top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichelle Gardner

Fun things to do in San Diego

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

San Diego is SUCH a beautiful city with so much to do ...if it weren't so darn expensive I'd love to live there.

Heck! It may still happen someday, who knows?

I traveled with my mom and stepdad to visit some of his family (daughter, son-in-law and grandkids) that live there. The trip had a little bit of a rocky start though.

Backstory: My best friend is a flight attendant, so I was flying on standby for the flight there. For those of you who aren't familiar, it's basically when you get a free/cheap ticket from someone who works with one of the airlines. But you aren't assigned seats until after every other paying passenger has been assigned their seats. If the plane is full ...well you're out of luck and you have to wait for another plane.

That's what happened on this trip. I almost cried had been a while since I had flown by myself and my anxiety still wasn't fully under control. I was NOT prepared for this!!

Just to throw some icing on this cupcake ...I got called for the middle seat. But I actually ended up sitting in the middle of two really cool people. We talked about life and traveling the entire flight.

In the end we all made it safely (and sanely) to beautiful San Diego.

We were only there for a few days and the places that we visited have so many options within them so we were able to pack our days full of so much fun.

Here's some of the cool things that we found in San Diego.

I'm all about saving on trips where you can, so if you're planning on heading out to explore San Diego, I'd really recommend using the Go San Diego Card. It'll give free admission to a lot of these places that I'll mention.

I've started using the cards for most of the places that I visit and they're so great!

1. Beach/Ocean

To most people, this may seem like a big DUHHH!

But in Oregon's rare that we get the chance to swim in the ocean AND if we do generally we have to wait until our feet go numb before we dive in.

The first thing that my mom did when we got into San Diego was drive down to this little beach area across from where we were staying.

She said "put your feet in the water".

I had soooo much apprehension about walking in. But I stood there, held my breath and let those light San Diego waves wash over my feet.

Any Oregonian who has been to the ocean would know what I'm talking about. But this was like bath water.

And that's when it hit me ...we're not in Oregon anymore!!

2. Balboa Park

All around Balboa Park is super awesome but it's also pretty large and has so much to offer

...just make sure to wear comfy shoes if you plan on exploring a bit.

Since there's so much to Balboa Park, I'll break it down in the next categories and here's a link to a multi-day park pass if you're into saving some money.

Hint: On Fridays Balboa Park has food trucks ...which host AMAZING food selections!!


Music and theater is one of the big attractions at Balboa Park. There's even live music that you can catch a lot of the times from local musicians throughout the park.

We weren't able to see any of the events at the coliseum, but we did meet a really neat saxophonist and of course showed our support. We still have the CD that we bought.

And of course took some cute "not posed" pictures while we visited the Coliseum.


There seems to be some museum or garden area that'd be interesting for just about everybody ...and if you want to visit more than one, I'd recommend investing in an Explorer Pass or again you can use the Go San Diego Card for free entries.

There are some really cool museum options at Balboa Park (16 to be exact) and most of the buildings are just as great to check out.

Then there's the neat gardens that you can walk around. Some are free and others are paid admission ...but they're all beautiful.

A little hand on the hips action for ya it girls!!

Moreton Bay Fig Tree

Woah baby, talk about huge!!

This Moreton Bay Fig Tree is actually just outside the gates of the garden ...that's why you can see the parking lot behind.

But it's definitely picture worthy.

3. Sea World/Zoo

Very close to Balboa Park, there is Sea World. We were only able to visit one place on this trip (maybe next time!), so we chose Sea World because it had a lot to offer ...but I've heard the zoo is fantastic so I'd put it on the list.

If you're staying for a little bit and want a little extra bang for your buck try out the Go San Diego Card from Groupon. It'll save you some money on admissions ...and I'm all about saving a buck or two.


Just to note a really cool part of Sea World is the large interactive section can even touch big manta rays.

While we were there we also saw the Killer Whale show which was so cool. We stayed up at the top because I really didn't want to get drenched like the people in front. And believe me if you sit in front you will get SOAKED from head to toe.

Also, while you're at Sea World, if you want an incredible experience of a lifetime swim with the dolphins. Even though you have to walk through the park in a super formfitting wet suit while everyone stares won't regret it!!

I've always been fascinated with dolphins, but I've never truly realized how smart they actually are until we got up close and personal on this trip.

We got the chance to ride along with the dolphins which is just an unbelievable experience. Dolphins are so powerful.

I even got a little one-on-one dance sesh with our girl ...she had better moves than I did.


Last but certainly not least, if rides are you're thing then there's some less to more thrilling ones to choose from at Sea World.

My family told me that this roller coaster was INTENSE but tons of fun for the thrill seekers. Now, I can't handle those whirly twirly rides anymore, so the Skytower was very peaceful and right up my alley.

We were actually just walking out of the place and noticed the Skytower.

If you take the ride close to the end of your visit at Sea World (at dusk) then you could catch some stunning views.

3. Port of San Diego

We walked down the San Diego port which is just filled with little shops to purchase souvenirs and places to eat by the waterfront.

There's tons of attractions and museums that they offer, I wouldn't even know where to begin but we were able to see a few on our trip there.

USS Midway

Along the harbor is the USS Midway/Museum at the Navy Pier which

is an incredibly large ship that even just looking at it is worthwhile. If you want to actually explore the ship and learn more then you can visit the museum.

It's included in the Go San Diego Card or you can get a few bucks off admission with the amazing Groupon deal.

Famous Kiss

This is the statue of the famous kiss of the sailor returning to port.

If you do have a special someone, it's a well-known picture to pose while kissing in front of the statue

...I didn't have anyone to kiss this trip (insert sad face).

San Diego is a fun, beautiful and perfectly weathered city that I think EVERYONE should visit. There's obviously tons more than what we were able to do with our short trip.

But these are definitely the places that I'd recommend visiting while you're there!

Leave a comment below about some fun things that you recommend in San Diego.

5 views0 comments


bottom of page