San Diego, named America’s Finest city. Most popular for its world famous beaches and nearly perfect weather, San Diego offers year round activities for even the pickiest person. First things first, the weather, where its always 70-75F and sunny! Well, maybe not always. But pretty darn close!
There’s almost never a bad day to enjoy San Diego’s next biggest attraction, 70 miles of glorious beaches. The feeling of a warm beach and sand between your toes is a sensation cherished by visitors and locals alike.
The sunny weather and pristine beaches are so spectacular that it often overshadows the other great attractions San Diego has to offer. We’d need pages upon pages to provide an exhaustive list, so we’ve started by compiling a list of some of our favorites. San Diego has to offer.
TOP ATTRACTIONS in San Diego
- The San Diego Zoo is among the most popular attractions San Diego has to offer, and with some 3,700 animals of 650+ species, the zoo really does live up to the hype! Be sure to bring comfortable shoes because the 100-acre zoo can easily take a full day to explore. Some animals even roam free, so visitors can get up close and personal. Shaded trails offer a surprise around every corner so keep your eyes peeled for pandas, gorillas and koalas! If it seems daunting, don’t worry – there’s a chair lift to bring you from one end of the park to another, bus tours are available and the cinema offers a cool respite when you need a little break from the action. To avail all these adventure and fun regularly you can buy homes in San Diego. Not known to many, the San Diego also has a Wild Animal Safari Park about 40 minutes north in Escondido which houses wild and endangered animals in free-range enclosures.
- Since we’re talking about animals, we’d be remiss not to mention SeaWorld San Diego, an animal theme park, oceanarium and outdoor aquarium. While it’s not as large as the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego offers more than two dozen animal habitats, 10 rides, 20 shows, 2 play areas and 11 “distinctive experiences”.
- Belmont Park is another fantastic amusement park for children and adults alike. The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster is a fan favorite. Bumper cars, a man-made wave park and arcade games are just a few of the many things that will keep your kids busy for a day! Looking for something more adult? Head over to the sports bar or happy hour upstairs for a perfect view of the sunset.
- If parks and amusement rides aren’t your thing, head over to Seaport Village. From a distance, you might think Seaport Village is an ordinary shopping center—but quite the contrary! It straddles the line between an outdoor mall and an art/wine festival where great entertainment, shopping and dining can be enjoyed alongside breathtaking San Diego Harbor views. Every summer Seaport Village transforms into the place for locals to see and be seen, a can’t miss! If you don’t want to miss these fun then you should buy homes in San Diego.
- It didn’t seem right to categorize Balboa Park as either a park or a museum – so we’ve pulled it out and added it to our list of top San Diego attractions. Balboa Park is a 1200-acre urban cultural park, one of the largest urban parks of its kind in the entire nation. In addition to open space, natural vegetation, gardens and walking parks, Balboa Park contains dozens of Smithsonian-quality museums, theaters and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Recreational facilities, gift shops and restaurants are scattered throughout. The Japanese and Botanical Gardens are worth the trip alone. As an added bonus, head over to Balboa Park on the first Wednesday of every month where experts host an evening of stargazing or Friday after work for its Balboa After Dark food truck nights.
Have a particular area of interest that you want to explore? San Diego probably has a museum for that. From art and science, to automobiles and aircraft – there are dozens of museums in and around San Diego, each of which offers something unique to visitors. The museums can compel you to get rid of the visitors tag and can buy homes in San Diego to come under the native tag. A few favorites:
- The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego actually has two locations: the original was founded in 1941 in La Jolla; the second location opened downtown in 2007 to the tune of $25 million. In 2014, the city announced that famed architect Anabelle Selldorf was selected to lead the $30 million expansion of the La Jolla location, which will effectively triple the size of the La Jolla museum and will add both gallery and educational space. In total, the two locations boast a collection of nearly 5,000 post-WWII works of contemporary art.
- Learn about the legends who started it all! Located in the popular surfing community of Oceanside, the California Surf Museum is dedicated to archiving and displaying surfboards, surf art, memorabilia, photographs, magazines and more. More than 20,000 people visit each year to explore the museum’s rotating exhibits.
- The Maritime Museum of San Diego offers one of the largest collections of historic sea vessels in the U.S., including the Star of India, an iron bark that dates back to 1863. The Maritime Museum serves as the collective memory of the nation’s seafaring experience by collecting, preserving and presenting rich maritime heritage and historic connections to the Pacific world. Permanent exhibits include “Age of Sail,” “Age of Steam,” “San Diego’s Navy,” and “Harvesting the Ocean—San Diego’s Commercial Fishing Industry”.
- Not to be confused with the Maritime Museum, the U.S.S. Midway Museum is located a short distance away and independently operated. The museum consists of the aircraft carrier Midway and houses an extensive collection of aircraft, many of which were built in Southern California.
