The minute you sit down to make a list of great things to do in San Diego, the ideas start rolling in like the waves at our world-famous beaches. But hang on a second: Who sits down in San Diego anyway? (Unless, of course, you're settling in for a great meal at one of our Michelin-starred restaurants, taking in a concert at the gorgeous new Rady Shell, or riding a roller coaster with waterfront views.)
San Diego is made for being on the move — and you might even want to make "motion" your own mantra as you take in our tally of 22 top happenings, activities and outdoor experiences here for 2022.
Do a few. Do them all. But do come here soon. San Diego is waiting for you.
The Denny Sanford Wildlife Explorers Basecamp at the San Diego Zoo hosts more than 100 species in four distinct environments. And while you're visiting the Basecamp, check out the zoo's new hummingbird and Komodo dragon exhibits, too.
Named for a species of penguin in residence at the park, the Emperor — billed as the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in California — at SeaWorld San Diego will take you on vertical plunges and zooming through loops while reaching speeds of 60 mph.
Sesame Place San Diego is the only theme park on the West Coast based entirely on TV's beloved "Sesame Street." Catch up with Elmo and the gang, and check out the attraction's "Sesame Street"-themed rides, including 11 water attractions. The park is also a Certified Autism Center.
And how about a quick spin in a hot rod? Budding gearheads and aspiring race-car drivers will want to check out LEGO Ferrari Build and Race, opening this May at LEGOLAND California. Not only can participants design a model car and test it on the track, but they get to sit in a life-size LEGO Ferrari F40 for a keepsake photo.
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps opens its Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins habitat in Summer 2022; it will be the only aquarium in the Western United States to host the species, the smallest penguins on Earth.
Sometimes you just need to pull into the relaxation station for a full reboot of body and soul – and San Diego has numerous spa options to help you rejuvenate amid the beauty of nature. Among top outdoor spa destinations are the Hotel Del Coronado's Spa & Salon at the Del, with its private terrace and vanishing-edge pool; the Catamaran Hotel's spa, situated practically right on the sand along Mission Bay's shoreline; and the just-renovated spa at the secluded Rancho Valencia, which comes complete with its own Serenity Yoga Pavilion.
San Diego is an outdoor paradise year-round, and the possibilities are about as rich as your stamina can stand. Check out our 70 miles of beaches, with a perfect spot for everything from surfing to snorkeling to sunbathing. Saddle up your two-wheeled steed to explore the myriad local bike paths, from the San Diego River Path to the Bayshore Bikeway to such urban routes as the 30th Street Bike Lanes and Meade Bike Lanes. And get your phone camera ready for a workout as you explore the hiking trails at the gorgeous Torrey Pines State Reserve; along the postcard-perfect La Jolla coastline; and throughout San Diego's backcountry, just for starters.
Just in time for the ‘22 season, San Diego State University opens Aztec Stadium, the new home of SDSU football as well as (soon) the San Diego Wave, the powerhouse National Women's Soccer League expansion team. Before or after a game, check out such winning nearby options as the Puesto Perfect margs at Puesto Mission Valley, or the food finds at such favorites as Café Coyote or Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town.
Called the best ballpark in America by USA Today, Petco Park — home of the Padres — brings big-league excitement right to San Diego's East Village, with views of the skyline and sparkling waterfront. But baseball is just the start of what's happening there: Petco will host numerous pop concerts and other events throughout 2022.
The golf course at the Loma Club in Liberty Station has boosted its fun quotient with Tappers Mini Golf & Cocktails, which revolves around two new, nine-hole mini-golf courses. Tee times for the family-friendly facility start at 9 a.m. daily.
The stylish Sky Deck in Del Mar Highlands Town Center boasts nine restaurants, while the just-opened Old Town Urban Market offers a tempting variety of local flavors in an inviting outdoor setting. And don't miss a visit to such other San Diego-area favorites as the Liberty Public Market, with more than 30 food and drink providers at Liberty Station; and the Little Italy Food Hall featuring six food stations and a bar all allowed to be enjoyed on the Piazza della Famiglia.
Cruise (or kick-flip?) into Chick 'N' Hawk, a poultry-centric restaurant presided over by champion skateboarder and San Diego hero Tony Hawk, along with chef Andrew Bachelier of Jeune et Jolie and Campfire renown. The restaurant is set to open this spring in coastal Encinitas.
The San Diego region is now home to four restaurants boasting much-coveted Michelin stars, a worldwide mark of culinary excellence: Addison at the Fairmont Grand del Mar, Soichi, Sushi Tadokoro and Jeune et Jolie. Grab a reservation or check out the five other local restaurants that earned Michelin's Bib Gourmand designation.
San Diego Comic-Con International, the signature San Diego event with worldwide cachet, finally returns in-person to the San Diego Convention Center in July, promising pop-culture nirvana to devotees who flock to the Con from around the globe. And now the excitement lives here all year, with the recent opening of the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park, showcasing superheroes, anime, movies and much more.
San Diego Pride plans to celebrate in style once again, with the return of the hugely popular Pride Parade, one of the biggest civic events in the region. The Pride flag will also fly high at the accompanying festival, 5K run and more.
After a five-year closure for sweeping renovations, the flagship La Jolla location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has reopened with double its previous space and a design meant to showcase not only the museum's 4,700-piece collection but its stunning setting on the edge of the Pacific.
The just-opened Iipay ~ Tipay Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok (Land of the First People) area of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the area's earliest residents, bringing deeper dimensions to the region's past.
Another beautifully renovated local museum, the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park — dedicated to folk art and more — boasts additional exhibit space, a new courtyard and outdoor terraces and a flexible theater space. It also offers two new dining options, both presided over by the accomplished Urban Kitchen Group: the sleek ARTIFACT, inspired by ancient methods and ingredients and taking its cues from the museum's exhibitions; and the more casual Craft Café, with a range of made-to-order and grab ‘n' go items.
The elegant new outdoor home of the San Diego Symphony, opened in 2021, is already a San Diego icon, welcoming audiences to its gorgeous bayside setting for orchestral performances, pop concerts and more.
In April, drop into La Jolla Playhouse's WOW Festival of boundary-flouting performance at Arts District Liberty Station. Come fall, be among the first to see the Old Globe's Broadway-bound staging of the Bollywood-happy “Come Fall in Love — The DDLJ Musical.” And check out the renovated University Heights digs of Diversionary Theatre, one of the nation's oldest LGBTQ+ theater companies.
Climb aboard the San Diego Trolley's latest line (officially the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley Extension) for a quick ride to hotels and restaurants all along the 11-mile stretch, or for shopping at Westfield UTC or La Jolla Village Square.
Winging into San Diego International Airport? Hop aboard the brand-new San Diego Flyer, an electric shuttle-bus service that will ferry you between the airport's two main terminals and the Old Town Transit Center, your gateway to the wider San Diego region via train, trolley or bus.
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