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Willing to travel somewhere incredible? On a budget? No problem. San Diego is a cool place to have fun with less money. You can have a view ranging from several beaches, museum, military museums, zoo, and many more. You will have the best time of your life in the wonderful places of the San Diego.

San Diego Quick Guide:

  • Area: 11,722 km²
  • Location: Southern California
  • Population: 1.407 million (2016)
  • Currency: US Dollars
  • Official Language: English
  • Population Density: 1,670.08/km2
  • Religion: Catholic, Jewish
  • Time zone: Pacific Time Zone UTC-08:00
  • Weather: Short, warm and clear summers and long, cool, and partly cloudy winters
  • Famous For: White Sand Beaches, Parks, and Beer
  • Airport: San Diego International Airport
  • Official Web: https://www.sandiego.gov/

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1. Attractions

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There are hundreds of places in San Diego which are worth visiting. Your time in San Diego will never be dull or tedious. You can find appealing sites, beach areas, parks, landmarks and much other stuff that will make you fall in love with San Diego.

  • If you are on a tight budget there are many places you can visit for free. Some of them are La Jolla Shores Beach in La Jolla, Children's Pool in La Jolla, Balboa Park, Torrey Pines State Beach and Park and so on.
  • Some of the landmarks that must be visited are Girard Avenue and Prospect Street, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, Old Town San Diego, and El Prado.
  • Well, visiting San Diego won't limit your tour, there are several other places you can visit. Several best neighbors from San Diego include Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Sunset Cliffs, Downtown, Liberty Station, Point Loma, Barrio Logan, East Village and many more.
  • Besides the natural wonders, there are many appealing architectural buildings like Salk Institute, Santa Fe Depot, The Headquarters at Seaport, Heritage County Park, Casa De Balboa, United Nations Building and many more.
  • You can also visit famous lighthouses in the town “Old Point Loma lighthouse or Tom Ham's Lighthouse”.
  • If you want to experience the warm breeze of the beach you can travel to Imperial Beach, Coronado, Del Mar, Solano Beach, Leucadia, Mission Beach, Pacific beach.

2. Sacred Religious Sites

San Diego, a prominent tourist hub in California is enriched with some of the most exciting religious places carrying greater significance. The highly influenced cultural society is blessed with numerous amount of churches and monuments. Likewise, historical statutes beautifully located around every corner of the city has preserved the living traditions of that place.

  • Listing some of the church, you can visit are C3 Church, Grace Church San Diego, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints, Rock Church and many more.
  • Historical Monuments like Cabrillo National Monuments, Whaley House Museum, Heritage County Park, Mormon Battalion History and Marston House Museum are some of the well-known places with historical value.
  • If some sculpture is your part of interest you should not miss out spots like "The Unconditional Surrender, A National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military", and The Homecoming Statue.
  • Historic Walking Areas like San Diego Bay Walk, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, El Pardo, Embarcadero, Razor Point and Beach Trail Loop are most recommended spots in San Diego.

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3. Museums

Museum provides the real picture scenario of the particular place. A huge collection of valuable artifacts relating to culture, religions, science, society etc. from past and present is the good source of knowledge for tourist. If your interest is really on Museums tour, I tried to list some of the popular Museums you must visit when you are in San Diego.

  • USS Midway Museum is a popular destination basically focused on United States Navy service. Some other can be Casa Del rey Moro Museum, San Diego History Museum, San Diego Model Railroad Museum and so on.
  • Naming some Historic Museums to visit: Wells Fargo Museum, San Diego History Center, San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
  • Observatories and Planetariums: Palomar College Planetarium and Palomar Observatory are world famous.
  • If you are traveling with your children, I would recommend “The New Children's Museum” and “Fleet Science Center”.

