Squeeze Every Bit of Fun out of Your 2-Day Stay
Part of San Diego's charm is in its accessibility, with so much to do so close at hand. With two days to spend in San Diego, you can branch out from the downtown area and have twice the fun. The following are some suggested itineraries for travelers who have two days to explore San Diego.
For many visitors, San Diego’s famous and family friendly attractions are the main draw. From boisterous rides and a world made of bricks to animal encounters at an aquarium, rain forest or savanna, San Diego attractions offer a wide array of ways to spend a fun-filled day creating new memories.
Day 1: San Diego Zoo, home to more than 3,500 animals. See rare and exotic creatures alike, such as koalas, gorillas, Komodo dragons, tigers, polar bears, giant tortoises, elephants, and more. Take a guided bus tour for a great overview of the Zoo.
Day 2: SeaWorld San Diego, located just north of downtown San Diego on Mission Bay, also offers close encounters of the animal kind, but in an aquatic setting. SeaWorld San Diego, the first SeaWorld park in the nation, features six major animal shows, dozens of fascinating exhibits containing marine life from around the globe, and thrill rides like Journey to Atlantis and the Manta roller coaster.
Day 1: San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido is a 1,800-acre preserve where wild animals roam free over vast expanses as they would in their native habitats of Africa and Asia. It’s best to see the park's 3,000 animals by taking the guide-narrated tram safari.
Day 2: LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad is the first LEGO theme park in North America, featuring more than 60 interactive attractions, rides and shows, including Pirate Shores and Land of Adventure. Adults love Miniland USA, featuring amazing 1:20 scale replicas of landmarks in New York City, Washington D.C., New Orleans, California, Florida and New England, constructed with 20 million LEGO bricks.
The community of La Jolla, located approximately 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego, is a seaside village nestled along seven miles of gently curving coastline. Its name (pronounced La Hoya) translates to "the jewel" in Spanish and is an appropriate description of this beautiful hamlet filled with spectacular scenery, outdoor recreation, world-class shopping, fine dining and an eclectic mix of museums, theatres and art galleries. Following is a suggested two-day itinerary:
Day 1: Shop along Prospect Street, La Jolla's main thoroughfare and one of San Diego’s most tony shopping areas, sometimes called the “Rodeo Drive” of San Diego. Prospect Street is also home to the thought-provoking Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - La Jolla. Stroll through Ellen Browning Scripps Park, overlooking the inlet beaches of La Jolla Cove and the Children's Pool where seals frolic. View the Stuart Collection of Sculpture, 17 contemporary artworks on the UCSD campus. End the day in style, fine dining in the village and then attending a performance at the Tony® Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse.
Day 2: Rise and shine for a round of golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course, home of the annual Farmers Insurance Open. Or for the more adventurous, tandem hang glide/paraglide at the Torrey Pines Gliderport, kayak the sea caves of La Jolla Cove or dive/snorkel in San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, the first coastal underwater preserve on the West Coast. Then explore the marine life at Birch Aquarium at Scripps — go behind-the-scenes with a scientist to learn about the unusual world of seahorse care and breeding — and enjoy a leisurely hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of one of the world's rarest pine trees. End the day atop Mt. Soledad for 360º views of San Diego and a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Exploring San Diego's neighborhoods is a great way to experience the colorful charm of San Diego and its residents. You can spend two days discovering the downtown and uptown areas, including the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and Hillcrest, as well as many others throughout the city. San Diego is home to approximately 100 distinct neighborhoods, each with lots to offer.
You don't have to venture far from downtown San Diego to get a taste of our laidback SoCal beach culture.
Day 1: Check out Imperial Beach (I.B.), a small surfer town on the U.S./Mexico border, home of Surfhenge, the world's largest known plexiglass artwork, and the Imperial Beach Pier. From I.B., head north along the sandy white Silver Strand peninsula to Coronado Beach, anchored by the impressive Hotel del Coronado.
Day 2: Explore the tidepools of Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma and the epic surf spots of Sunset Cliffs. From there head north to the edgy hippie hangout Ocean Beach, home of the Ocean Beach Pier, Dog Beach and Ocean Beach Antique District. Continue north to Mission Bay, home to one of the world's largest aquatic parks, and then visit Pacific Beach (P.B.) and Mission Beach, connected by a three-mile boardwalk crowded with inline skaters, skateboarders, runners, bikers and sun worshippers. The surrounding streets, stores, restaurants and bars bustle with activity. Adjacent to Mission Beach is Belmont Park, featuring the vintage “Giant Dipper” roller coaster, “The Plunge” giant indoor swimming pool, shops and other amusements.
Visit the San Diego Transportation page
to learn more about getting around in San Diego.