Best San Diego Attractions and Points of Interest In 2020
You will be amazed at the variety of excellent San Diego attractions that are perfect for families and all types of travelers. Splendid indoor and outdoor activities are abundant at Balboa Park where you will find numerous museums, gardens and the San Diego Zoo. For more outdoor adventure try Cabrillo National Monument, Torrey Pines State Reserve as well as Point Loma where the sunsets are surreal. For an urban experience try the Gaslamp Quarter or Little Italy and San Diego Old Town is a must see. Children will enjoy Legoland as well as the wildlife at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park or stop by SeaWorld and the SEA LIFE Aquarium. Other options range from panoramic views on top of Mt. Soledad to Liberty Station to a baseball game at Petco Park or you can just hanging out on the Embarcadero and watch the boats in the San Diego Bay.
- Downtown Hotels
- Beach hotels
- Coronado Hotels
- Coronado Activities
San Diego Zoo
Probably the most popular San Diego attraction for families and travelers from all walks of life is the spectacular San Diego Zoo. Located within Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo resides on 100 acres that have been transformed into a wildlife kingdom that contains more than 3,700 animals from over 650 species from around the world. The San Diego Zoo features ten zones that range from the Discovery Outpost to the Urban Jungle to the Lost Forest to Panda Canyon. The San Diego Zoo has several exquisite gardens throughout the park such as Fern Canyon, the Bromeliad Garden and a unique Ginger Garden. Children especially like the Children’s Zoo where your child can pet animals and watch newly born animals at the nursery. There are a number of ways you can travel through the San Diego Zoo which include a leisurely stroll or you can upgrade to a mini train, an express bus or get an aerial view on the Skysafari. There are a number of amphitheaters throughout the zoo which feature educational shows throughout the day and you can even schedule different animal encounters.
The Gaslamp Quarter is one of the best San Diego attractions to visit that is geared for families during the day and adults in the evening. Located in downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter emerged on the scene in 1857 and has since been listed as a National Historic District which is packed with beautiful architecture as well as shopping, dining and entertainment venues. This 16.5-block area is a wonderland of Victorian houses, Art Deco buildings and Modern buildings that offer plenty of excitement for everyone. Families can enjoy the area during the day on walking tours and with Petco Park only a block away the Gaslamp Quarter is a popular place on game day. Within the Gaslamp Quarter you will find more than 80 unique shopping boutiques that range from fashion to souvenirs to spas to specialty stores as well as diverse professional services. Dining is spectacular with over 100 restaurants ranging from quick bites to casual to upscale to gourmet. When evening rolls around the Gaslamp Quarter comes to life with several music venues including San Diego attractions such as Mardi Gras, the San Diego Comic-con, ShamRock as well as the Street Scene Music Festival.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
One of the most realistic San Diego attractions to visit is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which is a fabulous place for families to experience wildlife in surreal habitat areas. Located 34-miles north of San Diego in the San Pasqual Valley, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is situated within 1,800 acres that resemble many of the 2,600 animals natural habitat. The San Diego Safari Zoo Park is a unique adventure where you can actually watch animals from over 300 species up close as if you were on a real-life safari in more than fifteen different habitats. Specific habitat themes which contain more than 3,500 species of plants range from Condor Ridge to Asian Savanna to African Plains to Gorilla Forest to Lion Camp. When you visit you will be able to see spectacular animals like cheetahs, mountain gorillas, rhinoceros, ostrich, warthogs and zebras. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers a wide range of add-on tours that range from a Cheetah Safari to a Flightline Safari to an aerial obstacle course and you can even spend the night. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park boasts several amphitheaters around the park which offer shows that highlight specific animals, conservation methods and habitats from around the world.
