Things to Do

In the 'Hood  |   Beaches  |   Downtown  |   Miscellaneous  |   Events

This is just a start! Check out the basket of brochures for many more options.

In the 'Hood For the Kids

Lindbergh Park – Our local little park around the corner has a playground for kids, restrooms, and plenty of room for a picnic.
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Boomer’s – A great place for the kids to ride go karts, bumper boats, play mini golf, use the batting cages, arcade etc.
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Skateworld Roller Rink – Haven’t done this in quite a few years but it looks like fun every time we walk by it! Check their hours before going.
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Kearny Mesa Bowl – They offer daily specials such as Rock N’ Bowl, karaoke, and bowling all night with some nights open until 2am!
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Beaches

Mission Bay Park – There are trails that wind all around the bay through grassy treed parks. It’s nice for a sunny day stroll or for a bit of exercise. Workout courses are along the path.
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Belmont Park, Mission Beach - Famous for its historic wooden roller coaster,  this amusement park offers fun for all ages including riding waves at the Wave House. Rollerblade, skateboard, bicycle or people-watch along the Boardwalk, a scenic three-mile boardwalk along lively Mission and Pacific beaches. Parking is free but can be a bit difficult on a busy weekend.
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Pacific Beach - Straight down Balboa Blvd., "P.B." as it is known as by local residents, is home to one of San Diego's larger nightlife scenes, with dozens of bars, eateries, and clothing stores. The heavily trafficked Boardwalk (that runs between Mission and Pacific beaches) is a fascinating exhibition of contemporary style and beach culture. Crystal Pier, a publicly accessible free fishing pier, is a well known landmark. Parking is a nightmarish prospect throughout Pacific Beach.
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Ocean Beach – Newport Avenue is the heart of OB. It is a bit more of a hippy beach than the typical California-style Mission Beach. There are many great antique shops and casual restaurants and bars. At the north end of OB is Dog Beach where pups can run free and enjoy the waves, and just South of Newport Ave are tidepools at low tide.
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La Jolla Cove - Catch a magnificent Pacific sunset and watch sea lions and harbor seals play along the shoreline at La Jolla Cove, one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world. La Jolla has more upscale shopping and restaurants. Kayaking - Discover the spectacular Seven Caves, sea cliffs, and the Underwater Park, all of which are renowned to La Jolla.
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Downtown

There is so much to see walking around downtown. Almost all the places listed below are within an easy walk of each other.

Gaslamp Quarter – The historic Gaslamp Quarter is hoppin’ any day or night of the week. Walk 5th Avenue to see all the Victorian architecture, unique stores, numerous restaurants, nightclubs and bars.
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Embarcadero – Take a stroll along the embarcadero at San Diego Bay and view the public art sculptures, historic ships, the HMS Surprise from Master and Commander, parks, yachts, etc.  Go on a harbor cruise or a whale watching trip. You can walk all the way from the Convention Center up past Seaport Village to the Star of India.
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Waterfront Park – Have a splash! Welcoming residents and visitors alike, the newly constructed Waterfront Park features intimate garden rooms with distinct themes, a vibrant children's play zone, and several picnic areas. Kids enjoy having a splash in the interactive splash fountain, while cooling off on warm days.
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Seaport Village Shopping Center - Visit Seaport Village during the weekends for free entertainment and hours of leisurely strolling and window-shopping.  You can walk along the bay-front or sit in the grass and gaze at passing yachts and ships along San Diego Bay.
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USS Midway Museum - The USS Midway Museum is a real naval aircraft carrier that served in the United States Navy for 47 years.  Large and very impressive, it has real jets and real airplanes up on the flight deck that travelers can actually walk into and even sit in the cockpits of some planes.
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Star of India at the San Diego Martiime Museum - Star of India is the world's oldest active sailing ships. It’s beautiful to look at from the embarcadero or you can go aboard for a tour. Also at the museum is the ship from Master and Commander.
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New Children’s Museum - On the second Sunday of each month, stop by The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego for free admission.  Families of all ages can enjoy innovative, hands-on art opportunities and first-rate exhibitions designed by emerging and established contemporary artists.
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Little Italy – Stroll around San Diego's hip and historic Italian neighborhood hosting Italian restaurants, art shops, and a British pub just north of the Gaslamp Quarter.
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Petco Park – An open-air ballpark in downtown and home of the San Diego Padres. During the day the park is open to visitors to walk through or enjoy the park at the park.
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Balboa Park - Balboa Park contains one of the largest groups of museums in the US. The park has trees, gardens, statues, promenades and Spanish Colonial-style buildings. Highlights are the Museum of Man, child-oriented Reuben H. Fleet Science Center with interactive experiments and huge IMAX screen, and the San Diego Zoo. One museum is free the first Tuesday of each month. During the summer there are free outdoor movies. Enjoy free organ concerts  on Sundays at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Stargaze outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science on the first Wednesday of every month when the San Diego Astronomy Association sets up huge telescopes to offer guests a great view of the night sky.
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San Diego Zoo - The enormous San Diego Zoo, located in Balboa Park, is one of the world's best.  Its wide selection of animals, many of them rare, are restrained in "psychological cages," without bars.
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Miscellaneous

