home | europe | canada | australia | guides | travel 101 | bakpak girl | about

Things to See & Do in San Diego



The Gaslamp Quarter Foundation  
Self-guided audio/guided walking tours for $5. (619) 233-4692

San Diego Scenic Tours  
Tours of San Diego, Tijuana or a combination of both. Prices start at $30. (858) 273-8687

Walkabout International  
Offers free walking tours of the city and surrounding areas. (619) 231-7463


Timken Museum of Art   
Includes 18th/19th century paintings and Russian Orthodox religious icons; in Balboa Park. (619) 239-5548

US Olympic Training Center  

Bernardo Winery  
SoCal’s oldest operating winery free tastings (858-487-1866)

Museum of Contemporary Art  
Minimalist, conceptualist, pop artwork. Overlooks the Pacific Ocean. $10/ 25 and under free; free at all 3 locations for 25 and under and Thursday, 5-7pm (858 454 3541)

Money Saving Tips

Day Tripper pass
Cabrillo National Monument/Pt Loma Lighthouse   ($3 for 7 days, (619-557-5450)
3-Attraction Pass   for Zoo/Wild Animal Park/Seaworld ($109, 619-231-1515)
Science Center & 1 IMAX movie ($14.50, 619-238-1233)
Balboa Park Passport Program   13 museums for 1 week, $39; with Zoo, $65 (619-231-1640)

Must See & Do

Balboa Park   
Occupies 1,400 meticulously manicured acres and is packed with museums, plant growth and the world-class San Diego Zoo. A better urban walking tour is hard to find. Access to 12 of the best museums can be had with a Passport to Balboa Park ($39). Available at the Balboa Park Visitors Center and the museums, which are mostly located on El Prado St., and boast some fancy Spanish architecture.

San Diego Zoo  
This 100-acre zoo contains 800 species, from polar bears to Komodo dragons, mostly in exhibits that usually succeed in mimicking the animals’ natural environs. Not to be missed are the simulated rain forest, Tiger River, and Gorilla Tropics. Take the Orange line trolley to American Plaza. Admission $35.

Museum of Photographic Arts  
Rotating exhibits. (619) 238-7559

San Diego Museum of Art  
The largest museum in the city contains Old Masters, European, Asian, American, Indian and contemporary California art. (619) 232-7931

Museum of Man  
Exhibits highlighting man’s physical and cultural development. Emphasis on Western America and Egypt. (619) 239-2001

Space Theater & Science Center  
Educates on scientific maxims and boasts an OMNIMAX theater with films on space and nature.

Coronado Island via ferry
Baja California


Ocean and Pacific Beaches

Gaslamp Quarter   
A 16 block area covering 38 acres on 4th, 5th and 6th Aves., between Broadway and K St., contains the greatest concentration of well-preserved architecture from San Diego’s Victorian days. Once a seedy, crime-ridden, red light district, complete with the proverbial sailors and whores, it has been completely redeveloped. The Quarter, as well as the rest of downtown, is packed with restaurants, clubs and malls.

Old Town  
The first town in California was founded here by a Spanish military expedition that included the zealous missionary, Father Junipero Serra. At the Old Town State Historic Park you can find original buildings.

Presidio Park  
Exhibits illustrating San Diego’s Native American, Spanish and Mexican Heritage from 1769 to 1850. Includes the Serra Museum.


Factory Outlets San Ysidro
Horton Plaza

Day Trips

La Jolla
San Diego Wild Animal Park

Nightlife & Cheap Eats

Always keep your eyes open for flyers and special deals! Downtown, there are plenty of cheap eats. From there you can make a dash to the Gaslamp bars, mainly on 5th Ave. (Buffalo Joes at 600 5th Avenue, Mooses at 535 5th Ave). In Ocean Beach try Tony’s at 5034 Newport Ave., or Java Joe’s at 4994.

Free Bakpak USA Guide

Subscribe to Bakpak Dave's Newsletter

Most Popular Rail Passes

Feedback Form