San Diego is a city that has a Southern California vibe with a Spanish flair. The city is full of beautiful beaches, boardwalks, and entertainment centers that provide recreation opportunities for all ages. Everywhere in San Diego are many Spanish architectural structures that present the history of the city beginning with its discovery by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542. In San Diego, you will enjoy world-class dining and nightlife, as well as the largest zoo in the United States.
We’ve created a list of some of the best things to do on your next trip to beautiful San Diego.
8 Best Things to Do in San Diego
Explore Balboa Park, the Cultural Center of San Diego
This 1,200-acre park is located in downtown San Diego and is considered the city’s cultural hub. There are tons of recreational opportunities at Balboa Park including walking and biking through the grounds. The Botanical Building is a highlight with over 2,000 plants and is one of the most photographed places in the park. Balboa Park also has a number of museums on the grounds including the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Man, and Fleet Science Center, plus many more.
See Endangered Species at San Diego Zoo
Located in Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is considered to be one of the best zoos in the United States. The San Diego Zoo has one of the largest collections of endangered and rare animals in the country. Besides the animal exhibits, the zoo also has an aerial tram, 4-D movie theaters and hosts educational animal shows and encounter programs.
Eat, Drink, Dine and Dance at the Gaslamp Quarter
If you just want to relax and have a drink and a great meal, be sure to spend some time at the Gaslamp Quarter. In the quarter, visitors can grab a great morning coffee at Café 21, have an elegant meal of fine Italian dining at de’Medici Cucina Italiana, and everything in between. The Gaslamp Quarter has an active nightlife scene with a great number of bars and nightclubs. This area also has many shopping opportunities at Horton Plaza shopping center.
Old Town San Diego History
See San Diego’s history on the mile-long stretch of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The park shows visitors what life was like for Californians in different eras, from the time of the Spanish explorers to the Gold Rush. Walking along the mile, you will see the restored shops and houses from this time period. Also in the area is the Junipero Serra Museum, known for its Spanish architecture.
See an Awesome View at Sunset Cliffs
This area is great for recreation and beautiful sunset views. The rocky cliffs here are perfect for walking and hiking. Many past visitors have said Sunset Cliffs has the best ocean view from Point Loma. To avoid the crowds, keep your sunset visits during the week as the cliffs are a popular spot for locals on weekends.
Have a Maritime Adventure on a San Diego Bay Cruise
One of the best ways to see San Diego is from the water. There are many boat charter tours available for tourists of all ages and interests. The various bay cruise options include whale watching, San Diego Harbor Tour, SEAL tours, and fine dining cruises, plus many more. The cruises usually depart from the various ports in San Diego Harbor.
Ride the Amusements at Belmont Park
At Belmont Park, beachfront fun is back. This beachfront amusement park and boardwalk has been in San Diego since 1925. You can feel like a kid again when you ride the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the Beach Blaster. When you are hungry, you can get a quick bite like a hot dog on a stick, or you can have an awesome meal and a beer at Draft Mission Beach.
Be a Beach Bum at Mission Beach and Pacific Beach
Quality time in California is time spent on the beach. Mission Beach and Pacific Beach fit the mold of the Southern California beach experience perfectly. These two beaches are connected on the San Diego shoreline and are jam-packed with sunbathers and surfers. On the nearby boardwalk, you will see loads of joggers, bikers, and inline skaters enjoy the sunny day.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com