San Diego, CA

5 Best Places to Visit in San Diego

Haris Mohammad

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San Diego. Also known as “America’s Finest City. Or “The City in Motion”.

San Diego’s great weather, awesome beaches, whale watching cruises, sport fishing, and numerous tourist attractions draw tens of millions of visitors every year.

Here are a few of the best places you wouldn’t want to miss if you plan to visit the city. Or if you live there and are thinking about exploring it.

USS Midway Museum

USS Midway is an aircraft carrier that served in the US Navy for 47 years (a longest-serving record) before being decommissioned in 1992. In 2004, it was turned into a museum and now attracts over a million visitors every year.

Admission includes a self-guided audio tour (narrated by former Midway sailors) to dozens of locations on the ship with exciting exhibits. The highlights include their twenty-nine restored aircraft, a holographic movie theater — “The Battle of Midway Theater” — and flight simulators.

If you have any interest in aviation or military history, USS Midway Museum is a must-visit.

Balboa Park

Spread over 1200 acres, Balboa Park has it all — beautiful historical buildings, museums, gardens, ponds, and sports, and other fun activities. There’s so much to see and do here that one whole day won’t be enough for most visitors.

The highlights include— the amazing architecture, Japanese Friendship Garden, Rose Garden, the reflecting pool, Museum of Us, San Diego Air and Space Museum, San Diego Natural History Museum, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

The zoo has thousands of animals belonging to over 650 species and sub-species in large enclosures that are designed to mimic their natural habitat.

You can opt for one of their guided tour buses, or the overhead gondola lift called the Skyfari for an aerial view of the zoo.

Overall, Balboa Park is a great place to visit. Even if you do nothing else, just hanging out in the park is worth a visit. Plus, it a lovely place for photos.

La Jolla Cove

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If you are interested in water activities like swimming, diving, and snorkeling, La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores beach are nice spots that are separated by only a few minutes’ drive.

La Jolla Cove is a beautiful location, and you can see seals, sea lions, and pelicans resting on the beach. The area can be smelly, though, and there is limited parking. Still, a must-visit if you are in San Diego. 

The beach is wonderful with calm waters and is less crowded than some other beaches. It’s also a perfect spot for surfing, especially for beginners.

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay almost five centuries ago. What adds to its attraction is the beautiful and historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which is no longer operational but serves as a museum for those interested in the history of the place.

But more than anything else, I would say, visit the monument for the tide pools and the spectacular views it offers of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego’s harbor and skyline, and Naval Air Station North Island. On clear days, one can see all the way up to Mexico’s Coronado Islands.

There are also hiking trails if that interests you.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

If you want to witness an absolutely stunning view of the sun set over an ocean, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is one of the best places to be at.

Get there early, or finding a place to park might be difficult. And stick around for some time even after the sunset to enjoy the beauty of the colorful sky.

San Diego is awesome. There are other great places to visit and enjoy too. But you wouldn’t want to miss those mentioned above.

Some of them might be closed (or have restrictions) due to the pandemic, so make sure you check before visiting. And please follow the guidelines for your own and everyone else’s safety.

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