SeaWorld San Diego
When you are ready for an incredible marine life experience mixed with exciting thrill rides then the only San Diego attraction to visit is SeaWorld San Diego. Located near Mission Bay northwest of downtown, SeaWorld San Diego is 190 acres of aquatic fun that includes hundreds of marine species from around the world, entertaining shows and plenty of adrenaline filled rides. SeaWorld features eight specific aquatic areas that range from the Penguin Encounter to the Wild Artic to Turtle Reef to Dolphin Point. As you travel through the park you will watch marine animals such as orca whale, reef sharks, thousands of tropical fish, sea turtles, sea lions, beluga whales and dolphins. SeaWorld San Diego also provides sixteen themed rides that range from children friendly like the Submarine Quest to extreme adrenaline filled rides like the Manta Rollercoaster. There are ten educational and family shows such as Cirque Electrique, the New Orca Encounter, Elmo Rocks and Sea Rescue explains how the park is instrumental in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine animals. Also at SeaWorld San Diego there are add-on options to interact with dolphins, beluga whales and even penguins.
San Diego Old Town
One of the best San Diego attractions for you to visit when you want to learn about the original settlers that occupied the area during the 18th century is San Diego Old Town. Located northwest of downtown near Presidio Park, San Diego Old Town is situated at the site of the original mission and fort that were constructed in 1796. San Diego Old Town brings the heritage of the Spanish and Mexican settlers to the forefront through culture, food and history. When you visit San Diego Old Town you will be delighted with historical information to be found within the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park where you can view several original adobe buildings including the Casa de Estudillo which is a National Historic Landmark. There are numerous other reconstructed buildings that make this place an almost exact replica of an emerging San Diego through the 19th century. Children will like the living history programs presented throughout San Diego Old Town and the visitor’s center is packed with interactive exhibits. You will enjoy browsing the artisans market and listening to mariachi music while you indulge in the finest Mexican food at one of the many restaurants located at this fabulous San Diego attraction.
When you are searching for an area that has numerous stellar attractions then you need to plan a trip to Balboa Park which is one of the most popular San Diego attractions. Located north of downtown, Balboa Park encompasses 1,200 acres of an urban wonderland that contains seventeen museums, seventeen gardens, two theatres and the incredible San Diego Zoo. You will be awe struck with the history inside of Balboa Park as you wander the grounds enjoying museums such as the Air and Space, the San Diego History Center, the Model Railroad Museum and the Natural History Museum. You will be thrilled with well-manicured gardens such as the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, the California Native Plant Garden as well as the Botanical Building with the Lilly Pond and Lagoon which houses over 2,100 plants that range from orchids to ferns to cycads. Cultural events such as festivals are offered throughout the year and the Old Globe Theatre which is fashioned after Shakespeare’s Old Globe in London is home to the San Diego Community Theatre. There are numerous shopping venues, concessions stands and other San Diego attractions and children will be pleased with the San Diego Zoo, a historic carousel as well as the miniature railroad which are all contained within the United States largest urban park.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Torrey Pines State Reserve is a spectacular place that highlights the natural environment of the San Diego area before there was the massive development and is one of the best San Diego attractions to visit. Located in La Jolla, Torrey Pines State Reserve is situated within 1,500 plus acres of natural beauty along the Pacific Ocean coastline and has been listed as a National Natural Landmark. The state reserve has eight hiking trails that total 8-miles which will take you through environments that range from wetlands to Torrey pine forests to incredible rock formations to beaches and there are free guided nature walks on the weekends. While you are at Torrey Pines State Reserve you will be delighted to pass through the visitor’s center which has detailed exhibits that explain the natural eco-system of the area. Wildlife within the state reserve includes bobcats, skunks, coyotes, rabbits and foxes as well as hundreds of bird species. The Torrey Pines State Reserve sports miles of pristine beaches which are open to the public for watersport activities and relaxation. The state reserve boasts many restrictions such as no food or drink (water only) and dogs are not allowed.
Photo by Tristan Loper
When you want to experience a major league baseball game in a state-of-the-art facility then the perfect San Diego attraction is to plan a visit to is Petco Park. Located in downtown just minutes from the Gaslamp Quarter, Petco Park is an open-air stadium with more than 40,000 seats including luxury suites that was constructed in 2004 and is the home of the San Diego Padres. When you are at Petco Park you will be delighted with the sight views that are available for watching a baseball no matter where you are sitting in the stadium and you are also afforded views of the San Diego Bay, the downtown skyline as well as Balboa Park in the distance. On game days the stadium’s premier location draws thousands of fans into the downtown area which is packed with interesting restaurants and plenty of activities. Petco Park has also hosted numerous concerts in the past from the Rolling Stones to Paul McCartney to Taylor Swift. The stadium boasts unique concessions stands and plenty of entertaining San Diego attractions within the park including a children’s playground.
