The Ultimate San Diego Bucket List

San Diego Bucket List: Things to do in San DiegoSan Diego Bucket List by Erin Aschow: DSTLD Denim Jacket, Show Me Your Mumu Sawyer Shorts, Steve Madden White Studded Sandals, Gigi New York Gray Saddle Bag, Quay x Desi Perkins Sunglasses

I moved to San Diego almost 3 years ago! So crazy how time flies. I travel all the time and write posts about my favorite things to do along the way, but have never created an “Ultimate Guide to San Diego”. You may remember my San Diego Food Finds post, which was a good start. But what are the best things to do on weekends, what should you do if you’ve got a vacation planned to San Diego, or what do all of the locals to for fun around here? This post features everything you need to add to your San Diego Bucket List.

Coronado Bridge: Add this to your San Diego Bucket ListThe Liberty Public Market at Liberty station: San Diego Bucket List

I decided to start a list and will add to it as I find more! If you have anything you think I should add, comment or email me and I’ll add your spots to the list!

Things you MUST do in San Diego:

  • The San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I personally recommend going to the Safari Park, it’s got a little more bang for your buck. But, it’s also a little further out of the way. If  you’re staying downtown, you can also buy a ticket that includes transportation and admission. Either way, I recommend buying tickets ahead of time so that you get a discount!
  • Balboa Park. You could literally spend an entire trip exploring Balboa Park. There are tons of museums, shows, gardens, food & shopping. If you want to see all 1200 acres, I recommend checking out one of the bike tours!
  • Comic Con International. This could probably be a post itself (hmm maybe I’ll do one this year)! Badges sell our really fast, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out! There are tons of things to see, people wandering around in costumes & events for the public! I recommend heading down to the convention center and walking around for a few hours to check it all out.
  • Seaport Village. Since the weather is (almost) always perfect, one of the best things to do is walk around! Seaport Village has over tons of stores, restaurants and outdoor entertainment.
  • Tide Pools. There are a lot of spots you can go to, but I recommend heading to Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma or  the La Jolla tide pools by Scripps Birch Aquarium. If you head to the Point Loma tide pools, rangers are around and can tell you what you see. Your best bet is to wait until the beach is at low tide. Here’s a Tide Chart you can check before you visit.
  • USS Midway Museum. You can visit one of the biggest aircraft carriers in the US Navy fleet, now home to a ton of exhibits, restored aircraft & audio tour. Pro Tip: save some time and skip the line.
  • La Jolla CoveI’m really scared of the ocean, but this is one of the only places I actually get in the water! It’s one of the best spots in San Diego for swimming, diving & snorkeling because the water is calm and fairly warm. If you want to spend the day here, you can also do a Snorkeling Tour or learn how to Paddle Board!
  • Padres Game at Petco Park. If you’re in San Diego during baseball season, check out a game! Not only is it an awesome stadium, there are tons of food and drink options!
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. A great spot for an afternoon hike or to take in the scenery. There are tons of trails you can check out and the best part… it’s open 365 days a year!
  • Mount Soledad. Built as a Veran’s War Memorial, it’s a great place to take in views of the city and stop for pictures.
  • Whale Watching Tour. Launch into the Pacific Ocean and sneak a peek at some dolphins, seals, seabirds and if you’re lucky gray whales! It’s best to go between December and April while they’re traveling along the North American Coast.
  • Champagne Brunch Cruise. Another sightseeing option, when you go on a brunch cruise you get a breakfast buffet, champagne & tons of San Diego views.
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego. An awesome way to spend the afternoon, hop aboard a museum-on-water! There are tons of restored ships, submarines & artifacts. If you want to make a day of it, you can even take a whale watching tour on the ship America & get free admission to the museum.
  • Feed Dolphins at Sea World. Get an exclusive trainer-guided, poolside party with dolphins! You get to meet, feed & learn to communicate with dolphins!
  • Jet-Ski through La Jolla. Go alone or bring a friend! Take a 1-2 hour tour of the La Jolla coastline on a jet-ski!
  • Snorkel with Sharks. For real, you can swim with sharks! Don’t worry, they’re totally harmless. Get and up close view of leopard sharks, ranging from 3 – 7 feet in length!
  • 5 Day Great White Shark Adventure. Ok so this isn’t technically in San Diego, but you do leave San Diego to head to Guadalupe Island, Mexico. You hop onto a boat and spend 5 days with great whites, orcas, whales, donships, seals & turtles! If you’re lucky, you’ll even catch makos! If you want to see larger sharks, go later in the season. The trip provides accommodations, meals, beer & wine and dive equipment.
  • North Park Brewery Tour. North Park is definitely the new “hot spot” of San Diego. On the tour you get to visit 3 breweries and try a ton of different beers.
  • LegolandWhether you’re traveling with kids or just want to treat your inner child to a day of rides and attractions, Legoland is a quick drive north to Carlsbad!
  • Skating at Hotel Del Coronado. This is only in December, but totally worth the wait! You get to skate by the beach and look at the ocean!
  • Sunset Cliffs. Literally… watch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs.
  • Belmont Park. Located in Mission Beach, Belmont Park is San Diego’s beachfront amusement park! Grab some cotton candy, play arcade games & even ride a zipline!
  • Spruce Street Suspension Bridge. Totally Instagram worthy, this suspension bridge is the perfect stop for some pictures!
  • The Devil’s Punchbowl. Take a hike to Cedar Falls and check out the waterfalls and pool below!
  • Del Mar Fair. If you’re in San Diego during the summer, hit up the Del Mar Fair! Be sure to check out the concert and event calendar so you don’t miss anything!
  • Liberty Public Market. Head over to Liberty Station to check out the 7 day a week Public Market, with tons of foods, drinks, desserts & shops!
  • Potato Chip Rock. Another Instagram worth spot. Hike up to Potato Chip Rock and enjoy the views. The end of the trail leads you to the edge of a cliff that looks like you’re floating!
  • Birch Aquarium. Not the biggest aquarium, but a fun place to see a ton of fish, sharks, sea turtles & sea life!
  • River Tubing. Go tubing down the La Jolla River on a hot day!
  • Tijuana Trip. Take a trip over the boarder and go shopping and sightseeing in Mexico!
  • Tacos & Tequila Tour. Take a tour of Old Town San Diego & try some authentic Mexican Food & tequila cocktails!
  • Hang Glide over La Jolla. Get a tour of San Diego from above!

More Bucket Lists!

If you love a good bucket list as much as I do, also check out this  Fall Bucket List and this New York City Bucket List.

Outfit Details:

Striped Shorts – Show Me Your Mumu

Denim Jacket – DSTLD

Sandals – Steve Madden

Sunglasses – Quay x Desi Perkins

Gray Saddle Bag – GiGi New York

Wrap Tank – Revolve x Privacy Please

High Waisted Jeans – Revolve x GRLFRND

Brown Saddle Bag – Rebecca Minkoff

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  • Reply
    July 3, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve been trying to convince my mom to take me to San Diego next summer. I’ll definitely show her this! 🙂

    • Reply
      July 4, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Definitely! Have fun!

  • Reply
    July 4, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Erin do you have a way to convince my parents to visit San Diego I really want too but my parents are not as into it as I am. How do I convince them it’s a awesome place???

  • Reply
    August 24, 2017 at 11:58 am

    They all sound so fun I really wanna go soon and I remember doing some when I was really young and my parents took me there

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