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The San Diego Starter Pack

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

‘How should I spend my weekend in San Diego?’ This is a very broad question, right? Coming soon, I will have more lists for those that are locals and have already hit up all the San Diego hot spots, but this one is for my San Diego newbies!

There is an endless number of things to do in San Diego and it would be impossible to make one list that covered it all.

Here are my top recommendations for someone who has never been to San Diego or for those that are wondering where to take their weekend guests to show them around town!

  • The beach. Of course, kind of a given, right? Luckily, at almost any time of the year it’s nice enough to enjoy a beach day (although in December you may be wearing a hoodie and sweats while enjoying the view!). We have a bunch of beautiful beaches that all have a different vibe and something different to offer. Check out my Just Beachy post to find out which one you might like best!

  • Balboa Park. Explore the park that is home to numerous museums, gardens, and performing arts venues.

  • San Diego Zoo / San Diego Safari Park. The zoo is located in Balboa Park and the safari park is located northeast of San Diego in Escondido. Both of these spots are 100% worth a visit! The zoo is more of a typical what you would expect from a zoo - although it’s huge, beautiful, and world renowned. The safari park is a bit of a different experience. Although there are traditional exhibits, they also have wide open spaces that give it more of an ‘in the wild’ feel. You can take a tram around the park as well as book an excursion (for an extra cost) where you get up close to the animals and can feed them.

  • USS Midway Museum. This museum is on a historical naval aircraft carrier that lives in downtown San Diego at the Navy Pier. The museum features over 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircraft. Close by, you can see the Unconditional Surrender statue that showcases a moment captured in 1945 between a sailor and a nurse.

  • Take a hike. To start off, I should tell you I am definitely not a hiking girlie by any means. However, after living here for many years, I know there are several well known and great hiking trails to explore. Some of the top recommended hikes are Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (I HAVE done this one!!), Cowles Mountain, and Potato Chip Rock. To get more in depth recommendations & knowledge about hiking, check out Go Hiking San Diego's blog.

  • Gaslamp Quarter - Located in downtown, this is a historic area that is home to many restaurants, shops, and bars. The nightlife scene is fun because there’s something for everyone! Whether you want to take shots and ride a mechanical bull or have a chill evening at a wine bar - there’s a spot for you.

  • Old Town - This is another historic area in town with many buildings from San Diego’s early history. There are a lot of unique shops, amazing Mexican food, and a haunted house that you can tour - The Whaley House!

  • Cabrillo National Monument - Located in Point Loma and home to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse (tours available). From here, you can see magnificent views of the Ocean and the city.

  • Mt. Soledad National Veteran's Memorial - located on a mountaintop which offers stunning 360 degree views of San Diego! This memorial honors veterans that are both living and deceased.

These are just some of the spots that showcase San Diego’s history, beauty, and atmosphere!


The San Diego Scout

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