San Diego's not just about the beaches (as beautiful as they are): We've got big-time sports, too! Check out what makes the city such a prime-time player in baseball, soccer, hoops and a whole lot more.
With the 2022 NLDS champion San Diego Padres — our city’s longtime MLB team — leading the way, baseball is big in San Diego. And so are the national reputations of two San Diego ballparks:
Named by USA Today as the best MLB ballpark in the nation for two years running, the home of the Padres has it all: Great local food and drink, a fun and lively vibe and a beautiful location near San Diego’s sparkling bayfront.
Point Loma Nazarene University
Not to be outdone, this San Diego school’s Carroll B. Land Stadium — home of the PLNU Sea Lions — has been deemed “America’s most scenic ballpark” for its sweeping blufftop views of the blue Pacific.
has gained a major (yes) foothold in San Diego, with the city not only playing host to major soccer events but now proudly represented by top professional teams — with a Major League Soccer franchise on the way.
San Diego Wave FC
San Diego’s expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League is one of the hottest things going in San Diego sports. The Wave FC, loaded with stars of the sport, made the playoffs in its very first season. Its home games take place in San Diego State University’s beautiful new Snapdragon Stadium in the heart of Mission Valley.
Another expansion club, the Loyal is part of the men’s USL Championship league and plays at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium. The team qualified for the playoffs in two of its first three seasons.MLS Team
San Diego scored a major coup by landing the 30th franchise in Major League Soccer, the pre-eminent professional soccer organization in the United States. The as-yet unnamed team is owned by the international entrepreneur Mohamed Mansour as well as the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, which becomes the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in U.S. professional soccer. The club will begin play at Snapdragon Stadium in 2025.
One of the most popular sports around the globe (and one of the most exciting for spectators), rugby has caught on in a big way here, with a pair of top squads:
San Diego Legion
The Legion, a rising men’s team, competes in Major League Rugby and plays its home games at Snapdragon Stadium. The San Diego Legion has reached the postseason multiple times.
San Diego Surfers
Founded in 1975, the San Diego Surfers Women's Rugby Club is San Diego’s longest-standing rugby squad, and one of the most dominant in the country. The team, which plays home games at Robb Athletic Field in Ocean Beach, has won multiple national championships, including the 2023 women's D1 national title.
When it comes to indoor sports, lacrosse is one of the most action-packed, and the San Diego Seals bring all that excitement to their home games at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The team was founded in 2017 as an expansion franchise, and has already made the National Lacrosse League playoffs multiple times.
If you saw the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final in 2023, you know the kind of excitement the San Diego State University Aztecs created by making it all the way to the national championship game. But the team’s consistent success over the past decade-plus has also made a name for San Diego as an inviting home for hoops:
Rady Children’s Invitational
Billed as the Men’s College Basketball Tournament by the Beach, the Rady Children's Invitational (sponsored by the namesake hospital) debuts at Thanksgiving 2023 with four elite teams from around the country, and will unfold at LionTree Arena on the seaside campus of the University of California San Diego.
Champions of both the Mountain West regular-season championship and conference tournament in 2023, the SDSU men’s team made an amazing run through the NCAA tournament, knocking off overall No. 1 seed Alabama on the way to the championship game against the University of Connecticut. That unprecedented success was a major national story and helped solidify San Diego as a top-flight basketball destination. The team plays on campus at Viejas Arena, known as one of the liveliest venues in the nation for college basketball.
With a sterling pedigree dating to the 1930s, when it was co-founded by the legendary entertainer Bing Crosby, the Del Mar Racetrack — aka "Where the Surf Meets the Turf" — has been home to some of the nation's finest horse racing for nearly a century now:
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
The organization that hosts Thoroughbred racing at the track, the club has made Del Mar a top destination for race fans over the decades. It runs both a summer and a fall season, including numerous top stakes races.
One of the most famous race series worldwide, the Breeders' Cup World Championships returns to Del Mar for its 41st running in 2024. The event was previously held at the Del Mar Racetrack in 2017 and 2021.
With its year-round mild weather and collection of world-class courses, San Diego has been a golf mecca for generations, and the city's gorgeous Torrey Pines Golf Course has hosted the U.S. Open twice in recent years.
Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines, which overlooks the Pacific north of La Jolla, is also home to the annual Farmers Insurance Open, a major PGA tour event that attracts top golfers from around the world each winter.
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