Are you looking for the best things to do in San Diego with kids? America’s finest city and home Major League Baseball, the San Diego Padres have so many family-friendly things to do, you’ll never get bored!
San Diego -A Kid-Friendly Place to Visit
Welcome to sunny San Diego, a vibrant city located on the beautiful west coast of the United States! Known for its stunning beaches, perfect weather, and a plethora of family-friendly activities, San Diego is an ideal destination for a memorable vacation with kids. From cultural centers to the best places for fun and adventure, this city offers something for everyone. So pack your bags, put on your sunscreen, and get ready to explore the wonders of San Diego with your little ones.
Being located on the west coast, San Diego is blessed with stunning natural beauty. The city’s gorgeous beaches are undoubtedly some of the best places to visit with kids. Whether you’re building sandcastles, splashing in the waves, or simply soaking up the sun, the beach offers endless hours of entertainment and relaxation for the whole family. Don’t forget to pack your beach toys and boogie boards for an unforgettable day by the ocean.
San Diego is a city that truly caters to the interests and imaginations of children. Whether you’re seeking cultural enrichment, outdoor adventures, or unforgettable experiences in the heart of the city, San Diego has it all. So get ready to embark on an incredible journey filled with laughter, learning, and lifelong memories as you discover the best things to do in San Diego with your little ones.
Table of contents
- San Diego -A Kid-Friendly Place to Visit
- Where to Stay in San Diego with Kids
- Restaurants in San Diego
- Entertainment and Shopping in San Diego
- Museums in San Diego
- Cultural Centers in San Diego
- Cruises in San Diego
- Wild Animal Park (The San Diego Zoo Safari Park)
- LEGOLAND California Resort – Kid Friendly Amusement Park
- Downtown San Diego
- Shelter Island
- Coronado Island
- Beaches in San Diego
- SeaWorld San Diego
- Parks in San Diego
- Central Library of San Diego
- California Center for the Arts, Escondido
- Whale Watching
- Tide Pools in San Diego
- La Jolla Cove
- Kearny Mesa
- Mission Bay
- Old Town San Diego
- Little Italy
Where to Stay in San Diego with Kids
San Diego offers a wide variety of accommodations to fit any budget. For families traveling with young children, we recommend staying in Mission Beach or La Jolla. These areas offer close proximity to many of San Diego’s family-friendly attractions while still providing a relaxed atmosphere for vacationing parents.
Kona Kai Resort and Spa
We recently stayed at Kona Kai Resort & Spa in Shelter Island and had a blast! We hung out at the pool and enjoyed the restaurant. It was so relaxing! But of course, the kids were anxious to get out and explore.
The Hotel Del Coronado
The Hotel Del Coronado is one of the most iconic hotels in San Diego. This beautiful Victorian hotel is located on Coronado Island and it’s a great place to stay if you want to be close to all the action. You can also find plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
Restaurants in San Diego
Point Loma Restaurant District
District Point Loma is a peninsula, and a historic fishing neighborhood with over twenty restaurants, bars, and pubs. It’s also a great place to visit for dinner or drinks at the end of the day!
The quaint neighborhood has plenty of fun and is home to our favorite restaurant Mitch’s Seafood.
This amazing seafood restaurant is located in Point Lomo and it’s a great place to eat locally caught seafood. There are many delicious options available including fried local fish, crab cakes as well as clam chowder!
Entertainment and Shopping in San Diego
This historic neighborhood is in downtown San Diego. It’s known for its vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and shops. But some people just love the Victorian-style architecture.
The Gaslamp Quarter is also home to the San Diego Convention Center, Horton Plaza shopping center, and Petco Park baseball stadium.
There is plenty to see in this lively neighborhood.
Check out their True Crime Tour.
Oceanside Harbor is Kid Friendly
We loved visiting Oceanside and Oceanside Harbor! We had lunch at The Lighthouse, stopped for coffee at a local coffee shop, and shopped for fun items. We even took a boat ride around the harbor and watched the sea lions.
Seaport Village, which is situated right on the harbor, is an excellent destination for shopping, dining, and sightseeing with a wide array of shops and restaurants to choose from.
Museums in San Diego
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
This Museum is located on the waterfront, and it’s a great place to visit for families. You will find submarine tours, flight simulators as well as lots of aircraft. USS Midway Museum includes a very informative audio tour.
There are also some great views of the city from the deck!
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is the perfect place for those interested in aviation and space exploration. It’s one of the largest collections in the world with over 60 aircraft on display, You can also find plenty of places to eat and drink around the museum.
The San Diego Maritime Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in maritime history. With over 100 ships on display, it’s also one of the largest collections in the world. You can also find plenty of places to eat and drink around the museum.
