Top 25 San Diego Attractions


San Diego is a mod­ern Amer­i­can city locat­ed in Cal­i­for­nia on the Pacif­ic coast. It attracts tourists with beach­es, muse­ums and parks.

san diego

Things to do in San Diego

Today’s San Diego is a major indus­tri­al cen­ter with a devel­oped tourist indus­try. Peo­ple come here to see the pier, the embank­ment, admire mod­ern archi­tec­ture and muse­ums.

San Diego is a city of col­or­ful hol­i­days:

  • In mid-Sep­tem­ber, the beer fes­ti­val invites guests. The pro­gram includes a tast­ing of the drink, mass cel­e­bra­tions, a fair, con­certs by local musi­cians and fire­works.
  • In the sum­mer, the inter­na­tion­al com­ic book fes­ti­val starts. For four days, an exhi­bi­tion of comics, man­ga, col­lectible toys and card games takes place on the streets, in parks and squares. Vis­i­tors dis­cuss web comics, new TV series, movies, meet actors, buy sou­venirs.
  • On Thanks­giv­ing Day in San Diego they orga­nize a jazz fes­ti­val. The main venues play high-qual­i­ty music per­formed by well-known and emerg­ing musi­cians. Rag­time, rock­a­bil­ly, dix­ieland, tra­di­tion­al jazz sound here, and a real extrav­a­gan­za of swing dances unfolds.

The coast of the Pacif­ic Ocean attracts lovers of resort hol­i­days. Beach­es with­in the city are equipped with sun loungers, chang­ing rooms, show­ers. Amuse­ments, vol­ley­ball courts, pools for kids are installed on the shore.

The swim­ming sea­son starts from May and lasts until mid-August. The rest of the time the water is cold and suit­able only for extreme sports.

San Diego offers a lot of enter­tain­ment for fam­i­lies with chil­dren: walks in parks, attrac­tions, inter­est­ing excur­sions. A storm of emo­tions will cause a zoo and an aquar­i­um. Young trav­el­ers will get acquaint­ed with ani­mals from dif­fer­ent coun­tries, watch per­for­mances with killer whales and dol­phins.

Interesting places

Downtown San Diego


In the cen­ter of San Diego, there are blocks and streets where the main finan­cial and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions are locat­ed. Lux­u­ri­ous man­sions, sky­scrap­ers and hotels make a last­ing impres­sion on tourists. Shop­ping cen­ters with fash­ion stores, cin­e­mas, and exhi­bi­tions are very pop­u­lar. The busi­ness dis­trict hous­es a sym­pho­ny and opera house, a con­fer­ence hall, a town hall, a post office and a cour­t­house.

Old city

old city

The old­est area of ​​the city, which appeared on the site of the found­ing of San Diego, is includ­ed in the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places. Its impor­tant attrac­tion is the state park, built up with hous­es from 1820–1870. An old Catholic school, a sta­ble, the first news­pa­per office, a pipe and cig­ar shop, and a forge have been pre­served here.

The local park reg­u­lar­ly hosts guid­ed tours and exhi­bi­tions ded­i­cat­ed to famous per­son­al­i­ties of San Diego. In the Old City, there are many Mex­i­can restau­rants, antique shops, hotels designed for peo­ple with dif­fer­ent incomes.



On the shore of the bay, there is an embank­ment with a pier, along which cruise ships and fer­ries moor. Walk­ing here, you can see the stat­ue “Sailor with a sailor”, a mon­u­ment to Vice Admi­ral Clifton Spragg, a sculp­tur­al com­po­si­tion “Bob Hope speaks to vet­er­ans.”

The embank­ment is a favorite place for tourists and cit­i­zens. Small cafes, sou­venir stalls, bench­es are equipped near the water. The Mar­itime Muse­um is open on the pier, pre­sent­ing a col­lec­tion of sail­boats, sub­marines and ships.

