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San Diego Attractions

You'll find fun things to do in San Diego, no matter what your interests might be!

Photo of the Master and Commander ship, part of the San Diego Maritime Museum on the city's Embarcadero San Diego is a beautiful city to visit. Miles of shoreline on the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, and Mission Bay mean that you'll get to enjoy sweeping sea views and scenic bay waters. Yet, San Diego also boasts of great natural beauty on dry land...both gentle hills and rugged mountains...which form a natural setting for still MORE family fun.

Two major theme parks (Sea World San Diego and Legoland California) make their home in San Diego County...and there's one popular seaside amusement park (Belmont Park) that you'll want to visit, as well. One of the world's formost zoos (the San Diego Zoo, of course!) and the top-notch Scripps Aquarium will please the animal-lovers in your group. There are world-class shopping destinations, museums and parks. What's NOT to like about San Diego's many and varied attractions?!

On this page, we'll talk about some of the most popular San Diego Attractions, along with links to still other pages in this website where you can see still MORE photos and get further details about these well-loved tourist destinations.

San Diego's Theme Parks

San Diego's world-class theme parks are packed with fun things to do with (or without) kids!

Two world-class theme parks make their home in San Diego County! And, each of these amusement parks has its own photo-filled section to help you plan your trip...and remember the fun you've had once you get back home!

1.) Sea World San Diego---Millions love Shamu the Killer Whale, SeaWorld's well-known mascot. An entire section of is devoted to showing you photos of Sea World and describing its attractions. You may head to the Shamu the Killer Whale page of this website to see pictures of Shamu and learn about Shamu's shows and activities at SeaWorld. From there, you can discover other fun SeaWorld pages...such as Dining with Shamu, or SeaWorld Rides. Or, if you already know about the exciting shows and rides at SeaWorld San Diego, you might be more interested in "practical" information, such as SeaWorld Contact Information or info about SeaWorld Discount Tickets.

2.) Legoland Theme Park: At Legoland California, you'll enter a unique environment---an entire amusement park geared strictly towards families and their kids ages 14 and under! While the emphasis at Legoland Park may be on toddlers, preschoolers and tweens, even the adults in your group will be astounded by the spectacular Miniland Cities...where the most famous buildings of Hollywood, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York City, Las Vegas, Washington DC and still MORE cities of the USA have been re-created using MILLIONS of Legos! For an overview of Legoland, head to the Legoland California Overview page of this website. Or, to view the astounding Lego mini-cities, head straight to the Legoland's Miniland Cities page. If you just want some practical money-saving tips to make your theme park visit easier on the wallet, try the ideas you'll find on the Legoland Discount Tickets page of this website.

Popular San Diego Attractions & Activities

Photo of a San Diego Gaslamp Quarter restaurant, featuring an attractive patio dining area Here's a list of San Diego's most popular tourist hot spots---

1.) Balboa Park---San Diego's Balboa Park, offers many activities you can enjoy in the lovely, tree-shaded Balboa Park. Whether you wish to enjoy a sports activity on one of the park's playing fields, or take your child to a playground, or enjoy one of its many specialty museums, Balboa Park is a great bet for spending a relaxing day...time and time again.

2.) Belmont Park and Mission Beach---Belmont Park at Mission Beach, is the fun & nostalgic amusement park at one of San Diego's popular Pacific Ocean beaches

3.) Embarcadero---San Diego's beautiful bay is bordered by a pedestrian walkway that can lead you and your family to all sorts of fun adventures! You can take a harbor cruise, visit a cute shopping village, eat a delicious seafood meal, or tour a number of interesting ships, both modern AND from the sailing days of yore. See the San Diego Embarcadero page of this site to discover details about these exciting family activities.

4.) Gaslamp Quarter---Dining and nightlife draw crowds to the Gaslamp Quarter after dark. By day, the Gaslamp Quarter (one of San Diego's oldest neighborhoods...born again as a lively hot spot) draws shoppers to its attractive stores. As you can see just above (in the photo on the right) some Gaslamp Quarter restaurants have scenic patio dining...just right for enjoying San Diego, California's terrific year-round weather. You may wish to browse through the Gaslamp Quarter's official website to discover which of its many attractions you'll enjoy most.