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is the perfect place to learn about the natural history of the area. With exhibits on animals, plants, geology, and more, you can spend hours here exploring everything the museum has to offer. You can also find plenty of places to eat and drink around the museum.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum is located in downtown and it’s a great place to learn about maritime history as well as see some ships.
Cultural Centers in San Diego
San Diego boasts a rich cultural scene, and one of the must-visit spots are the cultural centers. Here, you and your family can immerse yourselves in the diverse heritage of the city through various exhibits, performances, and interactive displays. From art galleries showcasing local talent to hands-on workshops where kids can unleash their creativity, the cultural centers provide
Center for Community & Cultural Arts-center
The Center for Community & Cultural Arts is a great place to explore the culture and history of San Diego. It’s located in Balboa Park and offers a variety of events such as live music, lectures, workshops, and more. It’s also home to the WorldBeat Cultural Center which features concerts from around the world.
Landmark Theater is a great place to catch a show or concert. It’s located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter and offers plenty of seating, concessions, and an amazing atmosphere. You can also find plenty of places to eat and drink around here too.
Cruises in San Diego
San Diego Harbor Cruise
Harbor Cruise is a great way to see the city. There are two different cruise lines, Hornblower and Flagship Cruises & Events. This tour offers views of the downtown skyline, Coronado Bridge as well as Point Loma.
You can also choose from brunch or dinner cruises with live entertainment available for a fee.
Point Loma Lighthouse
Point Loma Lighthouse is located on a hilltop and it offers spectacular views of the city from all around! You can choose to hike up or there are also trolley tours available here. The lighthouse is open for public visits, but you will need to climb 228 steps to get inside the tower.
Wild Animal Park (The San Diego Zoo Safari Park)
San Diego Wild Animal Park, also known as The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world and it’s a great place to visit with kids. You will find over 3,700 animals representing more than 650 species. The zoo also has a variety of educational programs, shows, and exhibits.
So, plan to spend a full day at this huge attraction!. It’s the perfect place to visit if you want to see some exotic animals and learn about them too in their natural habitat! You can choose between tours or zoo lights (for an additional fee), but it’s worth seeing these amazing creatures up close.
Look for polar bears, camels, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, baboons, grizzly bears, hippos, jaguars, and more!
San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located about 30 minutes outside of downtown. It’s a great place to see animals in their natural habitats. But you can take a jeep safari or ride on the zip line so see them close up.
LEGOLAND California Resort – Kid Friendly Amusement Park
LEGOLAND® is the ultimate theme park for kids (and adults too!) in California. There you can build, ride and race through some of the most amazing attractions! Take your swimsuits for their water park too!
Downtown San Diego
Downtown is a great place to visit for everyone! You can find art galleries, shops or just some nice places to eat. There are also many fun activities like Seaport Village, Balboa Park and more!
You can see magnificent views of the downtown skyline from the harbor cruise as well as a ferry ride that takes you back and forth to Shelter Island.
This is the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway. With Kona Kai Resort and Spa, you can enjoy comfortable accommodations with an onsite spa, water sports at the marina, pools to lounge in or even play some tennis on one of the 6 courts!
You’ll also love getting your adrenaline rush by riding cruiser bikes along the coast and relaxing at the local beaches. Book your trip now!
Coronado Island is a great place to visit for the day or even spend a weekend. With its sandy beaches, stunning views of the skyline and plenty of shops and restaurants, you’ll never be bored here!
You can also take a ferry from downtown San Diego which is a great way to see the city from the water.
Beaches in San Diego
Solana Beach is a tiny, seaside community on the northern San Diego County coast. It’s about a 30-minute drive from downtown.
The primary access roads for the community are Interstate 5, Highway 101, Lomas Santa Fe Drive, and Via de la Valle. The City has a vibrant train station that serves both Amtrak and the Coaster, one of only three in San Diego County.
Newport Beach is a great destination for those looking for some fun in the sun. There are plenty of activities to do here such as beach volleyball, surfing, kayaking, fishing, and more! You can even take a cruise around the harbor and see the beautiful homes along the coast.
With a long boardwalk, lively pier and sandy beach, Ocean Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Visitors can enjoy plenty of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, surfing, fishing and more. There are also many shops and restaurants in the area for visitors to enjoy.
San Diego Bay
The Bay is a must-do activity when visiting San Diego! You can find many different companies that offer tours or you can even rent your own boat for the day.
There are also lots of places to eat and drink around the bay so you can make a day of it!
SeaWorld San Diego
There are so many things to do at SeaWorld San Diego. Enjoying one of the many rides, watching the Shamu Show, or getting up close and personal with the animals at the Animal Adventure. You can also find plenty of places to eat and drink around the park.
