Top San Diego Tourist Attractions

san diego zoo panda

When it comes to planning a family vacation, you’ll find that no destination beats San Diego for ideal weather, quality of attractions, and variety of things to do. Seventy miles of pristine beaches, an average year-round temperature of 70.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and fun recreational activities divided among the land and the water make this popular tourist destination a place you’ll want to come back to again and again.

With a San Diego attractions pass, nearly 50 top San Diego attractions are available for you to explore at your leisure. Depending on your vacationing preferences and how much time you have available, you can pick your favorite attractions or try to see them all! Either way, there’s no need to decide ahead of time – that’s what makes a San Diego attractions pass so flexible. Of course, the discounted admission prices and skip-the-line perks don’t hurt either.

On Land

San Diego is home to the nation’s largest urban cultural green space, Balboa Park. Its major attractions include fifteen museums, world-renowned performing arts centers, beautiful gardens, outdoor stages, a giant carousel, and much more!

Perhaps the most famous Balboa Park attraction is the San Diego Zoo, one of the nation’s largest zoos that is home to 3,700 animals. Giant pandas, gorillas, kangaroos, macaws, and alligators are among the 800+ species you’ll see here. One of the best aspects of the Zoo is that it’s also a leader in conservation efforts and research. There’s lots to be learned while visiting these wild critters that span the gamut of the animal kingdoms.

Go San Diego Card AttractionsWithout leaving Balboa Park, you’ll also find the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Fleet Science Center, the Museum of Man, the Japanese Friendship Garden, and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum – all of which are available on a San Diego attractions pass.

For other cool landlocked attractions, check out the Gaslamp Quarter, explore Coronado, visit one of the many historic missions, or take the kids to LEGOLAND California for an imaginative journey through a world dedicated to everyone’s favorite colored building blocks.

At Sea

San Diego Harbor Tour Ship

Set sail with a San Diego Harbor Tour.

You can’t fully experience San Diego without spending some time on the water. After all, those 70 miles of beaches mean there’s a whole lot of coast in this SoCal city. A San Diego Harbor Tour is the best way for San Diego first-timers to see the beautiful city and the Bay from the water. The one-hour narrated tour also provides insight into San Diego’s history, as well as some of the famous sites you’ll pass along the way. Sit on the upper deck and keep an eye out for marine wildlife, like the seals and sea lions that lounge on Pier 39.
If you’d like to get in the water (and you’ll want to in the summertime!), head to picturesque La Jolla Cove and rent a kayak through La Jolla Bike and Kayak Rentals. The protected waters of the Cove are a great place to try sea kayaking (and see lots of colorful fish), and life guards staff the beach every day of the year until sunset.

More Land & Sea Excursions

There’s so much to do and see in San Diego – building your itinerary will likely be both very fun and very difficult. Visit Smart Destinations to see all 46 San Diego attractions and start imagining your ideal vacation today. Before you know it, you’ll be relaxing in sunny San Diego without a care in the world.

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