Top 5 Things to Do in San Diego

 As a born and raised east coast girl, I love when I get the chance to go to the western USA. It offers different food, culture, and experiences. This late July, I was able to take escape Maryland and head to San Diego for a summer vacation! Read more for my top recommendations and advice for visiting sunny San Diego.

Top 5 Things to Do in San Diego

Matthew 11:28 NIV Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Top 5 Recommendations of Excursions (ranked):

#1: The Zoo – The San Diego Zoo is my #1 must-see thing in San Diego. It makes for a great day of wandering and observing. I’d never seen koalas before, so they were my absolute favorite. Fun fact: Koalas sleep for about 20 hours a day.

#2: The Coastal Walk, La Jolla Cove – La Jolla Cove is breathtaking. I’m used to looking at the ocean from a straight and flat beach. The elevation and curves in the land at La Jolla Cove add dimension to the Oceanview. This is a very popular place for to kayakers see seals and sea lions. The whole area is beautiful, but I recommend taking a walk away from the crowds on the Coastal Walk.

#3: Balboa Park Gardens – Balboa Park has many gardens where you are able to wander. Dessert garden, an Alcazar garden, a rose garden, and a palm tree canyon, which is not a garden but is reminiscent. These are great places to go for a stroll and take in the beauty. Dessert gardens are always so fun to me because they don't grow where I am from.

#5 Tacos at El Gordo [ Pacific Beach] – Being so close to Mexico, I was definitely looking forward to having a good taco in San Diego. I tried a few tacos in San Diego, but Tacos El Gordo was my favorite! I tried the carne asado and the meat was very flavorful and not like any taco I’d ever tried before. Also, eating a taco at the beach is just good vibe.

Other Tips and Notes:

  1. Pack A Sweater: The days are sunny in San Diego, so 72 degrees there feels hotter than 72 degrees in DC. Evenings, especially by the beach, may get cold though so pack a sweater! As far as jeans go, I went to a night outdoor concert and that was the only time jeans were appropriate.

  2. We stayed at the Hilton, Mission Valley and I loved this location. We were right in the middle of all the places that we planned to visit. There were also stores and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, including Target, and In & Out Burger.

  3. We used Uber and Lyft to get around and it worked out very well. However, on the weekend, the wait times were longer.

  4. Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater – I’m a sucker for outdoor music. Cal Coast is the prettiest outdoor venue I’ve visited. It is located on the campus of San Diego University and has beautiful Spanish architecture. They get a lot of popular artists, so check out who will be there during your visit. (We went to see Maverick City Music)

  5. Honorable Mentions go to the USS Ship Downtown. This is a very visited Navy aircraft carrier. It is a great piece of history for all of the histories buffs out there.

  6. Old Town - I heard that the old town was touristy, so I was not pressed to go. I did end up visiting and though it was touristy, I liked it! They had beautiful handmade souvenirs.