A single day in San Diego is insufficient to experience everything the city has to offer. However, even if your vacation is brief, we will assist you in making the most of it. San Diego is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, with over 35 million visitors each year.
When visiting San Diego, deciding where to go to the beaches, museums, historical attractions, and gastronomic spots can be difficult. There is far more to see and do than a single day can accommodate. We will, however, do our best to provide you with a sample of what San Diego has to offer.
Let this itinerary influence you as you plan your one day in San Diego, whether you want to enjoy a day trip or want ideas for a possible romantic getaway in the United States.
Still, don’t be hesitant to alter your plans and visit whatever piques your attention.
You’ll feel like you’ve seen a lot after your day in San Diego, but you’ve only scratched the surface of this lovely city.
When is the best time to visit San Diego?
There is no inappropriate time to visit San Diego because the weather is always mild, averaging 60 to 70 degrees year-round. However, before you plan your trip, there are a few things to think about. Because it is summer in the United States, San Diego is a popular tourist destination. Expect to pay more and be surrounded by more people in the summer.
If you want to spend time at the beach or in the water, July and August are the finest months to visit.
San Diego is especially beautiful in the spring and fall. You may usually get fantastic travel prices and lower visitor crowds during spring break and fall vacations.
During these periods, the weather is still pleasant, and on a nice sunny day, you might even enjoy some time at the beach.
The winter months are the coolest in San Diego, with temperatures averaging in the 60s. Rain showers are prevalent during the winter, even though the temperature remains rather warm.
Although the city is not one of the top winter destinations in the United States, you can discover fantastic travel prices during this season, but keep in mind that many attractions will be closed.
DAY 1 in San Diego
San Diego, like any other city, is a metropolitan city that is always developing and evolving. Nonetheless, we’ve decided to provide our finest recommendations for where to stay, eat, and visit in San Diego in a day.
While San Diego attractions aren’t always close to one another, you can utilize Uber or a rental car to get around and use the addresses listed below for a self-guided tour of the city.
Things To Do
Enjoy Breakfast at Café 222
Breakfast at Café 222, one of San Diego’s premier breakfast restaurants, is the first stop on our day in town. Along with the typical breakfast menu, there are some delectable variations to try, such as the stuffed French toast with peanut butter and bananas.
The pumpkin waffles, which were highlighted in Gourmet Magazine and taste just like pumpkin pie, are the menu item that steals the show. Breakfast can also be had with the blueberry cornbread waffles.
Take an uber to the USS Midway Museum, which is located at the Navy Pier, after breakfast.
Visit the USS Midway Museum
Visit the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier museum at the Navy Pier, for a self-guided driving tour. The ship houses a large collection of military planes, as well as exhibits depicting life at sea for American sailors.
Take some time to speak with the volunteers aboard the USS Midway, as many of them are veterans.
They have amazing stories to tell, and many of them have firsthand experience living on an aircraft carrier.
It’s time to hit the beach at La Jolla after learning all about life at sea.
To get the most out of your day, purchase a skip-the-line ticket.
La Jolla not only offers some of San Diego’s most gorgeous beaches but also has some of the friendliest family beaches. Aside from that, there are a few spots where you may see seals sunbathe.
Find the seals and sea lions at La Jolla Cove to begin your visit to La Jolla. You should be able to observe seals and sea lions as long as the weather is nice.
They are mostly just sunbathing, but you may notice a few swimming around and making noise. You may even get to witness a live birth if you’re lucky. In February, you have the highest opportunity of watching a seal pup being born.
On a guided tour, you may explore the best of La Jolla and San Diego, including Mount Soledad, from which you can get a bird’s-eye view of the city.
After you’ve had your fill of viewing the sea lions, you can either wander down to the sand for a quiet walk along the beach or go shopping.
You’ll find a mix of unusual boutique businesses, mall stores, and high-end stores while shopping in this region. With its lovely boutiques and beachy pathways, it’s a fun spot to window shop.
It’s time to eat some lunch after working up an appetite on the beach or in the shops.
Have Lunch at Urban Plates
At Urban Plates, you can have a farm-to-table lunch with a variety of salads and sandwiches, as well as plated entrees, soups, and more.
Everything is produced from scratch using only the best, most natural ingredients.
A grilled steak salad with pineapple-mango salsa or a cage-free chicken club with all the fixings is both excellent lunch options. Try the roasted brussels sprouts as one of your side dishes.
Make sure to save room for dessert no matter what you eat for lunch. The Mango Tart alone is worth visiting this restaurant for.
Not to be missed is the flawlessly crisp tart shell covered with a thin layer of light cream and luscious mangoes.
Take an uber to Balboa Park after a great slice of Mango Tart and spend the afternoon perusing the museums and gardens.
The Botanical Building, with its Lily Pond and Lagoon, is one of Balboa Park’s most photographed locations. One of the world’s largest lath buildings is the Botanical Building.
Visit the Balboa Park
Balboa Park is a walking collection of 15 museums, gardens, theatres, and cafés; nevertheless, you won’t be able to see it all in one day. The San Diego Zoo is also in Balboa Park, but that requires an entire day!
You get to choose your next stop for this part of your day in San Diego based on your interests.
The San Diego History Center, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Botanical Building, and the Museum of Man are some of the institutions you might want to visit at this time.
San Diego Museum of Art
Enjoy artwork from different periods and all across the world at the San Diego Museum of Art. There is always something fresh to view because the collections on exhibit change frequently.
San Diego History Center
The San Diego History Center includes interactive, family-friendly exhibitions that tell the history, present, as well as future of the San Diego region.
Old Town Mexican Café is a great place to eat dinner
At the Old Town Mexican Café, have a delicious dinner of real Mexican cuisine. With homemade tortillas and authentic Mexican food, the Old Town Mexican café has been a San Diego institution for more than 40 years–it’ll be a success.
Start with guacamole dip, chips, and beverages to get your appetite going. Then you’ll have a difficult time settling on your major.
Molcajete, Old Town Famous Carnitas, 12 rotisserie chicken, Pozole, and Carne Asada Dinner are some of the most popular dishes.
Take your time at supper and appreciate the ambiance as well as the delicious food.
Explore San Diego’s Old Town
After dinner, take a stroll through Old Town San Diego. In Old Town San Diego, there are a plethora of activities to do.
Still, because time is limited, let’s keep it easy with some window shopping while taking in the atmosphere of the old town, as well as a couple of must-see attractions.
The Baked Bear’s dessert is a must
Finish the day with a dessert at The Baked Bear, where you can make your ice cream sandwich.
The first step is to choose your brownie or cookie. You can match the top and bottom colors or mix and match. Choose your ice cream next, followed by your toppings. You can even warm up your sandwich!
Where to Stay for a Day in San Diego?
You have a few choices when it comes to where to stay in San Diego. Each neighborhood in San Diego will provide you with a unique experience.
The primary neighborhoods you should consider staying in, especially if you just have one day in San Diego, are La Jolla, Mission Bay, or the Gaslamp Quarter.
If you stay in La Jolla, expect to pay more for the posh location. This region is right on the beach, with luxurious hotels and high-end eateries. There are a variety of hotel and home rental alternatives in La Jolla.
The La Jolla Cove Suites are ideal for couples and families due to their spacious rooms and proximity to La Jolla Cove and the sea lions.
Mission Bay is located directly on the bay and is not far from Mission Beach. It’s in a fantastic position near Old Town, Balboa Park, and the ocean.
The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina, which is located on Mission Bay and is only 5.3 miles from San Diego International Airport, is ideal for couples and families.
The Gaslamp Quarter is located on the San Diego bay, near Balboa Park, the zoo, and a vibrant entertainment scene.
The Westgate Hotel – This lavish property is ideal for couples. It’s a fantastic place to stay if you want to be in the Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood of San Diego, with stunning views of downtown and a central position.
Itinerary for a Day in San Diego
You could also want to take a tour of the city in a hop-on hop-off trolley! The ride lasts around 2 to 3 hours, and you can get off at any of the 12 stations to just see the sights that interest you!
One day in San Diego is insufficient to experience everything the city has to offer. However, you can get a taste of the city in a day and then return to see the rest.
You may have to rush and spend less time in a spot to explore San Diego in a day, but having a taste of this seaside town can whet your appetite for your future trip.