4. Shopping and Fashion

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San Diego, a well-famed shopping destination for international tourist comes under the bucket list of every Travel Seekers. Being fashionable and do lots of shopping is what everyone desires. And Especially when you visit new places, you can't resist yourself to buy at least a piece of garments. There are many outlets you can go to have tons of shopping in San Diego. Some of the most crowded shopping venue includes:

  • Well-facilitated Shopping malls that you can go around are Westfield Horton Plaza, Fashion Valley, Las Americas Premium Outlets, Gaslamp Quarter, and so on.
  • Folks believe street markets are traditional and cheaper in comparison to malls. If you want to explore some street markets you can go to La Jolla Open Aire Market and Kobey's Swap Meet.
  • For Antique shopping, Newport Avenue Antique Center, Ark Antiques, and Ocean Beach Antique Mall are best.
  • Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus are good departmental stores.
  • Looking specialty and gifts? Your one step solution can be Little Italy Mercato, Hillcrest Farmers Market, and The cave store.

5. Food and Drink

Besides Shopping, San Diego successfully ranked itself as “Top 10 Culinary Destinations in the United States of America.” The place is known for California burrito, Double Bacon Cheese Burger, yummy seafood, steaks, and other exotic variety of desserts and fancy cocktails.

As per some travel experts, San Diego is the best place for seeking the pleasure of Food and Beverage. 

  • Want to have the best taste of San Diego? Try some restaurants and bar at Hotel Iris, Pacific Inn Hotels and Suites, Hipcooks, and Bite San Diego.
  • La Jolla Wine Tours, San Diego Beer and Wine Tours, Brewery Tours of San Diego, Baja Border Tours, and others are best to quench the thirst for Wine, beer, and spirits.
  • Puesto, Ironside Fish, and Oyster, Urban MO's Bar & Brill, Luce Bar and Kitchen, Wonderland Ocean Pub can be some great place for eating out and bar.
  • Interested in cruise party? why don't of making mind for dinner in Hornblower Cruises, San Diego Bay Cruises, Aolani Catarman sailing?
  • Breweries like Mission Brewery, Coronado Brewing, and Stone Brewing World Bistro and Garden are the most visited places by the tourist in the year of 2017.

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6. Hotels and Accommodation

When you visit some new places the important thing that hit your mind is hotels to stay. You are in San Diego and it gives you the best accommodation service according to a size of your wallet. 

Form multi-story Luxury hotels to 5-star lavish resorts, Mid-range hotel to Budget hotel, the hospitality industry in San Diego leaves no efforts to meet the expectation of tourist.

  • According to Trip Advisor, some luxury star hotels where you can stay includes The US Grant, Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego, Pendry San Diego and Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa.
  • La Jolla Shores Hotel, Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel Old Town, Ocean Park Inn are some of the area budget hotels.

7. Cruises, Sailing and Water Tours

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Having a water tour is the next wonderful thing to spend quality time in San Diego. You can also find several options to make your trip memorable.

  • Try boat tours with Sail San Diego, Sail Stars & Stripes USA-11, Randy Phillips Tours, Duffy of San Diego and many others.
  • Dolphin and Whale Watching is recommended for great fun which can be through in Adventure Rib Rides, San Diego Whale watch, Offshore Blue adventures whale, and dolphin tours.
  • Fishing Charters and tours in San Diego with Coletta Sportfishing, Islanders Charters, H & M Landing are popular.
  • Surfing, Windsurfing, and Kitesurfing are also taught in many schools which can add more excitement to your trip.
  • For Scuba and Snorkeling, there are various places like Snorkel San Diego Scuba, House of Scuba, Dive California and so on.

8. Day trip and Excursions

You can find plenty of places for your day trip in San Diego. Going to trek, cycling or bike ride is the best option for you.

  • Nature and Wildlife area includes Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, Scripps Institute of Oceanography Coastal Reserve and Shell Beach Tide Pools.
  • Cabrillo Tide Pools, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Bayside Trail, Miramar Reservoir and some other are the best-known trekking routes.
  • Cycling and Bike tour is also a top thing to do in San Diego.
  • Try enjoying city tours, San Diego GoCar Tour, Baja border Tours, Coastal Tours of San Diego.

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9. Nature and Parks

San Diego is also naturally gifted with several beaches, islands, floras, and faunas. They are strictly protected with great care and passion.  

  • Seperate time to visit some national parks like North Park, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Cleveland National Forest, State Parks California, Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and so on.
  • Be amazed and visit best gardens view such as Japanese Friendship Garden, Botanical Building, Alcazar Garden and many more.
  • Take a short trip to San Diego best waterfalls like Cedar Creek Fall, Three Sisters Falls Trails, Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail, and others.

