For real family fun, you can’t beat a day at SeaWorld. Plan to come early before the park fills up for the day and the temperature starts to climb. A big hit with kids of all ages is the penguin exhibit. If you are not afraid of getting wet, take your place inside the Soak Zone at Shamu stadium and watch the world’s most famous killer whale take center stage. Your kids will beg you to take them over to go on the cool rides at Sesame Street Bay of Play. Feeding time for the sea lions is a chance to get up close to the playful creatures and you might even get to feed them a fish or two.
Valley View Casino Center: Less than 1 mile
Formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena, the Valley View Casino Center is a busy, multi-use indoor arena with a capacity of as much as 16,000 depending upon the particular event that is taking place. It hosts sporting events such as arena football, ice hockey, basketball and tennis. You can catch some of today’s top musical performers in concert and be part of the crowd when the circus or pro wrestling comes to town.
Old Town: 1 mile
Old Town is so named because it was the first European Settlement in what is now present day California. Founded in 1769 when Father Junipero Serra set up his first Mission, you’ll get a glimpse of life back 150 years ago as you tour the many historic buildings included in the 9 square block area designated as a State Historic Park. Perhaps you would like to take a tour of the haunted Whaley House. Take a stroll past the seven beautifully preserved Victorian homes in Heritage Park and then enjoy some authentic Mexican food for lunch. Visit the Old Town Tourism Information Center, located on San Diego Avenue, between Arista and Linwood streets, to find out even more things to see. A day in Old Town is a change from the amusement parks and a great place to walk and spend a few leisurely hours.
Belmont Park: 3 miles
You can combine a day at the beach with a day riding the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster when you visit this favorite Mission Beach family fun spot. Located right on the beach,
your kids will get a kick out of captaining their own little boat or driving the bumper cars. If you get hungry, try a juicy Belmonty Burger or indulge in a giant soft-serve ice cream cone. Browse through the beach shops, pick up some sun tan lotion and maybe take home a souvenir t-shirt. There is always free admission and parking at Belmont Park.
Little Italy: 3 miles
Little Italy is a small and unassuming neighborhood in the center of the city that has a unique feel. If you enjoy browsing through quaint shops and art galleries, visiting a family-owned fruit and vegetable stand, or having a plate of pasta for lunch at an outdoor cafe, then you should put a trip to Little Italy on your itinerary.
Mission Bay Park: 4 miles
Go fly a kite! Mission Bay Park is a great place to enjoy some good and wholesome family fun. As the largest man-made aquatic park in the country, you can go sailing, have a picnic and let the kids play on the swings. There are paths for walking and jogging and always plenty of activities and events to keep you smiling. Find out more at the information center located in East Mission Bay Park
San Diego Beaches: 4 miles
In a county with 70 miles of coast line, you know you are going to find some great beaches. Mission Beach is among the most popular of all. A paved walk the length of the beach and there is always some spirited action around the beach volleyball court. A few miles away, Coronado Beach is a perfect spot for younger kids. The waves are gentle and the sand is clean. Enjoy these and the many other county beaches that are just a few minutes from the Bay Inn.
Seaport Village: 4 miles
Located along the waterfront, just a little south of where the cruise ships depart for distant ports of call, Seaport Village is a collaboration of more than 50 small shops and a dozen or so casual dining restaurants. You can shop for souvenirs, clothing and lots of unique items and then grab a burger or a sandwich for lunch. One of the things to see and do is to bring your children over for a ride on Seaport Village’s more than 100 year old carousel. On weekends you can catch a free concert and, most of the rest of the time, you can be entertained by strolling musicians and street performers.
Port of San Diego (Embarcadero): 4 miles
Along the Embarcadero at the Port of San Diego, you can watch as the cruise ships sail off to their exotic ports of call up and down the Pacific Coast. You can visit the U.S.S. Midway Museum or get a close-up look at the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship.
PETCO Park: 4 miles
For six months of the year, from the beginning of spring to the end of summer, Major League Baseball takes center stage at PETCO Park. Bring the whole family out to catch the action. The Padres have called the stadium home ever since it opened in 2004. With great sight lines, a huge TV screen and many modern conveniences, this is a great place to watch a ball game. Every Sunday, kids under 14 years of age receive a nice gift when they enter the stadium and there are always plenty of other giveaways for fans of all ages. Head over to Power Alley, a family entertainment center located on the mezzanine level just beyond the outfield fence, and test your skills in the interactive batting cage. There is plenty of food and drink ranging from hot dogs and soda to gourmet sandwiches and California wine.