5.) Mission San Diego Alcala---Mission San Diego de Alcala, and Presidio Park, are two of San Diego's original settlements.

Photo of an Old Town San Diego vendor's cart...full of colorful dolls!

6.) Old Town San Diego---In Old Town, you can tour historic buildings, dine at a fabulous restaurant, and drink-in the atmosphere of San Diego's early days. In the photo to your left, you see a colorful vendor's cart at Old Town San Diego. You may find out all about Old Town's unique attractions by browsing through the Old Town San Diego official website.

7.) San Diego Camping---Camping enthusiasts flock to San Diego Beach Camping spots. Discover the various California State Park beach campgrounds that you can enjoy on the Pacific Ocean. San Diego is also full of cozy, woodsy campsites nestled in the mountains east of town. On this website, you can check out the camping (and fishing!) fun you'll have at the Lake Jennings Campgrounds or the Paso Picacho Campground. An hour's drive east of the city simply transport you to a whole new world of nature's wonders!

8.) San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park---The San Diego Zoo, is one of the world's top zoos, conveniently located in the middle of San Diego's Balboa Park! Also not-to-be-missed is the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park in the suburb of Escondido.

9.) The Sea Life Aquarium is a new aquarium that's a part of the Legoland complex in Carlsbad. Slanted towards families, you'll also see fun characters made completely out of Legos as you tour the attractive, kid-friendly aquarium exhibits. Please visit the Sea Life Aquarium page of this site to see pictures, get info, and learn about ways to get discount tickets.

10.) Birch Aquarium at Scripps: If you love making aquarium visits, you will also enjoy the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Perched on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean, the views from the aquarium are fabulous. Plus, you'll enjoy a selection of interesting indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well.

11.) Mexico day trips and weekend getaways: San Diego is the US gateway to Baja California, a favorite getaway spot for Southern Californians...and California visitors, too. Making daytrips to Tijuana is popular, especially with shoppers looking to find bargains. However, making a weekend getaway to Ensenada will give you a chance to see a more beautiful and relaxing side of Mexico. Located on the lovely Pacific Ocean, the picturesque town of Ensenada is a favorite destination of fishermen, foodies, romantic couples in love...and, actually, anybody who yearns for exotic foreign vacations that can be enjoyed without spending a fortune. To discover more about this close-to-home hideway, you may wish to browse through the website,, a guide to Ensenada activities and services.

San Diego Attractions Discount Tickets

There's almost always a way to save money at fun San Diego attractions!

Picture: Petco Park in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp QuarterQuite often, you'll be able to find discount tickets to the San Diego family attractions you wish to visit. Print-at-home discounts can often be found on an attraction's website. You may also look for discounts in several other places---

1.) ARES Travel, the Southern California discount specialists: ARES Travel specializes in discount attractions tickets and hotels for the Southern California area, including San Diego. Here's a link to the San Diego Discounts page of the ARES Travel website so that you may search for current specials and ticket deals. Also, here's a link to the ARES website's San Diego Hotel deals page.

2.) San Diego Go Cards: If you're going to be visiting a variety of San Diego attractions, you may wish to check out this multi-attraction discount card that saves you money...while letting you choose WHICH attractions you'll visit. With the Go San Diego Card, you purchase a plan for the number of days you'd like to tour---1, 2, 3, 5 or 7. Then, you can squeeze in as many of the plan's "member attractions" as you can fit into your schedule---the more you tour, the more you save! Sea World San Diego, Legoland and its SeaLife Aquarium, the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Balboa Park's museums, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Grayline's Tijuana Tour, Gaslamp Quarter Walking Tour, PETCO Park tour, the Coronado Ferry, USS Midway Museum and many other San Diego attractions are included. To see the complete list of places included in this money-saving program, please visit the San Diego Go Card's official website, or see the Go San Diego Card ads on this page.

