San Diego is one of the most well known cities in Southern California for a reason. It’s is beautiful, the weather is great, and there is so much to do. San Diego is a big tourist destination because of Sea World and it’s fantastic zoo, but there is sooo much more to the city. The San Diego Zoo is massive so be prepared to spend a full day or even two there. And make sure to check out the pandas! There are only TWELVE pandas in the entire USA, which can only be found in San Diego, Memphis, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. I absolutely love pandas, so if you're like me, don't miss your chance to see these fuzzy creatures!
Really, parking anywhere in San Diego will prove to be a challenge in itself. I went around the Fourth of July weekend, which didn’t help things, but it was insanely busy. I’ve also been spending a ton of time in the desert, so this is the first major city I’ve been to in months...it was a pretty big shock! 😂 There are a lot of super busy attractions in the city, so be prepared. If you're looking for one place to park and walk on foot to explore, try Balboa Park, which features a variety of museums and is near the San Diego Zoo.
While we’re on the topic of super touristy things to do, one cool thing to stop and do is the San Diego Greetings Mural. There are a variety of these scattered around in various cities across the USA (and one in Bermuda). The mural itself is easy to find, but parking will be a real challenge. Be sure not park and block the mural - there is traffic that passes through and lots of other people wanting to take cheesy pictures too!
Deep in the heart of San Diego between designer stores and gorgeous landscapes and amazing buildings sits La Jolla Cove. This small but beautiful cove is a great place to hangout, kayak, snorkel, or watch the sea lions play. It's one of the most popular spots in the city, so be prepared for a crowd! ....and goooood luck finding parking! Budget in some time do circle around the block a few times.
If you’re looking for other beautiful spots that aren't so busy, check out the Imperial Beach Pier. There’s a whole strip you can lay out on and catch some waves or sun rays. This is also a popular spot for sunrise fishing and catching gorgeous sunsets. This artsy part of the city of Imperial Beach has shops, restaurants, and even a park, so there's something for everyone to do. San Diego has no shortage of beaches, so be sure to check out a variety. Mission Beach is another hot spot in the city for hanging out on the boardwalk and kicking back on the beach.
If you’re like me and enjoy getting to know the history of the places you visit, Old Town is a must. Here you can find everything from a bite to eat to a variety of museums to explore. There are also shops and hotels in the area, so you have everything you need for a full day of adventuring.
Another great spot to go learn some things is the Point Loma lighthouse located in Cabrillo National Monument. Here you can also find a visitor center and an awesome overlook of the San Diego Bay.
As you enter the monument, one of the routes takes you past a massive cemetery. Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is where many brave soldiers were laid to rest. This historical landmark spreads across the land on both sides of the road. Seeing how many graves were in just this one cemetery is very eye opening. I want to thank any men and women, as well as their families who may be reading this, for their service and sacrifice.
As you keep going down the road, you will come to the Point Loma lighthouse and visitor center. Outside of the Visitor Center, you can find that killer view, as well as the iconic Cabrillo statue.
Unlike many historic lighthouses, this one you can go up inside and get a feel for what life was like living there as a lighthouse keeper. They even preserved the rooms with furniture and items the tenants used.
In the building next to the main house, you can go in and see the actual lens. In this building, you learn more about how lighthouses function and get to know more history.
The Cabrillo National Monument has one of the best views in San Diego. When I visited, the bay was full of massive sailboats and even military ships. The cool ship shown in the picture I believe is an Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer.
It was so cool to watch these insane ships coming in and out of the harbor! Not to mention, you overlook the Navy base so you get to see all of the military helicopters as well. I've never had the chance to see ships like this, so if you have kids or people interested in that sort of thing, this is a great spot to take them.
If you love watching the battleships roll in and out of the bay, you’ll love this attraction! If you want more, head over to the USS Midway Museum to check out tons of exhibits throughout a historic aircraft carrier for a unique experience.
If you want to do more cruising down memory lane head over to Coronado area of San Diego. Here are you will find the Hotel Del Coronado which is actually where Marilyn Monroe stayed and even filmed a movie! This glamorous hotel will have you drooling for the good ol' days.
Although there are claims that the hotel is haunted, this is still a very popular place for people to stay. Since it was built in 1888, this iconic hotel has accommodated many celebrities, royalty, and even some presidents. It has since become a National Historic Landmark and is still in use today.
Staying the night? Head over to the trendy Gaslamp Quarter and grab a drink or enjoy the nightlife. In this edgy side of town you can find numerous bars, restaurants, and shops. This lively area is no stranger to music and dancing. If you're around during the day on Sunday, check out the Artisan Market to browse local arts and crafts.
Where are your favorite places to explore in San Diego? Comment below to share!