San Diego For first-time visitors

Our most recommended San Diego For first-time visitors

San Diego: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

1. San Diego: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

San Diego: Harbor Cruise

2. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

San Diego: SeaWorld Skip-the-Line Park Admission Ticket

3. San Diego: SeaWorld Skip-the-Line Park Admission Ticket

Discover the underwater world at SeaWorld San Diego, with animal encounters, interactive exhibits, and thrilling rides. Get up close to marine life and enjoy educational animal presentations for the whole family to enjoy. Upgrade your ticket to include a dining pass to eat all day at SeaWorld. Experience thrilling rides such as Electric Eel with its high-energy twists and loops, or Manta, with two thrilling launches that send riders soaring in the spirit of the world’s largest ray. For kid-friendly fun, enjoy Tentacle Swirl, Sea Dragon Drop, Elmo's Flying Fish, and so much more. Admire the animals at SeaWorld such as beluga whales, walruses, penguins, sharks, and orcas as you learn about these incredible creatures. Enjoy interactive exhibits such as the Explorer's Reef Touchpools and Sea Lion Point. Explore the Sesame Street Bay of Play where you can meet your Sesame Street friends. If you choose to upgrade to the all-day dining bundle, you can get an entree, a side/dessert, and a drink every 1 hour at Shipwreck Reef Café®, Calypso Bay Smokehouse, Mama Stella’s® Pizza Kitchen, Big Bird's Bistro, Coral Market, Shark Market, Orca West Market, and Pretzel Shop.

San Diego Zoo: 1-Day Admission Ticket

4. San Diego Zoo: 1-Day Admission Ticket

Visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,500 rare and endangered animals, and experience their worlds at the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, and other areas. The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is known for its naturalistic habitats and unique animal encounters. An urban paradise for all ages, the San Diego Zoo is a must-see in Southern California. Winding paths through the tropical oasis of a botanical garden bring you to the zoo‘s rare and fascinating animals, including koalas, Galápagos tortoises, tigers, eagles, flamingos, great apes, and more. Other exotic animals you may encounter include Sichuan takins, Buerger’s tree-kangaroos, arctic foxes, pangolin, and Visayan warty pigs. Explore Africa Rocks to discover penguins, baboons, the mysterious fossa, weaver birds, and other unique creatures. The festive, lively atmosphere makes the San Diego Zoo a great place for family fun and gathering friends. Discover the wonders of wildlife with animal encounters, interactive experiences, and exciting animal presentations and shows. The Zoo’s 17 Galápagos tortoises are now at home at the Fetter Family Galápagos Tortoise Exhibit. When keepers are present, you can pet and occasionally feed the tortoises over a short rock barrier. At the Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge, you can get closer to polar bears than ever before. Climb aboard an Arctic research helicopter, crawl into a bear den, or measure yourself against the size of a polar bear. The Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey is a 7.5-acre habitat and a first-of-its-kind experience. This area combines the fun of a zoo with the experience of a museum by creating an untamed landscape of animals from the past and present. A leader in animal care and conservation, the San Diego Zoo is at the heart of the San Diego experience.