San Diego International Airport is the primary airport serving the area. It’s located just minutes from downtown and it’s convenient for those flying into or or out of San Diego.
Parks in San Diego
Coronado Tidelands Park
Coronado Tidelands Park is a beautiful park located on Coronado Island. The park features plenty of open space, gardens, and walking trails. It’s also a great place to enjoy the view of the San Diego skyline. In addition, you an find plenty of places to eat and drink around the park.
Petco Park is the perfect place to catch a Padres game or concert! You can also find downtown views from here as it’s located right in the heart of the city.
With its convenient location, you can easily walk to Petco Park from many of the hotels in San Diego.
Soak up the sun and enjoy the rides at Belmont Park, located right on the beach in Mission Beach! This historic amusement park has been around since 1925 and it’s a great place to take the kids for a day of fun. You can also find plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
Botanical Gardens, San Diego
The Botanical Gardens is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and learn about plants from all over the world. With over 50 acres of gardens to explore, you’ll never get bored here! You can also find plenty of places to eat and drink around the gardens.
Balboa Park, San Diego
San Diego is home to one of the largest urban parks in the united states, Balboa Park. with over 1,200 acres to explore, you can find plenty of things to do here such as hiking, biking, picnicking and more. You can also find many museums and galleries located within the park.
There are also lots of art galleries, theater performances and concerts so there is something for everyone at Balboa park. This location offers parking too.
Central Library of San Diego
San Diego Central Library is located downtown and it’s a great place to visit if you are interested in architecture or just want some quiet time reading books! The library offers lots of lectures for adults as well as kids too including family story times!
California Center for the Arts, Escondido
The California Center for the Arts is located in Escondido and it’s a great place to visit if you are interested in arts. You can choose between many galleries as well as theater performances here!
There are also art camps available for kids including ones that teach them art.
San Diego is one of the best places in the world for whale watching. You can find many different companies that offer tours but you can even go out on your own. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink around the area so you can make a day of it!
Tide Pools in San Diego
There are many tide pools where you can see a variety of sea creatures up close but some of the most popular tide pools are located in La Jolla, Coronado, and Pacific Beach. You can also find many shops and restaurants nearby so you can make a day of it!
This lovely area is famous as a perch for viewing the sun set into the Pacific Ocean, but there are also wonderful tide pools to be discovered during low tide. Here you’ll discover hundreds of sea anemones, tiny crabs, and fish.
Keep in mind that the walk down the sandstone cliffs to the Beach may be difficult because it is steep.
Throngs of people trek the rugged terrain alongside the cliffs for breathtaking views at sunset, yet these pathways are not maintained and can be treacherous. Unfortunately, plummeting from their heights has led to serious injuries and fatalities.
These tide pools are located north of the Scripps Pier and La Jolla Shores Beach in the La Jolla Underwater Marine Park. Look for star fish, limpets, mussels, anemones, and octopuses along this volcanic rock bench.
La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is a picturesque cove located in San Diego. It’s a popular spot for swimming, diving, and snorkeling with its crystal clear waters and various marine life. Additionally, you can also take relaxing strolls along the shore or simply soak up the sunshine on the beach. There are several restaurants and shops available nearby too, so you canarly enjoy great food and drinks while taking in the beautiful views.
Kearny Mesa is a community with a large Vietnamese population. You can find many different shops and restaurants here that offer authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Mission Bay is a large bay located in San Diego. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. You can also find many different shops and restaurants in the area.
Old Town San Diego
This historical district of is called Old Town. With buildings dating back to the 18th century, it’s a great place to take a step back in time. You can also find many different shops and restaurants in the area.
If you are looking for some seaside fun, Oceanside in Southern California, is the perfect spot for you. Apart from enjoying its stunning beaches and surfing spots, visitors can also explore a wide range of restaurants and cafes situated in this area. This gorgeous beach town is just an hour away from San Diego, making it an excellent destination to visit for a day trip.
Little Italy is a vibrant neighborhood located in the heart of San Diego. It’s one of the city’s most popular destinations with its European-style shops, restaurants, and cafes along India Street. You can also find many art galleries here where you can admire the works of local artists.
If you are looking for a beautiful beach town in San Diego, then Carlsbad is the place for you. This charming coastal city offers its visitors miles of golden sand beaches, plenty of fun in the sun activities such as surfing and kayaking, and a range of delicious restaurants. There is also an abundance of shops selling various items from local artwork to souvenirs.
So, whether you’re planning a summer trip or just looking for fun things to do in San Diego this weekend, let me know where you go! You are sure to have a great time anywhere you go in San Diego!