Fun Things To Do in San Diego

San Diego is a is a fun tourist destination with sunshine almost every day in both winter and summer. Some say that this city has the most ideal climate in the world! We’ll help you discover the best San Diego activities with our favorite fun things to do in San Diego.

Fun Things To Do in San Diego: The Weekend Guide to San Diego

The Weekend Guide to San Diego

There are many fun things to do in San Diego on a weekend adventure. Hiking, surfing, kayaking or SUP, eat tacos, taste craft beer, or visit the many famous local attractions. Let’s go on a San Diego for a weekend getaway!

Getting to San Diego & Getting Around
Fun Things To Do in San Diego
Day Trips to Mexico from San Diego
San Diego Restaurants & Bars
Places to Stay in San Diego

San Diego Amtrak

Getting to San Diego & Getting Around

San Diego is located on the California coast about 120 miles south of Los Angeles and can be reached by car, bus or train from there. The drive takes about two or three hours depending on traffic, which unfortunately can be really bad.

Most people visit San Diego by car but it is also possible to get there by Greyhound bus and Amtrak train. Both will take you directly into the downtown area which is very convenient for a fun weekend trip. And you can even enjoy a craft beer on the ride. Another unique option is to grab a ride in a Tesla with Tesloop. (check out this post with 10 things to bring on your Amtrak trip!)

There is a small international airport in San Diego (SAN) that sees flights mainly from domestic destinations but also cities like London, Zurich and Tokyo.  The closest major airports are John Wayne (SNA) Los Angeles (LAX). You can rent a car at these airports or take an airport shuttle.

Once you are in the city it is easy to get around the downtown area on foot or by bike. Try Lyft or Uber to take you where you need to go if you don’t have your own wheels. You can take local public transport to get around too, I especially like taking the trolley which goes to Old Town, downtown, Little Italy and Gaslamp. You’ll probably prefer a car to take you to locations further afield like La Jolla. San Diego is quite large in size so definitely choose your lodging locations based on things you’d like to see and do.

Fun Things To Do in San Diego: The Weekend Guide to San Diego

Fun Things to do in San Diego

Here are a few of my favorite activities to do in San Diego and places to see when visiting the city and the surrounding area.

Did you know San Diego has 70 miles of coastline? The beach is just one one of the fun, cheap things to do in San Diego. Some of San Diego’s best beaches are:

  • Mission Beach has a boardwalk and an old wooden roller coaster for lots of fun in the sun
  • Coronado Beach is the location of the lovely Hotel Del Coronado
  • Solana Beach has lots of cute coves and good surfing spots
  • La Jolla Shores is one of the most beautiful beaches in San Diego
  • For something different, visit nude Black’s Beach
  • Brought your pup with you? Head to Fiesta Island where they can run free

Are you looking for things to do in downtown San Diego or interesting things to do in San Diego? Learn more about the city on a guided tour:

Fun Things To Do in San Diego

Hit the water. There are so many cool things to do in San Diego around the ocean. You can go surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, SUP, sailing and snorkeling:

Fun Things To Do in San Diego: The Weekend Guide to San Diego

San Diego is surrounded by beautiful trails. If you are looking for fun places in San Diego and places to explore near the city, go for a hike at:

  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
  • Los Peñasquitos
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • Three Sisters Waterfall
  • Anza-Borrego State Park

Some of the most popular San Diego family activities and San Diego tourist spots include:

Fun Things To Do in San Diego

Balboa Park: This large city park includes San Diego museums and performing arts venues like the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Photographic Arts Museum. Explore this popular San Diego attraction on your own or even go on a scavenger hunt.

SeaWorld: This marine life park is one of the most popular things to do in San Diego with kids. Purchase tickets online here.

Old Town State Park: Step back in time at the most visited State Park in California. You can see how life was lived back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Check out old hotels, schools, horse drawn carriages and shops. Free guided tours happen regularly so check the website or ask when you arrive. The park is free to enter and there are plenty of charming eating and drinking establishments in the area.

San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: Head to Escondido to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park where you can see zebras, elephants, giraffes and lions in a grassland setting.  The famous San Diego Zoo is home to polar bears and pandas, elephants and koalas. It is one of the best San Diego attractions for kids. Save money and get your combo tickets here.

san diego old town

Day Trips to Mexico from San Diego

A favorite activity for San Diego visitors is a day trip across the border to Mexico. Popular destinations include Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, Ensenada, and the Baja California wine country.

