Things to Do in San Diego - page 3
The eighth largest city center in the US, downtown San Diego has its fair share of entertainment. Located just minutes from the airport, you’ll find a wonderland of accommodations, restaurants, entertainment and cultural attractions in downtown San Diego. The Gaslamp Quarter is downtown’s most famous district, though you’ll also find neighboring Balboa Park hosts quite a number of San Diego attractions, including the world famous San Diego Zoo. Walk to Petco Park to catch a Padres game, take the kids to the New Children’s Museum, or take a walk down the Embarcadero district and hit the beach, see the USS Midway Museum, or stop and shop in Seaport Village. If you’re in San Diego, downtown is the place to be.
San Diego, where the locals brag about their 70-degree-and-sunny weather nearly year-round, can fill almost any desire you have for a day in port. Historical or naval-related? Check out Old Town or the USS Midway Museum. Culture, nature and animals? Head to Balboa Park and the famous San Diego Zoo. Beach and water activities? Make your way to Coronado Island or take a speedboat tour.
If you feel like simply exploring, go on a walking tour around districts like Little Italy or Seaport Village. Cruise ships dock at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal downtown. Just walk north or south along the water to get to attractions like the Maritime Museum, or grab a taxi or a bike cab outside the port to go beyond downtown. You can also catch the trolley to Old Town or the Gaslamp Quarter, among many other city stops.
Take a walk on the wild side at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, an 1,800 acre (728 hectare) open-range zoo where herds of giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other animals roam the open valley floor. The best part is riding the African Express, an open-air, soft-wheeled tram that ferries you around the world’s second-largest continent in what feels like a 30 minute safari.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park houses some 3,500 animals from about 430 species. Animals are in enclosures so naturalistic it’s as if the humans are the guests. Habitats include Elephant Overlook, Lion Camp, and the African Aviary. In Nairobi Village, young kids will enjoy the nursery, where young animals are seen frolicking about; there’s even a petting station. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers many extra animal encounter experiences, including Photo Caravans that drive right up alongside the animals and the chance to stand ringside as a cheetah whizzes by you chasing a mechanical rabbit.
Mountains in San Diego? Known for its beaches and coastal views, a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad rewards visitors with 360-degree views of San Diego.
Winter days, if that’s what you should really call them, are typically sunny and clear and come with views down the coast and out to sea. Summer is nothing to complain about either, but the marine layer has a reputation for clouding the view a bit on some days. Sunset is a popular time to visit. The panoramic spot is also home to the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial and the 29-foot Mount Soledad Cross. Originally dedicated as the Korean War Veterans Memorial in 1952, today it honors living and deceased veterans from the Revolutionary War to current day.
The Living Coast Discovery Center was first opened in 1987 under a different name, and since 2010 has been a working nonprofit. It's on San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, about 10 miles southeast of San Diego, surrounded by marshland. Exhibits at the aquarium include sea life, shore birds, and native plants. There are turtles, sharks, rays, owls, egrets, herons, and several kinds of raptors. There are scheduled live demonstrations of feedings each day.
Located within the same grounds and operated by the same people as LEGOLAND, the SEA LIFE Aquarium is a part of a long line of aquariums open to tourists in the San Diego area. However, this aquarium, which is found in Carlsbad, California, has a bit of a twist making it very different than all the other sea exhibitions in the region. The SEA LIFE aquarium blends the LEGO theme with the underwater world exhibitions. Geared towards children and education in a fun way, the SEA LIFE exhibition contains play zones, quiz trails and a number of interactive enclosures. The biggest attraction here is a giant pacific octopus. Guests to the aquarium can actually watch the highly intelligent animal solve puzzles, play with different toys and learn about how these great animals eat and survive in the wild. Other popular animals at the aquarium include clown fish, reef sharks, cownose rays, and seahorse. There is also an interactive rock pool where you can see, and even touch, star fish.
Aquatica is a water park about 10 miles southeast of San Diego in Chula Vista.
There are three Aquatica water parks in the United States, including the one near San Diego, which was transformed from a Knott's water park and opened in 2013. There are seven long water slides and many pools to play in, and even flamingo and turtle habitats. The tallest water slide at Aquatica San Diego is the 80-foot Hoo Roo Run, with four twisting slides, but there are two others that are at least 75 feet long, including a tornado water slide. There are also play pools suitable for younger kids, and a 500,000 gallon wave pool.
The idea of visiting a museum never sounded so good. If you love music you’ll love the Museum of Making Music. The museum looks and listens to the history of American music and instruments from the 1890s through current day. Along with listening to samples of tunes created over time, visitors have the opportunity to see more than 500 vintage instruments. In addition, there are a number of hands-on try-me instruments throughout the museum to channel your inner musician. The site also hosts a number of concerts and live performances.
More Things to Do in San Diego
The ritziest of San Diego’s seaside suburbs, with a Tudor aesthetic that somehow doesn’t feel out of place, Del Mar boasts good restaurants, unique galleries, high-end boutiques, and a horse-racing track, which is also the site of the annual county fair. Downtown Del Mar, sometimes called The Village, extends along Camino del Mar. At its hub, where 15th Street crosses Camino del Mar, the tastefully designed Del Mar Plaza shopping center has restaurants, boutiques, and upper-level terraces that look out to the sea.
At the beach end of 15th Street in Del Mar, Seagrove Park abuts the beach and overlooks the ocean. This little stretch of well-groomed beachfront lawn is a community hub and perfect for a picnic. One the most popular highlights in Del Mar Racetrack & Fairgrounds. Its lush gardens and pink, Mediterranean-style architecture are a visual delight.
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