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7 Cool Behind-the-Scenes Tours

in San Diego

Illuminating, unexpected, and unique ways to experience seven San Diego landmarks.

By: San Diego Magazine
Bike Rental by Moment Cycles

Petco Park


Find out why the Padres’ ballpark is regarded as the best baseball stadium in the country with a 90-minute, one-and-a-half-mile trip behind-the-scenes and around the park’s lesser known nooks and crannies. Offered on a walk-up basis every day of the week, the $17 experience lets you glimpse the dugout and bullpen—plus you’ll learn about “writer’s row” in the press box, and the historic Western Metal Supply Co. building that adjoins the park, which saw its first pitch in 2004.

Star of India

Star of India

San Diego Maritime Museum

The world’s oldest active sailing ship has been around the world dozens of times, but the Star of India's home port is San Diego Harbor, where you can board the iron hull and get a firsthand look. Check out the ship’s wheel, the ladders, and hatches on the poop deck, see what a typical sailor’s bunk looked like when the boat was built in 1863, and explore the galley, chart room, and other working parts of the tall ship. Only available when you purchase general admission to the Maritime Museum - your ticket to explore the entire historic fleet including steam, sail, submarine and exhibits. Prices range from $8 for children to $18 for adults.Self-guided tours from $11.

San Diego Opera

Downtown San Diego

Unleash your inner star and discover how the magic of opera is created! San Diego Opera Docents and Staff are eager to guide patrons backstage at the San Diego Civic Theatre to show you the pre-performance bustle before the performers take the stage. On this free backstage tour, participants get a firsthand look at the stunning scenery and costumes, and are able to observe the highly-skilled backstage crew who work to bring the opera production to life.

Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Brewing Co.

North County

Stone Brewing Company, one of the breweries that kicked off a hop-fueled revolution in San Diego over 20 years ago, opens its Escondido doors to beer-loving guests who’d like to see where it all began. The brewery is not just Southern California’s largest, but was twice crowned “the all-time top brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine. No visit to the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens would be complete without a sample of the goods; accordingly, the $5 tours are capped with a beer tasting.

Caravan Safari Adventure at the San Diego Zoo

Caravan Safari Adventure

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Jump in the back of a covered safari truck for an up close and personal tour of the wildlife at San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park in Escondido. There are three different kinds of safari tours, starting at $175 and lasting from two to three-and-a-half hours, providing various options for feeding giraffes and observing Asian and African birds and mammals. All tours are suitable for kids ages 8 and up.

La Jolla Sea Caves

La Jolla Sea Caves

North Coastal

San Diego’s sandy beaches are easily accessed. But to experience the dramatic sea cliffs stretching along the northern reaches of the La Jolla peninsula, it’s best to jump into a sea kayak. Any day of the year, guides will lead you past barking seals and sea lions and roosting seabirds, over kelp forests teeming with leopard sharks and garibaldi. Depending on ocean conditions, you may be able to paddle into the sea caves, barely wide enough for a kayak paddle, that slice through the palisade. Outings are about two hours long. Rental prices vary depending on time; tours generally begin around $50/person.

USS Midway

USS Midway


Whether via self-guided or docent-led tours, the USS Midway is a must-see attraction. The ship—America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century, christened in 1945 and decommissioned in 1992—was the largest in the world for a decade. A self-guided tour includes 26 restored aircraft that grace the 4-acre flight deck.

Explore More Sunny 7 Experiences

Get out and explore more of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods, attractions, and experiences. View more Sunny 7’s here.

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