If you’re new to the area, knowing the must see places in San Deigo can be challenging. From tons of different beaches to hundreds of different restaurants, San Diego can seem a bit overwhelming! To help you out, here is a list of the 10 places you must see if you’re new to San Diego!
1. Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado is one of the most iconic places in San Diego. The old hotel is not only a fun place to stay but also a great place to go grab quick drinks with friends! The classic red roof makes Hotel Del one of the most recognizable spots in San Diego, so be sure to snap a great pic. If you’re in San Diego during the winter, be sure to check out the beachfront ice rink! It’s a fun way to experience winter in a place where the weather is nice all year round. Be prepared to search for parking or pay for valet, but it may be easier to catch an uber or lyft, especially if you’re going for happy hour!
2. Sunset Cliffs
As you can probably tell by the name, Sunset Cliffs is one of the best places to watch the sunset in San Diego. Grab your friends, a blanket, and bring some food to enjoy a nice sunset picnic! There are plenty of places that are flat and easily accessible so you can comfortably sit and watch the sun drop below the ocean. Don’t forget to bring your camera to take lots of pictures. From the sunsets to the surfers below, there is tons to watch and take pictures of at this must see San Diego spot!
3. Petco Park
Nothing says San Diego quite like a Padres baseball game. Tickets are typically easy to come by and not overly expensive so you don’t have to buy them too far in advance! Petco Park is located right in downtown San Diego so it’s pretty easy to get to! However, maybe think about catching an uber so you don’t have to worry about parking or driving home after having a few drinks while watching the game. Even if you’re not a huge baseball fan, Petco Park is something you don’t want to miss. The atmosphere in the stadium is super fun and adds to the city’s positive energy!
4. Little Italy
If you’re looking for an international escape while in San Diego, Little Italy is the place to go. This section of downtown is home to over 70 restaurants and cafes so no matter what you’re craving there is always a place to choose from. From small pizza places to pricier fine dining, your Italian desires will be fulfilled. Also, be sure to check out the farmer’s market that happens every weekend. Tons of vendors come and sell fresh veggies, beautiful flowers and much more!
5. Torrey Pines Hike
Located right on the ocean, Torrey Pines is one of the natural wonders of San Diego. Torrey Pines has a beautiful, easy hike that is only three miles long and finishes along the ocean. There is nothing better than getting exercise while also listening to the waves of the ocean! The beach is also a great place to take a cool-down swim after hiking. Open almost every day of the year, the Torrey Pines Hike is a must while you’re in San Diego!
6. Belmont Park
Home to the oceanfront roller coaster in Mission Beach, Belmont Park is one of the most fun spots in San Diego. Besides the roller coaster, there’s also mini-golf, laser tag, and tons of other games. If you’re looking to just enjoy the beach, stop by one of the many rental places located along the boardwalk. Whether you’re looking to rent a surfboard and ride the waves or a cruiser bike to ride along the boardwalk, Belmont Park has it all! There are also two large parking lots that allow for ample parking, however, get their early if you’re going on the weekend because it can get super busy!
7. Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach is one of the most popular beaches in San Diego. Don’t forget to walk out on the well known Crystal Pier and watch the surfers down below. The pier is also a great place to take cute pics looking back at the entire beach! Pacific Beach is not only popular for the beach itself but also for the bar scene. Pacific Beach is home to numerous beachfront bars that each have fun and different events happening every night! Head over to El Prez for great happy hour deals or check out Moonshine Beach for country line dancing later in the night. No matter what bar you decide to go to, it guaranteed you’ll have a great time.
8. La Jolla Cove
La Jolla is home to many different cool spots, but La Jolla Cove is one of the best spots to enjoy the ocean and look at all the sea lions. There are sea lions all over the rocks and swimming around in La Jolla Cove. After a sea lion photo op, head on up to prospect street and check out all the great restaurants and shopping. Most places have patios facing the ocean so no matter where you go you’ll never have a bad view!
9. Balboa Park
Balboa Park is one of the most beautiful spots in San Diego. The 1,200 acres of land is home to 17 different museums, tons of gardens and the world-renowned San Diego zoo! There is so much to do in Balboa Park, it’s easy to spend an entire day here. If you’re looking to go, there’s plenty of free parking but buy tickets online ahead of time so you can skip the lines when you get there!
10. Old Town
If you’re on the hunt for good Mexican food in San Diego, Old Town is the place to go. There are tons of different restaurants, each with their own unique Mexican dishes. Old Town also has a fun street market on the weekends and other shopping booths around during the week. If you’re in San Diego for traditional Mexican holidays like El Dia De Los Muertos, check out the celebrations Old Town has going on all day! Don’t forget to head down to Old Town for Taco Tuesdays and get great deals on margaritas and tacos!
Which of these places did you check out in San Diego? Comment down below!
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I'm a 21 year old student from the University of San Diego who loves the beach, surfing, and anything outdoors!