A Weekend Guide to San Diego

We recently visited San Diego for a friend’s wedding and in true traveler form we had our agenda filled with things to see and do. We rented a car through Alamo, which worked out really well, as we were able to cover a lot of ground in the time we were there. There is so much to do in San Diego, we were lucky to fit so much into our long weekend. From the delicious food, abundant breweries and plenty of beaches to visit, we’ll be making a trip back to Southern California in no time! After we had such a great time, we decided to make a weekend guide to San Diego for you!

Visit Balboa Park

Located in the middle of the city, Balboa Park is ranked as one of the best parks in world. Balboa park is the largest urban cultural park in North America. Home to 15 museums, 4 major performing arts centers, 19 gardens, and the San Diego Zoo. The California Tower is set in the middle of the park, and at the top you can see 360 degree panoramic view of San Diego. Balboa Park is 1200 acres, which is actually larger than Central Park. Balboa park grounds are open 24 hours a day, but the visitors center is open 9:30am-4:30pm daily. The park is surrounded by Spanish architecture.

Eat: Fish Tacos at The Prado at Balboa Park

weekend guide to san diego balboa park

While wandering around Balboa Park we decided to venture into the San Diego Automotive Museum  a look at the Cars of the Future.  ‘The Future’ features cars  with advanced designs and technologies such as alternative fuel options.  Included in the museum was a 1924 Ford Model T that has been converted to run completely on hydrogen. Although some of the cars shown are now 50 years past their prime, it was amazing to see the changes that the automotive industry has gone through. The museum is open daily 10am-5pm. Admission is $9 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-15.

Book a hotel now!

guide to san diego auto show

guide to san diego auto museum

Shop at Seaport Village

Located on San Diego bay, Seaport Village consists of 14 acres of waterfront shopping and dining. It includes 54 shops, 13 casual dining eateries and 4 fine dining restaurants. If you happen to visit during the Christmas holidays, it is beautifully decorated with christmas decorations with a giant poinsettia tree. It was a fabulous place to visit in December.

weekend guide to san diego seaport village
weekend guide to san diego seaport village

Visit Coronado Island

weekend guide to san diego hotel del coronado

Travel Channel named Coronado Beach the best weekend getaway beach and one of the best beaches for families. If you have a car, you can easily drive to Coronado, or you can take the ferry across the bay. The ferry is 15 minutes, and departs from Broadway Pier and the San Diego Convention Center. Coronado is home to the North Island U.S. Naval Air Station and the US Navy Seals Center.While on Coronado Island, visit the Hotel Del Coronado, a Victorian-style seaside hotel that was built in 1888.  Even without booking a room, you can browse through the exhibits and shops, or sit and enjoy a meal.

hotel del coronado ice skating

If you are visiting during December, you can ice skate on the beach at Hotel Del Coronado.

Hike Torrey Pines State Park in La Jolla

weekend guide san diego torrey pines state park

A little north from Pacific Beach, you will find La Jolla. La Jolla is a popular beach destination in San Diego.  La Jolla Cove sits on the cliffs and is a perfect place to spot pelicans and sea lions. Torrey Pines State Park is home to the Torrey Pine, the rarest tree in North America. From here you can look out onto the Pacific Ocean.  The state beach has gorgeous view of the ocean, canyons, and beach-side cliffs.  It can get busy especially on holidays and weekends.

weekend guide to san diego la jolla cove
weekend guide to san diego torrey pines state park

Eat: While in La Jolla stop at Cody’s for breakfast and enjoy some delicious spritzers.

weekend guide to san diego codys la jolla spritzers

 Rent bikes

There are abundant bike rental shops where you can rent a bike for super cheap. We got lucky with our airbnb hosts who had two cruiser bikes that we were able to use. It’s the perfect place to cruise along the bay in the sunshine. If you are looking for a serious bike ride there is plenty of path all the way around the bay.

weekend guide to san diego beach
weekend guide to san diego palm trees

Find a hotel in San Diego

Have a beer or two

Living in Portland with some of the best breweries around, we like to try other states beers. With more than 90 breweries around town, it’s hard to ignore the beers. Our hosts recommended Amplified Ale Works, so that was our first stop, but some other well-known breweries in town are Karl Strauss, Stone Brewing Co, and Green Flash. If you love beer, the San Diego breweries won’t disappoint!

weekend guide to san diego amplified ale brewery

Don’t forget to find a spot to watch the sunset

You can never pass up the opportunity to watch the sunset over the water. There are plenty of beaches to view the sunset. The best one we saw during our weekend was from Oceanside, north of San Diego.

oceanside sunset san diego

If there was ever a doubt on whether or not you should visit San Diego, the answer is YES! The city has so much charm and you won’t run out of things to do! Hopefully this guide will help you plan your weekend getaway to San Diego!

What are some of your favorite actives to do in San Digeo?

Thanks to San Diego for inviting us to visit the museums to make our stay in San Diego more enjoyable!

weekend guide to san diego
weekend guide to san diego



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  1. San Diego is one of my favorite places, I could see myself moving there! Nice reading this as it’s a different itinerary than I had, with the exception of hiking Torrey Pines. By far one of the most pleasant hikes I’ve been on in the region.


  2. Balboa park sounds like you would not have to go anywhere else with museums and a zoo surrounding it. This would be perfect for family travel museum’s for us zoo for the kids. The sunset at oceanside looks amazing i could imaging sitting at a cafe drinking mojito’s watching this amazing picture. Sounds like a great place for a weekend

  3. Great guide! I have been to San Diego several times and each time I visit Balboa Park with all the museums and places to visit there is always something new to enjoy. Haven’t been to the Automotive Museum though. Will need to check it out next time I visit San Diego.

  4. Great guide, I visited San Diego last summer for a couple of days but didn’t make it to La Jolla Cove. After reading this, I think I need to make a return trip! Thanks for sharing.

  5. The cars in the San Diego Automotive Museum is nice and unique, if given the opportunity I would definitely visit here.

  6. Headed there this Jan! Wonderful start to the new year. Loved the article as it is going to be super handy in our next trip. Thank you!

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