Picture: Male trainer surfs the waves at Shamu Stadium...while Shamu plays the part of a surfboard!3.) Individual attraction discounts: There are too many discount coupons and deals available for each individual attraction to list them all in this small section. Here are some other pages of which can tell you great ways to save money at some of San Diego's Best attractions:

   a.) Legoland: To discover nearly a dozen ways to save money on Legoland tickets, please visit the Legoland Discount Tickets page of this site.

   b.) Sea Life Aquarium: You'll find good ways to save at this interesting new kid-friendly attraction on the Sea Life Aquarium page of this site.

   c.) Embarcadero: To save money at the various attractions at San Diego's beautiful waterfront, please see the San Diego Embarcadero page.

   d.) Sea World San Diego: To discover a number of ways to save money at this "can't miss" San Diego attraction, please check out the SeaWorld San Diego Discount Tickets page of this site.

   e.) San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park: If you'd like to save money on your next zoo or wildlife park visit, you'll discover a number of ways to get deals and specials on our San Diego Zoo Discount Tickets page.

4.) San Diego Visitor's Bureau coupons: Free coupons can be found at the San Diego Visitor's & Convention Bureau website ( It's difficult to say what selection of coupons they'll have at the time you'll be taking your vacation, but there's always a good selection of different types of coupons. Here's a link to the organizations's San Diego Coupons page. Don't stop there, though; this info-packed site is a fountain of information on many topics (like festivals or nightlife) that aren't covered by this blog.

5.) State of California's tourism website coupons: The California state website has fewer coupons for San Diego than the city's website does...but they are easier to browse through (since they're only for the top tourist attractions.) Meanwhile, the state's tourism website can give you all sorts of info about visiting places in every corner of the state. Here's a link to's San Diego & other California discount coupons page, for your convenience.

6.) San Diego Entertainment Book coupons: You can save money on everything from restaurants, attractions, movie tickets & shopping to sporting events and hotels with coupons from the San Diego Entertainment Book. The catch? This isn't a free book, and you have to purchase it in advance of your visit (because they're not sold at San Diego attractions or book stores.) So you do have to think ahead. The money spent will be recouped quickly, though, since the coupons are usually better than you'll find elsewhere (many of them are 2-for-1 meals or admission ticket offers.) Plus, the book doesn't cost that much to begin with. I've used Entertainment Book coupons for about 15 years; I've never had any problem with them being accepted anywhere. If you're interested, here's a link to the Entertainment Book website, or simply explore the Entertainment Book ad to your right.

San Diego Shopping!

Photo: the Bazaar del Mundo is a colorful and vibrant specialty shopping area near Old Town San Diego Outlet shopping is alive and well in San Diego, California! Greater San Diego has three attractive, bargain-filled major factory outlet malls that are highly popular with both visitors and local residents alike. These are---

Carlsbad Outlet Mall---Carlsbad Premium Outlets page covering one of north San Diego County's premier shopping destinations

Viejas Outlet Mall---Viejas Outlet Center page, a beautiful outlet mall in the hills behind San Diego

Las Americas Premium Outlets---The Las Americas Premium Outlets, about the great outlet bargains you'll find at the Tijuana border

You'll find great shopping opportunities at greater San Diego's retail malls, as well. The most popular San Diego mall with upscale shoppers is the world-class Fashion Valley Mall in the Mission Valley area of the city. (It's not far from SeaWorld...what a good side-trip!) Hot on Fashion Valley's heels is another unique shopping destination...downtown San Diego's Horton Plaza Mall.

In Southern San Diego County, the new Otay Ranch Town Center shows off just how one of the new "Lifestyle Center" malls should look...while the elegant The Forum at Carlsbad is yet another example, but in the northern portion of the county.

Specialty shopping abounds in San Diego, as well. One very popular specialty shopping district is the colorful & vibrant Mexican-themed Bazaar del Mundo. You can browse through exotic and decorative home decor items and clothing. Or, eat a delicious meal in top San Diego restaurants. Use the following link to explore the official website. Photo note: you can see one of the delightfully decorated Bazaar del Mundo buildings in the picture to your left.

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