Top Ten Places to Visit in San Diego
San Diego is synonymous with sun. The second-largest city in California averages 201 days above
70 °F. As you might imagine, the city's climate is mild and dry.
What you may not know about San Diego is it's the fifth wealthiest city in the United States (according to Forbes magazine). San Diego's economy is fueled by manufacturing, the military, and tourism.
Thanks to its spectacular weather and wealthy citizenry, San Diego offers residents and visitors plenty to do both under and away from the sun.
We hope you enjoy the top 10 places to visit in San Diego.
#1 Balboa Park
Balboa Park is a 1,200 acre urban park containing a plethora of cultural attractions. Inside the park you'll find various restaurants, shops, gardens, museums, and theaters.
The site also features the Balboa Park Golf Complex as well as several other recreational areas.
This National Historic Landmark is a wide open area with lush vegetation and plenty of atmosphere. The park is split in two by the El Prado—a long, wide promenade.
Within the park's boundaries you'll find the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, home to the world's largest outdoor pipe organ.
Also residing in the park is the San Diego Museum of Man, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Alcazar Garden, and the Old Globe Theatre complex.
Another major attraction in Balboa Park is the second attraction on our list, the world famous San Diego Zoo.
#2 San Diego Zoo
2929 Zoo Drive
Opened in 1915, the San Diego Zoo has become one of the most prominent zoos in the world.
Situated on 100 acres, the park is home to over 4,000 animals from over 800 species. It's one of the few zoos in the United State that houses giant pandas.
Other attractions at the San Diego Zoo include Absolutely Apes, the Children Zoo, and the Polar Bear plunge.
Zoo officials recommend you give yourself at least three to four hours to tour their facilities. Check their website or call for hours of operation.
#3 Mission Beach
3146 Mission Boulevard
Phone: 858-488-1549 (contact information is for Belmont Park)
Mission Beach is a community built on a sandbar straddled by the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay.
The beach offers visitors plenty of amenities in which to enjoy San Diego's spectacular weather. You'll find facilities for surfing, bicycling, skateboarding, volleyball, and basketball.
At the center of Mission Beach is the amusement park called Belmont Park. Parking and admission to the park is free. Some of the park's main attractions include The Sandbar Sports Grill, a giant roller coaster, a tilt-a-whirl, and the Wave House Athletic Club.
Keep in mind that thong bikinis are illegal on Mission Beach, but if you really want to wear one, and your wife or girlfriend lets you, local police do not enforce the restriction.
#4 SeaWorld San Diego
500 Sea World Drive
SeaWorld is actually owned by Anheuser-Busch which explains why they don't have Miller Lite on tap.
The main draw at this world famous themed amusement park is of course the Orcas, but visitors will also find dolphins, whales, and penguins.
Other attractions at SeaWorld include Journey to Atlantis, Wilde Arctic, and the Rocky Point Preserve.
SeaWorld is open all year around but check their website or telephone for specific operating hours and show schedules.
#5 San Diego Sports
Qualcomm Stadium - 9449 Friars Road
Petco Park - 100 Park Boulevard
San Diego is the home of two major professional sports teams.
The Chargers of National Football League play at Qualcomm Stadium. This is also the home to the San Diego State Aztecs football team.
"The Q," as it's sometimes called, has hosted three Super Bowls. It's also the host venue for two annual college bowl games, the Holiday and the Poinsettia.
Major League Baseball's Padres play at Petco Park located in downtown San Diego. The 42,000-seat stadium is also host to USA Sevens, an annual rugby tournament.
Torrey Pines, a city-owned golf course, hosts an annual PGA event, the Buick Invitational Tournament. In 2008, the course hosted the U.S. Open.
#6 The USS Midway Museum
910 North Harbor Drive
Located downtown at Navy Pier, The USS Midway Museum is a great place to spend the day perusing the famed USS Midway aircraft carrier as well as 60 other exhibits.
Besides the historic sea vessels, attendees can also examine 25 exquisitely restored aircraft and operate one of three flight simulators.
A self-guided audio tour, narrated by former Midway sailors, is available for visitors.
The USS Midway Museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
#7 Maritime Museum of San Diego
1492 North Harbor Drive
The Maritime Museum of San Diego houses one of the largest and finest collections of historic sea vessels anywhere in the country.
The museum's main attraction is the Star of India, an 1863 iron windjammer. The Star of India is the oldest ship in the world still making regular voyages.
Located in the San Diego Bay, the Maritime Museum's collection and exhibits are available for daily public tours.
#8 Little Italy
Little Italy is a neighborhood located in downtown San Diego that has recently undergone gentrification.
This very active area of the city hosts many festivals and events including a farmers market known as the Mercato.
Visitors will also find several restaurants, patio cafes, pubs, art galleries, shops, and the spectacular Amici Park.
Little Italy is quite the unique neighborhood and a great place to spend the day exploring and people watching.
#9 La Jolla Playhouse
2910 La Jolla Village Drive
Not many people associate "the theater" with San Diego, but the city has helped launch some of Broadway's biggest hits.
The La Jolla Playhouse is the professional theatre-in-residence on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.
Found in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the playhouse has seen forty-four world premieres, twenty-four West Coast premieres and seven American premieres.
The Who’s Tommy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Matthew Broderick's revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Jane Eyre, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, and Jersey Boys all got their start at La Jolla.
Currently, Christopher Ashley serves as the playhouse's artistic director.
#10 San Diego Opera
1100 3rd Avenue
The San Diego Opera has been ranked by Opera American as one of the top 10 opera companies in the nation. The company also has an excellent reputation aboard.
Founded in 1950, this venerable company has performed with such legendary artists as Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland, and Carol Vaness.
Patrons catch the opera in the act downtown at the San Diego Civic Theater. The opera season for the San Diego Opera is from January to mid-May. The company usually produces five operas a year.
San Diego is one of America's most unique cities. Weather is usually the main attraction and the city offers a wide array of attractions that utilizes the copious amounts of sun.
Furthermore, San Diego offers visitors and residents opportunities to explore such diverse fields as the theater, natural sciences, and maritime history.