Photo by Ken Lund
When you are searching for a great place to visit the waterfront then the best San Diego attraction for you is to plan a trip to the Embarcadero. Located on the eastern edge of the San Diego Bay just minutes from downtown, the Embarcadero is a fascinating set of walkways, museums, parks, ports and piers that bring the history of San Diego to life. The Embarcadero is home to three museums, the cruise port terminal, the Embarcadero and Waterfront Parks and Seaport Village. The northern portion of the Embarcadero includes the Waterfront Park which is a perfect place for a picnic as well as the Maritime Museum of San Diego where you will find seven historic vessels including the Star of India. Working your way south you can visit the U.S.S. Midway Museum which features a floating aircraft museum complete with interactive exhibits and historic airplanes. In the southernmost portion you will find Seaport Village filled with dining and shopping venues as well as the Embarcadero Marina Park South. As you stroll along the many promenades you will be thrilled with the sculptures which include a Military Tribute to Bob Hope and the Unconditional Surrender statue.
Photo by Katerina and Vassilis Last
When you are ready to view incredible landscape that is packed with plenty of additional activities then an ideal San Diego attraction is to visit Point Loma. Located at the westernmost point of San Diego, Point Loma is a peninsula that ultimately defines San Diego Bay. Point Loma boasts a plethora of activities for you to enjoy such as the Old Point Loma Lighthouse which sits atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. An interesting historical fact is Point Loma is the very first place that Europeans touched land in California making this peninsula known as “Where California Began”. Other activities on Point Loma include visiting the Cabrillo National Monument with its many miles of nature and hiking trails that sport incredible views of the surrounding water areas as well as witness gorgeous sunsets from Sunset Cliffs. Surfers will be thrilled with the waves at New Break, Luscomb’s and Garbage Beach where they never stop rolling into shore. Another great spot to go to on Point Loma is Liberty Station where you will find plenty of shopping and dining venues within this former U.S. Navy training center which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo by Chris Yunker
One of the most popular San Diego attractions for all types of visitors is to plan a trip to Coronado Island. Located within San Diego Harbor just west of downtown, Coronado Island has become a world class resort destination with the historic 1888 Hotel del Coronado as the crowning jewel. Coronado Island is connected to the mainland by the Coronado Bay Bridge that spans the bay for 2.1-miles and is an engineering marvel in itself. Other ways to reach the Coronado Island is by ferry which can be accessed near Seaport Village and there are plenty of bike rental shops which make for a perfect way to explore the island. Once you are on Coronado Island you will be thrilled with diversity of attractions in Coronado Village which include the Coronado Museum of History and Art, Spreckels Park and there are plenty of boutique shops to browse. One of the more popular things to do on Coronado Island is to take a tour of the Hotel del Coronado or spend time on Coronado Beach which is a spectacular stretch of sand. Dining includes all forms from quick bites to casual to upscale to gourmet.
When you want to visit a charming nautical themed neighborhood that sports plenty of opportunities for fun then a superb San Diego attraction is to plan a trip to Shelter Island. Located west of downtown in the Point Lona area, Shelter Island was originally a sand bar that was built into a thriving one street community in the 1950s that consists of hotels, restaurants, shopping boutiques and a few homes. Once at Shelter Island you will enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the area that is a vibrant entertainment in the evening with many events such as the Summer Concerts by the Bay. You will be pleased with the vantage of watching hundreds of yachts in the harbor pass by or just bobbling in the water while moored. There are several parks you can relax at while watching the activity in the San Diego Harbor. One of the highlight San Diego attractions on Shelter Island is the Yokohama Friendship Bell which resides toward the end of the street and was a gift from San Diego’s sister city Yokohama, Japan to celebrate their vibrant friendship.
