Visit San Diego: Your travel guide

San Diegans always seem to be smiling. And with good reason. Stunning beaches, over 250 days of sun a year and a chilled-out vibe will, like, totally do that to you. Boost endorphins with dolphins in La Jolla Cove or San Diego Zoo, then let the good times roll in rocking Gaslamp Quarter. Right on!

Things to do in San Diego
PETCO Park
Looking to make your trip a home-run? Home to the San Diego Padres, PETCO Park is like Downtown’s back garden, where San Diegans come to kick back and catch a ball game. If you don’t fancy a seat in the stands, Park at the Park’s lawn lets you watch the game from the comfort of your picnic blanket. The stadium even plays host to outdoor concerts and events.
100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Open Monday-Sunday 08:30-17:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Seaport Village
Pleasure-seekers, look no further! Head down to this waterfront complex and flit between boutiques and eateries to the melodies of open-air shows. Grab your souvenir knick-knacks, linger over a wine tasting, then stop by Swings n’ Things for your very own chilled-out Californian hammock. Top it off in one of the bay view restaurants and you’re living the dream, baby!
849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
USS Midway Museum
Hello, sailor! Ready to embark on a voyage of discovery? Hop aboard this colossal aircraft carrier and learn what life was like for its 225,000 former crewmen. Patrol between the restored aircraft on deck, head below for flight simulators and interactive exhibits, then explore the crew quarters to hear stories of the ship in its heyday.
910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-17:00
Balboa Park
Calling this place a park doesn’t do it justice. It’s more than just a gargantuan green space embedded in the cityscape. It’s jam-packed with 17 museums, 9 performance spaces and 19 gardens, as well as the truly unmissable San Diego Zoo. You name it, Balboa’s probably got it. Mad about miniature railways? Potty about puppets? Big on butterflies? Balboa Park’s got you covered.
1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
San Diego Zoo
Believe the hype – this world-famous zoo is something else. Its 100 acres of open-air enclosures are home to over 3700 critters. Stand to attention with meerkats and monkey around with macaques. Hop on the cable car and glide above it all like the mighty condor. One tip: cough up the extra dollars for a Backstage Pass – you’ll get up close and personal with cheetahs and rhinos!
2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Open Monday-Sunday 09:00-17:00
Hotel del Coronado
Nobody’s perfect! But the Hotel Del might come close. This iconic resort – the filming location for “Some Like It Hot” – has hosted Hollywood royalty and literary luminaries since 1888. It’s not hard to see why. Under this vermilion pagoda roof lies the lap of luxury – plush rooms, a snazzy spa, ritzy restaurants and an unbeatable beachside setting. The jewel in Coronado’s crown.
1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Join the great California gold rush! In the 19th century, this landscape was swamped by intrepid fortune-seekers looking for riches in the dirt. This cluster of wooden cabins and colonial houses takes you back to a time when the West really was wild. Saddle up on a rickety old wagon, see a blacksmith forge iron horseshoes and pick up your own Mexican poncho. Yee-haw!
4002 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110
Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-16:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
Land ho! This quaint Victorian lighthouse stands high on Point Loma’s craggy cliffs. So high, in fact, that it was often obscured by fog – not ideal for a lighthouse. Its foggy travails forced it to close in 1891, and today it’s a museum frozen in time, complete with re-enactments by guides in period dress. And the icing on the cake? The views all the way across to Mexico.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego, CA 92106-3601
Open Monday-Sunday 09:00-17:00
Mission San Diego de Alcala
Pop on your cassock and step back in time at California’s first Franciscan mission. Peeking at you through gnarled tree branches, the walls of the Basilica have been restored to the gleaming white of their glory days. Inside, the campanario bells echo softly around the courtyard garden, while in the chapel whispered prayers mix with flickering candle-light.
10818 San Diego Mission Rd, San Diego, CA 92108
Open Monday-Sunday 09:00-16:30
Belmont Park
“I got chills, they’re multiplying…” Belmont Park is a funfair straight out of the 1950s. You better shape up if you’re planning on braving the rickety Giant Dipper, a wooden rollercoaster built in 1925. Got your breath back? Go for a spin on the bumper cars or scale the heights of the climbing wall. Cap it all off with a full-on sugar rush from an oversized ice cream cone.
3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
Open Monday-Thursday 11:00-20:00, Friday-Saturday 11:00-22:00, Sunday 11:00-21:00. Check website for details.
Mission Beach
If Misson Beach is the West Coast’s take on a classic Atlantic boardwalk, they’ve certainly done their job well. This sandy gem has all kinds of warm-weather activities to keep you entertained 24/7. Packed with bikes, bars and babes, it’s one salty strip of seaside that also benefits from the year-long Californian sunshine.
Pacific Beach
P.B. (so-called by the locals) should really stand for Party Beach. This sun-kissed stretch of sand is frequented by college kids looking for a funky beach bar, novice surfers trying out Tourmaline Surfing Park, and families tucking into a picnic on the north side. Head here for a balmy Californian sunset and watch the bonfires and nightclubs come to life.
Ocean Beach
For sunshine and surf year round, you can’t do much better than Ocean Beach. A small seaside town favoured by laid-back locals, it’s got great surfing, fantastic fishing and even better tacos. If you’re into chilling SoCal style, this is the place to find ideal sunbathing spots by day and funky beach bars by night.
SeaWorld San Diego
Killer whales, dolphins and sea lions all call this magical marine park home. Come here to learn about the mysteries of the sea and enjoy amazing performances by its most fascinating creatures. Don’t forget that SeaWorld also has its share of amusement rides, so be sure to take advantage of the warm weather with a trip down the rapids or a spin on the sky tower.
Aquatica San Diego
This water park’s inland location means the weather’s even warmer than on the coast, so you and your family will really want to splash around all day long. Fly down the water slides, float along the lazy river and get some thrills in the wave pool. Afterwards, you can get up close and personal with flamingos and turtles at the aquarium or even catch one of the dolphin shows!
Balboa Park Miniature Train
No trip to San Diego Zoo is complete without a spin round Balboa Park in its miniature train. Nippers will love winding through the park and spotting model animals hidden amongst the bushes. Keep your eyes peeled for lions, tigers and giraffes – and wave to park visitors as you pass!

