Jul 20, 2017
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Top things to do in San Diego

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Our top things to do in San Diego

After wandering the streets of San Diego during a hectic Comic-Con and the famous 4th July celebration, the Big Bay Boom, we invested time in exploring one of California’s most beautiful cities. San Diego is home to an extensive list of major events including the Winter and Spring Gray Whale Watching and the KAABOO Del Mar Festival. We derived a list of our year-round top things to do in San Diego for others to enjoy.

The Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is a popular area of downtown San Diego that was formerly known as the ‘New Town’ in contrast to Old Town, which was the original Spanish colonial settlement of San Diego. Despite the name of the district, gas-lamps were not the main source of lighting.
Gaslamp Quarter district, San Diego, California
The area gets its name from a symbol that was chosen during the redevelopment and preservation efforts that occurred during the 1980s. Four new gas lamps have been installed to keep the district unique and recognizable.
Whiskey Girl, Gaslamp Quarter, things to do in San Diego
The Gaslamp Quarter is currently home to a vast amount of bars and restaurants making it a lively area to be in at night. There are many unique and fun bars to choose from and our favorites were Whisky Girl and Moonshine Flats. The Gaslamp Quarter was one of our favorite things to do in San Diego at night.
Gaslamp Quarter sign, San Diego, California

Dating back to the 1860s, the Gaslamp Quarter is a lively 16 and a half block district of downtown San Diego.

P.B aka Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is a neighborhood in San Diego that is popular with surfers and students. Locals refer to the area as ‘P.B’, typical to the California abbreviating style.
Pier at Pacific Beach, things to do in San Diego, California
The beach and the boardwalk have a wide variety of bars, eateries, and quirky stores selling surfing apparel and cool clothes.
Pacific Beach hotel and cottages, things to do in San Diego, California
Pacific Beach has a hip vibe similar to that of Miami, Florida.
Surfers catching waves at Pacific Beach, things to do in San Diego, California
Enjoy activities, whether participating or watching, that include surfing, Frisbee throwing, swimming, sunbathing and skating.
Pacific PB beach, San Diego, California
The Pacific Beach boardwalk, which is formally known as Ocean Front Walk/Ocean Boulevard, stretches alongside the beautiful white Californian sands for 3.2 miles. This is where cyclists, rollerbladers, tourists and shoppers hang out. Chilling by one of the many white sand beaches is one of the top things to do in San Diego for visitors of all ages.

Little Italy

Not a lot of visitors to San Diego are aware of the gem that is Little Italy. The small area, with a population of a little over 1000, is a scenic neighborhood lined with Italian restaurants, retail shops, home design stores and art galleries.
Little Italy area, San Diego, California
The area is marked by a distinctive ‘Little Italy’ sign and the are hosts frequent festivals and events including the weekly ‘Mercato’ – Farmer’s Market every Saturday 8am to 2pm.
Italian chefs flock to Kettner Boulevard, also known as ‘Top Chef Alley’ offering an array of distinctive eateries in the city. India Street offers cuisines from North and South Italy including Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, featuring a traditional Italian dining experience along with a delicatessen and a market.
Little Italy sign, things to do in San Diego, California
Little Italy San Diego hosts several fun festivals including the Little Italy Festa every fall and the Mission Federal Art Walk every Spring.
Little Italy, top things to do in San Diego, California
Mona Lisa Italian Foods deli offers an authentic Italian market with a wide selection, native wine and deli sandwiches.
Mona Lisa restaurant, Little Italy, things to do in San Diego, California
Little Italy is home to boutiques including The Shopaholics Boutique and Melero Boutique & Gallery offering unique clothing and craft items. The Kettner Art & Design District is home to quirky art galleries and shops.
Street signs, Little Italy, things to do in San Diego
Check out the Little Italy events if you’re in the area.

The Bay

San Diego Bay is a natural harbor full of interesting history and sites to see. The Bay is 12 miles (19 km) long and 1 to 3 miles (1.6 to 4.8 km) wide.

