San Diego is a great place to visit. Often overlooked by people visiting LA, this city is packed with incredible things to do and see, amazing food, and some of the best scenery around. However, like LA, you’re probably going to need a car if you’re visiting San Diego. Many of the attractions are very spread out, and the public transport isn’t the best, so do yourself a favor and rent a car in the airport.

Here are some of the best things to do in San Diego:

Head to La Jolla

La Jolla is a lovely place to spend a day wandering, eating, and shopping. Here, you’ll also find seal rock. This amazing rock is where the seals spend all day lying around basking in the sun. They’re also often on the beach, so you can often get super close to them (but not too close).

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Explore Coronado

The drive to Coronado is simply gorgeous and you’ll want to take turns driving there and back so you can enjoy the scenery without risking taking your eyes off the road- another reason to rent a car in San Diego. This island is packed with resorts, hotels, and exceptional beach-front restaurants. You’ll love the cute little shops and family-friendly places to hang out. Don’t miss Hotel Del Coronado.

San Diego Zoo

This famous zoo houses more than 3,700 endangered and rare animals, spanning more than 100 acres. You need at least half a day (ideally a whole day) to enjoy the full experience which includes animal presentations and shows. The summer is the perfect time to visit, when the Nighttime Zoo will allow you to stay later in the evening. There are some excellent restaurants throughout the park so you can take a break after a few hours of enjoying the zoo.

Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is 16 blocks from L street to Broadway. These Victorian-style buildings are packed with theatres, art galleries, trendy restaurants, and shops, and of course lots of clubs and bars. This is the place to be at night, although there are also some excellent patio seating offered at the restaurants during the day. There are city events here throughout the year, from the Rock and Roll marathon to the Mardi Gras Parade. Parking can be limited, but this is an excellent place to stay if you love being in the thick of things.

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USS Midway Museum

This is an incredible attraction for the whole family. It’s easy to see that San Diego is a military city, with bases scattered throughout. The USS Midway gives you the chance to explore the longest-serving American aircraft carrier. More than 225,000 sailors have called it home over the course of its life.

You can explore 60 exhibits and check out 29 different aircraft which have been restored. Some of these aircraft were used during the Korean War, Desert Storm, and World War II. The audio guides are a great option, however there are also many volunteers giving talks and tours which you’ll find throughout the museum. Many of these volunteers are veterans and some even served on the Midway.

Don’t be surprised if you end up spending several hours (or even the entire day here). Even for people who aren’t particularly interested in history, this attraction is a must-see. Since this is one of the most popular attractions in San Diego, be sure to arrive early so you can avoid the worst of the crowds and ticket lines.

Have you been to San Diego? Leave your recommendations below.

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