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Our Top 8 Destinations for Family Fun in San Diego
July 27, 2023 By CityPASS
From beautiful beaches to exciting attractions, San Diego is jam-packed with things to do. The city is known for its warm, mild weather, making it a great destination for anyone who loves outdoor activities or water sports. The unique mix of natural wonders, historic buildings, and interactive activities – not to mention great Mexican food – also makes San Diego a popular spot for families.
When you're organizing a family trip, choosing and booking the perfect activities is step one. To make it easier, start with this roundup of the eight best San Diego family activities and focus on enjoying quality time with your loved ones.
Whether you're planning a road trip to Southern California or looking for new things to explore around your hometown, don't miss these awesome things to do with kids in San Diego.
Things To Do in San Diego With Kids
1. Explore Seaside Family Attractions at SeaWorld San Diego
As one of the world's biggest marine life rescue centers, this renowned animal protection facility houses and protects an array of marine animals. The park is famous for its unique, interactive animal experiences like feeding playful dolphins. Catch fascinating animal presentations where you'll learn about the mighty orca or watch acrobatic sea lions and otters perform.
And the fun doesn't stop there. SeaWorld San Diego is a seaside amusement park that also features rides and attractions. Check out Emperor, the tallest, longest, and speediest dive roller coaster in California, or experience the looping and twisting Electric Eel. There are also many family-friendly rides designed for younger riders.
2. Experience LEGOLAND California Resort
LEGOLAND California is a colorful and captivating destination for family fun in San Diego where interactive rides immerse you in the world of LEGO. The rides encourage you to grab your 3D glasses, interactive water cannon, or laser blaster to experience LEGO magic up close.
With water rides, thrill rides, and adventure rides, you won't get bored at LEGOLAND. The rides are suitable for all ages, making it a great choice for families with younger children.
3. Visit the USS Midway Museum
Located at Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, the USS Midway museum is a must-see for action lovers and history buffs. The fascinating exhibits will captivate you with stories of the US Navy.
Step aboard the museum, housed in a historic aircraft carrier, and discover over 60 exhibits. Get lost in the vast collection of military artifacts and displays and learn about life on the hangar deck, flight deck, and below deck. You can even see 29 restored aircraft.
In addition to exciting tours, a true highlight is experiencing the interactive attractions. See how it feels to be in aerial combat in the thrilling simulation ride, or try the training exercise that uses VR goggles to plant you in the cockpit during a carrier launch.
4. Experience the Beauty of Balboa Park
This sprawling urban park makes for a fun-filled family day of enjoying nature and San Diego's great weather. There's much more to do than simply stroll through lush picnic gardens and marvel at the stunning architecture.
You'll find multiple museums inside the park, like the Natural History Museum and the Fleet Science Center. Kids love the hands-on experiences and will learn a lot, too. The park also holds the famous San Diego Zoo. Don't miss the opportunity to interact with exotic animals from all over the world.
5. Get Closer to Nature at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
For another chance to get up close and personal with stunning animals, head to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Housing animals mostly from the African and Asian savannas, this zoo gives you the chance to see rhinos, camels, cheetahs, gorillas, giraffes, lions, tigers, warthogs, zebras, and more.
Take the open-air Africa Tram tour, or meet elephants in Elephant Valley. See cheetahs run up to 70 miles per hour at the Cheetah Run or spot tigers in the bamboo forest. Exploring this incredible 1,800-acre park is one of the best things to do in San Diego with kids, and is guaranteed to delight the whole family.
6. Take Instagrammable Photos at the Ocean Side Murals
San Diego is home to a collection of vibrant artworks that adorn walls along the coast. Spend some quality time wandering by the colorful, building-high creations and experience the city through an artistic lens. These murals make the perfect stop-off to get inspired with a shot of creativity and serve as a background for Instagram-worthy family snaps.
7. Explore San Diego at Old Town Trolley Tours
For a unique — and convenient — way to experience the city of San Diego, jump on one of the city's iconic red trolleys for a tour. Travel past notable landmarks and discover the most vibrant neighborhoods. Learn a thing or two about the city's fascinating past, from its Spanish colonial roots to its role in shaping the history of California.
The hop-on-hop-off flexibility is perfect for jumping out at Old Town, Balboa Park, or the famous Gaslamp Quarter.
8. Discover the Birch Aquarium at Scripps
On the scenic coastline of La Jolla with beautiful views of San Diego County, you will find this hidden gem. The aquarium is part of the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography and takes visitors on a journey into the wonders of the ocean.
The entire family will be mesmerized by the diverse marine life in 60 different habitats. View tropical fish, sea horses, turtles, and much more. The interactive and educational exhibits are perfect for all ages and make Birch Aquarium one of the unmissable family fun activities in San Diego.
Explore Family Fun in San Diego Like Never Before With CityPASS®
Your San Diego CityPASS® ticket will ensure you don't miss any of the fun San Diego attractions for kids and families when you head to this fun-filled city. We handpick the most exciting outdoor activities, water activities, amusement parks, and tourist attractions so you know you will catch all the best San Diego kids' activities.
Your ticket removes the hassle of buying multiple tickets for different attractions. And if you want to head further afield to the San Diego Bay area or beyond, see what else a CityPASS® ticket has to offer. We hope you enjoy these eight must-see destinations – now have an amazing trip!
San Diego Lodging
To get the most out of your stay in San Diego, we recommend finding lodging near San Diego's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you: