Things to do in and around San Diego

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jinx
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Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by jinx » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:55 pm

Planning on a family trip to San Diego around the end of July. Will probably be there for about a week. Any recommendations for activities for a family with two youngish kids (10 and 5)? Will probably rent a car and visit around the area, so open to places within 2-3 hour drive. Thanks in advance!

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:01 pm

San Diego Zoo
(I think it has another name...something safari maybe) San Diego Wild Animal Farm
Old Town is good to just chill and just south, there's a free transportation museum.
Lego Land in Carlsbad
Hotel Del Coronado maybe for lunch and watch fighter jets now and then
Water front area
Beaches just north...and seals or sea lions (I forget which) there.

We were last there when our kids were your kids' ages and this is what we did.
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sailaway
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by sailaway » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:08 pm

In July, stay coastal. Inland will be HOT; it is mostly desert, after all. ie, Check the Temecula weather before heading to the Safari Park, which is an extension of the Zoo.

The zoo is amazing, and one of the few spots around where you can find shade.

We love the Natural History Museum.

Rent paddleboards or kayaks; as a visitor, I would probably choose Mission Bay for that.

Rent a family bike (surrey with the fringe on top).

Maritime Museum: the Star of India includes hands on activities

Birch Aquarium

Chill at the beach or walk the boardwalks. The harbor seals are in La Jolla, but are pretty rare that time of year. If you want boardwalk entertainment, that is mostly found at the transition between Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

Momus
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by Momus » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:22 pm

La Jolla Cove
Zoo & wild safari
Gaslamp
Cabrillo National Monument
Coronado Island/Beach
Seaworld
Birch Aquarium
Legoland
Mount Soledad
Hike Cowles Mountain, Torrey Pines, Iron Mountain
Stroll Balboa Park
Tons of beaches if you are into that

Teague
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by Teague » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:30 pm

All good suggestions so far. Time your visit to Cabrillo National Monument for low tide to experience excellent tide pools and their inhabitants.

For the safari park (which as noted is part of the zoo, but located about 45 minutes away by car) pay the extra $ for the open truck excursion into the savanna.

Time a picnic for sunset on the bluffs above La Jolla Cove.
Semper Augustus

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HueyLD
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by HueyLD » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:40 pm

jinx wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:55 pm
Planning on a family trip to San Diego around the end of July. Will probably be there for about a week. Any recommendations for activities for a family with two youngish kids (10 and 5)? Will probably rent a car and visit around the area, so open to places within 2-3 hour drive. Thanks in advance!
Hopefully your week does not overlap with the weekend of Comic-Con (7/18-7/21/2019). The traffic will be unbearable then.

Also, Del Mar 2019 Racing Season will start on 7/17. If possible, avoid driving in North County as the traffic will be very slow.

NewOldGuy
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by NewOldGuy » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:42 pm

USS Midway tour museum is awesome.

GetMeToRetirement
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by GetMeToRetirement » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:45 pm

Point Loma: Views of both Pacific Ocean and Bay; best place to see sunset; good hiking; Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

La Jolla: Upscale area right on Pacific with elevated views, wild seals, caves, and hiking paths; good place to rent kayak; The Taco Stand (great tacos); Children's Pool

Petco Park

Old San Diego: Great authentic Mexican restaurants/cantinas

San Diego Zoo

ddurrett896
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:55 pm

Sea world and belmont Park.

bob60014
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by bob60014 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:58 pm

Having kids, also add the USS Midway, Mission Beach/Belmont Park, run up to La Jolla @ Childrens Pool area for seals, Balboa Park, Air & Space Museum and +1 for Old Town. Have fun!

boogiehead
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by boogiehead » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:17 pm

If you are staying in downtown/gaslamp district park in the public parking lots instead of at the hotel (which mostly only offer valet), it'll save you about $15-20 a night.

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dm200
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by dm200 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:51 pm

Before it became Politically incorrect and they could control "the facts", I loved Sea World.

There is also an "Old Spanish" area with lots of good food.

Remember that it can get cool at night there - so dress accordingly.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by sunny_socal » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:01 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:51 pm
Before it became Politically incorrect and they could control "the facts", I loved Sea World.

There is also an "Old Spanish" area with lots of good food.

Remember that it can get cool at night there - so dress accordingly.
Well Seaworld used to be owned by Anheuser-Busch. You could even get free beer there!
Nowadays you can still buy beer at Seaworld. This fact alone lifts it above many theme parks. (*burp*)

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goingup
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by goingup » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:31 pm

Touring the USS Midway is amazing. You can climb into many of types of helicopters and other aircraft on the flight deck.

The Torrey Pines State Reserve has easy hikes through the bluffs with beautiful ocean in view. It will be hot in July so carry your own water and go early or late in the day.

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Raymond
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by Raymond » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:24 pm

USS Midway, and the Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park (personal experience).

I have heard the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (also in Balboa Park) is excellent, according to a friend who is a model railroad enthusiast, but it is closed on Mondays (the only day we were able to make a day trip from the LA area :( )
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sailaway
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by sailaway » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:34 pm

Raymond wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:24 pm
USS Midway, and the Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park (personal experience).

I have heard the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (also in Balboa Park) is excellent, according to a friend who is a model railroad enthusiast, but it is closed on Mondays (the only day we were able to make a day trip from the LA area :( )
It is pretty cool, but most of it is at adult height and might not be very visible for the 5yo.

NoGambleNoFuture
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:39 pm

Go eat in Little Italy and never stop eating

SurferLife
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by SurferLife » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:02 pm

You've been given great recommendations that would take weeks to fulfill. Just a reminder in case you didn't know, San Diego is known for its tacos.

IPS&IPA
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by IPS&IPA » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:04 pm

jinx wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:55 pm
Planning on a family trip to San Diego around the end of July. Will probably be there for about a week. Any recommendations for activities for a family with two youngish kids (10 and 5)? Will probably rent a car and visit around the area, so open to places within 2-3 hour drive. Thanks in advance!
Having gone to San Diego every year around this same time of year to visit 'grandma and pa' I call tell you the beach is the place to be. The kids will love it and much less stress than driving "within 2-3 hour drive" which will put you in the desert (hot!), Mexico, Los Angeles or stuck in traffic trying to get there which would not interest me.

Add in all of these places which are much closer and you have way too many choices for just a week.
La Jolla Cove
Zoo
Gaslamp
Cabrillo National Monument
Coronado Island/Beach
Seaworld
Birch Aquarium
Legoland
Mount Soledad
Hike Cowles Mountain, Torrey Pines, Iron Mountain
Stroll Balboa Park
Midway aircraft carrier museum
Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses. Jake: Hit it.

sailaway
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by sailaway » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:54 pm

For that age group, you might want to check out the Chula Vista Living Coast center. It is made for school children and has lots of viewing ports just 2-3 feet off the ground, plus you can touch the sharks and rays, as long as you follow the careful directions.

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GKSD
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by GKSD » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:47 am

Couple of years ago I posted this list on a thread about the same topic - here is the link to the post
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=216331&p=3324916#p3324916

Cut and pasted below:

1. Balboa Park - nice to walk around. If you end up there on a Sunday afternoon be sure to check out International Cottages - open Noon to 5PM. They have lawn program starting 2PM.

2. San Diego Zoo Safari Park - I find Safari Park more interesting than the Zoo. Much bigger and open, tram ride, Cheetah run. However, Zoo is next to Balboa Park so convenient if you want to save time on commute.

3. La Jolla Cove & Seal beach - Being there during sunset there would be nice

4. Old Town Historic Park - Great place to experience California spanish missions. Visit Fiesta de Reyes and have a lunch at Casa de Reyes. On weekends they have cultural program at Fiesta de Reyes - get a table outside at the restaurant and enjoy great Mexican food and the cultural program.

6.USS Midway at Harbor Dr

5. Seaport Village - 5 mins walk from USS midway

6. Coronado and Hotel Del Coronado - Take a drive to Hotel Del Coronado - you will drive through iconic San Diego - Coronado bridge. Walk around Hotel Del Coronado and surrounding area.

7. Cabrillo Monument - Great views of the harbor, old lighthouse.

8. SeaWorld is another popular place if you are in mood for some theme park fun. Will almost take a day and can get tiring.

9. Gaslamp Quarter in downtown is nice and has good dining options

10. Temecula winery tours - about 45 mins - 1 hour drive north (east) of downtown. But with kids on the trip, may be better to skip

11. Harbor cruise and Whale watching trip are popular things to do as well

12. Go hiking across many trails in San Diego - Torrey pines trail or hit local mountains for hiking e.g. Palomar mountain nearby

13. Drive up to Julian, small town roughly 1.5 hours or so from downtown. Change of scenery and they have a small old goldmine tour there.

14. Visit Carlsbad Flower Fields if you happen to be here within next 1 month. (mostly during Spring time)

Jeep4Life
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by Jeep4Life » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:01 am

Fairouz Restaurant if you like Greek/Middle Eastern food. Shish kebab, lemon-chicken soup, rolled grape leaves, eggplant, all delicious. I eat there every time I'm in San Diego but never touch the buffet. We know the owner, Abe, his brothers and cousins all run the place, very nice people. All Christians that fled to avoid the conflict in a troubled part of the world.

shelanman
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by shelanman » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:28 am

YES, definitely to the suggestions of: San Diego Zoo, USS Midway, and the La Jolla cove.

I'm not sure about your 5-year-old (can (s)he swim?), but in La Jolla, you can get really cool Kayak tours of the sea caves. Both tour companies that I've seen offer 2-person Kayaks, so you could each take one. It's a really pleasant way to see the cove and the caves from the water. The tour is about 90 minutes, and isn't super strenuous. Being able to swim is a requirement, though.

In Balboa Park, I thought the Fleet Science Center was pretty cool. They've got a mockup of an Apollo capsule (or they did when I was there a decade ago) that you can get up close to, and some other exhibits like that.

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jinx
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by jinx » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:41 pm

Great ideas! Thank you. Any recommendations for a nearby community just outside San Diego to stay. Will probably do VRBO or airbnb.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by FelixTheCat » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:58 pm

Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Beach, Sea Port Village, Gaslamp restaurants downtown, Harbor Cruise, Balboa Park museums Hotel del Coronado and a trip North to Disneyland via Amtrak train (Solana Beach station to Anaheim).
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.

ERISA Stone
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by ERISA Stone » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:59 pm

Best advice I got when I visited San Diego was to eat at the Stone Brewery in Escondido.

Tigermoose
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by Tigermoose » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:03 pm

jinx wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:41 pm
Great ideas! Thank you. Any recommendations for a nearby community just outside San Diego to stay. Will probably do VRBO or airbnb.
Chula Vista KOA has nice cabins. Fun KOA for the kids.

Legoland is great for young kids.
Institutions matter

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Kenkat
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by Kenkat » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:03 pm

Another vote for the USS Midway

quantAndHold
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:12 pm

The suggestion about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park...i love that place, but in July, it will be a bajillion degrees out there. I would do things closer to the coast. Same goes with Julian.

As far as where to stay. Personally, I’d try to find someplace close to the things you want to see, which probably means in San Diego. If, for some reason, you really want to stay in the suburbs, maybe Del Mar or Solana Beach. Both nice, quiet beach communities with vacation rentals. The South Bay (Chula Vista) will be cheaper, but there isn’t really much down there except a long drive to somewhere else to do things. You’ll pay more west of I-5 than east of it, but the weather will be better, and you’ll generally be closer to the things you want to do.

IPS&IPA
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by IPS&IPA » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:35 am

jinx wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:41 pm
Great ideas! Thank you. Any recommendations for a nearby community just outside San Diego to stay. Will probably do VRBO or airbnb.
I guessing you mean outside of 'downtown' San Diego.
San Diego as a city has a huge footprint so staying outside means another city just like San Diego or way far away.
For a week I would stay close to where you want to be, otherwise you will be in traffic, especially if you are staying in a bedroom community and traveling with the commute flow. Near San Diego zoo, Balboa and beaches I would consider Hillcrest, Bay Park and North Park.
Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses. Jake: Hit it.

miriamele
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by miriamele » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:53 pm

I would second the suggestions for LEGOLAND, Zoo and La Jolla. The Wild Animal/Safari park will be very hot but if you go early it's OK and the animals are more lively. The kayaks in La Jolla are fun and can include a visit to the caves!

As far as where to stay, you can try and stay close to a Coaster rail station and this will allow you to get up and down the coast pretty easily and opens up more things to do without sitting in traffic.

I am a local so feel free to message me with any specific questions. Have fun! :beer 8-)


ttjt_99
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by ttjt_99 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:27 am

I recommend Joshua Tree national park on top of the other great recommendations here. It’s a day trip so maybe go on a day weather isn’t great at the beach.

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HueyLD
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Re: Things to do in and around San Diego

Post by HueyLD » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:52 am

End of July in Joshua Tree NP? No, thanks. It could be 100+ out there.

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