Photo by Letting Go of Control
If you like to experience culture, food and entertainment then the best San Diego attraction for is to take a stroll through Little Italy. Located northwest of the Gaslamp Quarter between Waterfront Park and Balboa Park, Little Italy is a cultural dream come dream that features more than 60 shops, over 65 restaurants and hosts a plethora of cultural events throughout the year. When you visit Little Italy you can browse boutique shops that have a wide range of goods from home furnishings to jewelry to clothes to art galleries. Specialty shops like Architectural Salvage, Bottlecraft and the Oriental Treasure Box are perfect for that one-of-a-kind item. Dining is fabulous with choices that range from quick bites to casual to upscale. You can indulge in any type of cuisine from Italy at places such as Caffe Italia, Landini’s Pizzeria, Queenstown Public House and the Trattoria Fantastica. Social events dominate the landscape in Little Italy with weekly events like the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday as well as yearly events such as the Little Italy Summer Film Festival and the Marine Band San Diego Summer Concert.
Photo by Danny Englander
SEA LIFE San Diego Aquarium
When you want to explore the marine world from a fascinating and unique place then a perfect San Diego attraction is the SEA LIFE San Diego Aquarium. Located 45-minutes north of San Diego in Carlsbad, the SEA LIFE San Diego Aquarium is situated within the Legoland complex and incorporates many of the Legoland themes into the aquarium. The SEA LIFE San Diego Aquarium is a unique learning experience for children and adults where you can watch highly intelligent giant pacific octopus complete puzzles and play with toys as well as learn about the places these magnificent animals live. There are ten interactive play zones with interactive exhibits and quiz trails that teach you about importance of the ocean as well as the marine life that exists around the world. Other exciting options while visiting are watching sting rays and sharks being fed, a scuba diving show and there is an interactive Rockpool where you can touch a starfish. You will learn about the conservation of the marine world while viewing over 250 species of marine life which include clown fish, seahorses, reef sharks and jellyfish.
If you are searching for an enchanting environment that will bring back child hood memories and smiles on your children’s faces then the ideal San Diego attraction for you is to visit Legoland. Located 45-minutes northwest of San Diego in Carlsbad, Legoland is a unique place that has replicated the original Legoland in Denmark and is constructed entirely out of the little plastic blocks you liked as a child. Legoland consists of eleven unique areas such as Explorer Island, Fun Town, Friends Heartlake City, the Imagination Zone and Star Wars. Other areas include Ninjago World, Miniland USA, Land of Adventure, Castle Hill and miniature waterparks can be found at Pirate Shores as well as Pirates Cove. Within these spectacular areas you will find more than 60 rides and shows which range from the Beetle Bounce to Coastersaurus to the Ninjago. Other exciting attractions include replicas of Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and New Orleans. You will find exciting water rides like the Pirate Reef, the Skipper School and Splash Battle. As you stroll through the park you will see face painters, magicians, animal characters and there is plenty of spots to grab some food as well as relax while you children enjoy this adventurous place.
When you want unobstructed panoramic views of the whole San Diego area then the perfect San Diego attraction for you is to visit Mt. Soledad. Located in La Jolla, Mt. Soledad is an 822-foot mountain that features beautiful 360 degree views of the San Diego area including the Pacific Ocean and the mountain is topped with a memorial cross that salutes military veterans. Once on top of Mt. Soledad you will be amazed at the spectacular views of Torrey Pines State Park, the Pacific Ocean, the San Diego Harbor and the beautiful wind swept beaches. Atop Mt. Soledad you will also find a 27-foot cross which was originally placed as a memorial for veterans of the Korean War but has since been expanded to include veterans from all five branches of the military and from every conflict our military has served in since the Korean War. Mt. Soledad is also a great place to watch the migrating whales during the winter months that are traveling south from the Bering Sea.