Gaslamp Quarter

kvartal gasovih fonarei

A hun­dred years ago, the Gaslamp Quar­ter was a shady neigh­bor­hood with broth­els and broth­els. Today it is the enter­tain­ment and nightlife cen­ter of San Diego, famous for its clubs, dis­cos and bars. His­tor­i­cal streets are paved with stone slabs. The roads are lined with 19th-cen­tu­ry hous­es and exquis­ite gas lanterns. Restau­rants, art gal­leries, exhi­bi­tions of con­tem­po­rary art work in beau­ti­ful man­sions.

El Prado

el prado

El Pra­do Street, cross­ing the city cen­ter, was formed at the begin­ning of the last cen­tu­ry. There are build­ings styl­ized under the Span­ish-colo­nial peri­od, exhi­bi­tions and sou­venir shops. In the imme­di­ate vicin­i­ty are the Cabril­lo bridge, the Alcazar gar­den, the organ pavil­ion, the muse­ums of art and nat­ur­al his­to­ry. A walk along El Pra­do allows you to plunge into the his­tor­i­cal past of San Diego and is includ­ed in the manda­to­ry excur­sion pro­gram of tourists.

architectural landmarks

casa de estudillo

casa de estudilio

The house, built by Span­ish set­tlers in 1827, is a Cal­i­for­nia Nation­al His­toric Land­mark. A mag­nif­i­cent exam­ple of Span­ish archi­tec­ture, it has a façade once topped with a dome and two wings. The rooms are arranged in series and con­nect­ed by an exter­nal cor­ri­dor.

The Span­ish estate gained pop­u­lar­i­ty at the end of the last cen­tu­ry after the release of the nov­el Ramona, which describes life in Cal­i­for­nia and the same estate. Today, the Casa de Estudil­lo hous­es a muse­um illus­trat­ing the life of the Span­ish planters.

Johnson House


There is a small wood­en house in Old Town, brought to San Diego by ship in 1870. It belonged to the own­er of the Col­orado Steamship Com­pa­ny, Cap­tain George Alon­zo John­son. When the entre­pre­neur went bank­rupt and lost his ranch, his fam­i­ly moved into this house and lived here for a long time. Today, the build­ing has been recon­struct­ed and is on the bal­ance of the city. Inside, the inte­ri­or of a cen­tu­ry ago has been pre­served and there is a sou­venir shop.

Hotel Cosmopolitan

cosmopolitan hotel

A large two-sto­ry build­ing in the Span­ish colo­nial style was erect­ed with­in the Old Town in 1829. For sev­er­al years it had a thriv­ing hotel that rent­ed rooms to trav­el­ers, but after the advent of the rail­way, there were few cus­tomers — the enter­prise fell into decay.

The man­sion changed hands sev­er­al times. In 2010, the own­er equipped it with a new hotel and a Mex­i­can restau­rant. The Cos­mopoli­tan Hotel is fur­nished in Span­ish style. It is said that the friend­ly ghost of the Lady in Red lives here.

Cabrillo Bridge

most cabrilio

The arch bridge between the res­i­den­tial area of ​​the city and Bal­boa Park was built in 1914. It was opened by Franklin D. Roo­sevelt, then Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of the Navy. It was he who made the first auto­mo­bile tran­si­tion from one side to the oth­er.

The struc­ture of iron, con­crete and wood is 140 meters long and 37 meters high and is intend­ed for pedes­tri­ans and vehi­cles. From the Cabril­lo Bridge, you can see a gor­geous panora­ma of the green hills and the cen­tral streets of San Diego.

San Diego Coronado Bridge

most san diego coronado

The five-lane bridge con­nect­ing San Diego to Coro­n­a­do Island opened to traf­fic in 1969. The struc­ture of iron and con­crete fea­tures grace­ful curves and stretch­es for 3.4 km in length. In 1970, the design received a state award as the longest span bridge in Amer­i­ca.

The sup­port­ing columns are paint­ed with Mex­i­can-style paint­ings by local artists. In the evenings, the bridge is illu­mi­nat­ed. LED light­ing uses elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­at­ed by wind tur­bines.


St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

cerkov st nikolaya

The tem­ple, found­ed in the first half of the last cen­tu­ry by the Russ­ian com­mu­ni­ty, is the cen­ter of Ortho­doxy in San Diego. A small sin­gle-domed church is lined with dec­o­ra­tive tiles. Above the main entrance is a mas­sive wood­en cross. The inte­ri­or spaces are filled with light com­ing through the large arched win­dows. Numer­ous icons hang on the walls.