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Traveller's reviews and photos

8
Very good
Love Torrey Pines and the Spanish Quarters-also Old Town and La Jolla's beach front and town walk. Always look up reviews about restaurants and you can not go wrong. Take in all the hikes you can, even Estuaries are magical with the sun setting in the distance.
susan
USA
26 March 2017
6
Review score
Feels like Miami without a bunch of young people wilding out. Nice for a weekend trip but that's about it. Great food.
ApricotS
USA
25 March 2017
10
Exceptional
I absolutely love San Diego and look forward to visiting against maybe even moving out there ! The people are so nice and the fresh air is so wonderful.
Alexis Jones
USA
25 March 2017
8
Very good
The zoo and balboa park were fun. Zoo definitely requires 2 days to do everything. Lots of hills and walking! Utilize the bus tour and Kangaroo busses. Good shops, staff and food.
Brandy
USA
25 March 2017
10
Exceptional
San Diego is good for a family or romantic trip for a few days, for staying in the city and also driving around the shores of Southern California.
Sergei
Russia
25 March 2017

Accommodation and hotels in San Diego

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

7.5 Good

Score from 773 reviews

£136

Average price per night
  • “great pool area”
    125 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    57 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    47 related reviews
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

8.9 Fabulous

Score from 2,461 reviews

£122

Average price per night
  • “amazing views”
    303 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    294 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    195 related reviews
Wyndham San Diego Bayside

8.1 Very good

Score from 3,193 reviews

£109

Average price per night
  • “amazing views”
    390 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    323 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    137 related reviews
Ramada Gaslamp/Convention Center

7.7 Good

Score from 564 reviews

£68

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    114 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    66 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    61 related reviews
Inn by the Sea, at La Jolla

8.5 Very good

Score from 1,189 reviews

£128

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    247 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    87 related reviews
  • “very clean and tidy”
    65 related reviews
Best Western PLUS Bayside Inn

8.5 Very good

Score from 1,231 reviews

£129

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    189 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    84 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    83 related reviews
Hilton San Diego Bayfront

8.4 Very good

Score from 2,644 reviews

£117

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    324 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    299 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    139 related reviews
Comfort Inn Gaslamp Convention Center

7.9 Good

Score from 1,824 reviews

£55

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    282 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    137 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    108 related reviews
Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel

8.1 Very good

Score from 2,027 reviews

£80

Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    211 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    203 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    108 related reviews
Discover San Diego

Popular neighbourhoods in San Diego

Downtown San Diego

108 properties

Won’t you take me down to Funkytown? This busy district wiggles and shakes with the best of them. During the day, PETCO Park buzzes with baseball buffs and Little Italy’s pizzerias reverberate with clinking cutlery and delighted diners. At night, the Gaslamp Quarter’s a disco inferno, as revellers fill the dance floors of Onyx Room or Stingaree.

