Top 20 San Diego Tourist Attractions – Tips From Locals!
Mild climate, never-ending coastal stretches of sandy beaches, breathtaking mountain sceneries and a plethora of San Diego tourist attractions place this California city on just about any list of the best vacation destinations for all sorts of travelers.
We have talked to the locals to find out which top San Diego tourist attractions they wish for visitors to explore. As the result, we have compiled a list of 20 must-see landmarks in San Diego.
1. Balboa Park is one of the finest and versatile among all of San Diego Attractions. There’s no other place in California where you will find so many exquisite and culturally rich museums, exhibits and entertainment centers. Please refer to our article that lists 10 fun things to do in San Diego at Balboa Park to plan your next visit.
2. San Diego Zoo is the top attraction situated at the spectacular Balboa Park and is one of the top destinations on the West coast. Having made the list of top 5 Zoos in the nation, the Zoo is proud to house rare and endangered animals. In addition, their Giant Panda display along with Monkey Trails and other exhibits are hard to come by at any Zoo in the country. Plan visiting “zoo of the future” during your next family vacation to sunny San Diego.
3. Sea World is home to world’s most famous Shamu Adventure shows, dolphin and sea lion interactions you will not forget for years to come. A variety of roller-coasters and rides geared for different ages, fair style foods and other entertainment options are sure to please all guests attending this landmark.
4. San Diego Zoo Safari Park located within a 30-minute car ride from downtown is an outdoor natural paradise and animal conservatory center. Walk, roll, ride or fly your way through the Safari Park depending on how much you are willing to spend and the amount of time at your disposal. Hundreds of endangered and rare animal species along with proud inhabitants of African prairies are roaming freely across vast grounds of the park.
5. Old Town San Diego is a step back in time telling a story of how San Diego was founded. Explore historical buildings, landmarks and sites and relax at the end of the day at one of many outdoor or indoor restaurants and authentic diners serving various regional cuisine dishes.
6. Gaslamp District is a must visit place located in downtown San Diego with copious selection of crazy popular restaurants, sexy night clubs and live music bars.
7. The California Tower completed in the best Spanish architectural styles is one of the symbols of San Diego and one of the first San Diego tourist attractions visitors see as they fly into the city.
8. Coronado Island is a tiny peninsula that separates San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean and has some of the best beaches, recreational spots and sightseeing venues. If you prefer less touristy San Diego, that visiting Coronado Island is a must.
9. Mission Bay is water sports lovers’ paradise judging by a number of water based activities you can partake in including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing and everything in between. Though the waters are much calmer than anywhere else in San Diego, the sudden drops in the underwater shoreline depth might not be appropriate for younger tourists.
10. La Jolla is one of the picturesque and upscale parts of San Diego offering plenty of romantic things to do in San Diego. La Jolla is proud to be the place of the finest beaches in San Diego, award –winning restaurants and even Broadway worthy La Jolla Playhouse Theater.
11. San Diego Beaches are without a doubt one of the most coveted San Diego tourist attractions drawing thousand of tourists annually. Each beach possesses its unique characteristics making it ideal for distinct types of travelers. Please refer to our article on this subject listing top 10 beaches in San Diego and their specific attributes.
12. Mount Soledad is a well known attraction for cyclers and hikers from across the country. The 800 ft tall mountain provides unsurpassed panoramic views of the San Diego bay and surrounding areas.
13. Point Loma Lighthouse and its adjacent National Monument are celebrating early history of San Diego and also provide great viewing areas for enjoying the beautiful sceneries of the ocean and San Diego skyline.
14. Fiesta Island is the most sports oriented part of the San Diego community that hosts a variety of charity walks and runs, cycling competitions and many other interesting events.
15. Birch Aquarium is located at the La Jolla area in San Diego and is not one of those overwhelmingly large aquariums that you need 3 days just to walk around. Moderate size and a plethora of animals creatures to see make it for one of the most perfect place to take your little ones.
16. Legoland is San Diego’s newest attraction and is not only for fans of famous building blocks. Legoland is a paradise for dreamers of all ages presenting some of the most spectacular creations and replicas of famous world landmarks, animals and places constructed of millions of Lego pieces.
17. USS Midway Aircraft Carrier is the best tourist attraction to visit if you would like to see what San Diego Navy side is all about. Walk around one of the biggest ships of the US Navy history and learn interesting facts about the ship that can carry almost 100 aircrafts at one time along with 4,000 crew members.
18. Belmont Park is one of the few oceanfront theme parks in the country and a gathering place for spring and summer break crowds. Lots of thrill rides, roller-coasters and water rides are a great way to spend a sunny day in San Diego.
19. Seaport Village is the ultimate destination for any foodie or shopaholic due to a copious number of restaurants and shopping venues here. If you enjoy exploring new places by means of walking, enjoy over 4 miles of winding paths across the Village.
20. Whaley House is perhaps one of the wackiest San Diego tourist attractions, especially if you are a fan of ghosts and paranormal activities. Locals swear to report and abundance of paranormal activities happening regularly at one of the oldest buildings in California. Check it out for yourself.