San Diego Temple


In 1993, a tem­ple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints opened in the city. The white majes­tic build­ing in the Goth­ic style has two tall tow­ers. Each of them is dec­o­rat­ed with four small spiers. At the top of the east tow­er is a stat­ue of the Angel Moroni, a sym­bol of the Lat­ter Day Saint move­ment. The west­ern and east­ern facades are dec­o­rat­ed with open­work stained-glass win­dows. At dusk, the tem­ple is illu­mi­nat­ed and looks extra­or­di­nar­i­ly beau­ti­ful.

Mission San Diego de Alcala

missia san diego

The mis­sion­ary basil­i­ca in hon­or of the Catholic Saint Diego was found­ed by a Span­ish monk and nav­i­ga­tor in 1769. It was intend­ed for the con­ver­sion of pagans to the Chris­t­ian faith and was the first on the coast. Dur­ing numer­ous wars, the build­ing was destroyed. Restora­tion began at the begin­ning of the last cen­tu­ry.

Now the mis­sion serves as the parish Catholic church of the city. Its facade is dec­o­rat­ed with five large bells — their ring­ing sounds pow­er­ful­ly dur­ing reli­gious ser­vices and solemn events.


Aircraft carrier Midway


The longest US air­craft car­ri­er of the last cen­tu­ry, Mid­way, is moored at the embank­ment pier. Now it is a muse­um ship hous­ing a col­lec­tion of mil­i­tary air­craft. On the tour, tourists inspect the engine room, cab­ins, gal­ley, pilot train­ing rooms. Those who wish go on board the air­craft and use the flight sim­u­la­tor. All vis­i­tors are giv­en an audio guide that con­tains sto­ries told by Mid­way sailors.

Museum of Man

musei cheloveka

The Anthro­po­log­i­cal Muse­um of San Diego has an inter­est­ing col­lec­tion that sheds light on the pre-Columbian era of West­ern Amer­i­ca. The exhibits tell about the cul­ture of Native Amer­i­cans.

Tourists are shown the gold­en dish­es of the king of the Incas, clay pots, weapons, nation­al clothes. Chil­dren-ori­ent­ed exhi­bi­tions show­case folk art, the beliefs of ancient peo­ple and their atti­tude towards ani­mals. An Egypt­ian expo­si­tion is exhib­it­ed in a sep­a­rate room, where mum­mies, death masks, jew­el­ry and ancient Egypt­ian cos­tumes are kept.

Museum of Natural History

musei estestvennoi istorii

The old­est muse­um in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia was found­ed by the Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Soci­ety of San Diego in 1874. It pre­serves col­lec­tions of min­er­als, pre­cious stones, stuffed birds, mam­mals, skele­tons of pre­his­toric ani­mals. The Botany Depart­ment has a large herbar­i­um, and the ento­mo­log­i­cal expo­si­tion has rare insects, includ­ing arach­nids. In addi­tion to the per­ma­nent ones, the muse­um holds tem­po­rary exhi­bi­tions that tell about the nature of the Unit­ed States and the con­ser­va­tion of flo­ra and fau­na.

Modern Art Museum

museum sovr isk

The San Diego Muse­um of Art is ded­i­cat­ed to con­tem­po­rary art. It con­tains thou­sands of items cre­at­ed after the end of the Sec­ond World War. An exhi­bi­tion of paint­ings by the Amer­i­can artist Ellsworth Kel­ly, a col­lec­tion of sculp­tures by Don­ald Judd, and instal­la­tions by Robert Irwin are pop­u­lar. A sep­a­rate expo­si­tion is devot­ed to the works of Cal­i­forn­ian artists Ron Davis and Craig Kauf­man.

