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Things to do in San Diego

Here’s your key to the city. A definitive guide of the best local spots, as told by local Airbnb hosts



Best of the best

806 local Airbnb hosts recommend

As one traveler put it: "This is the green and leafy heart of the city where a multitude of activities and nearby attractions await. But if you just want to soak up some rays, go for a quiet walk, ... read more

Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park in San Diego, California, United States. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it conta... read more

Balboa Park San Diego offers lots to do in a single area. If you're interested in learning about science, art and history, you can check out the museums at Balboa Park. The various gardens at Balbo... read more

231 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is 2,000 acres of coastal state park located in the community of La Jolla, off North Torrey Pines Road. Although it is located within San Diego city limits, it re... read more

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is 2,000 acres of coastal state park located in the community of La Jolla, off North Torrey Pines Road. Although it is located within San Diego city limits, it re... read more

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is located within San Diego city limits and yet remains one of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast! Because of the efforts and foresigh... read more

685 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The roar of a lion from the Panama-California International Exposition in 1915 inspired Dr. Harry Wegeforth to start a zoo in San Diego. Now the 100-acre, world-class Zoo is home to more than 4,000... read more

The San Diego Zoo is world famous for not only its exhibits but also for its contributions to the natural world. The Zoo, located adjacent to downtown San Diego in Balboa Park, is 100 acres in size... read more

The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California housing over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. Its parent organization, San Diego Zoo Global, is one of the la... read more

274 local Airbnb hosts recommend

La Jolla Cove is an unforgettable beach in San Diego ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and swimming. La Jolla Cove is a part of the La Jolla Underwater Park meaning it is a marine refuge... read more

La Jolla is a bit of a drive (30 minutes to get to the cove), but it's definitely worth the time. There are seals that have taken over part of the beach, which is quite a sight to see. The town its... read more

This is an awesome place to snorkel and swim around with sea lions and fish. Absolutely stunning views and they have free concerts in the park during the summer on Sunday afternoons. One of my favo... read more

101 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“Oscars is a small hole in the wall taco stand closest to the condo but there is another Oscars in Pacific Beach (3 miles south). The breakfast plates ($5.50) are delicious -- smoked fish is my fav... read more

“Oscar's is a little hole in the wall taco stand. Their specialty is fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and ceviche. There is often a line out the door to order and a bit of a wait for your food to be rea... read more

Incredible fish tacos and ceviche. Very inexpensive. Can have very long lines on weekends and around dinner time any night. I suggest going for lunch. One tip: if you're in a rush, order the cevich... read more

101 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“Famous, enormous meat sandwiches. Get "The Nate" (off-menu) which is a BLT with pork belly and a fried egg! Small but good beer list. Outdoor seating, dog-friendly. Gets busy late at night.”

Great Triple Threat Pork Sandwich: pork loin schnitzel/ pulled pork/ bacon/ pepperoncini relish/ shack aioli

A meat lover's paradise - casual place that you order at the window and hang out at cool tables on the back patio. The line gets long so be prepared to wait a bit to order.

102 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Lively eatery offering ocean views, seafood-focused Mexican fare & a huge selection of microbrews. Watch the sunset on the pier and head over for some fish tacos! Great happy hour deals!

Best Taco Tuesday in town. Great view. I recommend eating upstairs. Beer battered fish taco or the grilled shrimp or grilled mahi mahi tacos are winners

A local favorite for fish tacos and a view to die for. Get mahi, calamari, shrimp, lobster, or shark tacos at Happy Hour and watch the sun set.

91 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“Upscale American comfort food, with such offerings as a lamb and fig meatloaf and a duck confit mac 'n cheese! Sundays they have a bluegrass brunch, and the hangar steak benedict is to die for! ... read more

Never have I ever had a bad meal here. It's French inspired and wow it's fantastic. The parking in this area sucks, however you pay a couple of bucks and the parking structure across the street i... read more

Amazing upscale southern comfort food, great cocktails, and a bluegrass brunch on Sundays. Don't skip the cheddar biscuits! Check out the local celebrity portrait above the bar.

