San Diego Highlights

You’re coming to see great football. But don’t miss out on all the great sights that San Diego has to offer. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your visit.

Originally created in 1868, the park truly came to life in 1915, when it played host to the Panama-California Exposition. Now Balboa Park serves as a center for art and culture, playing host to 17 museums, as well as being home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo. You can choose to explore a few of the museums, or take a quick trip through the Zoo – don’t miss the giant pandas if you go.

Old Town State Historic Park is the most visited state park in California, and it’s free to visit. The park is on the spot of San Diego’s original downtown, and restored original historic buildings highlight what life was like in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. There’s lots of shopping and dining options, great Mexican food.

old-town-bazaar-del-mundo-courtesy-joanne-dibona-sandiego-org
Photo credit: SanDiego.org
Located along San Diego’s waterfront, you’ll find great fascinating floating museums like the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the USS Midway Museum. Then, hit the shops and dining at Seaport Village. If you are looking for a more romantic evening, try a harbor dinner cruise, offering delicious cuisine and spectacular views aboard world-class yachts.
At Mission Bay Park and Mission Beach, you can rent a bike, in-line skates, or even kayaks or a catamaran. If you need a little more downtime, you can just people watch while you relax. Then, head into Mission Beach to grab dinner at one of the many delicious (and not that pricey) restaurants.

Photo credit: SanDiego.org
Photo credit: SanDiego.org
Located just up the coast from San Diego in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND offers fun for everyone in your family, with eight themed areas, including Pirate Shores, Fun Town, Dino Island, and Castle Hill. In the center of the park is Miniland USA, with reproductions of seven areas of the United States, made in 1:20 scale and constructed with 20 million LEGO bricks.

Photo credit: San Diego.org
SeaWorld San Diego’s beautiful waterfront park is home to Shamu, of course, but there’s a lot more to see and do. Shipwreck Rapids is a whirling river ride through rapids and foaming whitewater. Journey to Atlantis is a combination water ride and roller coaster that has to be experienced. When you get back on solid ground, you can enjoy some of the many shows or marine life exhibits.

Photo credit: SanDiego.org
Photo credit: SanDiego.org
The San Diego Zoo is home to over 3,700 rare and endangered animals, spread out over 100 acres. The natural habitats are designed to with great viewing experiences in mind. (If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, you could choose to head to the Safari Park. Located 30 minutes north of downtown in Escondido, this Park is also part of the Zoo and offers lots of ways to get up close to all kinds of exotic animals.)

Photo credit: SanDiego.org
For dinner, head over to North Park. This hip and happening neighborhood is home to countless bistros and taverns. There’s lots to explore, and it’s a perfect setting to enjoy some of San Diego’s many award-winning microbrews.
La Jolla is an upscale, coastal neighborhood just north of San Diego. It offers high-end shopping, lots of dining options, and is also home to some of the area’s priciest real estate. Shopping and dining are clustered around Prospect Street, but head a few blocks west to Coast Boulevard for the best views of the Pacific. The bluff above La Jolla Cove is probably the single most amazing view in San Diego.
Start your day with a tour on Old Town Trolley Tours, or a San Diego SEAL tour for the ultimate land and sea combination. This local company offers multiple tour options, and it’s a great way to see many sights.