10 Things to tick off the bucket list in San Diego

San Diego coastline

San Diego, California

When you visit California most head straight to Los Angeles, but for me, I head down south to sunny San Diego where there is a tonne of things to do. Here are 20 things to tick off the bucket list in San Diego, California.

Things to know before you go

Visa

If you are not a US citizen, then it is my guess you will need to apply for a USA ESTA. You can do that by merely checking out ivisa website and apply online. It is as easy as that!

Insurance

SafetyWing is the world’s first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and remote workers travelling or living abroad worldwide. I can not recommend travel medical insurance enough! For those who are going to be away for long periods, live and work abroad or are a nomad traveller.

Weather

The weather is great all year-round. Summer (Jun–Aug) is warm and is the peak travel period. Winter (Dec–Feb) is as mild, ranging from 10-19c degrees.

Legoland

Car Hire

Hiring a car in San Diego is easy, and I highly recommend AVIS. We drove from Los Angeles down to San Diego, which gave us the luxury of not only making day trips from San Diego, but it also allowed us to then drive to Las Vegas. 

Go San Diego Card

I highly recommend the Go San Diego Card, because some of the benefits are, there are 34+ attractions to choose from, as well as one premium attraction of your choice. In some attractions, you can skip the line or get early entry, discounts on eateries and free audio tours on offer. 

San Diego sunset

Hotel recommendation

Budget

Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Mission Valley/Hotel Circle

The Courtyard by Marriott San Diego is an excellent location at an affordable price. This location is best suited for those who have chosen to drive. Because it has car parking facilities (at a cost though) and is a little far from major site-seeing locations. The rooms are clean, the staff are friendly, and it is suitable for families and small children.

Splurge

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina is in an ideal location for those who want a great view with a little bit of luxury. You will not need a car at this location as most site seeing places are close (some within walking distance).

San Diego Marina

1 Visit the USS Midway museum

The USS Midway Museum is a fun day out with children or on your own. There is so much to do at this fun-filled museum, check out the calendar before you arrive as there are many yearly events worth booking in to see. Otherwise, there are permanent exhibitions all year round so that you won’t be disappointed.

2 Be a kid for the day at San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo has been right up there on our bucket list. We love zoos, and this zoo didn’t disappoint. It is currently home to over 3,700 animals from more than 650 species, where you will find cage-less exhibits that ensure a lovely time for all. Why not upgrade your experience and choose from one of the many tours on hand at the zoo.

San Diego zoo

3 Go on a behind-the-scenes tour of San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park (is formerly known as the Wild Animal Park), is a great day out for all ages. Get that little more in-depth knowledge of your favourite animals with these great behind the scene tours. Choose from seven different types of packages with different animals to choose from; this is a fun-filled day for anyone that loves animals as we do.

4 Check out Seaworld San Diego

Watch the many live shows that you can find at Seaworld San Diego. Whether you choose to enjoy one of the many shows, visit the exhibitions or jump on the many thrilling rides on offer. SeaWorld will keep you busy all day long.

SeaWorld San Diego

5 Visit Lego Land with the kids

Be warned that lego land is fun but make sure you bring the kids with you. Although we had a lot of fun at Legoland the kids, felt that were a little old for many of the rides that cater for the littler kids. Make sure you bring your swimmers along and pay the extra to visit the Water park, it is a much welcome relief during the summer months.

6. Go back in time and visit Old Town 

Visit Old town San Diego where you feel like you have stepped back in time. San Diego is so rich in history being the first settlement by Europeans, initially name San Miguel. Then 60 years later given its name San Diego for the Spanish Franciscan lay brother Didacus of Alcala (more commonly known as San Diego).

Old town

7 Enjoy an afternoon at Seaport Village

Enjoy the vibes at Seaport Village with live music and great eateries. Sit back, relax and watch the plethora of buskers in and around this area. Whether you are checking this area out for the weekend markets or to ride the carousel with little kids, this is a great day out for all the family.

8 Enjoy a meal at the Gas Lamp Quarter

Gas Lamp quarter is full of entertainment when the sun goes down, enjoy a meal or an evening cocktail while listening to live music. The Gas Lamp district is also an excellent location for doing all your shopping in San Diego.

9 Spend the day at Laguna Beach

Although there are many beautiful beaches along the coast of California, there is nothing prettier than Laguna Beach. Spend the day in the water, by the sea or visiting the many gorgeous boutiques in this great little town. Laguna Beach is known for its arty vibe, so ensure you look ahead of time and attend some world-class art events.

Laguna Beach

10 Cross the border into Mexico for the day

Enjoy a full-day tour and cross the border to Tijuana, Mexico with a reputable tour company. I would strongly advise not to try and cross the border yourself but to hop on a tour bus and enjoy the day learning about Tijuana and its history.

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