10. Fun and Games

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Vacation is all about fun and games so why not in San Diego. For sure, your trip to San Diego will create the best experience in your life.

  • If you want to enjoy your time watching sports then the best places to visit are American Ninja Warrior Experience, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Holiday Bowl and so on.
  • There are some very popular golf clubs you can have fun like Mission Bay Golf Course and Practice Center, Riverwalk Golf Club, Balboa Park Golf Course and many others.
  • Amusement Parks will surely give you a better time, Quicksand Escape games, Escapology, Lockdown Escape Rooms, houses of hints are some.
  • You can also visit SDCCU Stadium, Open Air Theatre, Petco Park, Viejas Arena or some other sports arena and stadiums.
  • There can also be found gaming and entertainment centers including Miramar Speed Circuit, Total Combat Paintball, East Village, and Tavern Bowl.

11. Casinos and Gambling

Casinos in San Diego offer you the delight of the Las Vegas-style gambling. You are also offered cuisines at a reasonable price.

  • Some of the world-class Casino includes: Valley View Casino Center, Lucky Lady Casino and Card Room, Seven Mile Casino, Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego, Sycuan Casino, Barona Resort & Casino, The Casino Institute, Stennett & Casino, Black Tie Casino Events, Ocean's Eleven Casino, and many more.

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12. Concert, Events, and Shows

Music is the must and when you are in San Diego do no miss the concerts and events which will bring lots of fun in your life. You will be able to see live music, comedy shows, music performances and tons of entertainment filled stuff in the county.

  • Nothing can beat the live music when you are in a new place to have fun, The Casbah, Tin Roof, Soda Bar, Prohibition Lounge, Houses of Blues San Diego, Winstons Beach Club and some other give you the best taste.
  • If you get in the mood of having fun you can visit the Mad House Comedy Club, The Comedy Palace, The American Comedy, The Comedy Store, Finest City Improv, and some other best place.

13. Nightlife

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Nightlife in San Diego is probably the best time you will have on your visit. There are bars, clubs, nightclub and much more that will keep you awake all night.

  • Noble Experiment, False Idol, The Aero Club Bar, Trailer Park After Dark, Polite Provisions, Hamilton's Tavern, Barleymash, Koi Ba, and Lounge are some of the best bars in town.
  • Talking about pubs The Field Irish Pub, Princess Pub & Grille, Blarney Stone Pub, Shakespeare Pub & Grille, and Dublin Square Irish Pub & Grill are great.
  • You can also count some Jazz bars like Dizzy's Panama 66, Harbor Music Hall, Humphreys Backstage Live, Dixieland Jazz Society and many more.      
  • If you love karaoke you should visit: the Karaoke 101, Chorus, Peter D's, The Caliph, Carriage House Cocktails & Karaoke can be best.
  • There are several dance clubs and discos where you can go which are Rich's, Fuse Nightclub, AD Nightclub, Bang Bang, Las Pulgas and many more.

14. Transportation

In San Diego, you absolutely do not have to worry about traveling here and there. The city has the best infrastructure of transportation which serves as your convenient. You can either rent or use public vehicles.

  • For taxies and shuttle service there are many offices that give you the comfortable travel. Some of them are Cross Border Xpress, Royalty Limousine, Torrey Pines Town Car, Super Shuttle San Diego, and A Plus Limos.
  • You can also enjoy the bus ride from different place to your destination. This will cost less for you and give the chance to meet new people and engage locally.
  • If the railway is what makes you comfortable while traveling there are many transits that can be taken like Old Town Transit Center, Brass Rail, Santa Fe Depot, Art's Trenchplate & K-Rail Services are few to list.  
  • Coronado Ferry is also a good option if you want to have a different means to travel.

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15. Outdoor Activities

Exploring the San Diego city without outdoor activities is a very dull thing anyone can do.  There are many adventurous things that are must to be done in San Diego if you don’t have these stuff on your list you better add it now.