- Another homage to San Diego’s military past: the Mormon Battalion Historic Site is an educational and informative attraction that shares the story of the Mormon Battalion, the only religiously-based unit in U.S. military history. The volunteer unit consisted of approximately 550 people who served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War. Located in Old Town San Diego, a museum itself, this is a must-see for history buffs!
- Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a 2,000-acre coastal state park located in La Jolla – just 20 minutes north of San Diego and bordered immediately south by the Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course. The park is one of the wildest stretches of land in Southern California and home to endless wildlife and flora including bobcats, foxes, coyotes, rabbits, cacti and coastal chaparral! There are more than 8 miles of trails within the park that are perfect for hiking and beach goers alike. Get to the top and take in breathtaking cliff views from the Torrey Pines Lodge hotel.
- On the western edge of Point Loma is the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, a 68-acre city park adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. Visitors love this park for its casual walking trails and beautiful sunsets. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the California Gray Whale from the cliffs as the whales migrate from the Bering Sea down toward Baja California.
- Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made aquatic park in the county, consisting of more than 4,200-acres (46% land, 54% water). The combined area makes Mission Bay the 9th largest municipally-owned park in the U.S. Weekends are especially busy as people flock to the park to walk, bike or jog along its 20+ miles of scenic trails. Others hit the water to kayak, canoe, paddleboard and jet ski. After a long day at the park, be sure to head to the Crown Point Shores area where BBQ grills are available for public use. Every native of San Diego has spent time at Mission Bay – so be sure to ask a local for his or her favorite spot!
- Sometimes, you just need to cool off. The County Administration Center Water Park is a great place for kids to do just that! That 12-acre grassy park has arching water jets and a splash pad. It’s a perfect spot for family picnics and after school playtime as it hosts a creative playground with slides, climbing walls and modern recreational features right along the bay front. Kids love this park, and parents do, too.
Some say that San Diego is cursed when it comes to sports but that doesn’t stop residents from cheering on the San Diego Padres (baseball) or the San Diego Gulls (hockey).
- Head down to Petco Park to catch America’s favorite pastime. When it’s a mild summer night and you’re perched atop the grassy hill at Petco Park – who cares if the Padres win? Just the experience is worth every penny.
- Every December, college football action comes to San Diego when teams from the Pac-12 Conference and Big 12 Conference square off and play at the National University Holiday Bowl Football Game. Family and friends come out to cheer on their favorite teams, enjoy festive parades, halftime show fireworks and other special events. If you’re going to the game, be sure to arrive early so you have time to join one of the tailgate parties!
Being as a sports lover you can buy homes in San Diego to stay fit and to give the best environment of sports and game for your children too.
With so many beaches to choose from in the San Diego area, how can you choose which one is right for you? Here’s a little guide.
- If you’re looking for family-friendly beaches, you’ll want to head to La Jolla Cove, Moonlight State Beach or Silver Strand State Beach. Thanks to its gentle waves, La Jolla Cove comes in as the crowd favorite.
- If you’d rather go surfing, you’ll want to check out Trestles, Ocean Beach, Tourlamine or just about any beach along the coast.
- Mission Beach is one of San Diego’s most iconic beach. The centrally-located spot is the epitome of a Southern California beach. You’ll be able to cruise the busy boardwalk and would be crazy to pass up a ride down the iconic wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster.
- Head to Ocean Beach, the beach of locals and classic Californians. Tourists and teens congregate at Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, which frees up Ocean Beach for the city’s longtime residents looking to get away from the crowds.
If you are really a beach lover and want to take the pleasure of the beaches then why to plan for the vacations, just buy homes in San Diego and grab the pleasure everyday.
Sometimes, there’s an event so special that it only takes place once a year – or for a short period of time each year. For those moving to San Diego, you’ll want to keep a pulse on when these events occur. Forget to mark them on your calendar and they’ll be over before you know it!
- The Farmers Insurance Open Golf Tournament, an annual PGA Tour event, is held in San Diego every January/February. The tournament has made Torrey Pines one of the most sought-after golf courses in Southern California as golfers try to replicate the success of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jon Daly and the others who have made their mark on the course.
- Every March and April, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch (about 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego) blossom into a spectacular sea of brightly-colored ranunculus flowers. Photographers, professional and amateur alike, get lost in the flowers upon flowers. Those who are more cautious might consider taking one of the guided tours.
- The Rock and Roll Marathon & Half Marathon occurs every June and attracts runners from around the world. After all, what would make running 26 miles more fun than having a different rock band positioned every mile or so?