Photo by Steve Suhrheinrich
When you want to do a little shopping and relax along the San Diego Harbor then the best San Diego attraction for you is to plan a trip to Seaport Village. Located just blocks from downtown and the Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village is packed with unique shopping boutiques, restaurants and plenty of places to relax. Once you arrive at Seaport Village you can browse through more than 50 unique shopping experiences that range from simple souvenirs to nautical memorabilia to fine cigars. There are clothing shops like Del Sol, For Bare Feet and San Diego Surf Co. Specialty stores include the Magic Shop, Kite Flight and there is a Harley Davidson shop. There are art galleries like Indian Trails Gallery, Exclusive Collections and the Copper Gallery. Dining is fabulous with more than 15 restaurants which include Edgewater Grill, the Harbor House as well as Margarita’s Kitchen and Cantina. Entertainment is plentiful with several street performers and a historic Carousel for the children. Other options include live music within one of the gazebos as well as specialty events such as Landlubbers Day, the Busker Festival and the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights.
Photo by Prayitno
Downtown San Diego
When you are looking for access to a plethora of activities from sporting events to cultural to museums then the best San Diego attraction for you is to visit the downtown area. Located minutes away from the San Diego Harbor, Downtown San Diego is a great place for all types of travelers and the area is very easy to navigate. Downtown San Diego is a mecca for cultural events within the Gaslamp Quarter where you will also find plenty of shopping and dining venues. When you are in Downtown San Diego you are just minutes away from fabulous Balboa Park which contains numerous gardens, museums and the famous San Diego Zoo. You can watch a baseball game at Petco Park and you will find plenty of things for your children like the New Children’s Museum. If you are looking for some beach time or want to stroll along the San Diego Harbor then the Embarcadero area is perfect which is complete with a marina and the U.S.S Midway Museum as well as Seaport Village where you will find more exciting venues.
Photo by Byron Hetrick
San Diego Harbor
One of the most popular San Diego attractions for water enthusiasts is to visit the San Diego Harbor. Located in downtown, the San Diego Harbor is a spectacular place for people who want to get out on the water, view historical boats and ships as well as participate in several other watersport adventures. Along the southern portion of the San Diego Harbor you will find the fabulous Embarcadero Marina Park with a green space, marina, an open air amphitheater and a fishing pier. As you move north along the waterfront you can go shopping and dining at the unique venues in Seaport Village. A little further north you can stroll through the interesting U.S.S. Midway Museum where you will can learn about this flagship aircraft carrier as well as view a wonderful collection of vintage military fighter planes. In the most northern section of the San Diego Harbor sits the Maritime Museum of San Diego where you can walk through several historic boats and ships from the past. If you are looking for exercise or a great San Diego attraction to take a walk then try the San Diego Bay Walk which runs parallel to the harbor.
Photo by Prayitno
Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
If you like to stroll through beautifully manicured gardens that contain some of the world’s best roses then an ideal San Diego attraction for you is the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. Located within Balboa Park, the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden is situated on 3-acres of land that features fountains and gazebos that are surrounded by over 2,400 rose plants from more than 180 varietals. The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden was the brainchild of Dick Streeper in 1969. Today the garden is a fascinating place filled with hybrid teas, grandifloras, old roses, miniature shrubs and florabundas that seem to come to life between the last of week of March through May although some plants are in bloom from March to December depending on the varietal. The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden boasts a tranquil setting with an incredible rose aroma in the air for you to enjoy. The garden is situated next to the Desert Garden which offers a great contrast in colors during blooming season.
Photo by Aaron Fulkerson
Green Flash Brewing Company
When need to relax to try some award winning craft beers after a tour of the brewing process then the perfect San Diego attraction for you is the Green Flash Brewing Company. Located in the Mira Mesa neighborhood, the Green Flash Brewing Company has been brewing West Coast Indian Pale Ale beers for over fifteen years. When you visit the Green Flash Brewing Company you can take a tour of the brewing facility and learn about their unique brewing process that has created several award winning beers. You will be pleased with the expert commentary from the brewers who are known for their high hop content ales as well as porters, lagers and specialty beers like the Tangerine Soul Style which combines an IPA with tangerine juice. The Green Flash Brewing Company has a nice beer garden where you will indulge in several of their beers after your excursion of the brewing plant is complete.