Comic-Con: 5 miles
Of all of the summer attractions that you can go to in the downtown area, none has a bigger impact in boosting the city’s tourism numbers than Comic-Con. Held in the Convention Center, the four day celebration of pop culture attracts more than 130,000 fans every year. With hundreds of display booths inside the Convention Center, attendees get a chance to interact with pop culture icons, shop for merchandise, watch films, play video games and just have a grand old time. While the action is going strong inside, outside the party continues with more festive activities.
San Diego Convention Center: 5 miles
With over 2.6 million square feet of convention space, this modern facility located across from the Bay plays host to conventions, trade shows and special events. Among the most popular shows and attractions is Comic-Con, the Bridal Bazaar, the Quilt Show and the Rock & Roll Marathon Health & Fitness Expo.
Qualcomm Stadium: 6 miles
The Chargers take the field and battle their NFL opponents on the gridiron here at Qualcomm Stadium. SD State college football and soccer are also popular sports that are played inside the stadium. During the breaks between sporting events, management books concerts, auto shows and other events that are popular with the public.
Balboa Park: 6 miles
This 1,200 acre urban park has a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. You can go to the zoo, visit one of the many museums or just walk and enjoy the beautiful grounds and gardens.
Gaslamp Quarter: 7 miles
Within the 16 square block area of the Gaslamp Quarter, there are so many great things to see. You can start with lunch at one of the more than 100 restaurants and then take a stroll down the streets and do some window shopping. If you like art and cultural things, there are galleries, theaters and clubs with local musical talent. At night, you can visit the pubs, hop from club to club and dance until you can no longer feel your feet.
San Diego Zoo/Wild Animal Park: 7 miles
Known across the country and around the world as one of the very best of all zoos ever since it opened, there are always new and exciting things to see. The zoo is quite large so you should ake sure you have comfortable clothing and shoes so you don’t fade-out before the day is over.
Birch Aquarium: 11 miles
A trip to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is one of the most entertaining ways to spend the day. Kids and adults alike will have a great time exploring the underwater world of the thousands of sea creatures that live just off the shores of the Pacific Coast. Not only will you have fun, but you will come away with a whole new appreciation of the ocean. You’ll learn about how climate change is affecting the whale population and you’ll get to see an exhibit of those strange little sea horses. If you get a chance, catch feeding time for the sharks.
Del Mar Race Track: 16 miles
A day at the races is always a fun experience whether you win or lose. You can have just as much fun betting $2.00 as you can betting $200.00. You don’t have to be a horse racing expert to have a chance to win at this San Diego County landmark where the surf meets the turf. Pick a horse because you like the name or because you saw him wink at you in the paddock. You will probably see a few rail birds studying the past performance information in the Racing Form, trying to make more educated wagers, but sometimes luck is more of a factor in being successful than a page full of information and statistics about the thoroughbreds.
Del Mar Fairgrounds: 16 miles
Summer racing only lasts a few months, but the Fairgrounds provides more exciting action and entertainment all year round. The County Fair is a fun time for all with rides, games of chance, plenty of food and great musical acts. Located in northern San Diego County, a trip to Del Mar is worth the 16 mile drive from the hotel.
Knotts Soak City: 22 miles
Escape the hot summer sun and get wet at one of the area’s coolest attractions. Knotts Soak City recently changed names to SeaWorld Aquatica Waterpark, but all of the great slides and other water rides are still the same. There is a mini-waterpark for the younger and smaller children. For the older folks who don’t want the big thrills, take a leisurely ride in an inner tube down the Sunset River.
LEGOLAND: 30 miles
All of those little colorful blocks you played with when you were a kid have inspired the creation of this awesome Land. With more than 60 rides, a waterpark and plenty of places to eat, you should plan on a full day of fun with your kids when you visit LEGOLAND.
Hotel rooms fill up fast because tourism is so popular in San Diego. With hundreds of attractions and all sorts of things to see and do, be part of the fun and make your plans to visit soon.
Visited San Diego years ago – beautiful place! Thanks, too, for visiting my blog.
We hope to see you again one day in San Diego! France is a magnificent country and we have a great French community too in SD. The Alliance Française and SD French American Chamber of Commerce have regular interesting activities.