If you are planning to take a day trip to Tijuana you can do a guided tour or head there on your own. The best recommendation is to take the San Diego Trolley or drive to the border, park at the lots on the USA side and walk across instead of driving your own car into Mexico. On the Mexico side you can grab a cheap taxi or Uber to take you into town.

Be sure to take a look at these 5 best food tours in Tijuana to sample the local tacos and craft beer.

Oh and just a side note, for some reason many gringos say Ti-a-juana. Notice that there is no “A”. It is pronounced Ti-hwana. 🙂 Tia Juana would be Aunt Jane.

If you’d like to explore further south you might want your own car, or join a group tour like this one to Ensenada. Remember you will need Mexican car insurance (buy it online ahead of time) if you plan to take your vehicle across the border and some rental car companies forbid it. Also be prepared for a sometimes very long wait at the border, especially crossing back into the USA.

Would you like to visit Valle de Guadalupe and taste the wines from the region? You can visit on your own or do a wine tour. A few of the best tour companies that make trips here include Baja test Kitchen, Club Tengo Hambre, Valley Girl Wine Tours and Baja Winery Tours. And there is another option as well. You can book an UBERValle to take you from Tijuana or Ensenada on a day excursion to Valle de Guadalupe for your own wine tour itinerary.

Fun Things To Do in San Diego

Places to Eat & Drink in San Diego

San Diego and the surrounding area is full of microbreweries, and finding the best one is an exciting thing to do in San Diego for fans of craft brews. Beer lovers should check out some of the more than 140 craft brewers in the San Diego area like major players AleSmith, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, and Stone. Looking for something more crafty? Head to Lost Abbey, Wavelength, Modern Times, Belching Beaver and Border X. If you love craft beer and want to learn all about the local scene, check out this guide to San Diego’s Top Brewers by Bruce Glassman.

You can also join a craft beer tour to local microbreweries or take a craft beer walking tour.

  • If you love bloody marys hit up the West Coast Tavern for brunch
  • For casual eats, try out Hundred Proof
  • Can’t decide between a wine bar, beer bar or dinner? Head to The Cork & Craft
  • Nishiki Ramen has delicious ramen as well as the spicy Death Ramen competition
  • Try Juniper & Ivy for a nice meal out with inventive modern cuisine
  • Head to Buona Forchetta for tasty pizza and pasta
  • Vegans might want to try Kindred for plant based food and cocktails
  • Keto dieters might want to check out Werewolf
  • Head to George’s at the Cove for a meal with a pretty view, plus tasty cocktails too
  • In the mood for a sweet treat? Grab some ice cream at Salt & Straw
  • Since you are in SoCal you gotta eat some tacos! Luckily there are many many taco spots to choose from – some offering traditional tacos with others creating upscale or even vegan options. Check Yelp for the highest rated tacos near you. Or head to Puesta, Cali Street Tacos, Not Not Tacos, Mikes Taco Club, Del Sur, Lucha Libre, Oscar’s Mexican Seafood or Tacos El Paisa.

Places to Stay in San Diego

Cool Places to Stay in San Diego

Here are some of the best hotels to stay in San Diego, from most luxurious to more budget options.

And if you register at using this link and then reserve using the links below you can get $20 cash back!

horton grand san diego

Cool Places to Stay in San Diego

Looking for unique lodgings in San Diego? Check out these gorgeous apartments on Airbnb. Use this link to make your first booking and get a credit for up to $38.

  • Urban Treehouse: a penthouse apartment in downtown San Diego with a huge balcony
  • Apartment in Little Italy: this light and bright apartment is in the middle of everything
  • The Casita: a gorgeous lemon yellow guesthouse in a lovely backyard garden
  • South Park Studio: this centrally located little cottage has a brick fireplace
  • Hunter Sailboat: for something different, stay on this lovely sailboat and make use of kayaks and bikes to explore

Use Hotels Combined to search for San Diego lodgings and find the best prices across booking engines.

I hope this article helps you plan an amazing trip with both inexpensive things to do in San Diego as well as exciting things to do in San Diego. Have fun!


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