El Prado Courtyard
When you want to marvel at manicured gardens and interesting architecture within a complex of numerous historic buildings then a superb San Diego attraction for you is the El Prado Courtyard. Located within Balboa Park, El Prado Courtyard is situated within the El Prado Historic District which contains 13 buildings that were constructed in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-16. The El Prado Courtyard is a marvelous space with manicured gardens set within beautiful Spanish colonial buildings which are accented by numerous arches and ornate wrought iron. The El Prado Gardens is home to several youth art organizations and the Botanical Garden Foundation. While you are walking around don’t be surprised if there is an exhibition or dance recital taking place. You will the Prado Restaurant located which has been serving cutting edge cuisine for decades. During the summer months there are free concerts with musicians utilizing the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ which is located at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. A visit to Balboa Park is not complete until you view this incredible courtyard within a completely restored historic district.
Photo by Loren Javier
Japanese Friendship Garden
When you want to see one of the more serene and meticulously manicured gardens in the area then a great San Diego attraction is the Japanese Friendship Garden. Located within Balboa Park off of President’s Way, the Japanese Friendship Garden is situated on 20-acres with stunning aspects that include koi fish ponds, sukiya-style buildings, stone arrangements and numerous water features. The Japanese Friendship Garden was created to endorse the long standing relationship of San Diego and the sister city of Yokohama. The Japanese Friendship Garden is designed with century old Japanese gardening techniques which were developed to bring peace and tranquility into people’s lives. The gardens are fascinating with a 200 cherry tree grove, a camellia garden, a bonsai garden and there several large azaleas. The Japanese Friendship Garden features festivals, exhibits and offers numerous accredited horticultural courses for enthusiastic gardeners. The serenity that people experience while visiting this breathtaking space is amazing with perfect conditions for inward reflection while meditating. After viewing this spectacular San Diego attraction and you can even stop by the tea pavilion for a nice cup of tea and conversation with members of the local Japanese community.
Photo by Lynne Ulrich
El Campo Santo Cemetery
When you are interested in experiencing one of the most haunted areas in region then the best San Diego attraction for you is the El Campo Santo Cemetery. Located in the Old Town area, El Campo Santo Cemetery is the second oldest cemetery within San Diego and served the community from 1849 until its closure in 1881. The mystic of the El Campo Santo Cemetery is fascinating with parts of the cemetery being paved over to create San Diego Avenue while the remainder of the cemetery has been restored by the San Diego Historical Society. Today you can wander the grounds viewing headstones, ornate mausoleums, crosses and make shift temples that were created for people of all walks of life. One of the most notable people buried in El Campo Santo Cemetery is Pio Pico who was the last Mexican Governor of California. Many people believe the cemetery is haunted with tales of maligned sounds during the night and car troubles on San Diego Avenue are also blamed on the cemetery.
Photo by Konrad Summers
Ellen Browning Scripps Park
When you want to visit a gorgeous seaside park that could possibly be the most photographed spot in San Diego, then the perfect San Diego attraction for you is to plan a trip to the Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Located in La Jolla, the Ellen Browning Scripps Park is situated directly on the Pacific Ocean coastline and features wide grassy area, coastal bluffs, a beach and towering palm trees. The Ellen Browning Scripps Park is an idyllic setting with plenty of room for popular sports on the grassy areas and the south end of the park boasts Shell Beach which is great for tide pooling. There is an abundance of marine life such as sea lions and seals on the rocky shoreline and you have ideal whale watching conditions during the months. Ellen Browning Scripps Park is a popular San Diego attraction for weddings with picnic facilities that include barbeque grills, tables and restrooms. During the summer months you can attend family friendly musical performances produced by Summer Concerts by the Sea.
