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Things to do in San Diego

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Theme Park Ride / Attraction
“Enjoy the amazing architecture and gardens in Balboa Park. There are many of the cities best museums located in the park as well as the World Famous San Diego Zoo. ”
  • 1068 locals recommend
Zoo
$$$
“World Famous for a reason. Great for families, getting to know new animals, and getting your daily walking steps. They have a fantastic double-decker bus tour too! Features: Animals from All Over the World: these animals include polar bears, pandas, koalas, apes, gorillas, penguins, elephants, giraffes, grizzly bears, hippos, birds, reptiles, lions, zebras, tigers, and more. Animal Habitats: animal enclosures are generally smaller than those at Safari Park to ensure that visitors see lots of animal activity Exhibits & Attractions: Guided Bus Tour: Narrated double-decker bus tour of the entire zoo. Panda Canyon: A panda exhibit with a zookeeper always there to answer questions and talk about the famous icons of the zoo. Northern Frontier & Polar Bear Plunge: Home of the zoo’s polar bears, where you can get a unique underwater view of the playful bears, see snow white foxes, caribou, maned wolves, and more. Elephant Odyssey: See lots of elephants and other California-native animals of the past and present, including large birds, cheetahs, lions, and meerkats, among others. Lost Forest: Home to tigers, hippos, monkey’s gorillas, Scripps Aviary and Owens aviary, this is one of the livelier exhibits. Urban Jungle: Visit giraffes, kangaroos, koalas, flamingos, rhinos, and plenty of other creatures. Discovery Outpost: Kids can run around in the playground, interact with animals in the petting zoo, and see lots of reptiles, insects, and birds. Skyfari® Aerial Tram: Take a ride over the exhibits for an aerial view of the zoo and surrounding Balboa Park. Nighttime Zoo: San Diego Zoo is open late during the summer months, with live music and entertainment all evening until 9pm. The Nighttime Zoo will take place June 16 – September 2 2019 and is included with regular admission provided by the San Diego pass. Upgrades & Interactive Experiences -Exclusive VIP Experience: Get access to off-exhibit areas closed to the general public and experience animal interactions, get behind-the-scenes insight, and more. -Animals in Action: This behind-the-scenes experience allows visitors to help feed, train, and touch special animal ambassadors. -Inside Look Tours: An educational two-hour experience that highlights how the keepers care for their charges. -Discovery Cart Tour: 1-hour guided tour that covers 70% of the zoo grounds highlighting all the plant and animal life. -Crazy About Cats: Go on an early morning behind-the-scenes guided tour of the cat areas and learn about each cat, how the zoo cares for them, and how you can help the species. -Early Morning Photo Expedition: Enjoy an exclusive, small-group cart tour of the zoo before it opens while you get the opportunity to take rare close-up photos of the zoo’s inhabitants. -Sunrise Surprise Stroll: visit a surprise area of the zoo up close or behind the scenes and get a keeper talk, you won’t know what you’re getting until you get there (surprise!). -Keeper for a Day: This pricey but worthwhile special experience allows you to shadow a keeper for an entire day and learn what their work is all about. -Morning with Pandas: Visit the panda viewing area before it opens in the day and see the pandas enjoying their breakfast. This 2-hour adventure includes a tour of the zoo in a VIP cart”
  • 769 locals recommend
Park
“This is a beautiful hiking spot, with incredible views of geology and the shore line. You can hike down to Torrey Pines state beach.”
  • 530 locals recommend
Neighborhood
“Party town! If you’re here for a convention and/or want to check out the downtown vibe, don’t miss this one. ”
  • 490 locals recommend
Theme Park
“This is always a HIT when visiting San Diego with children and you’re only a 15-20 min UBER from your Airbnb”
  • 317 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“A 2 story outdoor mall with AMC theater. Newly renovated. There is golf putting or maybe a full gold course nearby.”
  • 286 locals recommend
Beach
“La Jolla Cove is a small, picturesque cove and beach that is surrounded by cliffs in La Jolla, San Diego, California. The Cove is protected as part of a marine reserve; underwater it is very rich in marine life, and is popular with snorkelers, swimmers and scuba divers. There is also seals and sea lions everywhere! If you want to make the most out of this experience contact me and you can enjoy an amazing tour from a locals eyes.”
  • 396 locals recommend
Neighborhood
“The original downtown of San Diego, this historic square offers a tourist haven of Mexican flavor.”
  • 398 locals recommend
Museum
“I highly recommend taking a tour. They have an audio tour and group tours. The ship is vast with a very interesting history. It can take about two to three hours to see the whole thing.”
  • 273 locals recommend
Zoo
“The safari park also offers overnight adventures during the summer. Located approximately 30 minutes east of Casa Laguna Azul.”
  • 288 locals recommend
Baseball Stadium
“If you like to get a good view of the entire park, the scoreboard and downtown San Diego - and be a bit higher up to see all the action on the field - I would recommend the Toyota Terrace (second level). I favor the first base line - somewhere between home plate and just past first base. Sometimes I buy cheaper tickets and move around the stadium, enjoying different seats and views. You can also purchase 'park at the park' tickets and lie on the grass, just beyond the outfield. the views are obstructed, but it's a very enjoyable, relaxing scene.”
  • 234 locals recommend
Shopping Plaza
$$
“A 14 acre waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex recreating a harbor side setting of a century ago. Includes 54 one of a kind shops, 13 casual dining eateries, 4 fine dining waterfront restaurants. ”
  • 311 locals recommend
Theme Park
“Marine life shows, rides, aquariums, and plenty of other opportunities to see what San Diego has to offer!”
  • 137 locals recommend
Theme Park Ride / Attraction
“There are numerous museums, a beautiful arboretum, access to the famous San Diego Zoo right next door, beautiful strolls through a well-preserved San Diego landmark. ”
  • 348 locals recommend
Theme Park
“Located about 20 mins away from Downtown SD and is our little version of Venice Beach .....you can go to ride the amusement rides, buy some 🍕snacks🍔, go the beach, go for a jog, rent a bike or just people watch with a ☕️coffee🍦 😀”
  • 243 locals recommend
National Park
“Excellent place with awesome views. I think its the best place in San Diego for views. National Parks pass is free to enter $10 per vehicle”
  • 299 locals recommend

