Things to do in San Diego
When you ask a local what to do in San Diego, their first answer will always be, “go to the beach.” The most iconic seaside destination is Mission Beach, which has got a classic California boardwalk and rickety wooden rollercoaster. Pacific Beach has some of the best surfing, and therefore surf-watching for those of you not looking to dive into the sport. Coronado Beach is across the bay from downtown San Diego and features the historical Hotel del Coronado, a perfect setting for pretending like you’re Marilyn Monroe or Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot.
If you’ve exhausted yourself surfing, there are plenty of other things to do in San Diego. Balboa Park is San Diego’s answer to New York’s Central Park; a picturesque greenbelt studded with 15 museums, eight botanical gardens, and numerous performing art centers. You can go from the Japanese Friendship Garden to the Air & Space Museum to the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theater. If you are looking for more places to snap photos, the Cabrillo National Monument along San Diego Bay is where to go for sweeping views. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European ever to set foot in California, an honor he claimed at this spot in 1542.
There’s no shortage of animal attractions in San Diego. Don’t be shy if you want to hit SeaWorld, the Birch Aquarium or the San Diego Zoo, even without the kids. While SeaWorld is very much a theme park situation, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is practically the Serengeti. The park is set on 1,800 acres and designed to give animals the closest experience to their natural habitats. Visitors can partake in a number of jeep tours to spot giraffes, lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, and more. There are also hot air balloon rides, a petting zoo, and a two-mile Kilimanjaro walk. You might not think visiting U.C.S.D. tops the list of what to do in San Diego, but if you’re already in La Jolla, you should make a stop at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute for a tour of the world’s foremost ocean, earth and atmospheric science research centers and pet some foreign fish at the Birch Aquarium.
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