California isn’t a state for couch potatoes. No matter where you go or what time of the year it is, you’ll always find something to do. Don’t believe us? Take a look at San Diego. There’s never a dull moment in “America’s Finest City”.
Zoos, parks, museums, beaches – there truly is something for everyone in this incredible destination. In our experience, there are 11 must-do activities in San Diego. Carrying around a ton of gear? Leave your things with a luggage storage service before starting your itinerary.
San Diego’s scenery is truly one of a kind. This city is full of missions, museums, and parks that can’t be found anywhere else. These venues are accentuated by California’s breezy, sunny climate.
Balboa Park is the perfect place to go on long walks and brisk jogs. This venerated park is 1,200 acres wide, providing plenty of room for all sorts of outdoor activities. We’d be remiss not to shout out the California Tower while we’re at it.
City life can be great, but it can also feel a bit cluttered. A place like San Diego has millions of residents. It’s no wonder why gridlock is so common on the road. When you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, visit the San Diego Botanic Garden.
Rolling green fields, vibrant flowers, soothing weather, this is the ideal place to go for a nature walk. The Botanic Garden has been around for decades and is an iconic part of San Diego’s culture.
Cabrillo National Monument
At the risk of making the understatement of the year, San Diego is heavily inspired by Spanish culture. Those missions that we mentioned earlier, who do you think established them? San Diego even borrows its name from a Spanish saint.
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, an explorer from Spain, is San Diego’s founder. Naturally, the Cabrillo National Monument pays tribute to him. It’s accompanied by plaques, a park, and an exhibit at the Visitor Center.
Right, so we’ve talked about San Diego’s Spanish influences. We have to talk about Chicano culture. California was originally a part of Mexico many years ago. As a result, the state has many Mexican and Mexican-American (or Chicano) citizens.
Hence Chicano Park, a venue that’s located right under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. This park includes a series of gorgeous murals – intricate paintings that depict Chicano Civil Rights leaders, Aztec mythical figures, and San Diego’s citizens.
Speaking of which, we might as well talk about the Coronado Bridge. Depending on how you travel to get here, you’ll probably see an enormous structure winding through the city. It hangs over miles upon miles of water and is fitted with an array of lights.
That massive structure is the Coronado Bridge. In total, this landmark is more than 11,000 feet long. Construction began in the 1950s. Since then, the Coronado Bridge has been renovated and remodeled countless times.
Museum of Us
Some of us might think of history as a detached field – a collection of stories that happened to other people a long time ago. In reality, history really is our story; the events of yesterday shape today. The people we read about in books influence us one way or another.
That’s why we’re big fans of the Museum of Us. This institution is brimming with hundreds of amazing anthropological exhibits. It’s the sort of place that connects you with people from all around the world – and all across time.
San Diego Bay
Here’s the scenario; you’re driving into San Diego, you travel across Coronado Bridge, and you see the city for the first time. Specifically, you see buildings, boats, and a massive bay – San Diego Bay.
As far as must-do activities go, visiting San Diego Bay ranks pretty high on our list (we’ve just put these attractions neatly in alphabetical order). Surfing, sightseeing – what can’t you do at San Diego Bay? Honestly, a trip to the city isn’t complete until you stop by.
San Diego Zoo
The same could be said for this next entry. California has several famous zoos. We’re talking places that draw in visitors from other continents. The animals that live at these places and the folks that take care of them leave a great impression on visitors.
All of this applies to the San Diego Zoo. This enormous animal center houses more than 12,000 creatures. Gorillas, lions, and pangolins are just a few of the beautiful beasts you’ll encounter. There’s also a slew of exciting events scheduled throughout the year.
Soledad Mountain Cross
The Catholic Faith is another major influence in San Diego. Catholic missionaries settled here and converted many indigenous peoples to Catholicism. The effect of these events is still felt today.
In 1954, Donald Campbell built the Mount Soledad Cross. This landmark is a reminder of the city’s past as well as one of the most visited monuments around.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Sunny skies, sandy beaches, and glistening blue lakes are almost synonymous with California. People travel hundreds of thousands of miles to experience these sights. Folks in San Diego just have to travel to the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
This area is a major hub for outdoorsy types. You can embark on hiking trails, search for rare animals and minerals, or just bum it at the beach. This place just has a way of bringing out your adventurous side.
USS Midway Museum
Naval vessels are held in high regard in the US. After they’re done serving in military operations, these ships aren’t just scrapped for parts. They’re transformed into museums that preserve the history of bygone eras.
That’s exactly the case with the USS Midway Museum. This aircraft carrier was active between 1945 and 1992. These days, the Midway is no stranger to private events, TV film crews, and the “Battle of Midway Theater” holographic spectacle.