San Diego is a wonderful California city with a great history of sea, sailing, great beaches, historic sections featuring Spanish and Victorian culture, world class animal preserves, Naval bases and so much more. San Diego began as a fort by the Spanish, and has grown into so much more today. Here is an example of the great attractions not to miss when in San Diego, which are also close to many of our San Diego airport hotels.
1. The USS Midway
The USS Midway (photo by cybaea)
The USS Midway is a former full service aircraft carrier is available for daily touring. Even if you have never visited a military ship before, this carrier is a "must see" in San Diego. These ships are magnificent and packed with history. Parking is available, and you can even run the carrier from the captain’s deck.
2. The National Comedy Theater
This is a comedy improv group like Saturday Night Live. Open most nights, the cast provides current commentary in a way that is both entertaining and unique. This show seeks to introduce comedy to newcomers, and as such, is clean and acceptable for the whole family to see, yet adult enough that couples will find this a great night out.
3. Torrey Pines State Reserve
This state park located on the outskirts of San Diego includes everything you want in a get away park trip. Running from the beach, the park reaches into local pine forests and bird and animal preserves. The park has numerous hiking trails and vistas. Only drawback here is there are no eats, you need to bring your own snacks and lunch. The park has plenty of great places to relax while eating.
4. Balboa Park
The most popular downtown park of San Diego. In this park you can find museums, sporting venues, and the San Diego Zoo. You can enjoy this great park by walking or biking to see the great gardens and unique architecture. Don’t be surprised if you see a wedding or two going on as this is a well known local site for weddings. This is just a great place to find something for everyone in the family.
5. San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo (photo by Tim Evanson)
Since we are in the park anyway, you must visit the San Diego Zoo. This extremely large animal park and preserve is world renowned for its rare animal breeding programs. Full of gardens and up close exhibits, this zoo is like no other. This visit does require a lot of walking. If this is a problem, tour the park by one of the trams or buses offered by the Zoo. You will not regret visiting the San Diego Zoo.
6. Gaslamp Quarter
Near the city center, this 16 block historic district is loaded with unique shops, historic buildings and landmarks. During the day, shopping at the mall is available with outdoor dining and performers. This areas is a must if you love antiquing. At night, the atmosphere picks up to adult level with great bars, dancing and food.
A meal with entertainment provided by a truly skilled group of performers. The performers have mastered their skills to impersonate well known entertainers and superstars. The food is top notch and you will find your glass is never empty either. Sunday brunch often led by Cher is highly recommended.
8. Sea World San Diego
Sea World San Diego continues to attract the interest of people of all ages and maintains it’s position as one of the most popular Southern California theme parks. The shows throughout the park provide a nice respite from walking. The tours of the shark tanks and live animal areas are like no other. There are great water shows seasonally as well. A must do during your visit if you have never seen a Sea World park before.
9. Mission Beach
This is the most popular beach in San Diego. The area includes a boardwalk with rides, great shops and places to eat. The beach itself offers miles of soft white sand where you can see surfers and families playing the water. This beach becomes quite crowded on the weekends so make sure you go early enough to claim your spot for the day. Watching the beautiful sunsets here is a great way to end the day.
10. Pacific Surf School
Pacific Surf School (photo by kellinahandbasket)
Is it time for you to learn how to snorkel or scuba dive? This school is one of the best and specializes in getting tourists up and running – or swimming. The school will also set up tours so you can put your newly found skills to use.
11. Sportsman Park
Want to see some sports? Sportsman Park is the place to go. You can take in the San Diego Padres or see other events held here at the park including trucking and wrestling. This is a great family park to introduce newcomers to baseball.
12. Junipero Serra Museum
You should not leave San Diego without learning about the original California missions and this museum will teach you about it all. Learn about California’s history and see actual artifacts brought to San Diego from Spain. Situated in Presidio Park, you can also see the forts created by the early settlers in California.