Photo by Photos By Clark
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
When you are ready to taste some fantastic craft style beer and learn about the brewing process then a great San Diego attraction to visit is the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Located in La Jolla and downtown San Diego, the Karl Strauss Brewing Company is the oldest brewery in operation within San Diego and many people believe that Karl Strauss created the market for craft beer in San Diego. You can visit one the Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s several pubs and enjoy a cold beer with some fantastic food. Karl Strauss Brewing Company produces a wide range of flavors that include a San Diego style Indian Pale Ale, wheat ale, amber ale, stout and other IPAs. The Karl Strauss Brewing Company is known around the world for its unique flavored craft beers and has won more than 100 medals including the best mid-sized brewery at the Great American Beer Festival. If you want to see the operations you can visit their tasting room location in the Pacific Beach area where you can sit down and enjoy several top quality craft beers while touring the brewing facilities.
Photo by Chris
When you are ready to experience one of the best cultural hubs within the area then a superb San Diego attraction for you to visit is Liberty Station. Located on Point Loma just north of downtown, Liberty Station is situated on 28-acres and is a converted U.S. Naval base that is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Liberty Station displays exquisite Spanish style architecture throughout the many converted buildings which include barracks and a former naval training center. Today, Liberty Station is home to the Liberty Public Market which features numerous dining stalls serving some of the city’s best artisanal cuisine, craft beers and of course California wine. Diners can enjoy spectacular meals at Slater’s 50/50, the Luna Grill, Solare Ristorante and the Corvette Diner. There are also several art studios and galleries which include Monart Drawing for Kids, Pachis Art Studio for Kids, Kid Ventures as well as the Bravo School of Arts. You will also find cultural San Diego attractions like the San Diego Ballet and Malashock Dance. Shopping includes everything from a Trader’s Joe to a bicycle shop to fashion boutiques to hand crafted jewelry.
Photo by Aaron Fulkerson
If you want to view some of the most fascinating and authentic architecture in the area then an ideal San Diego attraction for you is to visit the Heritage County Park. Located near the Old Town State Historical Park, Heritage Park is situated on almost 8-acres of land that includes seven historical homes and a historic synagogue that have all been restored. Heritage Park features perfect examples of homes constructed with Stick-East Lake, classic Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne architectural designs. All of these homes were built in the San Diego area during the 19th century and have since been relocated to the Heritage Park in order to save these ornate homes from destruction. The Heritage Park also contains the first synagogue constructed in San Diego. The Temple Beth Israel is classic Revival style building that contains two reed pump organs within the choir loft. Many of the homes are now house museums with interactive exhibits and period furnishings and one has been made a gift shop.
Photo by Virginia Hill
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
When you are interested in watching a stunning sunset over the Pacific Ocean as well as engage in outdoor activities then the best San Diego attraction for you is to visit Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Located on Point Loma adjacent to the Point Loma Ecological Reserve, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is situated on 68-acres along the Pacific Ocean coastline and can be accessed from several locations along the parks 1.5-mile length. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is an ideal place to view incredible formations such as sea caves, coastal bluffs and arches that have been created over the years by the Pacific Ocean. Sunsets are spectacular to watch from several locations including Luscomb Point and the coastal bluffs near Ladera Street. There is a beach area at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park which is great for families with plenty of space to lounge and watch the surfers. The natural park is also a favorite viewing area for people to watch the migrating whales from the Bering Sea during the winter months.
Photo by Joshua Ginsberg
When you are ready to visit one of San Diego’s more affluent suburbs which boast plenty of San Diego attractions then you should plan a trip to Del Mar. Located 30-minutes north of downtown San Diego, Del Mar is small community that has been home to several celebrities including Desi Arnaz, Angie Dickinson and Jimmy Durante. Del Mar sports many activities from a horse racing track to the San Diego County Fair to several high-end boutiques to excellent art galleries. Del Mar contains several beaches like North Beach also known as Dog Beach and beautiful coastal parks like Powerhouse as well as Torrey Pines State Beach for outdoor enthusiasts. Other outdoor activities and San Diego attractions can take place at the Scripps Bluff Preserve as well as restored San Dieguito River Lagoon and Torrey Pines State Reserve. Downtown Del Mar has an eclectic mixture of Tudor style buildings and homes that house numerous shopping and dining opportunities such as the Del Mar Plaza. Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds features an incredible Mediterranean designed pink building with lush manicured grounds.
