Should You Visit San Diego?

Is San Diego worth visiting?

Yes, you'll find numerous reasons to visit San Diego, and it's a coastal city that everyone should see. We had an amazing time here. During our first trip to San Diego in 2011, we fell in love with its beautiful beach parks and perfect weather. We've been back several times since then to experience it even more.

Whether you're a traveling as a family, a couple, or a backpacker, this coastal city has a lot to offer. Any local will tell you what makes it special is the great beaches and amazing museums.

San Diego is a laid-back city on the Pacific coast that has beautiful beaches and a youthful atmosphere. The city has plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, but there are also great restaurants and many family-friendly attractions such as the famed San Diego zoo or the many amusement parks in the area.

San Diego, California San Diego, California

9 Reasons to Visit San Diego

1. Beaches

The city has great beaches with tidal pools and interesting sea life at low tide. Adults and kids alike will enjoy hitting the beach when the tides are out and looking for local critters in the tidal pools. Popular beaches in the area include La Jolla Cove Beach, Coronado Beach, and Pacific Beach.

2. Museums

While the city is famous for it's beaches, zoos, and aquariums, don't overlook the museums and other landmarks. Popular options include the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, the Old Town State Historic Park, and Point Loma and Cabrillo Monument.

3. Nightlife

The heart of the city's nightlife scene is in the Gaslamp District, which is filled with bars, clubs, and music venues. There's a young student population that keeps the nightlife scene casual and fun.

4. Music

Popular venues include the House of Blues, The Belly Up, and The Shout House.

5. Hiking

The city is filled with parks and has tons of natural beauty. There is plenty of urban hiking in town, or you can visit more natural areas just out of town. Head to Torrey Pines State Park or Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail for some nice hikes.

6. Food

The city has great seafood and a diversity of cuisines. There are many casual dining options that serve informal foods like burgers or salads, but there are also award-winning fine dining restaurants with elegant atmospheres. Popular local dishes include fish tacos and California burritos.

7. Resorts

Most people prefer to stay in hotels or VRBOs, but several popular resorts include Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Paradise Point, and the famous Hotel del Coronado.

8. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

Popular snorkeling and diving spots include La Jolla Cove, Mission Bay, and Turtle Town. The water's a bit chili, but it's still worth going for a dive or popping on a mask and snorkeling around for a bit.

9. Shopping

Head to Fashion Valley or Westfield UTC for some fun shopping. There are suburban shopping malls in the area as well as souvenir shops in the more touristy areas.

Expert Advice from Local Travelers

We're asking our community members and registered users to contribute their experiences about San Diego.

Why would you recommend San Diego to budget travelers? Or, why not?

It's one of my favorite cities in California, but it's definitely not cheap.

Jul 28 2023

What was your favorite thing about San Diego?

We loved the beaches in San Diego! This is such a diverse city with so many things to do from the parks and beaches to the zoo and the Gaslamp District.

Mar 26 2024

We love visiting San Diego with the kids. The zoo, the parks, and the beaches are all perfect for the whole family.

Mar 2 2024

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Is San Diego worth visiting in the Summer?

The warm weather in summer is one of the reasons people visit at this time of year. Temperatures average around 22°C (71°F) with daily high temperatures often more than 25°C (76°F).

The peak season for travel is summer in San Diego, so expect to see more tourists than usual. This is an extremely popular destination, and in the high season it's busier than usual as this is when most people are able to travel. Expect large crowds of tourists, longer lines, and higher prices for hotels. On the other hand, you'll find that everything is open and you'll have a wide array of activities, things to do, and places to eat.

Visiting the nearby beaches is one of the most popular things to do this time of year, so spend some time enjoying the waves and sand. The nearby hiking this time of year is a must-do, so take some time to get out on the trails, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery. This is a great time of year to relax at the beach, take a hike, and browse the museums. Also, you can experience the beautiful resorts, the big city activities, and the nightlife.

Summer Weather in San Diego
Avg Temp
Avg Rain
July 22°C (71°F) 1 mm (0 in)
August 23°C (73°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
September 22°C (71°F) 6 mm (0.2 in)

Is San Diego worth visiting in the Autumn?

