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Fun Things to Do in San Diego from the Locals

Before you plan your trip to San Diego, there are a few things to think about. Depending on where you are coming from, you’ll have to figure out more or less logistical details from the airport to your hotel. 

Getting Around San Diego

If you want to check out lots of different parts of San Diego, your best bet is renting a car. San Diego is much like Los Angeles in the sense that the city is pretty spread out from area to area. Once you are in an area you want to see, or near the coast, walking is nice but it can take a while to get between places. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can also consider taking an Uber to get across bigger distances within the city. Public transport is a good option BUT it doesn’t access all areas of the city.

General Information About San Diego

Located in California, San Diego is a city of about 1.5 million people right on the border with Mexico. Its location on the West Coast of the US means that you’ve got the Pacific Coast to explore.

Top Places to Visit in San Diego

North Park 

Often regarded as the trendiest neighborhood in San Diego, mixture of good coffee, amazing taquerias, and a vast variety of breweries are scattered around the neighbourhood. North Park got its name because of its location to the infamous Balboa Park, located just South of this unique neighborhood. No matter the time of day, this area offers something for everyone. Holsem Coffee is amazing with their super unique cold brews or lattes. North Park is full of eclectic shops if you are feeling like some retail therapy is in order and Pigment has eclectically curated collection of good. They even have a custom terrarium station.

University Heights

University Heights is located just north of North Park. This neighborhood is a continuation of great bars, good eateries, and trendy coffee shops. For some of the best craft cocktails in San Diego, Polite Provisions offers something different. Located in a unique old building with an atrium, this bar is sure will not disappoint cocktail connoisseurs. They will even have food delivered from the neighboring Soda and Swine if you’re in the mood for some good BBQ or comfort food. Park and Rec offers a more interactive experience. This fun outdoor venue has multiple bars, lawn games, and live music. It is a great place to hang out during the day or at night. Take a group of friends. The Small Bar is another great place to taste a selection of cocktails, craft beers, and bar food. Similar to North Park, University Heights is a great spot to wander around and experience San Diego for what it is. 


Sometimes overlooked due to its location, Encinitas is located about 24 miles North of San Diego. This quaint little town on the coast is a must stop on your way down, or worth a detour if you are already staying in San Diego. Wandering around the downtown area will find you a variety of gastropubs, vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurants, and shops. Spending the day on Moonlight beach with an Eve Juice is a must while you are in the area. On Sundays, be sure to check out Leucadia’s Farmers Market for fresh local produce and various food stalls. The small beach town feel wouldn’t be complete without it. With the swell reaching epic proportions at certain times of the year, Swamis is definitely a surfers’ paradise. One of the best viewing locations is perched on the cliffs high above. Mr. Peabody’s offers an amazing brunch for those who aren’t interested in diving into the waves. 

The Gaslamp Neighborhood

Located right in the middle of Downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp neighborhood is one for the history buffs. This area is a San Diego landmark, first developed in 1867. Often known for its sprawling and wild nightlife, this area has much more to offer. Boasting more than just the usual booze filled entertainment, there are a number of venues where you can find live music, theatre, and comedy shows. During the day, be sure to stop at Horton Plaza Park.  This outdoor venue has a grassy area to sit, a variety of shops, and various food options. It’s a good place to relax and rest up your weary travelers feet. As the sun begins to go down, this area truly begins to come alive. For those who are into the club scene Omina and Parq will not disappoint. Typically hosting some of the bigger name DJ’s, these two venues are as close to a Vegas experience as you are going to get. Friday and Saturdays can get pretty busy, so be prepared.

Sunset Cliffs

As the name suggests, nothing would make a visit to Southern California complete without some epic sunsets. This is one of those places that stands out as an epic sunset watching spot. Sunset Cliffs is easily the most popular place in the area to grab a bottle of champagne and end the day. Located in the Point Loma area, this post is known for having the steepest cliffs in San Diego. Keep in mind that because it is one of the most popular spots, it can get a bit crowded.

Head over during the day if cliff jumping sounds like something that interests you. Please do some research beforehand, and jump at your own risk. Timing is often required in order for the tide to be high enough for a safe jump so it is suggested for on trained cliff jumpers. Another other great spot is Windansea Beach, which is located in La Jolla. This is a beautiful stretch of beach that has nearly everything. Cool rock formations, with small paths that bring you down to the water.

We hope we have made your sightseeing stay in San Diego a little easier and do forget the ultimate thing to do in San Diego is to Sail San Diego on the Stars and Stripes Sailing Tour.