Best Attractions in San Diego to See on Your Vacation

Katie Dillon

By , Local Expert, San Diego
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You've decided to visit San Diego and aren't sure what to do. Or, perhaps you live here and would like to explore the city more than you have in the past. Not to worry, this list of 10 Best San Diego attractions helps plan a fun-filled itinerary regardless of age, budget or traveling companions.

Have kids? San Diego is one of the most popular family-friendly destinations in the world. If you can pull your them away from the gorgeous sandy beaches, SeaWorld offers special experiences like dinner with Shamu or behinds the scenes tours. LEGO enthusiasts definitely need to head up to LEGOLAND and neighboring SEALIFE Aquarium for...  Read more »

  • 1

    San Diego Zoo

    It's world-famous for a reason. The conservation efforts are outstanding and the grounds are beautiful.

    Local Expert Tip: "The best time to visit the Zoo is in the morning. The gorgeous vegetation shades many of the walking paths and the animals are typically active and sometimes enjoying breakfast. "

  • 2

    Balboa Park

    It's the nation's largest urban cultural park and full of diverse fun for all ages. The gardens are stunning, too.

    Local Expert Tip: "Download the Balboa Park iPhone App which will tell you everything you need to know about visiting this historic area. Don't forget to duck into the gift shops for unique gifts all ages will enjoy."

  • 3

    LEGOLAND California

    LEGOLAND California Resort, now with a water park and hotel, draws visitors from all over the world!

    Local Expert Tip: "LEGOLAND is best for kids ages 10 and under and completely fine for a half-day visit if you are short on time. SEA LIFE Aquarium has an average visit time of under an hour as well."

  • 4

    San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    Animals are exhibited in their natural environment versus cages here. Species conservation is the main purpose of the park.

    Local Expert Tip: "Check the schedule before you go to see if there are any must-see behind-the-scenes activities happening on the day of your visit."

  • 5

    USS Midway

    The USS Midway gives visitors--especially kids--an appreciation for the military.

    Local Expert Tip: "Volunteer museum docents are scattered throughout the ship and are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge with Midway visitors."

  • 6

    SeaWorld San Diego

    Though SeaWorld is under extreme scrutiny lately, it is still a major reason why tourists visit San Diego.

    Local Expert Tip: "If you can, visit on a weekday morning. Check to see if any ticket promotions are running prior to your visit. Also, Costco sells Sea World memberships at a discount (call to verify)."

  • 7

    Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

    Old Town San Diego is considered the birthplace of California. The area's shops, museums and restaurants definitely celebrate this!

    Local Expert Tip: "If you plan to indulge in a margarita or two, remember the trolley can take you Downtown and to a few other nearby spots. Also, it can be crowded on the weekends here so call ahead or arrive early to find a parking place."

  • 8

    San Diego Embarcadero

    A stroll along the water here is a must, especially if you're staying downtown.

    Local Expert Tip: "Pedicabs for up to four people operate up and down the Embarcadero. Negotiate a price and enjoy San Diego's harbor views from a romantic carriage."

  • 9

    PETCO Park

    PETCO Park is home to the San Diego Padres, our Major League baseball team.

    Local Expert Tip: "It's possible to take a behind the scenes tour of the park 7-days a week. Buy tickets online."

  • 10

    Cabrillo National Monument

    Cabrillo Monument is an often overlooked National Park with incredibly scenic views. Kids love it, too.

    Local Expert Tip: "Plan to spend some time at the tide pools, one of the last and best-preserved rocky Intertidal areas open to the public. They're located below the Cabrillo Monument. "



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