Planning to visit San Diego?
If you’re worried you’ll only find sunny beaches and the usual high rise of skyscrapers, think again. Home to over 1.4 million people and 34.9 million annual visitors, there’s a lot to see and do in the city.
It’s home to historical architecture dating back to the Spanish conquest. The weather down there is the most comfortable you’ll experience in the whole country too.
Don’t waste your time and money wandering around with no direction. To help you craft the perfect itinerary, here are 9 awesome things to do in downtown San Diego.
The Spanish Village
Visiting the Spanish Village is among the best things to do in downtown San Diego. You’ll find it in Balboa Park, right between the Natural History Museum and the Zoo. It’s home to the works of over 200 artists and 37 studios and galleries.
It started back in 1935. Back then it was an artist colony and haven for the California Pacific International Exposition. Since then the US military used it during World War II and afterward went back into the hands of native artists.
USS Midway Museum
This aircraft carrier has the honor of being the longest-serving ship of its kind in history, serving the US Navy for over 50 years. When it first launched in 1945, it was also the largest ship in the world.
The ship has gone through a long history of war until its decommissioning in 1992. It is now a permanent resident of downtown San Diego.
Visitors can go on self-guided tours through the living quarters, flight control towers, the flight control deck, and more. The ship is popular enough that it made its way into popular shows like The Bachelor and American Idol.
If you want a luxury vacation then you have to go to Italy. If you want a similar experience while exploring other things to do in downtown San Diego, you can do so in Little Italy.
Little Italy was once an Italian neighborhood and fishing village. This is the best place to eat because of the numerous Italian restaurants and it’s also home to several art galleries.
San Diego Zoo
YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim and his companion Yakov Lapitsky filmed the media site’s first video here. It’s also the zoo where the animals from the Madagascar films came from before they went on their wild adventures.
The zoo is popular for being one of the first establishments of its kind to feature cage-less and open-air exhibits. This emulates the natural habitat the animals came from.
If you’re looking for a Giant Panda, this is the zoo to go to. This zoo is one of the few places where they managed to breed and maintain healthy members of the species.
The Gaslamp Quarter
This is right in the center of downtown San Diego and is a historical site that goes on for 16 and a half blocks. If you’re looking for fun nightlife activities and metropolitan hot spots, this is where you need to go first.
It is home to 94 historic buildings. Many of these originated during the Victorian Era and are still open to this day. These historic sites now find new functions as restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shops.
People looking for San Diego homes for sale often do so because they want to live close to this particular corner. San Diego can be one fun place to relocate to and the Gaslamp Quarter is a great example why.
You can’t say you tried all the things to do in downtown San Diego until you explored every nook and cranny of Balboa Park.
This massive place covers 1,200 acres of land and is home to 15 attractions and popular venues, 16 museums, and 17 gardens. Of the numerous museums, the highlights include the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Museum of Man, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
Some of the places included here, such as the zoo and Spanish Village, are within the park’s perimeter.
California Candle Gallery
A rare and unique store, the California Candle Gallery can craft fresh and colorful candles right before your eyes.
The company uses a special, patented process that helps them cut through several layers of colored candle wax. This lets them cut and mold candles into any image.
If you’re looking for a great souvenir, then this is the shop to look for. You can find it in the heart of the next highlight, Seaport Village.
Are you looking for live music and fine dining with a grand view of the Pacific Ocean?
With over 14 acres of top-of-the-line establishments, the Seaport Village is the place to go for fine dining and a weekend of shopping. You’ll also get to walk down the waterfront boardwalk and visit a hand-painted carousel dating from 1895.
This is also the recommended spot to visit for romantic dinners and relaxing evenings. If the Gaslamp Quarter is too noisy for your tastes, this can be the best alternative for a soothing vacation.
Do you want to enjoy the different things to do in downtown San Diego but also aim to stay thrifty during your travels? One affordable but nevertheless enjoyable experience is to go whale watching.
This activity lets you and others ride out to the open ocean for three and a half hours. The trip alone is enough to let you relax and enjoy the coastline view.
During the excursion, you may catch a close-up view of sea lions, dolphins, and the majestic grey whales. They often appear during the winter season, which is when they migrate from Alaska down to Baja California.
Stay Thrifty Enjoying the Things to Do in Downtown San Diego
Looking for something a little more casual, perhaps? Do you want to find the best camping grounds or do you need tips to save money while exploring San Diego?
We can help you with all those details and more. Our goal is to help you enjoy life while staying thrifty.
Have further questions about the main tourist spots in San Diego? Looking for other thrifty tips and tricks? Feel free to contact us now and we’ll do our best to answer any and all your inquiries.