Things to Do in San Diego
As the eighth largest city in the United States with more than 35 million visitors annually, San Diego offers some of the country’s most popular attractions. Step aboard the USS Midway Museum, housed in an aircraft carrier, and stroll along the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego. Visit Coronado, a world-class playground for the wealthy during the Golden Age of Hollywood, and stop by the iconic Hotel del Coronado for a glimpse into its glamorous past. Experience the excitement of Southern California and check out these things to do in San Diego during your trip with Bluewater Vacation Homes.
Downtown San Diego
The heart of downtown San Diego is the Gaslamp Quarter, a 16.5-block National Historic District where the city’s colorful past reveals itself in Victorian architecture, fine art galleries, theaters and museums. Explore the streets on a walking tour admiring buildings dating back to the mid-1800s such as the Old City Hall, Keating Hotel and Louis Bank of Commerce. Step back in time at the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House built in 1850, the Gaslamp’s oldest and most haunted building. In addition, the Gaslamp Quarter is home to more than 100 restaurants, 100 shops and 40 bars and nightclubs.
Located in the Marina District along the waterfront of San Diego Bay, the Embarcadero features miles of bayside promenades and bikeways along with dozens of parks, restaurants, shops and marinas. We recommend dedicating an entire day of your vacation to exploring the Embarcadero to visit must-see attractions like the USS Midway Museum, Seaport Village and the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Enter a floating city and walk in the footsteps of 200,000 Midway sailors who were aboard the longest-serving American aircraft carrier of the 20th century. The USS Midway Museum, housed in the retired USS Midway, is an unforgettable adventure for the entire family. Browse more than 60 exhibits with a collection of 30 restored aircraft.
Go for a stroll along four miles of meandering cobblestone walkways bordered by San Diego Bay, lakes, fountains and lush landscaping. Seaport Village recreates a California harbor setting from a century ago in a 14-acre waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Enjoy more than 50 diverse shops, 17 restaurants and nightly live music.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego preserves one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active sailing ship – the Star of India. Climb aboard more than 10 historic vessels including the B-39 submarine and PCF 816 Swift Boat and enjoy a variety of interactive exhibits.
Unlock your child’s innate creativity through contemporary art and engaging hands-on experiences. This children’s museum features one-of-a-kind room-sized art installations, immersive art studios and workshops that stimulate imagination, creativity and critical thinking in children and families.
Home of the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team, Petco Park is known as “the world’s best ballpark in America’s finest city.” Take in breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline and bay as you attend an action-packed Padres game, concert, music festival, expo or other event. Perfect for Padres fanatics, behind-the-scenes guided tours of Petco Park are available.
Founded in 1941, the museum is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. Presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists and site-specific installations, its collection includes more than 4,700 works of art created since 1950.
Cross the iconic Coronado Bridge to take in spectacular views of San Diego Bay, Coronado and the San Diego skyline. Once across, travel back in time to experience Coronado, a world-famous historic travel destination for presidents, kings, Hollywood stars and visitors from across the globe. Coronado even served as the temporary home of L. Frank Baum and his inspiration for Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz.
Local tip: See if you can spot the Wicked Witch peering out from the side of L. Frank Baum’s home at 1101 Star Park Cir.
This park is the perfect spot to take pictures of San Diego Bay and the city skyline. Relax and enjoy the scenery, go for a swim or soak up the sun from the sandy bayside beach.
Take the ferry from San Diego to Coronado for a scenic ride across the bay. At Coronado Ferry Landing, grab a bite to eat, browse art galleries and shops, view the San Diego skyline from the pier or relax on the beach.
The largest San Diego Bay park. Enjoy a variety of spaces for outdoor activities including a small beach, bike path, playground, recreational fields and picnic areas.
Located on one of America’s most iconic beaches, the legendary Hotel del Coronado opened in 1888 as an architectural masterpiece and soon became world-renowned for its spectacular setting, luxury accommodations and elegant soirées. The Del was a destination resort before the term existed and has attracted celebrities, royalty and beach-loving guests for generations. It famously served as a filming location for Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Today, the Del is a National Historic Landmark and welcomes guests with contemporary luxury, a holistic spa, gourmet dining, unique shopping and more. Experience a legendary history tour, haunted happenings ghost tour or simply explore the resort on your own.
The 24-mile Bayshore Bikeway is the ultimate scenic bike ride for off-the-beaten-path fun. The route starts at Coronado Ferry Landing and travels through Coronado, Imperial Beach and Chula Vista to downtown San Diego. It includes 13 miles of car-free paths and extends past iconic areas like the Hotel del Coronado, U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, Silver Strand Beach and the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Need a bike? Rent bicycles and gear at a variety of shops nearby.