15 Places to Visit in San Diego, Tourist Places & Attractions

Tourist Places in San Diego

San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Coronado Island, USS Midway Museum, La Jolla Shores, Cabrillo National Monument, Old Town, Old Town State Historic Park, Gaslamp Quarter and many more.

The myriad of amazing places to visit in San Diego extrude the various flavours of this ever-charming city and offer you the ultimate chance to get a glimpse of its culture, history, biodiversity, and ethnicity. The host of beautiful places to explore in this bustling city of California range from picturesque beaches and fascinating museums to gorgeous parks and lovely galleries.

All the major tourist places in San Diego are traveler-friendly and attract all kinds of travelers including couples and families. The flamboyant San Diego Zoo and the popular SeaWorld are the best places to explore the rich biodiversity of this city. The USS Midway Museum and the Cabrillo National Monument showcase how beautifully the city has preserved its rich history. The picturesque Mission Beach and the La Jolla Shores offer the travelers a break from their monotonous city life and let them engage in umpteen varieties of exhilarating water activities.

Here are some of the best places to visit in San Diego:

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This 100 acres zoo was opened in 1916 and has about 12000 animals within its territory at present. Here, you can find over 650 species and subspecies of animals. The concept of recreating natural habitats for the animals with the help of open-air, cageless exhibits was pioneered by the San Diego Zoo, making it one of the best places to visit in San Diego.

You can explore the various exhibits in the zoo namely Monkey Trails and Forest Tales, Scripps Aviary, Polar Bear Plunge, the Discovery Outpost, Ituri Forest, Elephant Odyssey, Gorilla Tropics, Sun Bear Forest, Bonobos, the Tiger Trail, Clouded Leopard, etc.

Location: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States

Timing: 9 AM to 8 PM

Entry Fee: $62 per adult, $52 per child
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You can stroll along this beautiful park and see numerous animal exhibits like orcas, otters, bat rays, belugas, sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, dolphins, flamingos, walruses, pilot whales, eels, penguins, some tropical birds, etc.

You can also watch the famous live educational presentations, including the latest presentation called R is for Rescue. You can also try the chef-crafted cuisine together with craft beers and cocktails here. A reservation is required for every visitor to attend the SeaWorld. Fireworks presentation is also conducted at SeaWorld on some selected dates.

Location: 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109, United States

Timing: 10 AM to 8 PM, Closed on Tuesday

Entry Fee: $93.99 per adult, $78.99 per child
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This resort city is located across the San Diego Bay and was incorporated in the year 1890. This tied island is connected to the mainland by the Silver Strand. It is one of the most famous tourist places in San Diego with tourism being a vital part of Coronado Island’s economy.

You can explore the several shops, theatres, and restaurants along Orange Avenue in the downtown district. You can stay here in one of the three major resorts namely Coronado Island Marriott, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, and the Hotel del Coronado.
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This historical naval aircraft carrier museum is located at Navy Pier and is one of the most interesting attractions in San Diego. The aircraft carrier Midway is situated in the museum. Here you can see a huge aircraft collection in this museum which was opened in the year 2004.

This carrier has served through the Cold War and even after that. You can also visit over 700 events and several field trips hosted by this museum ship in a year. Here you can get a self-guided audio tour of the various parts of the museums.

Location: 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States

Timing: 10 AM to 5 PM

Entry Fee: $26 per adult, $18 per child, $18 per veteran, Free for infants below 5 years
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It is a vacation/residential community and beach encircling Laureate Park is a mixed-use village. It is one of the best places to visit in San Diego where you can take part in swimming, snorkelling, and stand-up paddling.

It is the only boat launch beach in San Diego where you can go kayaking. You can also see stingrays, leopard sharks, and some other sea life here sometimes. While here, you can also explore the sea cliffs near La Jolla Cove and Black’s Beach.

Location: La Jolla, CA, United States
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Built in the year 1949, the Cabrillo National Monument is one of the main historical attractions in San Diego. This monument has a late 19th and 20th-century revival architectural style. You can attend the Cabrillo Festival Open House held on a Sunday of October each year.

You can also enjoy the Mexican, Kumeyaay, and Portuguese singing, dancing, regional food, historical reenactments, and several children’s activities at several other events held at the Monument. You can also enjoy a fantastic view of the Coronado, Naval Air Station on North Island, and the harbour and skyline of San Diego.

Location: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

Timing: 9 AM to 5 PM

Entry Fee: $10 per head
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This neighbourhood is the oldest settled area and the first European settlement of today’s California. The Old Town is one of the most famous tourist places in San Diego. You can explore Presidio Park and the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park here.

This town hosts many annual events such as the Cinco de Mayo celebrations of San Diego, Dia de Los Muertos community-wide celebration, and the Old Town Art Festival. You can enjoy the two-day Christmas festival called Fiesta Navidad where the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem on the first Christmas is reenacted.

Location: San Diego, California, USA
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This state-protected national park is located in the Old Town of San Diego and was established in the year 1968. You can explore numerous buildings situated in the park and dating back to the period between 1820 and 1870.

For history buffs, it’s one of the best places to visit in San Diego, with several historic buildings such as a schoolhouse, the first newspaper office of San Diego, a cigar and pipe store, gardens and houses, and a carriage collection in a stable. You can also explore the shops, museums, and restaurants, which are a part of this park.

Location: 4002 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110, United States

Timing: 10 AM to 5 PM
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This downtown area has earned a place in the list of most famous attractions in San Diego because of its exciting nightlife. You can enjoy your time here in clubs, cocktail lounges, and dive bars for a memorable night. You can also enjoy the comedy, drama, and music programs at the Spreckels and the Balboa theatres. This area also has a range of global and independent restaurants. Explore Horton Plaza Park with grassy lawns, an interactive fountain, ice cream, and coffee from the coffee vendors present in the park.

