9 Fun Things To Do in San Diego

little italy farmers market, san diego

You want to know what to do in San Diego? Well, apart from the infamous San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and the beaches, I’ve listed some of the best activities to do and places to go in this beautiful Southern California city.

Many of these are also perfect if you’re on a budget because they either cost nothing, are minimal, or are flexible.

1. Farmers Markets

Little Italy’s Mercato Farmers’ Market

Location: 600 W Date St, San Diego, CA 92101

Little Italy Farmers Market

From strawberries to paninis to tamales this market is filled with delights. But what makes it so unique is where it’s located. Little Italy is home to numerous delicious restaurants and cafes, a stunning view, the booming downtown, water fountains, a food hall, and much more.

You can walk around in the market and enjoy Little Italy itself. In essence, go to Little Italy, but make sure to go Saturday before 2 pm.

Day/time: Saturday 8am–2pm & Wednesday 9:30am–1:30pm

Hillcrest Farmers Market

Location: 3960 Normal St #3960, San Diego, CA 92103

Yet another farmers market, I know. But you really ought to go to one. While the Little Italy one is deeply in the midst of other eateries, the Hillcrest one has more food options in the market itself.

Tip: if you’re interested in buying fresh produce, is that it’s discounted towards the end of the market’s hours.

Day/time: Sunday 9:00am–2:00pm

Sunny Jim's Sea Cave

2. Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave

Location: 1325 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Embarrassingly only found this hidden gem 10 years after I’ve lived here. You can experience the waters of the city in a different way.

With a tunnel over 100 years old and a healthy amount of stairs, you can get a view from the inside of a cave to the outside. Note that it costs $5 for adults and $3 for children.

3. UTC Mall + Ice Skating

Mall location: 4545 La Jolla Village Dr Ste E-25, San Diego, CA 92122

Undoubtedly the best mall experience in San Diego is UTC. And including an ice skating rink year-round, what more could you want?

Do note that the mall holds many shops on the less affordable side. Being in University City, their target customer is different than some other malls, but don’t fret you can still find affordable pieces.

The plus side is you can find “trendystores like Joe & the Juice, Tocaya, Aritzia, Pressed Juicery, and many more. You can find the complete list of stores and restaurants here.

4. Visit Local Businesses: OB People’s Market & More

Location: 4765 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107

This may be very subjective, but personally, I love grocery shopping. If you’re like me, stop by OB (Ocean Beach) People’s Market, a local shop with fresh, organic, local, vegan, gluten-free, … options. They also have a nice place to eat inside, if you’re interested in a place to get some quick healthy food.

To find more local businesses check out places such as Downtown and Hillcrest.

Searching for the best healthy restaurants in San Diego? Check out 5 Best Gluten Free & Celiac Friendly Eateries in San Diego

5. Sunset Cliffs

Location: 1253 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107

Okay, technically this can be considered a beach, but this is going under different categories.

Sunset Cliffs can be a lot of things:

A path to run next to cliffs. A surfing destination (be wary of rocks). A beach to lay on (you’ll have to go down some stairs). A place to explore – the wildlife, geology, water, houses,… A trail to walk. And, of course, a location to watch the sunset.

6. Hiking

While we’re on the topic of the outdoors, San Diego is a hiking dream. There’s Torrey Pines, Cowles Mountain, Potato Chip Rock, Annie’s Canyon Trail, Mission Trails, and so many more.

Some of them depend on if you’re willing to drive up to an hour. The ones listed above are around half an hour max, but there are many more if you can do a longer drive.

If you’re on the hunt for a proximal spot in relation to downtown, Sunset Cliffs, Cabrillo Canyon (entrance fee), and Mission Trails are probably the closest.

7. Seaport Village

Location: 849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Don’t miss out on this nook on the edge of downtown. Seaport village is a hub of restaurants, vendors, and people along the bay.

If you walk a little farther along the water, you’ll also be able to visit the fairly new Rady Shell where concerts and more are held.

Note, parking in the Seaport Village parking lot costs money, so if you want, hunt for some nearby in downtown first.

8. The Parks

The beach is fantastic, but don’t underestimate the parks. Spending some time in the green while doing picnics or barbeques is a wonderful way to spend some time in San Diego.

Check out Balboa Park, Kate Sessions Park, Waterfront Park, Golden Hill/South Park, and more.

9. Biking Along Coronado

San Diego continues to expand their bike paths, and Coronado Island is one of my favorite places to bike.

A fun trip is even taking the San Diego Ferry off of downtown to Coronado and then biking from the Ferry Landing along the edge of the island which leads all the way to the beach. On the way, you bike along the water, under the Coronado bridge, beside a golf course, and can admire all the gorgeous real estate in Coronado.

Other paths include biking along Harbor Drive, in the Mission Bay area, and the San Diego River Bike Trail.

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