Couples who travel to San Diego for the wedding ceremony of their dreams also bring many family members and friends who are visiting San Diego for the first time! The following is a list of the many attractions that San Diego offers.
Here are some things to do when you visit…
World Famous San Diego Zoo
Need I say more – a must see even if you don’t like zoos. Located at the Northeast end of Balboa Park near the carousel. Parking is free: 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 619.231.1515. http://www.sandiegozoo.org
Whales, dolphins, and a walrus show. The pearl divers may be gone (bummer), but the spirit of Shamu lives on… Located off Interstate 5 on Sea World Drive in Mission Bay. 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, CA 92109 800.25-SHAMU (800-257-4268). http://www.seaworld.com
Hours of free entertainment, leisurely strolling and window-shopping. Enjoy a laid-back day of hanging out in the grass and watching the many passing yachts and ships on picturesque San Diego Bay, or take in the sights from one of the many bay-view eateries. Open daily 10am-9pm. http://www.seaportvillage.com
Conveniently located downtown on San Diego Bay on West Harbor Drive between Kettner and Pacific Coast Highway. A quarter-mile boardwalk connects with the Hyatt, Marriott Hotel & Marina and the Convention Center.
Roam, roam, roam, and marvel at the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The nation’s largest urban cultural park is home to 15 museums, performing arts venues, beautiful gardens, and the World Famous San Diego Zoo (not free).
Spreckels Organ Pavillion: Enjoy free organ concerts at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Organ Pavillion features one of world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, a San Diego landmark since 1914, where organists play traditional favorites, waltzes and show tunes on enormous 32-foot pipes. http://www.balboapark.org
Witness the living legacy of San Diego history. Guests are also invited to wander free through Old Town’s historic buildings, including the blacksmith shop, Seeley Stables, Stewart House, Estudillo House and the oldest schoolhouse in San Diego. You can also visit the haunted Whaley House for a small fee. .http://www.oldtownsandiego.org
Other Things to Do in San Diego:
Downtown and Seaport Village and the Embarcadero/Harbor Island
Harbor Cruise / Whale Watching
San Diego Maritime Museum – the Star of India
Quiet walk/run along the bay of Harbor and/or Shelter Islands
Hotel Del Coronado
Explore and sun yourself at the world famous hotel that inspired the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, where Edward VIII met Wallis Simpson, and was the backdrop for ‘Some Like it Hot’ starring Marilyn Monroe…
Flower Fields Ranunculus Tours
Every year from early March to early May, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch blossom into a spectacular sea of brightly colored ranunculus flowers. Visitors can view and tour the fields in Carlsbad. Open to the public seven days a week, 9am to 6pm. Take Interstate 5 to Palomar Airport Road Exit. Head east one block and turn left on Paseo Del Norte. Make a right into the first driveway http://www.theflowerfields.com
Cow Parade La Jolla
Fallbrook Avocado Festival (Spring)
Since the 1960s, tens of thousands of avocado lovers converge in Fallbrook, located in San Diego’s North County to sample avocados, check-out the crazy cooking contest entries, buy funky avocado-themed gifts and enjoy bands, live entertainment and friendly beer gardens.
Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, Horton Plaza
San Diego offers state-of-the-art casinos, many of which have become full service resorts. Popular outlet centers, luxury spas, golf courses and museums, along with showrooms and live entertainment facilities, are among the other attractions and activities that bring visitors to San Diego’s gaming centers. There are 8 casinos located throughout the region, all within a 30 to 45-minute drive from downtown San Diego. Please contact the specific casino you are interested in. http://www.sandiego.org/article/Visitors/583
FREE Things to Do in San Diego
Sun and Surf
Head to San Diego’s many beaches, all free to the public, to swim, body surf or hang-ten. Play in the sand, collect seashells or just bask in the sun.
Visit La Jolla Cove and see the magnificent sunset on the ocean. La Jolla Cove is one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world.
Fly a kite along the grassy field in the Tecolote Shores of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park. Here, away from trees and overhead wires, friends and family gather to launch colorful kites into the bay breezes.
Bike or jog along Mission Bay Park’s many trails. Joggers and walkers share more than 20 miles of scenic running paths that wind through sunlight and shade near the shoreline and feature workout courses at planned stations along the route.
Take a scenic, one-hour drive to Mt. Laguna. Once there, hop out for an invigorating hike and enjoy the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines.
Visit Mission Trails Regional Park to explore the cultural, historical and recreational aspects of San Diego. Stop at the Visitor’s Center and learn about the wonders of nature and the people who once lived on the land. Or, roam through the park’s 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego’s shores and see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Cove offers some of the clearest waters on the California coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserves to explore.
Gather family, friends and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of the beaches in San Diego County, including Coronado Beach, La Jolla Shores and Mission Beach.
Stroll through the historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego and view the renovated turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture, home to boutiques, art galleries, specialty shops, restaurants, and more.
Asti-Italian gets raves. Check it out: 728 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 232-8844 Monday – Thursday 11 am -11 pm Friday & Saturday 11 am -12 pm Sunday Brunch 10:30 to 3:30 pm Dinner till 11:00 pm.
Rock Bottom Brewery Gaslamp Quarter. Best of local microbrews! And really good food. 401G Street, San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 231-7000: Sun – Wed: 11:30am – midnight. Thur – Sat: 11:30am – 2am.
Donovan’s Steak and Chop House offers great formal dining at 570 K St. San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 237-9700.
Step back in time with a stop in Julian, a century-old gold mining town in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Pick up a free map at the Chamber of Commerce for a self-guided walking tour of the area’s historic sites and later enjoy a slice of homemade apple pie at Mom’s- a Julian specialty!
The Olympic Experience. Visit the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista for a free tour of the 150-acre facility, including training fields and tracks, athlete dorms and the Otay Lake Reservoir. Tours are offered daily from the Copley Visitor Center between 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m-3 p.m. on Sunday.
Cross the border into colorful and exciting Tijuana, Mexico. Entrance is free, the people are friendly, and the shops offer unique gifts and apparel as well as great window-shopping.
Explore the tide pools in Point Loma at low tide and get up close and personal with flowery anemones, scampering shore crabs, elusive octopus, spongy deadman’s fingers and many other magnificent sea creatures.
View from the Top
Drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego, including the gently curving La Jolla coastline and Mission Bay. Spectacular views of San Diego’s East County communities also await guests at the top of Mt. Helix.
The Big Bay
San Diego’s “largest attraction.” With 27 miles of waterfront featuring bayside parks, marinas, hundreds of shops and restaurants, and miles of promenades and bikeways, the Big Bay appeals to all ages and interests.
Other Things To Note:
Driving with cell phones
YOU CANNOT TALK ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE OR TEXT MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING. It is against the law, punishable by a $20-$50 fine and it is an offense for which the police can pull you over. You CAN, however, use any hands-free device to talk.
The legal drinking age in California is 21. There are liquor stores, however, alcoholic beverages are also sold in grocery stores.
For more information visit: http://www.sandiego.org/nav/Visitors