Location: Bounded by RR tracks, Broadway, 4th, and 6th Aves., San Diego, California
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This neighbourhood has earned a place in the list of best tourist places in San Diego because of its sands and serene waters. You can enjoy sunbathing, surfing, volleyball, and many other watersports on the beach. There is also an amusement park named Belmont Park with a wooden roller coaster and you can also see marine shows at the SeaWorld. The SeaWorld also allows you to have an up-close view of dolphins and orcas. You can also satisfy your hunger at any of the several eateries and casual cafes lining Mission Boulevard.

Location: 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109, United States

Timing: 9 AM to 6 PM
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Point Loma is a peninsula with several famous attractions like a park with trails, tide pools, Cabrillo National Monument, and exhibits about California history. The Sunset Cliffs National Park is one of the best places to visit in San Diego, where you can see beautiful sunsets and enjoy delicious food in restaurants and explore the shops.

You can also see the varied species of plants and animals in the peninsula and enjoy several events hosted at the Cabrillo National Monument, a designated California Historical Landmark.

Location: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

Timing: 9 AM to 5 PM

Entry Fee: $7 per head
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Originally known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park and opened back in the year 1972. With a large number of animals, wild and endangered, housed, this zoo is one of the largest tourist places in San Diego. Here you can see animal species from several continents namely Asia, Africa, Australia, America, and Europe. The Africa tram, a free-range enclosure, is the main attraction of this zoo and houses numerous animals like giraffes, cranes, antelopes, buffalo, and rhinoceros. One other important thing for you to see here is the California condor breeding program.

Location: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, United States

Timing: 9 AM to 7 PM

Entry Fee: $165 per adult, $155 per child

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Built in the year 1868, this urban cultural park contains several theatres, museums, and the popular San Diego Zoo. You can also explore the natural vegetation zones, green belts, open space areas, walking paths, and gardens. You can also relax and taste excellent food in the restaurants located within the park. There are also several recreational activities, concerts, and events hosted in the park that you can enjoy. You can explore the Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego Art Institute, Museum of Us, etc. that make this park one of the best places to visit in San Diego.
Location: San Diego, CA, United States
Entry Fee: $46 per adult, $27 per child

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Located in Point Loma, this national park is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Ocean Beach, Catalina Blvd., and Santa Barbara St., making it one of the most beautiful places to visit in San Diego. You can take a walk on the cliffside and watch the fascinating sunset, though the cliffs are not completely safe.

You can also enjoy surfing below the cliffs and explore Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. You can see carves, sea caves, coastal bluffs, and arches all around you as you travel towards the clifftop. You can also get a chance to see the migrating California grey whale from the cliffs.

Location: Ladera St, San Diego, CA 92107, United States

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This fine arts museum is located in Balboa Park and has a wide collection, the maximum being Spanish arts. Opened in 1926, this museum was originally known as The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego. It is the largest and oldest museum in San Diego. A major fundraiser called ‘Art Alive’ is hosted by the museum in April every year. You can also enjoy other events like ‘Culture and Cocktails’ and ‘Art after Hours’. The museum has a very thorough collection with art pieces dating from 5000 BC to 2012 AD.

Location: 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92102, United States

Timing: 10 AM to 5 PM, Sunday - 12 PM to 5 PM, Closed on Wednesday

Entry Fee: $3 per head
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People Also Ask About San Diego

  1. Which are the best beaches to enjoy water sports in San Diego?

    1. Ocean Beach: The pet-friendly Ocean Beach is an amazing fishing destination, where you can fish without a license. Certain parts of this beach also offer great surfing opportunities.

    2. Imperial Beach: Letting you soak in spectacular panoramic views of the pristine Los Coronados Islands, Imperial Beach is known for offering excellent fishing and surfing opportunities.

    3. Windansea Beach: The rocky outcrops of Windansea Beach make for an excellent spot to enjoy whale watching. This beach also offers great surf breaks and swimming opportunities.

    4. Solana Beach: Solana Beach is popular for its surfing hot spots and intriguing hidden covers. It is also facilitated with restroom facilities and showers.

    5. Black’s Beach: The clothing optional Black’s Beach has gained a lot of popularity for being gay-friendly and offering the ultimate surf breaks.

    6. Silver Strand: The perfect abode of all adventure junkies, Silver Strand offers a myriad of thrilling water activities including kayaking, surfing, water skiing, boating, and swimming.
  2. What is famous in San Diego?

    The city of San Diego is known popularly for its charming streets, swanky waterfront hotels, picturesque beaches, fascinating craft beer scene, bustling coastlines, stunning museums, excellent surfing sites, breathtaking cliffs, rich biodiversity, and intriguing sea caves.
  3. Which places should I explore in San Diego?

    Some of the best places to explore in the city of San Diego include Balboa Park, Gaslamp Quarter, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, Old Town San Diego, Seaport Village, USS Midway Museum, Petco Park, Liberty Public Market, and Children’s Pool Beach.

  4. Where can I go for free in San Diego?

    Some of the most-loved free destinations to visit in San Diego include Mission Bay Park, Moonlight State Beach, La Jolla Shores, San Diego Embarcadero, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and Coronado Municipal Beach.
  5. What is the best month to go to San Diego?

    The most ideal time for visiting San Diego is during the spring season, between the months of March and May and the fall season, between the months of September and November. During these times of the year, the city experiences less crowds and mild weather for the perfect holidaying experience.
Newly Added San Diego Experience

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