A San Diego visit can hop from historic sights to sunny beaches to snowcapped mountains to exotic desert – and then back downtown in time for dinner. There is a wealth of things to see and do, and the city caters to every appetite and ability. These two- and four-day itineraries will help you plan your time and make the most of your visit to the city.
Awaken to a view of the bay and then take a morning stroll along the Embarcadero. Check out the vessels at the Maritime Museum, and board the behemoth USS Midway.
Wander the historic Gaslamp Quarter on a self-guided or organized tour, then trolley to the Old Town State Historic Park and immerse yourself in early Californian life. Cap off the day at the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, before heading back to the coast to watch the sun set.
Start off at the San Diego Zoo, touring by foot or tram, then explore the rest of Balboa Park. Browse Spanish Village artisan shops along the way.
Visit one or more of San Diego’s renowned museums and galleries; many of them have cafés for lunch. Rest your feet at the Botanical Building and lily pond, where buskers perform nearby. Make advance reservations for dinner at The Prado at Balboa Park, and catch a show at The Old Globe.
Begin your day at Old Town State Historic Park, venturing out of the park to Whaley House Museum and Presidio Park. Shop for trinkets at Bazaar del Mundo, then lunch at Old Town Mexican Café & Cantina.
Trolley to the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, then head to the Embarcadero. Soak up the city’s nautical heritage at the Maritime Museum or USS Midway. Catch the ferry to Coronado for sunset cocktails at the Hotel del Coronado.
Lazy beaches and lots of water- and land-based sports await visitors at Mission Bay Park. Take a spin on the 1925 Giant Dipper roller coaster at Belmont Park.
Journey to the Cabrillo National Monument. Explore tide pools and the lighthouse, and gaze over the busy bay from the visitor center. Continue up the coast to La Jolla to enjoy its chic shops, classy restaurants, and illustrious beaches. See the sun set over La Jolla Cove from Eddie V’s upstairs patio, with live jazz.
Head northeast to San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Continue past San Pasqual Battlefield up the mountain to Julian.
Have lunch on Julian’s Main Street, pan for gold at Eagle Mine, and shop for local crafts. Drop down to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park at twilight. Native American casinos may tempt you on the way back to downtown San Diego.
Tram through the San Diego Zoo and head for the sights of Balboa Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the fountain outside Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
After the park, enjoy dinner and a music club in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, ending the day in the lively bars.