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Your Guide to Sightseeing in San Diego

June 16, 2022 By CityPASS

San Diego is one of those destinations you need on your life list. From the casual beach vibes to the sunny skies and awesome ocean views — not to mention the food scene, shopping, and all those San Diego attractions — this West Coast city is sure to leave you with a desire to return.

The Best Way to Navigate Sightseeing in San Diego

Wondering how to get around as you enjoy sightseeing in San Diego? Take your pick from a car, public transit trolley, trolley tour, bus, ferry, or water taxi. While a car gets you anywhere in the city and beyond, the public transit trolley offers the Blue Line, Green Line, and Orange Line, with plenty of stops along the way. The Old Town Trolley Tour blends San Diego sightseeing with conductor narration for a lively, laid-back trip. You can also catch a ride on the ferry or water taxi for trips across San Diego Bay to Coronado. Here are some key places to check out on your trip to America's Finest City.

Hop Aboard One of the Old Town Trolley Tours to Travel to 12 Popular Attractions

The Old Town Trolley Tour starts and finishes in — you guessed it — historic Old Town. This tour, with its iconic orange and green trolley fleet, incorporates 12 stops with access to more than 12 destinations, including Balboa Park, Seaport Village, and The Gaslamp Quarter. Running in a 25-mile loop, the trolley tour lets you hop on and off at any of the designated stops. You can marvel at the incredible views along the bay, the historic vessels, and many other San Diego tourist spots you won't want to miss.

Visit Belmont Park: The Historic Beachfront Amusement Park

First opened in 1925, Belmont Park has been a beachfront destination for locals and visitors for generations. This amusement park sits within Mission Beach, a nearly two-mile-long stretch of shoreline facing the Pacific Ocean, making it one of the top places to visit in San Diego. Although the most famous attraction is the Giant Dipper vintage wooden roller coaster, there are many rides, midway games, and delicious food treats to enjoy. Don't forget to check out the boardwalk, and bring your beach gear for a dip in the water or a friendly game of beach volleyball.

Witness Breathtaking Views at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

For a close-up view of a coastal natural habitat, you'll want to visit Sunset Cliffs Natural Park at the edge of Point Loma. There are two sections to this park, the 50-acre southern section and the narrow 18-acre section lining the coast. Whether you prefer the hillside or the cliffside, you're sure to fall in love with the ocean views and awe-inspiring sunsets. Wander down to the cliff base and gaze out on the water lapping the rocky sands as you admire natural stone arches and small sea caves. You might even spot some shorebirds on the cliffs high above families enjoying a coastal adventure.

Enjoy the Stunning Stretch of Coronado Beach at Sunset

Coronado, connected to the mainland by the Silver Strand isthmus, is one of the most popular San Diego places to visit. You can travel the Coronado Bridge to get to this tiered island and get an incredible view of Downtown San Diego, the bay, and Point Loma as you crest the bridge and sweep gently into Coronado. Enjoy the shops and good eats as you walk along Orange Avenue, and then make your way to Coronado Beach for several miles of white sand beach. Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888, sits along the beach and has seen many famous faces over the years — including Marilyn Monroe in her film Some Like It Hot.

Experience the Nightlife Options in Downtown San Diego

Sightseeing in San Diego wouldn't be complete without a night out on the town. From the food culture and activities to the beautiful buildings and lively history, downtown San Diego keeps people entertained. The Gaslamp Quarter is undoubtedly the central nightlife destination, where dozens of restaurants, clubs, and bars fill the 16-block district. For more arts and culture, check out a performance at the Balboa Theatre or Civic Theatre, or feel the beat at one of the many music venues.

Don't Miss Out on Must-See Tourist Attractions

For more places to go in San Diego, take a page from the tourist book and see why the following attractions are considered "must-see."

Visit SeaWorld San Diego and Get an Adrenaline Rush on Manta Roller Coaster

SeaWorld San Diego has nonstop fun with its rides, learning adventures, and up-close encounters. The Manta and Emperor roller coasters are sure to give you thrills, while the many animal areas let you appreciate nature's beauty. You can interact with gentle mammals, learn how they behave, and find out why they're such incredibly special and vital parts of the ocean ecosystem. Grab a bite, enjoy the rides and activities, and check out the many events happening year-round at SeaWorld San Diego.

Get Up Close and Personal With Your Favorite Animals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers an immersive experience you'll never forget. In an open-space grassland dotted with trees roughly 30 miles north of San Diego's downtown core, the Safari Park reveals majestic animals like the giraffe, kangaroo, lemur, cheetah, rhino, lorikeet, and so many more. You can take part in safaris that travel through the grasslands and let you observe animals roaming freely. A journey by open-air truck to safari cart leads to different adventures. In Walkabout Australia, you can even get a hands-on experience with birds and marsupials. For an aerial view of these gorgeous animals, catch a ride on the zipline that traverses the park.

If you're an animal lover at heart, don't forget to check out the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. At the north end of the park, San Diego Zoo covers 100 acres and contains more than 650 species of animals in conservation exhibits. This world-famous zoo will educate and impress as you spend all day wandering from region to region.

Save on a Ticket to Experience San Diego in the Best Way

Ready to head off to San Diego? Get the ultimate savings when you buy a San Diego CityPASS® ticket for the top San Diego sightseeing destinations. Depending on the ticket package you choose, you can save up to off the regular price. Savings and fun in the San Diego sun? You can't ask for a better deal.

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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