San Diego: Hop-on Hop-off Narrated Tour of Old Town

5. San Diego: Hop-on Hop-off Narrated Tour of Old Town

Join the Hop-on Hop-Off Tour of Old Town San Diego at any of the tour's 12 boarding points and visit more than 100 interesting points in Coronado and San Diego at your own pace. You can begin at any time of the day and listen to the entertaining narration of the onboard conductors along the way. San Diego is known as America’s Finest City, and as you explore the sights of Old Town and the scenic coastline you’ll see why. Opt to begin your tour at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, where you’ll see original adobe homes and artifacts from the earliest Mexican settlements. At the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, you’ll learn about the importance of the U.S. Navy's presence in San Diego. Then continue on to nearby Seaport Village, where you can stop for refreshments and enjoy shopping and entertainment. In the historic Gaslamp Quarter, you’ll find loads of shops and other interesting places located in Victorian-themed buildings. One particular house of interest is the William Heath Davis House. Built-in saltbox style, it is similar to the original home of Davis, who founded New Town San Diego. When you’re back on the trolley you’ll be entertained once again by the conductor’s narration. Continue on to the well-known Hotel del Coronado, one of America’s leading resorts. You may choose to take a stroll through nearby Balboa Park, along El Prado, the promenade lined with Spanish-style buildings. With more stops than any other tour, this hop-on hop-off trolley ride is guaranteed to deliver. In addition to sightseeing, enjoy free shuttle service to and from select area hotels, a map and day planner, and $70 in discount coupons to use at restaurants and area attractions. Hop on or hop off at 12 convenient stops: 1) 4002 Wallace St: Old Town State Historic Park 2) 1492 N Harbor Dr: Maritime Museum of San Diego/Star of India 3) 200 Marina Park Way: San Diego Embarcadero 4) 849 W Harbor Dr: Seaport Village 5) 333 W Harbor Dr: Marriott Marquis & Marina6) Gaslamp Quarter 7) 111 W Harbor Dr: Petco Park/San Diego Convention Center 8) Barrio Logan9) 1500 Orange Ave: Hotel Del Coronado10) Coronado/Orange Avenue 11) 1549 El Prado: Balboa Park and El Prado Museums 12) Little Italy

San Diego: Sightseeing Dinner Cruise with DJ Music

6. San Diego: Sightseeing Dinner Cruise with DJ Music

Enjoy a dinner cruise from San Diego that combines culinary excellence with unforgettable scenery and ambient DJ music. Look for local wildlife as you sail and admire views of the city skyline, the Coronado Bridge, and the Cabrillo National Monument.  Stroll the spacious decks and watch the sunset before dinner. Dinner is a seated meal with an elaborate wine list, upgrades and additions, and vegetarian options. Savor crisp salads, braised ribs, oven-roasted salmon entrees, and luscious desserts After dinner, listen to relaxing music, as you enjoy your dessert and coffee. Photos are taken at beginning of the cruise and they can be purchased at the end when you return to your meeting point.

San Diego: Champagne Brunch Cruise

7. San Diego: Champagne Brunch Cruise

Sample a variety of breakfast and dinner dishes with fantastic views, and then head to the outdoor deck for fresh sea air and a narrated bay cruise. San Diego’s most popular and unique Sunday Champagne Brunch features views that change with the courses. This brunch is complete with bountiful selection of breakfast and lunch entrees, carving stations, salad and dessert bar, and free flowing champagne. Lovely light music and sightseeing completes your entertainment! You’ll be thrilled to know that Hornblower Cruises doesn’t participate in cruise style seating, you’ll have privacy at your table and not be seated with strangers! SAMPLE BUFFET MENU Accompaniments Basket of Fresh Croissants & Cinnamon Rolls with Strawberry Jam, Whipped Honey Butter and Seasonal Fruit Seasonal Salad Chef's Selection Seasonal Green Salad Entrees Seafood Selection Shrimp Cocktail w/ Lemon Wedge & Cocktail Sauce | Grilled Brown Sugar, Soy & Ginger Salmon Duet Entree (Select One Egg Course and one Carving Board Course below)  - All Entrees served with Roasted Red Creamer Potatoes with Colorful Roasted Peppers Poached Egg on Buttermilk Biscuit with Spinach Supreme and Hollandaise | Fluffy Omelet with Ham & Cheese or Spinach & Artichoke topped with Salsa Fresca  Duet Entree (Select One Egg Course above and one Carving Board Course) - All Entrees served with Roasted Red Creamer Potatoes with Colorful Roasted Peppers Carved New York Strip with Pico de Gallo | Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Cranberry Mango Chutney Breakfast Upon Request Hickory Smoked Bacon | French Toast with Maple Syrup & fresh Berries | Chef's Selection Vegan Menu Available Dessert Dessert Trio New York Style Cheesecake | Chef's Chocolate Creation | Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