85 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Cocktails, cocktails, cocktails! Great vibe, does get busy, especially on weekends. Food available from the next door place, Soda and Swine (meatballs but do have a veggie option). Outdoor seating ... read more

“Best cocktails in San Diego—has won a bunch of national awards. PLUS, you can order food next door at Soda & Swine and have it delivered to you while you enjoy a classy drink.”

It's hip, it's fun, and they have floors made out of nickels. Plus, there is Soda & Swine next door for great food. I don't think children are permitted in this place though.

82 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Best ocean view in OB! Belly up to the window seat along the perimeter of restaurant and order a cocktail. How many times have I sat here for hours watching the waves, surfers, beach goers....?... read more

Best ocean view in OB! Belly up to the window seat along the perimeter of restaurant and order a cocktail. How many times have I sat here for hours watching the waves, surfers, beach goers....? I'v... read more

This spot has great food and the best water front view in San Diego. I love the watching the sunset with a yummy drink here. It's also one of my favorite places for Sunday Brunch. Favorite Dishe... read more

92 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“Wonderful Italian restaurant serving pizza from a traditional wood fired oven. Great outdoor patio. Gets busy, may have to wait, but worth it. Walk around the quaint charming 'hood while waiting... read more

Some of the best pizza and homemade pasta you can eat outside of Italy. It's popular, they don't take reservations. Locals only tip: Call ahead and ask to put your name on the list and ask how long... read more

Wonderful Italian restaurant serving pizza from a traditional wood fired oven. Great outdoor patio. Gets busy, may have to wait, but worth it. Walk around the quaint charming 'hood while waiting.

#12

USS Midway Museum

Arts & CultureMuseums
910 North Harbor Drive·Map·Hours·

169 local Airbnb hosts recommend

This retired aircraft carrier is on display stem to stern. Tour the decks and view aircraft from the era. Great location at Harbor Island near Cruise Ship Terminal and ferry to Coronado. You wil... read more

Climb aboard the former Navy vessel for life-at-sea exhibits, restored planes & flight simulators aboard this legendary aircraft carrier.

Explore a floating city at sea and relive nearly 50 years of world history aboard the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century

89 local Airbnb hosts recommend

One of San Diego's best and most quaint neighborhood beer bars, offering an impressive array of craft brews along with an indulgent bar food snack menu (tater tots included).

Best beer bar in the city. Try a IIPA if you want an assault on your senses. The Palate Wrecker IIIPA was brewed by Green Flash Brewing just for this place. Free food and cheap beer every 2nd sat.

A not so divey dive bar, great beer and drink selection, amazing bar food. Comes very highly regarded, also has 2 pool tables and a shuffle board table.

447 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Located only two miles from the cottage, Sea World is a world class theme park offering first class shows and thrill rides. The park is educational allowing you to understand ocean life and its in... read more

SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park, located in San Diego, California, United States. The park is owned by SeaWorld Entertainment.

Animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park delivering personal, interactive and educational experiences. There are rides, shows, exhibits, and premier experiences.

88 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“Iconic San Diego Burger Joint which was featured on Diners Drive ins and Dives TV show. Always a line during the Summer but worth the wait. Wednesday is the best time to beat the line or try to ge... read more

Hands down! Best burgers and Onion rings. The malts are also something to get. I'm a pretty big guy and I eat a regular size hamburger. If you get a double, it's about the size of your head, so ei... read more

One of Ocean Beach’s most iconic restaurants, Hodads’, established in 1969, has the world’s best hamburger because it’s all about fresh toppings, great portions and good times! This is a “must see... read more

77 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Best place to grab a craft brew & craft pizza pie with a great happy hour. Best tap list in the neighborhood, not for the faint of heart, always packed so be sure to come early and settle in for t... read more

Modern-tavern space with communal tables has a renowned craft beer list, plus wood-fired pizza.