Maritime Museum

sea ​​museum

The Water­front Mar­itime Muse­um is one of the most famous in San Diego. It dis­plays a col­lec­tion of his­toric US naval ves­sels. Its pearl is the Star of India. The 1863 sail­boat is still run­ning reg­u­lar­ly and is in excel­lent con­di­tion. Moored next to it are the Medea steam yacht, the Pilot boat, a copy of the San Sal­vador galleon, the Fox­trot Sovi­et sub­ma­rine and the Berke­ley fer­ry.

Natural attractions and entertainment

Coronado Island

coronado island

In San Diego Bay there is Coro­n­a­do Island, the cen­ter of which is the city of the same name. This is a pop­u­lar Cal­i­for­nia resort that attracts tourists with wide beach­es, five-star hotels, restau­rants, sports clubs, parks and gar­dens. Famous politi­cians, aris­to­crats, artists like to relax on the island. Espe­cial­ly for them, the pres­ti­gious Del Coro­n­a­do Hotel was built there.

Balboa Park

balboa park

The park with­in the city lim­its cov­ers an area of ​​490 hectares and includes orchards, green­hous­es, flower beds, and ponds. Muse­ums, the­aters, play­grounds, sports com­plex­es, cafes and shops are locat­ed in the green zone. Bal­boa Park is the main attrac­tion of the city and the region, designed for fam­i­lies. Tourists are wait­ing for mod­ern attrac­tions, a minia­ture rail­way, a pup­pet the­ater, a botan­i­cal gar­den and a zoo.



Bal­boa Park is home to the largest zoo in Cal­i­for­nia. Its employ­ees con­duct active research work, are engaged in the con­ser­va­tion of rare and endan­gered ani­mals. Ani­mals are in con­di­tions as close as pos­si­ble to their nat­ur­al habi­tat. Among the inhab­i­tants of the menagerie are orang­utans, African pen­guins, smoky leop­ards, crest­ed por­cu­pines, polar bears, horn­bills.

A tour bus with a guide trav­els around the zoo. And to view the area from a bird’s eye view, you can use the gon­do­la lift.

Belmont Park

belmount park

There is an amuse­ment park on the ocean­front, opened in 1925 by sug­ar mag­nate John D. Spreck­els. There are dizzy­ing rides, play­grounds and bars. A cult attrac­tion is the Giant Bear roller coast­er, 250 meters long and 23 meters high. In addi­tion, guests can descend from the three-sto­ry sus­pen­sion tow­er, ride the Lib­er­ty Carousel, go to the rope park and the jun­gle of pre­cious stones.

Safari Park

safari park

In the vicin­i­ty of San Diego, there is a 730-hectare safari park. Ani­mals from Africa, Asia, Amer­i­ca, Europe live in it. Many of them are endan­gered. Buf­faloes, rhi­nos, giraffes, antelopes, zebras graze on pas­tures. Tigers and lions live behind a glass wall.

The “African jun­gle” hous­es a mon­key nurs­ery and a spe­cial cli­mate-con­trolled area for trop­i­cal birds and insects. The safari park also breeds Cal­i­for­nia con­dors. And on its ter­ri­to­ry there is the largest vet­eri­nary hos­pi­tal in the state.



Half a cen­tu­ry ago, a marine mam­mal park was launched in the bay of San Diego Bay, includ­ing aquar­i­ums, water attrac­tions, an inter­ac­tive play­ground, and an ani­mal the­ater.

Vis­i­tors can see octo­pus­es, leop­ard sharks, cut­tle­fish, moray eels and giant sea tur­tles, and at the same time ride a roller coast­er, try out an Arc­tic heli­copter flight sim­u­la­tor. Seals, killer whales, dol­phins and sea lions live in the park. Every day they show inter­est­ing per­for­mances.

San Onofre

san onofre

San Onofre Beach near San Diego was found­ed by Ronald Rea­gan in 1971. This is one of the busiest beach­es in Cal­i­for­nia, stretch­ing along the coast for 5.6 km. There are sunbeds, sun­shades, vol­ley­ball courts, pools for chil­dren.

Near­by is a camp for surf­ing and sport fish­ing. Antique lovers com­bine a beach hol­i­day with a vis­it to the vil­lage of the Acha­he­men Indi­an tribe, which is a sacred place for Native Amer­i­cans.


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