Tours – We have never taken any of these tours but see them around town all the time.
Old Town Trolley Tour: Combining points of interest with fascinating history and amusing anecdotes, our trolley tour stops at all of San Diego’s most popular attractions.
Seal Tour: What drives like a bus and glides like a boat? The San Diego SEAL Tour, of course! If you’ve ever wished for a tour that showcases the most interesting vantage point of San Diego, then climb aboard the San Diego SEAL Tour and see America’s Finest City how it was meant to be seen – by sea and by land!

Scavenger Hunt Adventure - Experience San Diego in a whole new way on this scavenger hunt walking tour. Perfect for families, groups of friends and corporate teambuilding activities. Use your smart phone to solve clues and complete challenges as you make your way to famous and hidden gems of the city. Play on your own schedule.

Sea World – Always a fun place to see animal shows, pet sharks, and learn about sea life.
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Old Town State Park - witness the living legacy of California’s birthplace at Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego’s first “downtown.”  The six-block park features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, restaurants, museums (including the haunted Whaley House), an old cemetary (view article) , and several carefully preserved or restored adobe and wooden buildings.
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Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala - San Diego de Alcala, the first of the great California Missions, marks the birthplace of Christianity in the far West. It is California's first church. Today the Mission, which was founded in 1769, serves as an active parish church and cultural center for people of all faiths who are welcome to visit and relive the grandeur and excitement of more than two centuries of California history and tradition.
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Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay – Enjoy evening outdoor concerts during the summertime along the bay.
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Kobey’s Swap Meet at the San Diego Sports Arena - Kobey's outdoor market is a place to find great bargains, unique items and hundreds of garage sales.
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LEGOLAND California Resort – A world class amusement park designed for youngsters. It has many interactive rides that kids can operate. There are more than 50 thrilling rides, shows and attractions to choose from.
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San Diego Zoo Safari Park (previously the San Diego Wild Animal Park) – An incredible free-range animal park.   One of the largest tourist attractions in Southern California, it houses wild and endangered animals in their natural habitats. Take a narrated train ride to see Sumatran tigers and African elephants. You can even feed the giraffes! Certain times of year they have a butterfly enclosure that’s my favorite!
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Hotel Del Coronado - With its iconic red turrets piercing the taut horizontal lines of an azure California skyline, the Hotel del Coronado radiates with a confidence of gracious Victorian splendor that is without equal.  Built in 1888, this classic beachfront respite has long been heralded as one of America’s most beautiful beach resorts. A nice place to go for a drink out on their deck. During the winter there is outdoor ice-skating overlooking the Pacific Ocean!
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Tijuana, Mexico – Take a quick trip over the border for some margaritas, shopping, and street tacos. Stop at the duty free shop on your way over (on the US side, but you have to bring your purchases into Mexico, then bring them back across the border) for super good deals on alcohol! ;)
**Check the US Department of State travel warnings before going**
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Los Angeles – A little bit of everything such as Disneyland, China Town, Olvera Street (enjoy a 9 cent cup of coffee!), nightclubs, the garment district, Hermosa Beach, Newport Beach (Orange County), the Staples Center, Universal Studios, etc. Plenty to keep you busy for a day trip!
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Julian – A nice little mountain town only a little over an hour away with snow in the wintertime. You can visit some of the area’s historic sites and later enjoy a slice of homemade apple pie – a Julian specialty!
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Events