La Jolla

104 properties

“I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal”. Sun-kissed celebs splash the cash in Girard Avenue’s high-end boutiques. Bigwigs of science and politics stay classy in La Jolla Cove’s swanky seafood joints. And if you prefer starfish to stardust, don your snorkel and plunge into the teeming waters of La Jolla Underwater Park.

Pacific Beach

66 properties

Livin’ is easy in PB. Happy youthful faces abound, welcoming you to their world of fun and sun. Join boarders in the surf or dangle your legs off Crystal Pier, shooting the breeze ‘til sunset. After dark, Garnet Avenue’s slew of bars keep the party going. Head to Tap Room for home-brewed ales, or Bub’s Dive Bar for good ol’ American fare. Far out!

Little Italy

30 properties

Mamma mia! An influx of Italian tuna fishermen gave this district a splash of Old-World colour back in the day. Though most have long since hauled anchor, you can still munch meatballs at Mona Lisa or Pappalecco. And don’t miss Little Italy Mercato, a street market awash with green smoothies, gourmet tamales and stuffed sea urchins. Buon appetito!

Gaslamp Quarter

20 properties

This place is a gas. Named after streetlights of yore, this historic district has come a long way from its days as a seedy pleasure-town for grog-swilling seamen. Today its quaint Victorian buildings are crammed with eateries and bars. Devour a juicy steak at Greystone, sample rare brews at Tipsy Crow and shake your moneymaker at F6ix hip-hop club.

Coronado

14 properties

Coronado’s a place for “California Dreamin’”. Set across the water from the city, it’s got a family-friendly, small-town feel. Mamas and Papas bring frolicking sprogs to pristine Coronado Beach, famous for its gentle surf and fine, white sand. Stop into a hotel that you pass along the way – iconic Hotel Del has dominated the beachfront for 125 years.

Old Town

7 properties

The birthplace of California. In 1769, Spanish explorers set up camp in Presidio Park, firing the starting pistol on California’s colonisation. In Old Town, you’ll get a glimpse of San Diego’s infancy. Budding prospectors can pan for gold at Mormon Battalion Museum, while spook-seekers test their nerve at Whaley House, haunted since 1852.

Marina District

6 properties

Avast, landlubbers! Rows of moored-up boats bob in Marina’s marina, while the SS Midway, a warship-turned-museum, looms over the waterfront. From watercrafts to handicrafts, the arty New Children’s Museum gives nippers a space to create and play. Walk the plank and try the fish tacos at Pier Café, perched on stilts over the lapping waves.

Ocean Beach

5 properties

Surf’s up dude! Once known as Mussel Beach, this chilled-out seaside paradise swapped mussels for muscles – these days it’s toned surfers who slink over the sands. OB’s still riding the waves of 60s far-outness – the bongos, hula hoops and loved-up twenty-somethings speak for themselves. For that classic California sunset, head up to Sunset Cliffs.

Harbor Island

2 properties

This is definitive Sunday stroll territory. Families and sweethearts meander along Harbor Island’s sweeping coastal path, giving a contrast to the sun-splashed fitness fanatics that zip by in a blur of logoed lycra. Follow the path to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, where craft beers and sweeping bay views make that lazy lunch all the more tasty.

Local tips for San Diego

Pedicabs
Kylie by Kylie

When she’s not boogie boarding in La Jolla, Kylie loves discovering good eats, drinks and thrifts.

If your feet get tired after bar hopping in the Gaslamp District, take a pedicab. The bike-pulled carriage is slower than a cab, but cheaper, and you'll get to see the historic downtown architecture while people watching. It’s a good way to experience the hustle and bustle of Gaslamp.

Clem's Tap House
Lee by Lee

Native San Diegan Lee enjoys Balboa Park, plays at the Old Globe Theatre and relaxing with family.