San Diego Bay, navy, from above, California

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Bay is home to several aircraft carriers, of the United States Pacific Fleet, and some of the only remaining major naval base facilities still in operation in the whole of California.
Aircraft Carrier San Diego Bay, California

Image Credit: KPBS Media

The curvy San Diego–Coronado Bridge can be seen in the Bay, designed so ships can pass underneath it. In the northern part of the bay there are two commercial islands called Harbor Island and Shelter Island in the Northern part of the Bay.
Panoramic Aerial Photo of San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge

Image Credit: Wikipedia

An annual fireworks display called the Big Bay Boom is held on the Fourth of July over the waters of the Bay.
Big bay boom 4th july, san diego, california
Check out our Big Bay Boom blog for more information.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach has a neighboring boardwalk known formally as Mission Boulevard. The area is popular for sunbathing, surfing, bicycling, skateboarding and Frisbee throwing.
Mission Beach shops, things to do in San Diego, California
Mission Beach is a two mile area of beautiful white sands between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay.
Frisbee throwing at Mission Beach, things to do in San Diego
A local skating club known as ‘Skate This’ puts on a public display for free on the weekends. Spectators are treated to tricks and dancing on both roller-blades and roller-skates.
You can watch surfers practice on a surf simulation wave right on the boardwalk.
Mission Beach surf simulator wave machine, things to do in San Diego

Belmont Park

Belmont park is an exciting historical oceanfront amusement park featuring vintage games and rides, gift shops and a landmark wooden roller coaster right beside Mission Beach.
Belmont Park, top things to do in San Diego, California
Visitors can enjoy an Adrenaline Zone that has a zip line running right along the park.
Zipline at Mission Beach Belmont Park, things to do in San Diego
An enormous rock climbing wall is also located in Adrenaline Zone.
Rock Climbing at Belmont Park, Mission Beach, San Diego
The park’s most iconic attraction is the Giant Dipper roller coaster, which is considered a local landmark to San Diego.
Rides at Belmont Park, top things to do in San Diego, California

Mission Brewery Tour

If you’re a fan of craft beer and you haven’t tried a brew from the Mission Brewery, then you are missing out.
Mission Brewery tour, things to do in san diego, california
Mission are responsible for the release of Mission Blonde, Mission Hefeweizen, Mission Amber and Mission IPA as well as their famous ‘Hard Root Beer’ which is 7.5% ABV.
Beer crates, Mission Brewery Tour, things to do in San Diego, California
Hour long tours of the Mission Brewery are available for $10 per person and they run over the weekends on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.
Mission Brewery bar, things to do in San Diego, California
Because we love beer, this is one of our favorite things to do in San Diego.
Taster glasses at the Mission Brewey Tour, things to do in San Diego, California
Your $10 will get you 5 tasters, sometimes more as they are poured out of a jug among the tour group.
Metal tanks at Mission Brewery, San Diego, California
The brewery tour guide will detail the whole brewing process from smelling the fresh hops to cleaning the tanks post-production.
Mission Brewry visitor tour, things to do in San Diego, California
There is an incredible bar area within the brewery to enjoy before or after the tour as well as a shop selling fresh beer and Mission Brewery memorabilia.
Bags of barley and hops, Mission Brewery, San Diego
The relaxed ambiance of the Mission Brewery is reflected in it’s informal policies on food. There is no in-house menu or kitchen, bringing your own food is welcomed. There are regular food trucks that visit the site for visitors to enjoy.
Bar area, Mission Brewery San Diego, California
The Mission Brewery is located in the historic Wonder Bread building, which was built in 1894. The former commercial bakery now holds a capacity of 10,000 barrels a year and a tasting room for up to 400 people.
Beer draft pumps at Mission Brewery, San Diego, California
Choose from a wide selection of beers and visit with dogs and children who are always welcome at Mission Brewery.
Mission Brewery tour group, San Diego, California
Click here for more information on the Mission Brewery Tours.

Seaport Village

Seaport Village is at the heart of the Bay of San Diego. The village is a wonderful waterside complex with lots of shops, restaurants, grassy areas and water fountains.
Seaport village has a garden like feel and visitors slowly pace through to admire the view of the Bay. Seaport Village is also home to the Busker Festival where buskers line up to entertain crowds for free (tips are encouraged).

Seaport Village, things to do in San Diego, California

Image Credit: San Diego Town

There are many fun activities to choose from at Seaport Village, go on a SEAL (Sea and Land) Tour, visit a psychic, get a henna tattoo or check out the beautiful hand-carved carousel from 1895.
Seal sea and land tours, things to do in San Diego, California

Image Credit: Destination Coupons

Petco Park

Petco Park is a baseball stadium located in the heart of downtown San Diego. The park is home to the Major League Baseball (MLB) San Diego Padres. The park is also used as venue for concerts, soccer, golf, and rugby.
Petco Park, San Diego, 4th July celebrations
Check out the Petco Park events calendar to see what is on while you’re in town.

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Top Things To Do In San Diego

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Article Categories:
California · North America · San Diego · USA

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