Pandas, penguins and rare plant life are just a hint of what you’ll see when you visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Throughout its 100 acres, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled around the world as you see some of the most intriguing and rarely-seen animals lounge in their natural, expansive habitats. With more than 4,000 animals representing 800 species, the San Diego Zoo stands out among other zoos for its diverse wildlife citizens.
Balboa Park is where the arts, culture and history of San Diego come together to create a 1,200 acre wonderland filled with unforgettable experiences for people of every age. Thriving botanical beauty flourishes throughout and surrounds 15 museums, a variety of performing arts and musical theaters, exotic gardens, fabulous restaurants, upscale shopping, the San Diego Zoo and exquisite Spanish Moor architecture. Known as America’s largest urban cultural park, more than 500,000 visitors come each year to delight in the beauty and amazing attractions of Balboa Park.
A small island town in San Diego Bay, Coronado is known for its fascinating beginnings, its idyllic setting and of course, its beautiful beach resorts. The founders of Coronado Island were visionaries, building an entire community around the idea of drawing tourists from around the globe. They did it knowing that people from all walks of life would come. They would come to soak in the San Diego sun and to see the stunning sights of the San Diego Bay. And they couldn’t have been more correct. Throughout its more than 120-year history, millions of visitors have traveled to Coronado to enjoy the waterfront ambiance, dine at the fabulous restaurants, shop at the upscale boutiques and view the many historic buildings. They also came to be spoiled by the lavish amenities of the world-Famous Hotel del Coronado.
Throughout the nation, Little Italy neighborhoods symbolize the tremendous contribution that Italians have made to the culture and history of the United States. Covering a gorgeous and walkable 48-square-block area of northwest downtown San Diego, this ethnic enclave is the largest of its kind in the country. Hosting several festivals throughout the year, the neighborhood boasts street-side cafes, art galleries and a beautiful urban park.
Just a short, scenic 15 minute sightseeing trip across San Diego Bay takes you to The Ferry Landing Marketplace, Coronado’s specialty shopping and dining center. Browse through unique shops and galleries. Dine at Peohe’s, Coronado’s premier waterfront seafood restaurant. Enjoy casual California cuisine at Bay Beach Cafe. Grab a quick bite at a fun food eatery. Rent a bicycle. Experience magnificent city views.
The William Heath Davis House is considered to be one of the most significant buildings in San Diego’s history. Visitors are intrigued by the exciting stories of the people who lived in it and the fact that it is the oldest wooden structure in San Diego. Its first owner, William Heath Davis, was the first to attempt to develop the new town—yet it was not until Alonzo Horton came along that the true city began to boom. And it is Horton that is credited with being San Diego’s founder. Incredibly, the William Heath Davis House was bought by Alonzo Horton and lived in by him and his wife for several years.
Stained glass windows, moldings, carvings, columns and railings are just a part of the fantastic masterpieces that line the streets in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Equipped with today’s gaslamps, brick sidewalks, landscaping, galleries, theaters, boutiques and shops, more than 100 restaurants, bars and nightclubs, the Gaslamp Quarter is where San Diego’s amazing history still thrives. Visited by millions of travelers each year, the area pulsates with activity from morning until the late night hours.
Splash into San Diego’s most unique sightseeing adventure! Both tour bus and boat, the San Diego SEAL Tour journeys through San Diego by sea AND land. Our unique “Hydra-Terra” amphibious vehicles are Coast Guard approved, ensuring you a safe, one of a kind experience. Your fully narrated tour will depart from San Diego’s Seaport Village on Harbor Drive or Embarcadero, and will tour the historic streets of San Diego before making its way into San Diego’s Big Bay.
The world-renown Maritime Museum of San Diego was founded in 1948 by a group of local historians and maritime experts. Here visitors from around the globe come to walk the decks of the magnificent Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship. Built in 1863, the Star of India made her first voyage on November 14 of that year. The ship sailed for many years from Great Britain to India and then to New Zealand. After many difficult journeys, the ship became a salmon hauler from Alaska to California. Once retired, the Star of India was acquired by maritime enthusiasts and is now an official National Historic Landmark. Fully restored, the Star of India is lovingly maintained and sailed at least once a year.
San Diego’s history dates back centuries. Seen as the entrance point for control of the west by Europeans, Presidio Park remains a place of history amidst the city of San Diego. Interpreting the entire site for guests is the Junipero Serra Museum which houses many artifacts dealing with Spanish and Mexican heritage, colonization, the beginnings of customs within California and showcasing the lives of those who began it all. The presidio, first built to protect colonists from attack, later took on roles as military headquarters and a central outdoor space to remember history.
As a testament to the foundational beginnings of California, heralding exploration by Spain and Mexico, this national historic landmark reminds all who visit of the obstacles, successes and struggles of the long period of colonization.As a testament to the foundational beginnings of California, heralding exploration by Spain and Mexico, this national historic landmark reminds all who visit of the obstacles, successes and struggles of the long period of colonization.
The USS Midway Aircraft Carrier sits in San Diego at the Navy Pier welcoming and enriching guests from around the world. Its patriotic service and military operations are brought to life throughout this interactive museum. Relive the legacy of the longest-serving aircraft carrier in U.S. Naval history-47 years! “Midway Magic” became a recognized term describing the amazing tenacity of the Midway and its crew. When other ships broke down or headed for port, the Midway continued to respond, to perform from the end of WWII all the way through Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
San Diego, known as America’s finest city, is a year-round waterfront destination. With many days of sunshine, this southern California haven attracts visitors from across the globe yearning for ocean air, sandy feet and access to vitamin D 365 days a year. Situated in the southwest corner of the United States, San Diego is filled with people living active lifestyles, spending time outside and enjoying the salty sea air. Whether it’s the Pacific Ocean or the bay front, locals and visitors flock to the water. Although the coastline sees its fair share of action, downtown San Diego’s Seaport Village is a hub for locals and travelers alike. Throughout the year, thousands stroll along the San Diego Bay taking in the sights. Be it a beautiful exercise route, trendy retail shop, caricature drawing, or tourist souvenir you’re looking for – Seaport Village has it all!
The Children’s Museum is an environmentally sustainable building that provides a dynamic, playful public space and community center for children and families – a place to experience exciting art exhibitions, hands-on studio projects, performances, birthday parties, in-depth classes, camps and educational programs. Across the street from the new building is a beautiful park, extending the museum visit outdoors with space for running, climbing, family picnics and a view of the trains and trolleys going by.
Its stately Greek Revival architecture is an impressive sight, while its mysterious past and mystical reputation cause quite a stir among visitors from all over the world. It is here that the spirits of many original Old Town San Diego citizens are said to roam from room to room and through many of the hallways. Known as the Most Haunted House in America, the Whaley House was the family home of Thomas Whaley.
Join us for free, historic storytelling, shows and entertainment every day of the week. Shop in our 40 unique gift stores, watch working artisans, or enjoy a bite to eat. Learn about the rich history of Old Town San Diego in our free museum. We invite you to visit our Festival Marketplace and experience Old Town San Diego, the Birthplace of California.
Old Town State Park is known as the birthplace of California. In 1821, when Mexico gained independence from Spain, a small group of Mexican settlers began building homes at the foot of the hillside below the first mission and Presidio. Because wood was scarce at the time, sun-dried adobe bricks were used. Thus, the buildings had a different look, a brownish-red color and rough exterior.