  • Well, when we talk about some adventure tours here are some you can do to bring amusement to your travel. Open Cock Sightseeing, tour on a Harley Davidson, Torrey Pines Gliderport, tour in a Swiss Pinzgauer, Hot Air Balloon, Skydiving, and many more.
  • Hiking is the next best thing that can be done, some of the places for it are Torrey Pines State Reserve, Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, Adobe Falls, Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, Mission Trails Regional Park, and Blue Sky Ecological Reserve.
  • We can find several spots near the city for skis like Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, Mountain High, Snow Valley, Mt. Baldy, and Mammoth Mountain are the best.
  • If you are willing for zip line adventure, I can recommend you to try  La Jolla Zip Zoom Zipline, UC San Diego Challenge Course, Belmont Park, Pikin Parque de Altura, and others.  
  • Wanna add zeal to your adventure? Balloon tour is the next interesting activity which can be done through, Sky's The Limit Ballooning Adventures, Skyline Balloons, Panda Air Bear Hot Air Balloon Flights, Compass Balloons.
  • There are several places outside San Diego which can be a good road trip for you like Ojai, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and many more.

16. Zoo and Aquariums

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Spending time seeing zoo and aquariums with your children is a good idea for great fun. This outdoor activity will strengthen the bond with them.

  • San Diego Zoo is a home to thousands of rare and unique animals. To be specific there are over 3,700 animals with fishes, reptiles, and birds. Pandas are the most attractive animals you and your children will love there.
  • Enthusiast of marine and its habitats can visit the Seaworld and Birch Aquarium at Scripps. There are over 30,000 rescued animals in the SeaWorld San Diego.

17. Spa and Wellness

For some relaxation and lighten up spas are always the best option for everyone no matter what. San Diego offers the best revving spa experience that you never had before.

  • Cove Wellness Detox Spa of La Jolla, Mission Beach Pilates, Rancho Bernardo Inn Spa, The Catamaran Spa, Reset Mind & Body Float Therapy, and Spa Velia are some good spas to recommend.
  • If you are a health clubs and gym goer some of the good ones are 9ROund San Diego-Point Loma, CHUZE Fitness, Mission Valley Family YMCA, Pure Indoor Cycling, and Syntruvia.
  • For Yoga Center, you can go to Mission Beach Pilates, Puravida Yoga, Mesa Rim, and Yoga On First.

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18. Culture and Festivals

You have lots of things to do when you are in San Diego. The festivals that happen in San Diego are worth your time. It is always a wise idea to plan your trip to San Diego during this festival. These festivals will bring you closer to Californian culture and lifestyle.

  • Carlsbad music festival, CRSSD festival, Kaaboo Del Mar festival, and Adams Avenue Street fair are some best music festival.
  • For Cultural Events, San Diego Whale Festival, Martin Luther King Day Parade and Festival, San Diego Mardi Gras, Brazil Carnival, San Diego Cinco de Mayo, San Diego Greek Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival, Mission Federal Artwalk are quite popular.

19. Performing Arts and Photography

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As an art lover, it is something that should not be missed in your visit to San Diego. There are many art schools and learning centers that will keep you entertained. 

  • For theater and drama: Spreckels Theatre, San Diego Civic Theatre, Balboa Theatre, Landmark Theatres, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and United Artists Horton Plaza 8 are some best on the list.
  • If you are in photography, you can find many places where you can have best shoots like South San Diego, Coronado, Horton Plaza, San Diego Beaches, La Jolla and many more.
  • Art Galleries like Sparks Gallery, The Chuck Jones Gallery, La Bodega Gallery, Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery San Diego and some others is also great for time pass.

20. Dating and Honeymoon

San Diego can also be the romantic gateway to have a beautiful time with someone you love. There are several romantic places you can take your partner whether it is an anniversary, first date or Valentine's Day.

  • For some romantic time together you can visit The Hotel Del Coronado, The Romantic side of Julian, The Bahia Belle for romance on the water, The Pardo Area in Balboa Park and others.
  • If you want to surprise your lover by proposing in most romantic place in San Diego Sunset Cliffs, Embarcadero Marina Parks, and Coronado Cays.
  • For romantic dinner, some of the wonderful restaurants include Eddie V's Prime Seafood, Island Prime Restaurant, C-level Lounge, George's at the Cove, and The Prado at Balboa Park.

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