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San Diego Attractions You Don't Want to Miss

May 26, 2022 By CityPASS

The sun-kissed city of San Diego is often called “America’s finest city” — and it’s not hard to see why. The second-largest city in the state offers plenty of educational and entertaining opportunities, yet it has all the charm of a small Southern California town.

Enriched with many tourist attractions and breathtaking views, San Diego draws crowds of tourists each year. You'll see them enjoying the historical buildings, taking city strolls, or basking in the sun along the scenic coastline.

If you want to join these enthusiasts and visit this beautiful city in California, you need to know the best attractions in San Diego that are worth your while. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the San Diego attractions you can’t afford to miss.

What Are the Must-See San Diego Attractions in this Southern California Gem?

The captivating natural beauty of San Diego's landscape and the sunny, mild climate are perfect for outdoor adventures. But one can also take a break from the sun and turn to the many museums and shopping districts.

America's finest city offers a little something for everyone, which only makes it more challenging to choose the best San Diego tourist attractions for your trip. To help you explore everything and pick the most exciting spots, we composed a list of the top attractions.

Watch a Dolphin Show at SeaWorld San Diego

A trip to SeaWorld is sure to be a memorable experience for kids, families, and those who are still young at heart. Visitors can watch dolphins perform at one of the shows or enjoy the sights of frolicking otters or circling sharks in the wide range of sea animal exhibits.

While this amusement park has thrilling roller coasters and entertaining events, the core of the SeaWorld experience is one of exploration and learning. Parents will love the many opportunities their kids will have to explore the 100 acres of park grounds, learning hands-on about the many ecosystems that call the ocean their home.

Stroll Through a Historic Vessel at the USS Midway Museum

While strolling along the waterfront, don’t be surprised if you encounter a historical wonder with one of the largest military ships in the country. The decommissioned USS Midway now lives at the Navy Pier, where it’s been transformed into an immersive museum.

With more than 60 exhibits taking you back to 1945, you can learn all about the history of the longest-serving aircraft carrier. Guided tours take visitors through the entire ship, from sleeping quarters to the engine room. There's even an exciting flight simulator for soon-to-be aviators who want to try their hands at piloting.

Observe Polar Bears and Giant Pandas at the San Diego Zoo

Nestled in the heart of the city is the San Diego Zoo, one of the top-rated zoos in the world. This family-friendly attraction is home to all kinds of exotic animals, including gorillas, grizzly bears, leopards, polar bears, rhinos, and giraffes. All the animals can roam free within their natural enclosures, so you’ll feel just like you’re walking through the African safari or the lush jungles of Brazil.

The beautifully landscaped zoo is also home to more than 700,000 plants from around the world. Therefore, you may need to set aside the whole day to get the most out of your visit to the San Diego Zoo.

Take in Sweeping Views on a City Cruise Boat Tour

San Diego is known for its stunning coastlines, so why not make the most of it with a boat tour? When you hop onto a City Cruises tour, you get to do some sightseeing while relaxing in the sunshine and fresh air.

On these cruises, you can enjoy the city skyline, spot some sea lions basking on the shore, and learn more about the history of San Diego. A cruise offers a fresh perspective of this seaside city that you won’t get while walking on foot.

Tour Downtown San Diego on an Old Town Trolley Trip

Take a trip back in time by hopping onto the Old Town Trolley Tour. While you travel this mile-long historical stretch, you’ll see what it was like to live in the different eras of Californian history, from the Native Americans to the California gold rush.

Some consider Old Town to be the birthplace of California. As a testament to San Diego’s colonial roots, a tour of Old Town showcases all the old adobe houses, now turned into museums, shops, and restaurants.

Enjoy the pace of the tour leisurely, or hop off the trolley whenever you want to explore the historical landmarks, authentic Mexican restaurants, and handcrafted items for sale.

Experience Ride Fun and Games at LEGOLAND California

If you have kids under 12 years old, one of the most popular stops in San Diego is the LEGOLAND California Resort. Here, you can explore 60 child-friendly rides and attractions and some of the most stunning LEGO replicas of famous cities, iconic characters, and beautiful landscapes. The various LEGO themes for visitors include the Land of Adventure, Ninjago World, Fun Town, Pirate Shores, and Castle Hill.

Don’t forget to enjoy the seasonal waterpark to make the most of your time in the sun. If you want a break from walking around outdoors, duck into the aquarium and learn more about the diverse sea life.

Don't Miss a Single Attraction During Your Time in San Diego

This idyllic beachside city is renowned for its stunning beaches, but there’s also plenty to explore when it comes to art, nightlife, entertainment, culture, history, food, and architecture.

If you're planning a visit to the city and want to see the best places, consider booking an entire San Diego attractions package for your trip. Buying a bundle of tickets to your preferred destinations in San Diego will ensure you visit all the top spots without breaking the bank.

San Diego CityPASS® tickets provide a discounted bundle to visit all the attractions on our list. Check out our offer today and save up to on San Diego attractions.

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:

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