For our international exchange students, visiting researchers, and anyone who is looking to explore San Diego’s main attractions, here is a list of a few things to do in America’s Finest City! For a more comprehensive guide to what San Diego’s neighborhoods have to offer, please see TripHappy’s Where to Stay in San Diego.
- The Beaches:
San Diego’s beaches personalize the lifestyle of local residents. If you are looking for a place to relax and watch local surfers catch powerful waves visit Windansea Beach in La Jolla.
Windansea Beach in La Jolla
For a real Southern California (So-Cal) feel, take a walk at Pacific Beach’s boardwalk and watch locals ride their bikes, skateboards, and roller blades right in front of the beach. P.B. (as the locals call it) is also where College students and young adults live the California Dream – the neighborhood offers a variety of night attractions that go beyond the miles of its sandy beach.
2. Fish Tacos
While in San Diego you must try fish tacos – a local favorite! Pretty much every restaurant in San Diego offers fish tacos on their menu. To try local’s favorite fish taco spot head to Oscar’s in North PB (http://oscarsmexicanseafood.com/).
For a taste of the very first restaurant that brought fish tacos from Baja California to this side of the border go to Rubio’s and order their Fish Taco Especial. Rubio’s opened their first store in 1983. They have now more than 200 restaurants in 5 states and have served over 160,000,000 fish tacos. (http://www.rubios.com/menu/)
Local tip: You can buy fish tacos for $0.99 – $2.00 on ‘Taco Tuesdays”.
3. La Jolla
La Jolla is the jewel of America’s finest city (as San Diego is known). It has wonderful beaches, great restaurants and outdoor activities.
You can spend the day snorkeling, swimming and kayaking at La Jolla cove; you can go for a walk at La Jolla Children’s Pool (as the seals beach is officially called) and watch the wild seals play; you can have dinner is beautiful fine dining restaurants that have the most astonishing view of the ocean.
For La Jolla restaurant tips click here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g32578-La_Jolla_San_Diego_California.html
4. Old Town San Diego
Located only a few blocks from our University, Old Town San Diego is the birthplace of California, where the first Europeans settled. This historic neighborhood, which includes many historic buildings from the 1800s, is the perfect place to enjoy some Mexican food and explore many Mexican handcraft shops and museums.
Shops in Old Town San Diego
Old Town Fun Facts:
- San Diego’s first newspaper office is located here
- Old Town offers an evening ghost tour every night (click here for more info)
- According to California State Parks, Old Town was the most visited park in California during 2005 & 2006
5. Balboa Park and Museums
Balboa Park is an urban cultural park that is among the main attractions in San Diego. It has natural vegetation zones, gardens, and walking paths as well as more than 17 museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo (biggest Zoo in the world).
Must See Gardens:
- Japanese Friendship Garden – An expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama
- Botanical Building – largest wood lath structure in the world when it was built in 1915 and home to 2,100 permanent tropical plant specimens.
- Desert Garden – 2.5 acres of succulents and drought-resistant plants from around the world
Must See Museums in Balboa Park:
- San Diego Natural History Museum
- Centro Cultural de la Raza – Preserves Mexican, chicano and indigenous art and culture.
- Museum of Man – Anthropology museum
For more information on Balboa Park museums, gardens, and etc. click here.
6. Gaslamp Quarter
At the heart of downtown San Diego, the historic Gaslamp Quarter combines Victorian charm with urban living to create a lively dining and shopping district. This area that used to be home to San Diego’s “red light” district in the 1800s has been revitalized in recent decades, and is now home to more than 100 restaurants, 40 bars and clubs and over 100 shops.
San Diego’s Gaslamp quarter is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for dining, dancing or simply people watching.
We hope you enjoy your stay in San Diego!