Called the “The birthplace of California” San Diego is a major city along the Pacific coast in California. First a part of Mexico then after becoming a part of USA in 1850, the city has been best known for its year round mild climate, sunny beautiful beaches, naval base and huge parks. World class museums and a bustling downtown are also among the charms of San Diego. With a rich history, cool peaceful places to visit and friendly people, San Diego is a must visit city. It should be on everyone’s bucket list.
10) Gaslamp Quarter
Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter is a 16 block radius of Victorian era buildings, hip and funky nightlife and an impressive collection of restaurants, watering holes and theaters. Also home to San Diego’s baseball team the “ San Diego Padres ” Petco Park is a stadium located inside the Gaslamp Quarter. As soon as the sun goes down the young crowd head over to the many bright attractions in the quarter but there are also theaters that serve live performances for the older audience. Gaslamp Quarter is a must see to understand the current atmosphere of the city and its people because that is what travel is for.
9) SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego is an aquatic adventure. There is so much to see and do in this wonderland. There are rides like Manta Ray rollercoaster, the Journey to Atlantis and Ship Wreck Rapids which will not only get you wet but will also get you excited for the shows to come. Then there are those Dolphin shows. Incredible, beautiful and most importantly extremely fun, the Dolphin show is the star of SeaWorld. You will see Dolphins playing, dancing and diving in the water with their human buddies. There are also beluga whales as well as polar bears to see. Arctic exhibition is also worth seeing. SeaWorld is a great place to have fun in San Diego.
8) Maritime Museum of San Diego
Historically San Diego was one of the busiest ports in North America. Its reputation as a deep sea port remains even to this day. So naturally there is much to learn about the nautical history of San Diego. For that purpose head over to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Home to several colonial era vessels, submarines and ships, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is a crash course on the city’s maritime history. The world’s oldest active ship “ The star of India ” is also on exhibition. Aside from touring the boats, you can also learn about their history and how they were built through various arts and artifacts present on the spot.
7) Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Old Town San Diego is an open air museum that presents life in Sand Diego as it was during a period of 1820’s to 1870’s. Stepping foot into this museum is like stepping back in time. You will see original buildings including a blacksmith’s shop, San Diego’s first school, the city’s very first newspaper office and a tobacco shop. There are also restored buildings like The Cosmopolitan Hotel which still serves as a hotel today. You will see people dressed like they are living in the 19th century as part of a living museum exhibit. The Old Town is also known for its Mexican restaurants. So if you are hungry after all the sight seeing, this place has got you covered.
6) Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument is built to honor Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who was the first European to traverse the Californian coast in 1542. Cabrillo’s statue sits atop a hill that is describes by most people as the “ best view in Sand Diego ”. Standing besides the monument you can see vast areas both inland and on the Pacific ocean. Panoramic views of the San Diego skyline just simply look breathtaking while the Pacific looks endless and enormous. You can take a guided tour of the monument with a ranger to better understand the history behind this monument and the city.
5) USS Midway Museum
Being a deep water bay and occupying an important position on the Pacific coastline, San Diego is a military town. There is military activity all over the city. Old military bases, naval bases and much more. USS Midway is an aircraft carrier that is also the longest serving carrier in the USA’s history. It is now a military museum that offers an inside look on the lives of sailors who leave their families to serve their country. On the 4 acre deck there are over 29 aircrafts for the exhibition many of which have served in operations like The Korean war and some of them have even served in the Second World War. A self guided audio tour introduces the visitors to the life on USS Midway and its many attractions.
4) Coronado Beach
After a tiring day of running back and forth between different monuments just simply relaxing on a quiet place is what everybody deserves. And there is no place better in San Diego than Coronado Beach for that. A stretch of 1.5 miles of white sand and idyllic scenery, this beach is a natural wonder. There is plenty of room for everyone on the beach and whether you go in summer or in winter you will have an amazing time walking or stretching yourself out on sand. Plus during sunset when the ocean baths in a velvet hue the views are simply spectacular.
3) Torrey Pines State Reserve
Pride and joy of locals as well as visitors, Torrey Pines State Reserve is a 1750 acre area of land that has been left untouched. Since the area is free from tempering, natural flora that predates the arrival of humans in San Diego still grows here. There are wildflowers, some of the rarest pine trees in America and an assortment of wild creatures that roam across the coastline. Torrey Pines State Reserve is a golden opportunity for hikers as there are many hikes that start from this point. The hiking trails offer stunning views of the coastline as well as the sandstone cliffs that border them.
2) San Diego Zoo
Considered by some to be the best zoo in the country, San Diego Zoo is among the best tourist attractions in San Diego. One of the largest collections of rarest and endangered species in the world is in this zoo. Approximately 3500 different animals call this zoo their home. Animals include regulars like giraffes, zebras, lions and exotic animals like arctic foxes, polar bears and even giant pandas, of the very few pandas that are outside China. Their are many exhibits to watch, many animals to see and a lot of ground to cover so it will probably take a full day to truly experience what this zoo has to offer.
1) Balboa Park
Renowned for its many gardens and a plethora of museums, Balboa Park is a 1200 acre wonderland. The aforementioned San Diego Zoo is also located in this park. There is a Botanical building containing roughly 2100 plants of different types. Gardens like Rose garden and cactus garden also increase the parks natural beauty while giving visitors a chance to admire nature. And if you are tired of walking head over to the Old Globe theater to catch a show or see the worlds largest outdoor pipe organ or visit one of the several museums that cover topics from science to arts. There is so much to see and do that one day will not be enough and you will be compelled to return again and again!