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7 Things To Do In San Diego, California

The city of angels - Los Angeles - takes all the flashlights from all other cities. Have you heard about San Diego? If you are a baseball fan I guess you definitely know San Diego Padres, if not - it is about time to learn about this amazing city. It is the second largest city in the southern part of California, situated on the Pacific coast. Beautiful beaches, mild weather, and diverse cultural attractions are some of the reasons why it is a popular tourist destination in the USA. This city has so much to offer that you might lose the scene of time while having a vacation. Some popular things to do in San Diego include:

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By Eglė

Published: Jan 17, 20237 min read

7 Things To Do In San Diego, California

#1 Visit The San Diego Zoo

One of the most popular tourist destinations in San Diego is the San Diego Zoo. This world-renowned zoo is home to over 3,700 animals and is considered one of the best zoos in the worldVisitors can see a wide variety of animals from all over the world, including pandas, elephants, polar bears, and lions. The zoo also offers several interactive experiences such as animal encounters and behind-the-scenes tours. The zoo offers different experiences: various cart tours (animal encounters, seeing wild cats' habitat, visiting exclusive areas of the zoo), spectating wildlife presentations, taking Skyfari Aerial Tram, Balboa Park Miniature Train, or common guided bus tours. Other guests can enjoy 4D Theater, or have a lunch break at the Zoo's restaurant. 

Blog ImageFlamboyant Flamingos of San Diego Zoo |  photographed by Victoria Landavazo | unsplash

#2 Explore Balboa Park

Most of the time when I hear someone recommends parks I am feeling confused about why should I visit some random park and spend some time watching the trees, benches, and fountains. However, Balboa Park is on another level and you’ll know why. 

Balboa park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park located in the heart of San Diego, California. It is known for its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, as well as its numerous attractions. The park is home to 15 major museums, including the Museum of Man, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum. It also features several botanical gardens, including the Botanical Building, which houses more than 2,100 plants from around the world, and the Japanese Friendship Garden, which features a traditional koi pond and tea house. It is hard to believe that the park is also home to several theaters, including the Old Globe, Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, which features the world's largest outdoor pipe organ. 

In addition to its museums and gardens, there are several recreational opportunities, such as walking and biking paths, playgrounds, and sports facilities. The park is also known for its annual events. One of them is the San Diego County Fair, which takes place in the summer, and the second is the December Nights holiday festival, which features musical performances, food, and light displays. All in all, Balboa Park is definitely one of the most famous attractions in San Diego. 

Blog ImageBalboa Park in San Diego | Canva

#3 Take a Tour of The USS Midway Museum

Hey-yo all the “Maverick”, “Top Gun”, and simply history or aviation fans. Only in San Diego people can visit the USS Midway Museum -  a maritime museum, that is housed on the USS Midway, a retired United States Navy aircraft carrier. The USS Midway was commissioned in 1945 and served in the Navy for 47 years, making it the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century.

Nowadays the museum features several exhibits that showcase the history of the USS Midway and the role it played in various conflicts and operations throughout its service. Visitors can explore the flight deck, hangars, and other areas of the ship, and see aircraft and other equipment used by the Navy. The museum also offers several interactive exhibits, such as catapult & trap talks, and flight simulators, that allow visitors to experience what it was like to fly or work on the USS Midway. It also has a collection of aircrafts on display, including the F-14 Tomcat, A-7 Corsair II, and the S-3 Viking. Isn’t it really the most exciting attraction in San Diego?

One of the main attractions of the USS Midway Museum is the self-guided audio tour that is included with admission. This tour provides visitors with an in-depth look at the ship's history, including information about its operations and the sailors who served on it. The USS Midway Museum is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, as it offers a unique opportunity to explore closely a piece of American naval history and learn about the role aircraft carriers played in shaping the country's military history. 

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Front of the USS Midway Museum | photographed by Jeremy Huang | unsplash 

#4 Visit La Jolla Cove

San Diego is also known for its beautiful beaches, especially for La Jolla Cove is a picturesque beach and coastal area located in La Jolla, a community in San Diego, California. La Jolla Cove is a popular spot for its crystal clear water for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and great views of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can also explore kayaking tours in La Jolla, the tide pools, and see a variety of marine life, including sea stars, sea urchins, and sea anemones.

Surely the beach itself is also a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, as the waters are clear and the sand is soft. The cove is also home to several sea caves that visitors can explore by kayak or paddleboard. There are also a variety of restaurants and shops in the area so guests can have their lunch or dinner at one of the places. However, we highly recommend having a romantic walk or picnic since it is a great spot for sunset and sunrise. It is the best way to feel the charm of this beautiful Pacific coast. 

Blog ImageGoldish La Jolla Cove Beachfront | Canva 

#5 SeaWorld San Diego

Since we have been talking about spectating marine life at La Jolla Cove, we also need to mention SeaWorld in San Diego.  SeaWorld San Diego is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, and animal theme park where visitors can see a variety of marine animals, including dolphins, sea lions, penguins, and sharks, as well as several aquariums and exhibits. SeaWorld is also known for its animal shows, such as the "Dolphin Adventures",  "All-New Sea Lion & Otter Spotlight", or “Orca Encounter” show.  One of the main attractions at SeaWorld San Diego is the "Wild Arctic" exhibit, which allows visitors to see polar bears, walruses, and beluga whales up close. The park also has a shark exhibit, where visitors can see various species of sharks, including sand tiger sharks and leopard sharks, swimming in a large tank.

SeaWorld San Diego has faced some criticism in the past, regarding the treatment of the animals, their captivity, and the shows, but the park claims they take good care of the animals and they are not in captivity but in a protective environment, also they claim that they use the shows as a way of educating the public and promote conservation and environmental education.

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Orca Show at the SeaWorld in San Diego | photographed by Kenny Eliason | unsplash

#6 Wander in the Old Town San Diego

This historic area is home to the first European settlement in California,  known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture and Mexican-American heritage. Old Town is also home to several museums, such as the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, which tells the story of the early days of San Diego. Visitors can see several historical buildings, including the Casa de Estudillo, the Casa de Machado y Silvas, and the San Diego Union Museum, which have been restored to their original condition and are open publicly.

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Picture of San Diego | Canva

#7 Take a Spectacular Boat Trip on The West Coast

San Diego is the second biggest city in California as well as the third largest harbor on the West Coast. Naturally, there are many various ways to experience San Diego's maritime magic. For instance, taking a romantic sunset cruise, spectating whales, challenging yourself and going sailing, eating dinner on the water, or fishing until late at night. Those who look for a boat trip, for sure will find some awesome offers. 

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Jan 17, 2023

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