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How to Spend 1 Day in San Diego

How to Spend 1 Day in San Diego

With a plethora of family-friendly attractions that highlight history, culture, and wildlife, plus its sunny setting on the Pacific, San Diego is an ideal place to spend a day, no matter what your interests are. Here are the top ways to experience the city with limited time. 

 

Morning: Get Acquainted

Orient yourself with San Diego on the hop-on hop-off trolley, which provides open-air transportation so you can reach the locations that interest you at your own pace. Perhaps check out Old Town State Historic Park, Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, or Little Italy—some of the most popular destinations for sightseeing, eating, and people-watching. For independent travelers, the Go San Diego Card provides entrance to many of the city’s best attractions at one price. If you prefer a set itinerary and commentary about the sights, opt for a guided city tour.

 

Afternoon: Visit Major Attractions

San Diego is well-known for its zoo, home to the city’s beloved giant pandas—wildlife lovers won’t want to miss this attraction. You can combine your visit with a trip to its sister property, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Park. Alternatively, check out SeaWorld San Diego, located in Mission Bay, to see dolphins, sea lions, and other marine animals. If you’re more of a history or naval buff, the USS Midway Museum and Maritime Museum of San Diego are within walking distance of each other on the Embarcadero, which runs along the San Diego Bay waterfront.

 

Night: Dine on the Water

Spend the evening on a San Diego Bay dinner cruise, which provides a chance to look back at the city as it lights up for the night. Cruises typically include a full meal such as steak or seafood with side dishes and dessert, served in an enclosed cabin. Most boats also have open-air decks to taking in the views and fresh ocean air. Opt for a luxury experience for additional features such as Champagne or a DJ for onboard music and dancing. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase if they are not included in the price.

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Free Cancellation:Get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance on most experiences.See Details

5 Tours and Activities | All San Diego Tours

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San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

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Explore some of the top highlights of San Diego with your silver, gold, or platinum day pass (depending on option selected) for the city’s Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Tour. Choose your own adventure as you get on and off the trolley at any of the 12 included stops, covering famous sights including the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway and the Cruise Ship Terminal, Little Italy, and many more. This San Diego trolley tour also features live commentary from the on-board guide during your ride.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$42.00
From
$42.00
Taking safety measures

San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise

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Take an evening cruise wining and dining aboard the ‘Spirit of San Diego,’ enjoying top-notch food and drink, plus sparkling skyline views during this San Diego dinner cruise. Dig into your included gourmet meal, accompanied by a complimentary cocktail and live on-board entertainment, as you cruise 25-miles worth of California’s beautiful coastline and gaze at the twinkling stars above. You can also upgrade your cruise to include an unlimited open bar for an additional price.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$110.90
From
$110.90
Taking safety measures

San Diego Luxury Dinner Cruise

San Diego Luxury Dinner Cruise

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On this experience, relax in style aboard a luxury dinner cruise. Enjoy panoramic views from the boat's deck and take your time over a gourmet, 3-course meal, as you cruise past twinkling city lights that ring San Diego Bay. Listen to relaxing background music and enjoy an unforgettable evening, or celebrate a birthday, anniversary or another special occasion. Viator Exclusive: Upgrade to a guaranteed, private table by a window and bottle of Champagne.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$116.98
From
$116.98
Taking safety measures

Skip the Line: Maritime Museum of San Diego Admission Ticket

Skip the Line: Maritime Museum of San Diego Admission Ticket

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Sail back into history during this visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Enjoy one of the world’s biggest collections of historic ocean vessels, including five ships and two submarines. You’ll view the USS Dolphin research submarine, a Soviet B-39 submarine, the iconic Star of India and the HMS Surprise (star of the ‘Master and Commander’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean films’) among others. A fun collection kid-friendly exhibits, plus an on-site maritime research library, round out the experience.
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  • 2 hours
From
$20.00
From
$20.00

Go San Diego All-Inclusive City Pass: Access 55+ Attractions

Go San Diego All-Inclusive City Pass: Access 55+ Attractions

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Get the most out of your visit to San Diego with the Go San Diego™ All-Inclusive Pass, granting you access to over 55 top city attractions, tours and activities plus a range of great shopping and dining discounts. Check out the San Diego Zoo, Knott’s Berry Farm, and LEGOLAND® California, or try kayaking and snorkeling in La Jolla. Save up to 46% off attraction admission prices and enjoy special offers and discounts at included retailers and restaurants. Best of all, there’s no voucher redemption necessary. Just save your pass on your mobile device and start the fun. Please note: Enjoy the extra flexibility in case your travel plans need to change: All passes are valid for one year from purchase date and only become activated with your first attraction visit. After activation your pass will be valid for the number of days purchased.
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  • 1 to 7 days
From
$99.00
From
$99.00