Illuminating, unexpected, and unique ways to experience America’s Finest City
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
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.
Though it was off limits for 80 years, the public can now make the seven-story climb through the California Tower, topping the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park. It takes some effort to ascend the metal stairway built to accommodate tours of the tower, but you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views when you reach the top, including a clear 23-mile shot to the horizon. Constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the tower stands nearly 200 feet above the ground. You can explore the rich details of the tower in a 40-minute tour with 15 minutes spent on the viewing deck. Tickets are $10 to $23. (Note: The California Tower is undergoing maintenance from Feb 2019 for approximately 7 to 10 months. During this time, it will be unavailable for tours. Please check the official website for updates on its status.)
Stone Brewing Co.
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
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
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.
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 $18 tour includes 26 restored aircraft that grace the 4-acre flight deck.
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