I love catching up with family members at Kensington area’s Clem's Tap House, a beer and wine bar with rotating local and regional brews. It’s located behind Clem's Bottle House on Adams Avenue, and has a friendly and knowledgeable bartender.

  • 4108 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
  • www.clemstaphouse.com
  • Open Wednesday-Friday 16:00-22:00, Saturday-Sunday 12:00-22:00
Roast at the Hotel Del Coronado
Paula by Paula

A self-proclaimed foodie, Paula continuously explores the different flavours San Diego has to offer.

Many people visit Coronado Island’s historic Hotel Del Coronado, but few experience the hotel’s Classic Roast. With comfortable beach chairs, cozy blankets, a delicious do-it-yourself s'mores kit and bonfires on the beach at sunset, this becomes the ultimate San Diego experience.

  • 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
  • hoteldel.com
  • A one-hour experience available every day at 18:00, 18:15, 20:00 and 20:15
San Diego Hot Tub Cruisin Mission Bay
Kelly by Kelly

From longboarding in the OC to hiking at Torrey Pines Park, Kelly lives weekends to the fullest!

I’ll let you in on an insiders’ secret: rent a “Cruising Hot Tub” on Mission Bay! The easy-to-manage pontoon boat has a small grill, large hot tub, and a seating area with a small table. One of the seats doubles as a cooler so be sure to bring drinks, ice, food to grill, and sunscreen!

  • 1010 Santa Clara Pl, San Diego, CA 92109
  • hottubcruisin.com
  • Open Sunday-Saturday 09:00-22:00
Dounut Bar on B Street
James by James

When not running at Balboa Park, James can be found biking in downtown or catching a Padres game.

To satisfy your morning sweet tooth, head to the San Diego Donut Bar on B Street. The fresh batches of specialty pastries attract a crowd even before their opening time, and they're only open until they sell out – which happens every day! Make sure to get there early.

  • 631 B St, San Diego, CA 92101
  • donutbar.tumblr.com
  • Open Monday-Friday 07:00-13:00, Saturday-Sunday 08:00-12:00
Little Italy Mercado
Jaxton by Jaxton

Jaxton likes spending time in nature, especially when sailing his catamaran to the Channel Islands.

If you are here on a Saturday, definitely check out the Little Italy Mercato. This city market has a great selection of local foods, goods and produces. There are vegan and gluten-free options too, not to mention yummy free samples. Get there early and BYOB (bring your own bag).

Read our FAQ on this destination >

Recommendations for San Diego

There are plenty of wide beaches everywhere for sun bathing or surfing. Waves seem to be quite big which makes swimming difficult.

We visited during the week during Christmas break--the crowds were minimal.

Cuisine(seafood)..Harbor lights, International flavor, close to Mexico!!!

Too many skateboarding/bicyclists and drug addicts/bums.

Going Swimming at night. Water was Excellent.

Fantastic to visit as so well kept and managed.

Nice restaurants in La Jolla.

Booking.com asked travellers...

Why would you recommend San Diego for food?

Fish tacos!

Transport

San Diego transport

Air - San Diego International Airport

San Diego International Airport is 4.5 km northwest of downtown San Diego, and has 2 terminals. Taxis are available outside the terminals and cost about USD 13 to city centre. Alternatively, travellers can take the Flyer Route 992 bus to Santa Fe Depot Station, where they can transfer to the Amtrak and Coaster trains; bus fare is USD 2.25 each way. A number of car rental and shuttle services are also readily available.

Train

Running parallel to the Pacific Ocean and linking San Luis Obispo and San Diego (with stops in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles), the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner is a scenic way to travel to and from San Diego. Ticket fares vary according to destination, but cost between USD 11 and USD 24. There are 12 daily round-trip services. Guests may bring along a surfboard or bicycle but must reserve a space beforehand.

Bus

San Diego MTS (Metropolitan Transit System) offers 93 bus routes connecting downtown San Diego and the rest of San Diego County. Bus fare is USD 2.25 each way, and must be paid in exact change upon boarding. A Regional Day Pass can be purchased for USD 7, which includes a Day Pass and a reusable Compass Card. Day passes are valid on most MTS buses and trolleys. Be sure to check bus schedules in advance as some lines offer limited service on week nights and weekends.