- San Diego’s annual County Fair also takes place in June. Here, you’ll find outlandish foods, garden shows, livestock tends and a midway complete with carnival rides and concerts held throughout the beautiful, oceanfront Del Mar Fairgrounds.
- Spice things up by heading to San Diego Comic Con in July – the largest comic book and pop culture convention in the world! What started as a modest comic book collectors’ convention has morphed into an event that lures Hollywood’s biggest superstars.
- Revel in the fall foliage and delight in succulent apples during the Julian Apple Harvest. Located only 45 minutes northeast of San Diego, this charming festival offers homemade apple cider, art shows and entertainment. The event, which takes place from September through November, is reminiscent of the fall harvests you’d expect in a historic New England town – except, you’re in Southern California.
- San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival takes place every November. During this international showcase of the world’s premier wine and spirits, chefs and culinary personalities serve up decadent gourmet foods. In past years, over 800 wines and spirits, 70 of San Diego’s top fine dining restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies have participated in the festival.
FREE THINGS TO DO
Clearly, there are loads of fun activities and attractions that San Diego has to offer. The offers or the plan can change your mind to buy homes in San Diego. But what does a person do that’s on a budget? Well, you find things to do that don’t cost a penny.
- As we’ve noted, there are miles upon miles of coastline calling your name. Snorkel at La Jolla Cove, sunbathe at Mission Beach, or take the dogs for a walk at Coronado beach.
- Kick back and relax at one of the city’s many free concerts. There are dozens of free concerts throughout the city – particularly during the summer.
- Venture up Mount Soledad, a prominent landmark in the city of San Diego that’s absolutely worth the trek.
- Take a drive along the world-famous 59-mile San Diego scenic drive. Loop your way through the city’s charming neighborhoods and stop in at a number of the unique attractions and natural wonders that spring up along the way. We recommend taking it at a more leisurely pace, but if you want to cover the entire trip in one adventure, be sure to carve out at least three hours. Either way, just follow the blue and yellow signs – you can’t miss them! They’re marked by a white seagull every quarter mile.
- Visit Old Town San Diego, the heart of the city until the 1860s, when a newcomer to San Diego named Alonzo Horton began to promote development at the site of present-day downtown San Diego. Residents and businesses may have abandoned Old Town at the time, but today, Old Town offers the city’s oldest architecture and a number of historic landmarks.
OTHER QUALITY OF LIFE ELEMENTS
If you aren’t sold on San Diego yet (did we mention it’s almost always sunny and 75!?), consider these other quality of life elements which can feel hope to buy homes in San Diego:
- Forbes voted San Diego the 3rd best beer city in the U.S., after only Portland and San Francisco. Nearly every bar carries a selection of local brews like Stone, Coronado and Karl Straus. There seems to be a beer festival at least once every weekend!
- San Diego is a great place to be a kid. The city is among the most family-friendly in the U.S. Don’t believe it? Scroll up. Take a look at all of those parks, playgrounds, museums, beaches and animal parks that we mentioned—and we’re just scratching the surface here.
- It’s easy to stay healthy and have fun while doing so. Muay Thai, yoga, surfing, rock climbing, running, rollerblading – the options are endless in San Diego.
- There are restaurants galore. And because San Diego is such a health-oriented community, there are options that cater to even the most bizarre dietary needs. We prefer the Mexican food. Try it. It will change your life.
- Farmers’ markets happen throughout San Diego every day of the week. Some offer free entertainment, and better yet, free food! Each market has its own flavor. The Little Italy Mercato serves up meat and espresso. North Park and Hillcrest boast tasty food trucks. Oceanside Beach has vendors that share space with live bands on Wednesdays, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a llama ride. To taste all the flavors and to enjoy all the fun you should buy homes in San Diego and can have all your desire fulfilled whenever you want.
- San Diego is an educated city with three large universities (University of California San Diego, San Diego State University and the University of San Diego) and many more community colleges. If you want to brush up on your book smarts or gain some new practical skills, it’s easy to do so in San Diego.
- You can shop ‘til you drop in San Diego. Souvenir hunters, eclectic buyers and window shoppers will appreciate wandering the streets of downtown. The famous Gas Lamp Quarter has unique boutiques and mainstream fashion brands. Little Italy has jewelry, art, antiques and furniture. Upscale shoppers might prefer La Jolla with its high-end retailers and fanciful toy stores, art galleries and even boutique pet stores.
- Looking to spice things up? Just head to Tijuana for the day. Shuttle buses will drop you at Avendia Revolucion where you can stroll through the various ethnic shops and boutiques. If you’re on the more adventurous side, you might even stay for the nightlife.
There is so much to do, see and experience in San Diego. People usually venture to San Diego as a tourist before falling for the Southern California city. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy commercial…
You’re going to love it here, too. We guarantee it.