The best craft beer choices and they have amazing pizza. Community style tables, the more the merrier. Casual environment.

83 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Restaurant serving lunch & dinner ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ Distance: 2 minute walk ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ Type: Asian, Vietnamese fusion, craft beer & cocktails ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ Price range: $15.00-30.00 ∙ ∙ ∙... read more

Good Vietnamese-fusion. Good vibes. Good beer selection. Filming completed on 4/21/13 for Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-In and Dives. $1.00 pint beer special daily between 11am and 5pm.

Good Vietnamese-fusion. Good vibes. Good beer selection.Famous Pho Noodle Restaurant seen on Food Network's Diners.

82 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Wanna drink, good food, and a kiddie play area? This excellent neighborhood restaurant is usually packed on the weekend, kids swarming on the train themed play area.

Kid/ Dog Friendly Restaurant and Bar. Craft Beer, burgers, salads, sweet potato fries and tater tots are favorites! Indoor and outdoor seating. Won the Orchid for architectural design. Walk.

Bar-restaurant that's semi-outdoor, cute string lights and picnic tables, dogs and kids welcome. Good beer and great burgers, and a great architectural modern/casual ambiance. One of our favourites!

303 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The Heart of San Diego's Nightlife Rising from the 16 square-blocks are Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers that stand side by side, housing more than 100 of the city's finest restauran... read more

In downtown San Diego is the Gaslamp Quarter National Historic District, an area of restored late 19th and early 20th Century Victorian buildings. Today the Gaslamp Quarter is a trendy area with sh... read more

“Its iconic and a must do for the nightlife enthusiast. For those looking for a more upscale high end good time try Fluxx Nightclub or the new Parq or classic Sky Lounge for dancing. Hit up Donov... read more

#20

Gymboree

ShoppingShopping Malls
7007 Friars Rd # 235·Map·Hours·Website·

200 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Fashion Valley has it all. Only 8 minutes away by Uber....Shop til you Drop......Everything you could want in an afternoon. Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and many more....one of the largest Nordstro... read more

Into higher end fashion? Stop by Fashion Valley Mall for the latest styles by top designers. This outdoor mall takes advantage of SD's prefect weather, which will make any new comer feel rich!

Fashion Valley Mall is an upscale, open-air shopping mall in Mission Valley in San Diego, California. The shopping center has over 1.7 million square feet, making it the largest mall in San Diego a... read more

74 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Our favorite restaurant for the quality of the food and the ocean view! Executive chef Trey Foshee and his highly skilled team source locally grown or harvested products whenever possible, using t... read more

Renowned chef Trey Foshee’s seafood-centric cuisine served in an elegant setting with three-stories of ocean views. Open for lunch and dinner. Zagat rated San Diego’s Best Californian Restaurant. ... read more

One of the best rooftop bar views of La Jolla Cove. Modern Fusion and Hipp! Also casual and fine dining restaurants on the lower levels! Highly Recommended!

#22

World Famous

Food SceneRestaurants
$$· 711 Pacific Beach Drive·Map·Hours·Website·

66 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“Nice for weekend brunch or breakfasts. Locals spot during the week in the bar area for the happy hour specials. Monday's 1/2 off all apps, Tuesdays shrimp tacos, Wednesdays lobster tacos, Thursday... read more

Seafood & Steaks. They offer brunch, lunch, and dinner. Tuesday nights the bar area has $1 shrimp tacos and Wednesday nights $1.50 lobster tacos. Reservations recommended. Valet parking or free val... read more

Go here if you want a nice meal out with a lovely ocean view! Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner. Super cheap bar menu on weekdays. (15 min walk/5 min bike) Valet parking and free underground parking.

241 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Petco Park is an open-air ballpark in downtown San Diego, California, USA. It opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium as the home park of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres.

Home stadium of the San Diego Padres, this venue is situated downtown, adjacent to the waterfront. The Gaslamp district of shops and restaurants is within walking distance from the stadium

Petco Park Home of the San Diego Padres. Enjoy a tour of a beautiful ball park or better yet, catch a game!

