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San Diego Vacation – 10 Fun Things to Do

Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island photo by hoteldelcoronado

10 Fun Things to Do on a San Diego Vacation include some activities that all family members can enjoy. San Diego is a great place for a vacation. This southern California city has great weather, sunny beaches, museums, a great zoo, restaurants, shopping and some fun nightlife. If you want a San Diego Family Vacation you can visit the San Diego Zoo, Seaworld San Diego and see the dinosaurs at the San Diego Natural History Museum. For a Romantic San Diego Vacation walk on the Pacific Beach, stay at the Hotel Del Coronado and enjoy the nightlife at the Gaslamp Quarter. San Diego is a great destination, have some fun. Enjoy my 10 Fun Things to Do in San Diego below.

1. San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Panda
Panda at San Diego Zoo photo by Randy OHC

The San Diego Zoo is located just north of downtown in Balboa Park. This 100 acre zoo has more than 4,000 animals from over 800 species. San Diego Zoo highlights include the Panda Canyon, the Elephant Odyssey, the Polar Bear Plunge and the Ituri Forest modeled after an African Rainforest.


2. Sea World San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego Shamu Jumping
Shamu Showing off at SeaWorld San Diego photo by Mark Crawley

Seaworld San Diego is the first Seaworld location founded in 1964. Today Sea World San Diego’s 200 acre location has many attractions including One Ocean the Shamu show, Shipwreck Rapids raft rides, and animal exhibits with Walruses, Penguins, Killer Whales, Beluga Whales and Polar Bears.


3. Pacific Beach San Diego

Pacific Beach Kite Surfing
Pacific Beach San Diego at Tourmaline Street photo by SD Dirk

Pacific Beach is one of the premier beaches in the San Diego area. There is a great boardwalk called Oceanfront Boardwalk that runs for 3 ½ miles between Law Street Park just North of Crystal Pier to South Mission Beach. Lots of great people watching, sun bathing, swimming, restaurants, shopping, etc.
More on Pacific Beach San Diego  Wikipedia
More on Pacific Beach Area Map  Google Map
More on Pacific Beach Info  San Diego Visitors Bureau
More on San Diego Beach Map  PDF (7MB takes some time to load)


4. Balboa Park San Diego

Balboa Park Gardens
Balboa Park Gardens photo by Lee Coursey

The 1,200 acre Balboa Park is located at place where the Panama-California Exposition was held in 1915 and is one of the nation’s oldest parks. There is so much to do at Balboa Park that you could spend several days there visiting the San Diego Zoo, the 15 museums including the San Diego Museum of Natural History, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Man, the Old Globe Theater is in the park too. There there are amazing gardens, dog parks, play areas, a golf course, tennis courts, picnic areas, for an stunning array of activities and fun.
More on Balboa Park Map  (See link to Balboa Park Facilities Map PDF at top of page)


5. Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument Point Loma San Diego photo by Ken Lund

For a great view of San Diego visit Cabrillo National Monument at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. This National Park Service site commemorates the arrival of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay in 1542. He was first European to set foot of the West Coast of the U.S. The views from the monument offer spectacular views of San Diego’s skyline and harbor. There is a visitor’s center with exhibits and films. Just past the Point Loma Lighthouse, built in the 1850s, you can take a two mile self guided walk on the Bayside Trail with great views of the city of San Diego across the San Diego Bay.
More on Cabrillon National Monument  NPS.gov
More on Cabrillon National Monument  Wikipedia.org


6. Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter San Diego photo by zoonbar

For San Diego Nightlife you can’t beat the Gaslamp Quarter with over a hundred restaurants, nightclubs and bars near downtown. The Gaslamp Quarter San Diego is a 16 ½ block area that is designated as a National Historic District. In addition to the restaurants and nightclubs there are also over 20 hotels, and 80 shops in the district. Over 90 building in the Gaslamp District have historical significance for their Victorian architecture.
More on Gaslamp Quarter San Diego  Wikipedia.org


7. San Diego Natural History Museum

San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego Natural History Museum photo by chow_montreal

The San Diego Natural History Museum is located in Balboa Park just north of downtown. The Natural History Museum in San Diego was founded in 1874 and moved to the current in Balboa Park in 1933. The museum has 5 floors, and a 300 seat Dolby 3D Digital Theater. The movies and the exhibitions change so check out their website below for the current programs.


8. Seaport Village

Seaport Village - San Diego Pier Café
San Diego Pier Café at Seaport Village photo by sryffel

If you are looking for some great San Diego Shopping, Seaport Village is an attractive place located near downtown San Diego on San Diego Bay. There are over 50 shops, and more than 15 places to eat. Seaport Village has cobblestone paths winding through shops, lakes, ponds, and lush greenery. There is also a ¼ mile long boardwalk along the San Diego Bay.
More on Seaport Village Visitor Information  Map Link on bottom right side of their page


9. USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum
USS Midway Museum San Diego photo by http2007 (CC by 2.0)

The USS Midway Museum opened in 2004 at the Navy Pier in the San Diego Harbor on the decommissioned USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. The USS Midway has over 25 restored aircraft and more than 60 exhibits you can visit on a self guided audio tour. You are able to tour the ship including the Flight Deck, Bridge, Admiral’s Quarters, Hanger Deck, Engine Room, Sleeping Quarters, and more. The USS Midway was commissioned in 1945 and was the largest ship in the world for about a decade.


10. Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado
Hotel del Coronado – Coronado Island – San Diego photo by hoteldelcoronado

The Hotel Del Coronado is located on Coronado Island across the bay from San Diego. Hotel Del is designated as a National Historic Landmark. It was opened in 1888 and had electric lighting installed under Thomas Edison’s direct supervision. This Victorian Style Hotel is currently one of the largest all wooden buildings in California. Hotel Del was a favorite of U.S. Presidents, movie stars and has been used as a location for many movies. It is located on 28 acres right on the beach and is a short drive from downtown San Diego. Even if you don’t say at the Hotel Del you should a least visit it and have a look around. You can have lunch at one of the many restaurants and dining facilities located on the premises.
More on Hotel Del Coronado Resort Map  Scroll down and click Map for Larger View
More on Hotel Del  Wikipedia.org

San Diego Vacation Resources

More on San Diego Hotels  Hotels.com
More on Things to Do in San Diego  San Diego Visitors Bureau


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