Best things to do in San Diego CA
Tourist Attractions

10 Unforgettable Things To Do in San Diego CA As An American

For the American traveler, San Diego CA is rife with exciting activities! From catching breathtaking views of local landmarks to savoring traditional cuisine and world-renowned hospitality, there are plenty of amazing experiences not to be missed out on. Here’s a list of 10 must-see attractions guaranteed to make your trip unforgettable!

Best Thing to Do in San Diego CA

Balboa Park

  • Address: San Diego, CA, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (66310)
  • Phone: +1 619-239-0512
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: Open 24 hours
    Tuesday: Open 24 hours
    Wednesday: Open 24 hours
    Thursday: Open 24 hours
    Friday: Open 24 hours
    Saturday: Open 24 hours
    Sunday: Open 24 hours
Best things to do in San Diego CA
Best things to do in San Diego CA

5 Replies to 10 Unforgettable Things To Do in San Diego CA As An American

  1. Such a lively place with plenty of foods and music. Great architectural buildings all over. Walking alongside fountains, sculptures, beautiful trees with so many people was a great experience. Nearby places are also amazingly beautiful. Cactus park across the road was superb as well. A very nice walk in well paved sidewalks.

  2. Great park with a lot of attractions. The museums are great and worth getting a season pass or finding a deal online to go to multiple. The gardens are beautiful any time of year and great for a stroll. The architecture was the incredible. Walking through the court yards and walkways will yield a visual gem around every corner. Parking at the zoo and walking over is the way to go. Its free, plentiful, and easy to get in and out even at peak hours.

  3. Gorgeous architecture and gardens! Well worth the visit, even if you don’t go inside the museums. There’s such beauty everywhere, food and gift/trinket vendors, a couple restaurants, and talented music performers placed thoughtfully throughout (electric violin, acoustic guitar, flute etc). Start at the information desk to get a map. If you do want to go inside the museums, they have a rotating daily schedule that lists what buildings are open that day, which is usually a handful. Wear good walking shoes and get there early as the afternoon is very busy.

  4. If you are visiting San Diego this place is a must see. Bring your walking shoes and get ready to walk through the many Museums, theaters, shops, and wonderful views this place has to offer. It was nothing of what I expected, the Balboa park connects several Cathedral style venues on this wonderful walkways that include the San Diego Zoo, the Natural History Museum and several other museums. We didn’t even have time to see everything. There is a tram that takes you to all the parking lots. I went there on a Tuesday and it was very crowded, so weekends must get really packed. I highly recommend this place if you have a day to kill and spend some quality time with the family or significant other. Although I saw many snack vendors, I didn’t see many good restaurants so I would recommend bringing some sandwiches or whatever you can bring to eat. There are many areas to sit under the shade and relax on the grass or a bench. We went inside the natural history Museum and paid the admission but was a little disappointed with it. It probably took us around 20 minutes to see the entire Museum, compared to the natural Museum in L.A., this place was very small and was in need of more exhibits. Other than that, I gave Balboa Park an A+ because it really impressed me.

  5. Beautiful part of the downtown San Diego area. Lots of great museums to visit. The gardens and grounds are nice just to walk around. Home of the San Diego zoo! Nice place to walk around and spend 1-2 hours. Of course, you could visit the museums and zoo and spend the whole day or more.

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TOP 10 Fun Things to Do in San Diego CA

Best things to do in San Diego CA
Best things to do in San Diego CA

San Diego Zoo

  • Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (48409)
  • Phone: +1 619-231-1515
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    This is the best zoo I’ve ever been to. All the animals are very active and fun to watch. They have a large variety of animals so there’s something for everyone.

    The transportation included in the ticket is amazing. The 30 minute free bus tour gave us a great overview of the zoo and let us see a lot of animals. The guide was very sweet and very knowledgeable. The kangaroo buses made it very convenient to get from exhibit to exhibit.

    The zoo is very large and it took us a whole day to see everything.

    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Kathryn Q (2 months ago)
    Let’s be real- this zoo is just unbeatable. It is a magical experience just to walk through it , let alone to witness the stunning variety of animals and plants. Hands down it is a must-see of San Diego. Definitely download the app and try to do the bus tour early morning or in the evening as I think the animals are more lively. There is always a chance that you won’t get to see some of the animals but you won’t be disappointed with the monkeys, koalas, and the many stunning aviaries. The history of the zoo and its many many animals is also captivating and a gift that keeps giving after you leave. It is definitely doable in one day but another day may have alleviated some of the angst of seeing or not-seeing some of the animals.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Nicole Todd (7 months ago)
    We loved our trip to the zoo and would heartily recommend it to anyone. In fact, we have to put it as the number 1 attraction in San Diego. It really is something not to miss when you are in the city. We took the guided bus tour first and it was a good way to see the whole area before the walk around the zoo. There are restaurants in the zoo and the food was great. Would recommend wearing comfortable shoes since it’s a big area you’ll be walking. Take a stroller if you go with children or you can rent one in the park which costs you $16.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Lakshitha Dissanayake (5 months ago)
    We loved visiting the San Diego zoo. It’s world famous for a reason. We also learned that it’s not only a zoo but also a botanical garden. It is stunning to walk around. There is so much nature and beauty aside from the animals.
    They grow so many different plants and trees there.
    The bus tours are well worth it to check out the outside of the entire zoo and see animals along the way. Plan to be here for at least 3 hours if not more. Also the zoo allows you to bring food and snacks so you don’t have to worry. They’re so baby friendly which was great. There’s a whole baby station where you can wash your baby bottles if you plan to be there long and need to feed the baby with a clean bottle. I loved it.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Rabeea Jabbar (a year ago)
    It’s been a few years since we’ve been here but it has changed in such an amazing way!!! The new children’s area is great!!! They have beautiful new exhibits, new buildings and structures. They have a wet play zone for the kids with waterfalls, arcing waters and splash zones. They also have a dryer you can pay to use to dry off too! They have amazing new merchandise for the kids as well. If you haven’t been here in a while, I’d highly recommend it! We had so much fun!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Cassey Hawkins (9 months ago)

