Welcome to San Diego, California: a beachside idyll with near-perfect weather all year long. It’s renowned for its surfing and sand but, beyond that, there’s also plenty to do when it comes to art, culture, food and architecture. You can explore a sea cave, indulge in a tiki drink, travel back to the 1800s and eat at one of the city’s longest-running authentic Mexican restaurants – all in the space of a day. Here are 20 must-see attractions in San Diego (and that doesn’t even include the more unusual attractions).
Should you secure a ticket to this annual festival of all things geek, you’ll get to check out countless panels, screenings and parties. It’s the biggest convention in San Diego, maxing out the convention center each year with up to 130,000 attendees, many of them in elaborate costume. According to the Guinness Books of World Records, it’s the biggest comic/pop culture festival in the world as well.
Every year, San Diego hosts a Tiki Oasis convention, where some 3,500 people converge to celebrate Polynesian culture. In addition, you can enjoy cocktails anytime at popular venues such as The Grass Skirt, a tiki speakeasy (try saying that three times drunk). Also try Bali Hai Restaurant, which has been slinging stiff mai tais since 1954.
There are seven sea caves in the beachside city of La Jolla, each of which is ripe for exploring. One, affectionately dubbed Sunny Jim, can be entered via a tunnel in the back of the La Jolla Cave Store. The rest can only be accessed by water. Luckily, you can book kayak tours to get to them; they not only let you see these magnificent caves, but get some exercise while you do.
Yes, you can drink beer in every American city. However, San Diego County is home to a staggering 125 craft breweries. Heavy hitters include Stone Brewing Co., Modern Times, Pizza Port, Bellast Point Brewing Company, AleSmith Brewing, Green Flash and Karl Strauss. From sours to stouts, there’s something for every beer aficionado. You can even book a city beer tour via companies like San Diego Brew Tours or Scavengers. If you really want to try as many beers as possible, plan a visit that aligns with San Diego Beer Week, during which many themed events will be happening all over the city.