Trolleybus

The 3-line trolley conveniently serves tourist sites such as Old Town, Mission Valley, PETCO Park, Qualcomm Stadium, SDSU and even the Mexican border. Purchase a one-way ticket for USD 2.50 or use your MTS Regional Day Pass. Tickets are available at ticket machines and are valid for 2 hours after the time of purchase.

Taxi

There are several taxi services available throughout San Diego. The more popular taxi companies are Orange Cab of San Diego, Yellow Cab and AK Cab. Fares start at USD 2.80 and each mile (1.6 km) costs an additional USD 3 – but don’t forget to add a 10-15% tip. You can either hail a cab on the street or call one for pick up. A ride from San Diego International Airport to city centre costs around USD 13. Note: extra fees apply to taxis departing from the airport.

Car

At San Diego International Airport car rental reservation boards are located near the baggage claim areas of Terminals 1 and 2. Travellers can use courtesy phones to request shuttle transport to the car rental company of their choice. Driving in San Diego is relatively easy, especially with a GPS – but rush hour traffic can get heavy, so plan accordingly. Metered street parking or paid lots are generally available. Watch out for fast-moving highway traffic.

Food in San Diego

Top restaurants in San Diego

High-end dining
American
Searsucker
  • 611 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Thursday 11:30-14:00 and 17:00-22:00, Friday 11:30-14:00 and 17:00-23:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-14:00 and 17:00-22:00
  • www.searsucker.com
  • 001 6192337327
High-end dining
Brazilian
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
  • 668 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Thursday 11:30-14:30 and 17:00-22:00, Friday 11:30-14:30 and 17:00-22:30, Saturday 16:30-22:30, Sunday 15:30-21:00
  • www.fogodechao.com
  • 001 6193380500
High-end dining
Italian
Asti Ristorante
Cheap 'n' tasty
Local
Hub Market & Deli
  • 748 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Thursday 08:30-23:00, Friday-Saturday 08:30-02:00, Sunday 08:30-23:00
  • www.yelp.com
  • 001 6195441917
Cheap 'n' tasty
Italian
Gaslamp Pizza
Good value
Mexican
Las Hadas
High-end dining
Italian
de'Medici
High-end dining
Seafood
Blue Point
Cheap 'n' tasty
Cafe
LION Coffee
Good value
Cafe
Cafe 222
Good value
Greek
Athens Market Taverna
Cheap 'n' tasty
Turkish
Cafe Istanbul
  • 921 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday 09:00-00:00, Tuesday-Thursday 11:00-00:00, Friday-Saturday 11:00-03:00, Sunday 11:00-00:00
  • www.yelp.com
  • 001 6195441700
Cheap 'n' tasty
Bar bites
Tivoli Bar & Grill
Good value
American
Neighborhood
High-end dining
Asian
Full Moon Sushi and Kitchen Bar
  • 926 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Tuesday-Thursday 17:00-22:00, Friday-Saturday 17:00-23:00, Sunday 17:00-21:30
  • fullmoonsd.com
  • 001 6192333711
High-end dining
Italian
Bice Ristorante
  • 425 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Thursday 17:00-22:00, Friday-Saturday 17:00-23:00, Sunday 17:00-22:00
  • bicesandiego.com
  • 001 6192392423
Good value
Asian
J Wok
  • 744 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Sunday 12:00-22:00
  • 001 6192311088
Good value
Local
Richard Walker's Pancake House
Good value
Seafood
Spike Africa's
High-end dining
American
Gaslamp Strip Club
Good value
French
Cafe Chloe
  • 721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Friday 07:30-22:30, Saturday 08:30-22:30, Sunday 08:30-21:30
  • cafechloe.com
  • 001 6192323242
High-end dining
American
Saltbox
  • 1047 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Wednesday 07:00-10:00 and 11:30-23:00, Thursday-Saturday 07:00-10:00 and 11:30-00:00, Sunday 07:00-10:00 and 11:00-23:00
  • www.saltboxrestaurant.com
  • 001 6195153003
High-end dining
Italian
Acqua Al 2
  • 322 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Open Monday-Friday 11:30-14:00 and 17:00-22:00, Saturday 17:00-23:00, Sunday 17:00-22:00
  • www.acquaal2.com
  • 001 6192300382
High-end dining
American
Donovan's Steak and Chop House
Good value
American
Marina Kitchen Restarurant & Bar
Find accommodation in San Diego