78 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“One of the best hamburgers can be found at this local bar. Can be a wait for a table. Menu has two items (hamburger 1/3 or 1/2 lb with or without cheese and French fries) Lunch special includes bu... read more

“Arguably one of the best hamburgers in San Diego can be found at this local bar. Can be a wait for a table. Menu has two items (hamburger 1/3 or 1/2 lb with or without cheese and French fries) L... read more

Fantastic burger joint in the heart of Crown Point, Pacific Beach. Just the basics, burger, cheeseburger and fries comprise the entire menu. They do one thing and do it very well, or medium well if... read more

63 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Kono's is a very popular breakfast/lunch spot across from the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Decently priced amazing home-style breakfast! HUGE portions. Usually there is a line out the door, but i... read more

“Kono's is a very popular breakfast/lunch spot across from the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Decently priced amazing home-style breakfast! HUGE portions. Usually there is a line out the door, bu... read more

Kono's is somewhat of a local institution, mainly a breakfast spot, but also some good lunch. Simple good food, but bang for your buck on quantity. Get there early because the line gets long. If... read more

66 local Airbnb hosts recommend

San Diego coffee roaster and espresso bar. Pizza, Neapolitan style from the wood fire oven. Open 6am-11pm W,Th,F, 7am-11pm Sa, Su, 6am-3pm Mon, Tues. For you coffee drinkers, this place is a MUST!

Calabria is it's own unique San Diego Landmark. They are one of San Diego's major coffee roasters, a european cafe by day, and have arguably the best pizza in town by night (plus other delicious fr... read more

This is run by Italians and is very authentic. Excellent coffee. They roast beans there onsite. Worth going for a coffee one morning or evening (they are open for wood fire pizzas and drinks at nig... read more

60 local Airbnb hosts recommend

This is a 100% breakfast place. The line here is long, also worth the wait. You might consider sharing a plate or plan on taking home a doggy bag (a big one) the food is tasty and the presentatio... read more

Not sure if this place has ever been featured on "Man vs. Food" but it should be. Great food in gigantic proportions. Expect at least a little wait at all times; expect a long one for weekend brunch.

Where do I begin...to tell the story of how sweet a love can be. Unbelievable food that comes out looking like a piece of sculptured art. Giant portions my favorite restaurant in San Diego.

65 local Airbnb hosts recommend

They won best coffee roaster of the year for the entire US. Warm, inviting place. Friday mornings there are public "cuppings" (tastings) where you can learn about roasting and brewing coffee. I t... read more

Definitely some of the best coffee in town! I got the Trophy Wife which is a Macadamia Nut flavored coffee and it was amazing. Decent line so be prepared but, they grind that coffee fresh and thi... read more

Simply the best cappuccino in town. Chuck (the owner) travels the world and sources his coffee from local farmers across the globe. They won best roaster of the year last year for the entire US!

#29

The Mission

Food SceneRestaurants
$$· 2801 University Avenue·Map·Hours·Website·

67 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Great breakfast and lunch location- affordable with classic meals and some totally new takes on others. Friendly, local hangout. Walkable from Art Studio

The Mission is most crowded for breakfast and for good reason. The dishes are creative and delicious. But their lunch menu is also great and there is typically no wait ever during the lunch hours.

Best breakfast restaurant in San Diego. Soyrizo. Gets packed early so be ready to wait if you get there after 9am.

63 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The best affordable steakhouse in San Diego... strong drinks, cook your own steaks (completely worth it and fun), don't forget the grasshopper martini... ridiculous... open friday's for lunch..

Hipster Local restaurant. Cook your own steak on the grill. Known for good strong drinks and "rockabilly type alt crowd artist types..."

Grill your own steaks. The flank steak is so tender and very cheap- only about $10. They also have stiff drinks. Gets busy so plan on hanging out at the bar while you wait for a table or go early.