San Diego is well known for its perfect weather, surf culture and 70 miles of gorgeous beaches, but there is so much more to “America’s Finest City” than the beautiful Pacific Coast scenery. From the links of Torrey Pines, to the historic Star of India ship, to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion belting tunes every Sunday evening, the city offers countless unique outings. Embrace San Diego’s laid-back coastal vibe with a stroll through the Balboa Park Gardens, and then stop by one of the city’s waterfront eateries for fresh fish tacos. Visiting with the kids? Between LEGOLAND® and the world-famous zoo, you’ll find plenty of unforgettable attractions for the entire family.
REASONS TO GO:
- Beaches: San Diego’s coast draws surfers, swimmers and sunbathers during the warm summers, and in January, visitors enjoy whale-watching cruises that follow the migrating gray whales on their journey south.
- Neighborhoods: San Diego has more than 100 distinct neighborhoods, providing you with pockets of unique sights. You can visit Normal Heights for free music at the Adams Avenue Street Fair, Rancho Bernardo for wine tastings at Southern California’s oldest winery, and Mission Hill for a foodie haven.
- Amusing Animals: Get an extensive, interactive look at marine and animal wildlife by planning a daytrip to SeaWorld or the San Diego Zoo. Be sure to visit the zoo earlier in the day, before many of the animals take their afternoon naps.
- Sports: San Diego is the proud home of the San Diego Chargers football team and the San Diego Padres baseball team. But did you know the city is also a nationally recognized golf destination? The 85-plus championship golf courses include tracks designed by Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer and William Bell.
- Craft Beer: Considered one of the best beer cities in the world and arguably America’s “beer capital,” San Diego is home to famous breweries such as Stone, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey and Green Flash. Join a beer tour to sample innovative brews, or stop into a brewpub for the perfect food and beer pairing.
- Nightlife: The Gaslamp Quarter’s penchant for exhilarating, holiday street festivals (particularly Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day) extends to hosting a lively nightlife after hours. Home to more than 100 different restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment spots, this district has everything you need for a fun night.
WHEN TO GO:
San Diego offers mild, sunny weather year-round, with temperatures averaging in the 50s during January and up to the 70s in August. The city’s unique topography also create microclimates, meaning the shore might be cloudy, but inland neighborhoods only five miles away enjoy clear skies.
Memorial Day through Labor Day is the most popular time to visit San Diego—kids are out of school, and hordes of international pop culture enthusiasts descend on the city for San Diego Comic-Con.
To avoid the crowds, plan your visit during the school year, and while winters are cooler and wetter, budget-savvy travelers often find great deals for accommodations and entertainment from December to March.
Bonfires are allowed on the beaches but only in designated fire pits during the summer. For a memorable conclusion to your day, pack a picnic and cozy blankets and head out early to a local beach like Tourmaline to claim your pit. You’ll never forget your starlit blaze and the sound of the waves.