepark.
When is ComicCon International?
Every year, thousands of self-confessed nerds descend on San Diego for the annual ComicCon comic book convention. The event has grown year on year, and now encompasses everything superhero, fantasy and pop culture have to offer, including scores of big-name actors. The event takes place over four days in July.
Good to know
- USD ($)
- Time Zone
- UTC (-08:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- Plan your visit from March to May or September to November, when you'll still have warm weather, but will avoid the school holiday crowds.
Other Sightseeing Options in San Diego
Want to discover all there is to do in San Diego? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about San Diego
Sea kayaking was awesome! It was a bit nerve racking because...well the sea is a dangerous place! We had to take off first before the instructor and meet them way out in the open ocean. That was scary but thrilling! In the photo, it shows a kayaker from within the caves and I thought we were literally kayaking in the caves but we didn't. Which kinda makes sense because there were lots of wave's crashing due to high winds. I wonder IF there were no high winds; do they usually kayak in the caves at all?? Overall, it was a fun experience. Danielle was awesome with her awesomeness and fun facts. Definitely give it go but I dunno if I'd try it again as I got kind of sea sick!
It wasn't crowded at all. We bought our tickets online and went right through the gates, checked in and started our tour. We received listening devices for different points throughout the museum too. It was all very easy and fun to see all the generations of planes and the history of the Midway and other points of different eras of wars.
We had a fabulous time, all the staff members were amazing. Our guide was Trent? Not sure of his name, every knowledgeable and we truly enjoined our time
Staff was friendly the tour was great parking not so easy. I would recommend arriving at least 1/2 hour early to find the location
A beautiful tour, relaxing, lots of history, great commentator. Great bar and seating availability. Highly recommend it.