 
Little Italy Farmer's Market – (every Saturday 9am to 1:30pm) In Little Italy at Date & India Streets, the Little Italy Mercato is the city market for downtown San Diego residents and visitors with more than 100 booths lining Date Street from Kettner to Union offering farm fresh produce, artisan foods and specialty items.
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Flower Fields Ranunculus Season – (March - May) Flowers, flowers as far as you can see. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch blossom into a spectacular sea of brightly colored ranunculus flowers. Tours are offered, and photographers, professional and amateur alike, set up for stunning closeup buds in bloom. Located about 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego.
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Mardi Gras – (Fat Tuesday) This Gaslamp-wide outdoor celebration includes two spectacular parades on Fifth Avenue and a fabulous block party featuring several stages with musical acts. Enjoy tasty treats, cold beverages and beads, beads, beads.
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ShamROCK – (St. Patrick's Day) The Gaslamp makes its magical St. Patrick's Day transformation into the greenest party this side of Dublin!
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Rock & Roll Marathon – (early June) What would make running 26 miles even more fun? How about having a different rock band positioned every mile or so who play music to help you pick up the pace? A popular race that brings out thousands of runners and sideline supporters.
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San Diego County Fair – (early June) The San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds takes place from mid-June through the Fourth of July weekend each year. It has great entertainment featuring nationally known performers, food, rides and exhibits, all in a location next to the Pacific Ocean in Del Mar, California.
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Summer Movies in the Park – (June - October) San Diego's Parks and Recreation department brings free, family movies to local parks all summer long.

Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cookoff Festival- Street Fest, OB – (late June) Thousands flocked to Newport Ave. and surrounding areas the 4th Saturday in June for the live music and entertainment, unique vendors, talented artists, thrilling rides, refreshing beer garden, and so much more!
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Del Mar Racing Season – (July through September) Live Thoroughbred racing at the Fairgrounds in the beautiful seaside city of Del Mar. The season starts with the annual opening day hat contest and ends in early September. In addition to special admission deals throughout the season, there are “4 O’Clock Fridays” concerts each week.
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Comic-Con – (July) The largest comic book and pop culture convention in the world. Started as a modest comic book collectors convention, over the years the 'con” has become synonymous with Hollywood blockbusters and the hottest TV shows. Panel discussions with top movie stars are common, as are in-depth production discussions with directors, animators and producers. Screenings, signings, and omnipresent Klingons keep this party going year after year.
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Over the Line Tournament – (early July) Held in the beautiful Mission Bay area of San Diego, the Over-the-Line Tournament (better known to locals as the OTL tourney) takes place on Fiesta Island, at the the bay. Held in the middle of July over the span of two weekends, the OTL tourney begins early in the morning no sooner than people can begin popping tops off their beers. Beer coolers are scattered among the sand playing courts almost as abundantly as the attendees playing and observing the games. (parental supervision suggested ;)
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Adams Ave Street Fair – (September) One of the largest FREE music street fairs in California. Over 70 live music acts on 6 stages, three beer gardens, Giant Carnival rides and 300 craft & food vendors.
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Pacific BeachFest - PB Summer Beach Festival – (early October) This one-day event is perfect for visitors looking to enjoy all that San Diego beaches have to offer. Whether traveling or walking from your house down the street, young, old or somewhere in between Pacific BeachFest has something for everyone!
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Miramar Air Show – (October) Free to the general public, the air show has 100+ military and civilian airplanes for you to discover. You can walk into a cargo plane or climb into the cock pit of a warbird. There's lots to see and explore including static displays, Air Show Expo exhibits, and vendors selling souvenirs and memorabilia.
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Holiday of Lights – (Thanksgiving through January 1) The Holiday of Lights at Del Mar is the largest animated drive-through light show on the West Coast. More than 400 twinkling, lively displays located around the Del Mar Racetrack will delight your family.
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Whale Watching Season – (December through March) From December through March, visitors to San Diego have the unique opportunity to glimpse one of nature’s most extraordinary events—the migration of California gray whales. View these beautiful mammals as they travel from the chilly Alaskan seas to the warm water lagoons of Baja California where they birth and rear their young.

December Nights – (early December) This favorite annual holiday event is held in historic Balboa Park and features sparkling lights, festive colors, international food and music performances and free admission to all museums.
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Holiday Bowl & Poinsettia Bowl Games – (December) College football action comes to San Diego during the holidays. Bring friends and family out to cheer on your favorite team and enjoy festive parades and other specials events.
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