Autumn is the shoulder season for travel in San Diego. As a very touristy destination, even in the shoulder season you'll see plenty of tourists when you visit. However, good prices and deals are to be found at this time of year.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during autumn with average temperatures around 20°C (68°F).

Autumn is a great time of year to explore the numerous museums and landmarks around town. They are fun for the whole family as well great for couples. You'll find plenty to do during autumn, as you'll be able to take in the beautiful scenery, spend time at the museums, and admire the quaint atmosphere. Also, you can discover the big city activities, go hiking, and listen to some live music.

Autumn Weather in San Diego
Avg Temp
Avg Rain
October 20°C (68°F) 9 mm (0.4 in)
November 17°C (62°F) 37 mm (1.5 in)
December 14°C (57°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)

Is San Diego worth visiting in the Winter?

This is the low season for travel in San Diego. This is an extremely touristy destination, so in the low season you'll still see plenty of other travelers when you visit, but less than other times of the year. Good deals are to be found on hotels and tours because it's not the best time of year to visit. For a warm winter destination, San Diego is your spot!.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during winter with average temperatures around 14°C (57°F).

During this season it's fun to experience the museums and landmarks, the cuisine, and the nightlife. Also, you can check out the live music scene and the big city activities.

Winter Weather in San Diego
Avg Temp
Avg Rain
January 14°C (57°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)
February 15°C (59°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
March 15°C (59°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)

Is San Diego worth visiting in the Spring?

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during spring with average temperatures around 17°C (62°F).

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in San Diego, which means slightly less visitors than in the peak season. As a very touristy destination, even in the shoulder season you'll see plenty of tourists when you visit. However, good prices and deals are to be found at this time of year.

This is a great time of year to browse the shops, wander through the museums, and appreciate the quaint setting. Also, you'll be able to take in the beautiful scenery, listen to some live music, and dance the night away.

Spring Weather in San Diego
Avg Temp
Avg Rain
April 17°C (62°F) 20 mm (0.8 in)
May 18°C (64°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
June 19°C (67°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)

Things to Consider Before Visiting San Diego

Lots of Tourists
San Diego sees a high number of visitors every year, which means you might have to wait in line and deal with large crowds during your visit.

Getting Around
The area is not very walkable, and public transit is not great here, so it might be difficult to get around without arranging your own transportation.

The Cost
Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, San Diego might be an expensive destination for you. You can find out the travel costs for San Diego here or see if San Diego is expensive here.


What is San Diego most famous for?

San Diego is most famous for its relaxed coastal atmosphere, its many kid-friendly sights, and its beautiful beaches with critter-filled tidal pools. People visit this impressive coastal city for its great beaches. It's also known for museums, nightlife, music, and hiking. And many travelers come for the food, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and shopping, as well. It is often described as outdoorsy, idyllic, fun-filled, hip, dynamic, energetic, and relaxed.

What is the most famous sight in San Diego?

The most popular sight in San Diego is The San Diego Zoo. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in San Diego on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for The San Diego Zoo and other attractions here.

How touristy is San Diego? Is it a popular coastal city to visit?

San Diego is a very touristy coastal city that attracts travelers from around the globe. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

    • San Diego Coronado History and Highlights Small Group Tour: $55
    • Magic on The Move Tour: $45
    • Balboa Park Electric Scooter Tour with Pictures: $59
    • San Diego Street Art Tour: $39
    • La Jolla Sea Caves Kayak Tour (Single Kayak): $74
    • 1 Hour GPS Guided Scooter Tour: Harbor/Gaslamp Quarter: $92
    • Private San Diego Segway Fanatic Tour: $135
    • E-Bike Tour in Balboa Park: $169

    How long should I spend in San Diego?

    The ideal length of time for a trip to San Diego is at least three or as many as five days. Since San Diego has a variety of activities such as beaches, most people need this much time to see and do everything here.

    If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in San Diego?, Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in San Diego?, and Should I spend 1 or 2 weeks in San Diego?.