Destinations USA

5 Reasons To Visit San Diego, California

San Diego Skyline

California is a beautiful and diverse county in the USA and well worth visiting. However, when people think of visiting California they often think of Los Angeles, San Francisco or Napa Valley yet San Diego is a place you can’t afford to miss if you ever visit The Golden State. Here I will tell you why.

1. Balboa Park

Balboa Park San Diego

Balboa Park is an amazing cultural urban park, the biggest in the USA which houses 17 museums, 5 gardens and the San Diego Zoo. It’s also a great place to chill out with a picnic or take a stroll whilst admiring the lovely grounds. Lovers of architecture will also really enjoy admiring the Spanish-Renaissance buildings.

I suggest allocating an entire day to explore this fantastic park. Maybe pop over the Natural History museum or take in the Air and Space museum. When you have had your fill of museums, take in the tranquillity of the Japanese gardens like we did on our visit, or stop by the world famous San Diego Zoo which houses pandas as well as other animals, more of this below.

2. Gaslamp Quarter

The Gas Lamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is a downtown area full of restaurants, bars, galleries and museums. A playground for adults it’s a cool place with the historic Victorian architecture, but is also a great place to base yourself for a family stay too, being close to the USS Midway museum and the New Children’s Museum, a contemporary art space for kids.

This area also holds many events throughout the year such as a Mardi Gras festival and the infamous San Diego Comic Con. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard, Gaslamp Quarter and can highly recommend this hotel, housed in a former bank. If you want you can go to the basement and see the old vaults!

3. San Diego Zoo

Panda At San Diego Zoo

Being one of the largest zoos in the US, the San Diego Zoo also houses one of the largest collections of rare and endangered animals in the world.

When you arrive, take the 35-minute bus tour which helps you orientate yourself to the 100-acre park, alternatively try the Skyfari aerial tram that transports you with a great aerial view from one end of the park to the other. As well as the giant pandas, giraffes, elephants, polar bears, and koalas the zoo also hosts animal shows and animal encounter programs daily. I can recommend the 4-D movie shows with excellent educational films about the animals.

4. USS Midway Museum

USS Midway San Diego

San Diego has a large naval base and is home to the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet. The most popular naval tourist attraction in town is the USS Midway museum, a decommissioned aircraft carrier that is now a museum. In active service until 1992, visitors can explore over 60 exhibits, and see 29 restored aircraft. A self-guided audio tour gives you a real insight into life on the ship.

The USS Midway museum is also is the fabulous Seaport village, with shops, bayside restaurants and beautiful views. While you are here check out the statue ‘Unconditional Surrender’, a giant statue of a WWII sailor kissing a nurse and the statue of the singer and comedian Bob Hope.

5. La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Seals And Sea Lions

La Jolla Cove is a beautiful marine rich cove that is protected for its marine life and is popular with snorkellers, divers and swimmers. If you are lucky you will see some seals and sea lions basking in the sun.

If you want to know how to tell them apart, sea lions have external ears, as well as being larger with stronger front flippers that help them get around. They have an obvious ‘bark’. Seals are smaller, with dark grey, brown or almost black skin, with webbed front flippers and get around by wriggling in the sand.

Tell me, have you been to San Diego? Would you like to visit?

5 Reasons To Visit San Diego

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  • Chris
    April 29, 2017 at 8:32 am

    You know, I included San Diego on my Great US Road Trip last year, but I’m ashamed to say we didn’t make it to any of the above!

    We did do a local wine tour and enjoy a boozy Super Bowl party, but I’m gutted that we didn’t at least make it to the Gaslamp Quarter.

    Next time!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 30, 2017 at 8:28 am

      We really enjoyed San Diego and could have spent more time there ourselves. It looks a really nice place to live.

  • Gokul Raj
    April 29, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I will go for the USS MIdway Museum. I have a thing for military stuff. 😀 So this is where I will start.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 30, 2017 at 8:29 am

      There is plenty to see if you are into military history.

  • Christina Pfeiffer
    April 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    San Diego looks a bit like San Francisco. They’re both beautiful cities in the USA. I’ve heard a lot about San Diego Zoo and love pandas. The sea lions and seals on the beach look like they have a great life!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 30, 2017 at 8:30 am

      We had to go to the Zoo, especially after watching ‘Anchorman’

  • Nisha
    April 30, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Grate photos. For me one reason is enough. I would just love to see those sea lions basking on the beach and may be bask with them too.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 30, 2017 at 8:31 am

      We saw lots of wildlife on the beaches not only in San Diego but during our whole trip down the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • Dannielle
    April 30, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I really want to do a West Coast road trip but to be honest, SD wasn’t one of my must-visit stops. I guess that’s cos i didn’t know much about it, but that’s changed now!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 30, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      We weren’t sure about visiting San Diego either but we were really glad we did visit. We loved it.

  • Amelie
    May 1, 2017 at 7:21 am

    I went to San Diego when I was 23 for what I thought would be a few weeks… And I stayed 6 months LOL! I’ve returned a few times since. I truly love SD! La Jolla is definitely one of my favorite areas!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 1, 2017 at 7:53 am

      We didn’t know what to expect as it is not as talked about as LA. Really glad we went and like you, we loved it.

  • Megan Jerrard
    May 2, 2017 at 12:57 am

    We loved San Diego – the best part of our recent California road trip, we definitely saved the best for last!! La Jolla Cove was my favorite – though man you could smell the seals before you saw them :D!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 2, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Stinky seals, but they probably find the smell of ‘Boss Bottled’ quite offensive.
      San Diego felt like a wonderful place to live.

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    May 3, 2017 at 3:16 am

    California one of the most visited cities in the USA. But sometimes they tend to visit the popular area like Los Angeles, San Francisco or Napa Valley. That they tend to forget to drop and check out San Diego. Great that you were able to point out places to check out in that area.But can’t help but fall in love with your La Jolla Cove picture. Will be including that one future trip to San Diego.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 3, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      We nearly didn’t go but are really glad we did, we loved the city.

  • Janna
    May 3, 2017 at 3:36 am

    I used to live in California and frequently visited San Diego. Your right about everything on this list especially La jolla cove. I love that place! Balboa Park has become too crowded for me but it’s still a nice place to visit.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 3, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      We had a good time at the park but I understand how it can get busy on weekends and holidays.

  • Trisha Velarmino
    May 3, 2017 at 5:02 am

    The Midway Museum is very interesting to me as I was raised in a naval base way back home. Balboa Park looks like a must, too!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      The museum was very interesting and it’s right on the main waterfront area which is easy to get to.