San Diego: SEAL City Tour by Amphibious Bus

8. San Diego: SEAL City Tour by Amphibious Bus

Splash into San Diego Bay with an insightful tour across land and water. most unique sightseeing tour. Take a seat aboard a hybrid bus and boat and come across the most interesting sights in the city. Learn about San Diego's main landmarks from your guide. Wind through picturesque San Diego streets before splashing into the water for a cruise of San Diego Bay. Pass the Embarcadero and San Diego International Airport. Hear about the importance of the military in San Diego and other local icons as you travel along the scenic coast. Once you splash into the Big Bay, glide by Navy ships, tugboats, and fishing vessels throughout the harbor. Pass by Shelter Island and listen to stories of early sailors.

San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

9. San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

Embark on a marine life adventure on a dolphin and whale watching tour off the coast of San Diego. Keep a lookout for gray whales, blue whales, common dolphins, and more as you glide over the Pacific Ocean's dark blue waters. San Diego is one of the best locations to watch whales year-round. Gray Whales migrate winter-spring from feeding grounds in Alaskan waters to calving lagoons in Baja California and back. In summer, the legendary Blue Whales, the largest animals on Earth, commonly feed off-shore of the San Diego coast.  You may also spot Fin, Blue, Humpback, and Minke whales during the summer whale watching season. Additionally, you'll often see pods of Dolphins including Risso’s, Common, Pacific White-Sided, and Bottlenose Dolphins. Your captain will also highlight other wildlife such as Sea Lions, various fish like Mola Mola (Sunfish), and a variety of marine birds such as Herons, Terns, Pelicans, and Gulls.  View these extraordinary mammals in the wild on this spectacular cruise. The expert crew will help you locate these creatures and additional marine wildlife, such as dolphins and sea lions. Learn about marine life and local environmental efforts from professional captains and whalers who work at the San Diego Natural History Museum.  You may even spot a whale calf traveling with its mother as they return from the Arctic. This is a fantastic and exhilarating journey for all age groups. Guaranteed whale or dolphin sighting. If you don't sight some type of whale or dolphin during the cruise, you'll be issued a pass that's good for another San Diego whale watching or harbor cruise. San Diego is quickly becoming one of the world’s best whale watching locations. The city is home to whales, dolphins, and sea birds, and features one of the world's most beautiful coastlines.  Enjoy live educational narration from captains and trained naturalists employed by the Natural History Museum.  Watch blue whales and dolphins in comfort on a large, fast, and stable boat!

San Diego: Haunted Historic Whaley House - Self-Guided Tour

10. San Diego: Haunted Historic Whaley House - Self-Guided Tour

Travel back to 1800s San Diego as you explore the family home of Thomas Whaley on a self-guided tour. After a 5-minute introduction, walk through the Whaley House Museum at your own pace and ask the docent in each room any questions you may have. For those who have an affinity for the paranormal, San Diego’s famed Whaley House is widely regarded as the most haunted house in America. With its rich and dark past, spine-tingling cases of spiritual encounters, and inexplicable events, its haunted pedigree is second to none. Get a glimpse into the past at a house that’s been viewed as an integral part of Old Town San Diego since 1857. With more than a century in the making, the Whaley House Museum holds an impressive amount of San Diego heritage. Recognized as the oldest two-story brick-structure south of Monterey California, the Whaley House features magnificent Greek Revival architecture along with an unrivaled historical timeline encompassing San Diego’s second county courthouse, a lively theater, a charming general store, and a prominent family home.

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What people are saying about San Diego

Cody, our guide, was very personable, informative and a pleasure to be with. Our tour was wonderful, including great food choices, tasty tequilas and insite into the history of Old Town that was both interesting and entertaining. I would highly recommend the tour and our guide.

The food was great, the staff was friendly, and the cruise was so much fun. Sam was our server and she left us the sweetest note at the end.

Overall great price for the tour. The information by our tour guide about the harbor and San Diego was great. Must do.

If you are wanting to ride the rides, the fast path ticket is the only way to do it.

Phenomenal! Must see!! The gondola was also a great way to get from ends of the park