Top-rated experiences

Top restaurants

Shopping Mall
“nice mall all outdoors just like the others, but done nicely; movie theatre ARC light cinemas here, plus an ice skating rink”
  • 152 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
“Authentic Italian and the friendliest staff. This place is always buzzing. Offers outdoor seating during Covid-19 and take out.”
  • 158 locals recommend
Burger Joint
“My favorite burger in SD. Come with an appetite since the burgers are huge. ”
  • 114 locals recommend
American Restaurant
“Named after the amusement park that OB once was, this version of the restaurant got it right. Muscle Mondays have your shellfish at half off. There is a sunset toast every day with a shot brought out to everyone in the bar. Great second floor sunset views.”
  • 131 locals recommend
Bar
“Known for its famous fish tacos, their oysters rival oysters from around the world. Their green lip muscle appetizer is dripping in garlicky lemon butter goodness. Go upstairs for the best ocean view and sit on the outside banister. Watch the world go by.”
  • 130 locals recommend
New American Restaurant
“Fine Dining - "This three-floor oceanview stunner offers choose-your-own-adventure dining, spanning a casual rooftop terrace, a craft cocktail-focused gastrobar, and an acclaimed fine-dining restaurant. Executive chef/partner Trey Foshee, one of the city’s most admired chefs, keeps each kitchen running on a high level." - San Diego Eater”
  • 111 locals recommend
Asian Restaurant
“OB Noodle House comes from humble beginnings in the heart of Ocean Beach. Having immigrated from Southeast Asia through a sponsor family, the Yeng brothers grew up in OB working at his parents’ donut shop, OB Donuts. When the opportunity to open a restaurant of their own arrived, OB Noodle House was founded with a simple mission: simple, delicious meals, served quickly. Now with two locations, the original on Cable Street, and Bar 1502 on Niagara Avenue, as well as a music hall on Newport Avenue, the OB Noodle House family has become a mainstay in Ocean Beach, always giving back to the community that supported the Yeng family so much the past few decades. OB Noodle House is known for our signature pho bowls and Asian-fusion dishes. Featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, it’s the meal Guy Fieri says “You’re going to have a pretty tough time finding it this good.” If you don’t take Guy’s word for it, check out our our 4+ Star Yelp reviews, 4.5 Stars on Trip Advisor, or 4.4 rating on Zagat!”
  • 100 locals recommend
Seafood Restaurant
“Amazing seafood and American favorites with a spectacular view of the Ocean Waves. Monday is half-price appetizers starting at 4PM.”
  • 98 locals recommend

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