Photo: Ameer Basheer

25 Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

1. San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is the number one attraction in San Diego and brings in millions of visitors per year.

San Diego Zoo Polar Bear
Photo: Charles Koh

Address: 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101


2. SeaWorld

SeaWorld is a top destination for anyone interested in sea life.

There are lots of educational resources of course but unlike traditional aquariums, it’s set up like a theme park.

This means there are plenty of opportunities for you to kick back and enjoy the show!

Photo: Neonbrand

Address: 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109


3. Legoland

Legoland California is located in the city of Carlsbad, which is in North County San Diego.

It was the first Legoland theme park to open outside Europe and of course the first one in America.

Legoland also includes an aquarium (SeaLife Aquarium, which is owned by the same parent company) and a water park.

Photo: Mike Dias

Address: One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008


4. Balboa Park

Balboa Park is San Diego’s major municipal park.

Its widely acclaimed architectural style is Spanish Colonial Revival.

There are lots of things to see in the park and on weekends especially you may also see street performers and free concerts.

Be sure to check the Balboa Park calendar for special events.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Balboa Park hosts December Nights. This event involves numerous free concerts and performances (including live ballet of The Nutcracker) as well as free access to many museums in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park
Photo: Zane Persaud

Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101


5. La Jolla Children’s Pool

The La Jolla Children’s Pool is also known as Seal Beach.

As the name suggests , it was originally intended for children. The calm waters in this area would have been ideal for kids.

These days, however, the main attraction is the local colony of seals, which have seized the beach for themselves.

While you have to keep a distance, the seals are a great sight to behold and your kids will enjoy the experience.

La Jolla Children's Pool
Photo: Alan Laiter Garza

Address: 850 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037


6. USS Midway

The USS Midway is a retired aircraft carrier which now serves as a museum.

USS Midway
Photo: Yux Xiang

Address: 910 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, California, 92101


7. Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium may not be as huge as SeaWorld but it still brings a lot in a small package.

Indoors you can explore massive fish tanks and when you are outside, be sure to check out the tide pools.

Birch Aquarium
Photo: Jed Villejo

Address: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037


8. Cabrillo National Monument

The lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument is a longtime landmark of San Diego.

The park offers sweeping views of San Diego Harbor and the Pacific Ocean.

Cabrillo National Monument
Photo: Brandy Willetts

Address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego , CA 92106


9. San Diego Padres Baseball

The Padres are San Diego’s major league baseball team.

Their home stadium is Petco Park and what a sight it is right in East Village / Downtown San Diego.

Petco Park
Photo: Megan Ellis

Address: 100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101


10. Leo Carrillo Ranch

Leo Carrillo Ranch is a historic park located in Carlsbad, a Northern suburb in San Diego County.

Watch out for free-roaming peacocks!

Address: 6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Ln, Carlsbad, CA 92009


11. Lions, Tigers and Bears

Yes, you can also find lions, tigers and bears at the San Diego Zoo but not like this.

Lions, Tigers and Bears is an animal rescue and sanctuary located in Alpine, which is part of East County San Diego.

Sign up for their guided tours or special experience offers. You’ll be able to see animals up close and even feed them.

Address: 24402 Martin Way, Alpine, California 91901


12. Belmont Park

A roller coaster right by Mission Beach? Oh heck yeah!

Address: 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109


13. San Diego Natural History Museum

The San Diego Natural History Museum is one of the most popular museums in Balboa Park.

You can check out quite a bit of history on local flora and fauna.

There are skeletons of dinosaurs of course but did you know there were also American lions?

San Diego Natural History Museum
Photo: James Lee

Address: 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101


14. Coronado Ferry

If you live on Coronado Island, across from Downtown San Diego, then you probably already know about the complimentary commuter ferry.

But the ferry service is also an amazing deal for everyone else even, when you have to pay. For just a few dollars, you get to go on a scenic cruise across San Diego bay.

Address: 990 N. Harbor Drive San Diego CA 92101


15. San Diego Botanic Garden

A great place to go for a walk through nature and enjoy the serene scenery.

San Diego Botanical Garden
Photo: Morgan Lane

Address: 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024


16. The New Children’s Museum

This museum is a must if you are in Downtown San Diego with your kids.

Address: 200 W. Island Ave, San Diego, CA, 92101


17. Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located in North County San Diego, quite some distance from the original zoo by Balboa Park.

As the name suggests, it is a more open space for the animals (not that they are really confined at the zoo).

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Photo: Pavan Kumar

Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California 92027


18. Waterfront Park

Your kids will enjoy splashing water at Waterfront Park!

Address: 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101


19. Palomar Observatory

The Palomar Observatory is run by Cal Tech.

It’s not just the observatory you are coming for.

The drive up the mountain is incredibly scenic.

Mount Palomar Observatory
Photo: Jackie Harder

Address: 35899 Canfield Road, Palomar Mountain, CA 92060


20. Julian

The town of Julian is famous for two things in San Diego.

First, it’s so high up in the mountains that it actually gets snow in the winter.

And second, Julian apple pies are amazingly delicious!

While you are in town, be sure to check out some of their old mines too. The kids can even do some gold panning.

Julian Pie Place
Photo: Alan Levine

Address: Julian, CA 92036


21. Fleet Science Center

The Fleet Science Center at Balboa Park offers numerous interactive exhibits that are sure to entertain you. Young scientists can immerse themselves in IMAX films.

Address: 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101


22. Sesame Place San Diego

Sesame Place San Diego takes the place of the former SeaWorld Aquatica.

It’s one of only two theme parks in America that are all about Sesame Street!

Address: 2052 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911


23. Torrey Pines Gliderport

The Torrey Pines Gliderport is literally on the edge of a cliff by the Pacific Ocean.

What a view!

The view of the paragliders was apparently one of the selling points for Alicia Keys to buy the nearby Razor mansion!

Torrey Pines Gliderport
Photo: Greg Garnhart

Address: 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037


24. Old Town

Visit Old Town State Historic Park to get a feel of the original San Diego settlement.

Stop by one of the traditional Mexican restaurants and enjoy live performances in the park.

Old Town San Diego
Photo: Alex Lam

Address: San Diego Av & Twiggs St, San Diego, CA 92110


25. Miramar Air Show

The Miramar Air Show typically takes place every October and it’s a show you don’t want to miss.

Miramar is the original home base for Top Gun!

Blue Angels Air Show
Photo: Chandler Cruttenden

Address: Marine Corps Air Station San Diego, CA 92145


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