Photo by Christina Dulude
Mormon Battalion Historic Site
If you are interested in learning more about the early settlement of California by members of the Church of Latter Day Saints and the only religious based battalion ever formed by the United States Army then the perfect attraction for you to visit is the Mormon Battalion Historic Site. Located within Old Town, the Mormon Battalion Historic Site is a museum based on the formation of Mormon settlers that joined the U.S. Army in order to fight within the Mexican-American War of 1946 to 1948. The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is situated within a Spanish colonial designed building and contains interactive exhibits of the Mormon battalion’s journey from Council Bluff, Iowa to San Diego, California. The Mormon Battalion also known at the 1st Iowa Volunteers played an integral role of protection during the Mexican-America War including standing guard after the Temecula Massacre where the battalion stood guard while the Luiseno people buried their dead. This San Diego attraction contains information of the contributions of the battalion after the war ended when many of the servicemen traveled north to Sutter Mills where in 1848 the California Gold Rush began to take place.
Photo by Zruda
The Unconditional Surrender Statue at Tuna Harbor Park
One of the more iconic images from WWII is the Unconditional Surrender Statue at Tuna Harbor Park and is a great San Diego attraction for couples who like to mimic this unforgettable kiss in Times Square. Located in Tuna Harbor Park which is adjacent to The U.S.S. Midway Museum, the Unconditional Surrender Statue at Tuna Harbor Park was originally a 25-foot statue made of foam with a urethane exterior and was replaced in 2013 with a similar statue made of bronze. The Unconditional Surrender Statue at Tuna Harbor Park recreates the kiss from a sailor to nurse in Times Square that was immortalized by the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt on V-J Day in New York City. The sculpture was created by artist Seward Johnson and proudly stands with the U.S.S. Midway as a backdrop. Besides the Unconditional Surrender Statute there are several other bronze statues within Tuna Harbor Park that include the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military. This is an excellent tribute to Bob Hope which includes fifteen other bronze sculptures that represent service people from WWII to the Gulf War in which Bob Hope performed a USO show for the troops.
Photo by Ethene Lin
Cabrillo National Monument
One of the most historic places in Southern California is Cabrillo National Monument and is a must see San Diego attraction for all types of visitors. Located on the southernmost tip of Point Loma Peninsula, the Cabrillo National Monument celebrates the landing of Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo who is credited with being the first European explorer to step foot in California and the monument is often referred to as Where California Began. When you visit this spectacular place of history you will pleased with the diversity of the activities which include an informative visitor’s center with interactive exhibits, a statue commemorating Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, beautiful Pacific Ocean views, historic military buildings including coastal artillery installations that protected San Diego Bay and the wonderful Old Point Loma Lighthouse which was constructed in 1855. While you are at Cabrillo National Monument you can experience gorgeous coastal tidal pools which are filled with hundreds of species of marine life as well as birds and during the winter months the monument is the perfect place to watch for migrating whales traveling south to warmer waters. Other San Diego attractions include nature trails, living history programs, biking and photography is quite popular because of the 360 degree panoramic view.
Photo by russellstreet
San Diego Mormon Temple
When you want to view a spectacular building and peaceful garden then a superb San Diego attraction for you to visit is the San Diego Mormon Temple. Located near the La Jolla Village area just off of I-5, the San Diego Mormon Temple opened in 1993 after nine years of construction. The San Diego Mormon Temple is situated on 7-acres of landscaped gardens and the building is more than 70,000 square feet on the inside. The temple has an interesting Neo-classical architectural design with two main spires that reach heights of 169-feet and are surrounded at the base by four smaller spires. The East Tower of the temple is topped with Angel Moroni which is prevalent in mostly all Mormon temples. The exterior facade of the San Diego Mormon Temple is constructed of stucco with white marble chips which gives the temple a brilliant finish and more so in the evening when the temple is illuminated. The inside of the San Diego Mormon Temple is only open to members of the Church of Latter Day Saints but you can walk the beautifully landscaped gardens while taking photographs of this spectacular San Diego attraction.
Photo by Peter Kaminski