SeaWorld San Diego

  • Address: 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA 92109, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.4 (41734)
  • Phone: +1 619-222-4732
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
    Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    SeaWorld San Diego is a top place to visit when you’re in Southern California. I’ve been several times when I was younger, and we have been going once a month since we got passes back in September. The passes were a great deal price wise, and they don’t require reservations to enter. The biggest draw is the opportunity to create great family memories while learning about sea life, and potentially sparking an interest in our kids. I recommend getting there at least a half an hour early, so you can be a head of the crowds, especially if you want to hit one of the most popular rides. Though choosing to go off season, not the summertime, the park doesn’t see to be overly crowded, and even better on a weekday. We found navigating the park to be a little confusing, so download a map ahead of time, and check out where some of the most popular attractions are (Electric Eel, Journey to Atlantis, Manta). The list the attractions that are closed at the entrances to the parking lot, so check that out as you enter. The shows play a few times each day, so check the website for that, or you can ask an employee. I’m not a fan of the food. It seems like overpriced cafeteria food. We’ve started to leave the park to eat, but that might not be an option for a day visit, where you can easily loose an hour or more. I do appreciate the opportunity to see unique animals, and respect their conservation efforts.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By John Hatch (a year ago)
    My family and I visited for the first time. I was actually impressed. SeaWorld not only has sea creatures, but it also has coaster rides that will challenge other parks. It is along the sea so you get a nice sea breeze. We were delighted with the whale shows, the dolphins, seals, etc… You will see trees and plants that are beautiful. Explore the area and I guarantee you will find something special to you or your loved ones. For the price, my family and I had a wonderful time and would recommend to anyone trying to have a relaxing and enjoyable time. The only negative thing I can say is that parking was $30. For a regular car, but I felt a little better when I heard that proceedings go to protecting the sea mammals and rescues. Bless you all and wish you a happy time with your family.❤️❤️❤️
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Isrrael Espin (7 months ago)
    Went here a couple years ago without kids and enjoyed their shows, animals, rides and amenities. Fast forward a couple years and now I have two little girls. We went during the Sesame Street event and it was such perfect timing. They had a good amount of rides for the little ones that my husband and I were able to get on also. My girls had such a blast!

    Their shows are still pretty amazing. But a couple years ago I remember them being a bit more impressive because during the dolphin show, performers were diving way up high and it was just more entertaining.

    All the animals seem very happy to me. You can tell by the way they interact with their trainers. They seem healthy, active, and stimulated. Although, they can take the time to clean the glass of their tanks. There’s some algae growing on them.

    There are a lot of rides for children and adults. A lot of food stops and carts. Lots of gift shops. They have more events now than back then. All in all, this place is worth checking out when you’re in the San Diego area!

    ✭✭✭✭ By MLRoseAnn B (6 months ago)
    Excellent family experience. Lines for rides were reasonable. Rides were fun for all ages. Shows are still great. Upgraded to meal pass and the food was surprisingly good for a theme park. I have nothing negative to say except I wish we had gone sooner.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By brandon cozad (7 months ago)
    We got the meal deal, which was worth it for my boys. That kept them full and was fun for them to try different restaurants and food. You can get an entree, dessert and a drink every hour. It was $30 extra.
    I love the exhibits where you are allowed to touch the animals. The shows are the best! The trainers show a little bit of the relationship they have with the animals and have the animals show some things they can do. They also have them splash the people. There are a few rides also.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Arlana Hahne (8 months ago)

USS Midway Museum

  • Address: 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (39436)

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

  • Address: 4002 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (25441)

Seaport Village

  • Address: 849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.6 (24332)

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

  • Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (22246)

Belmont Park

  • Address: 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (14774)

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

  • Address: 12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (13124)

Cabrillo National Monument

  • Address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (10379)

La Jolla Shores Park

  • Address: 8300 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (6832)
Best things to do in San Diego CA
Best things to do in San Diego CA

That’s it for our list of the best things to do in San Diego CA! If you have any arguments or additional information, please leave a comment. We love to hear from our readers. And don’t forget to check out some of the other posts on our blog for more travel inspiration. Happy traveling!

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