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Casey Makovich

9+ Things to Do in San Diego Besides SeaWorld

San Diego is a fun-filled vacation destination with everything from popular theme parks to world-class museums, surfing, shopping, and more. So if you're looking for things to do in San Diego besides SeaWorld, there are plenty of options. We put together a list of our top recommendations for attractions, museums, cruises, activities, and other recommended things to do in San Diego besides SeaWorld, including:

  • LEGOLAND® California
  • Belmont Park
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • USS Midway
  • Coronado Island Bike Rental
  • & More

Save on Admission to Popular Attractions

Regular admission to a number of these attractions are included on the Go San Diego Card. Choose as you go from dozens of San Diego attractions & activities and save up to 55% off combined admission vs paying at the gate. See all available passes and San Diego attractions – Learn more. Please note, some of these special July and 4th of July weekend events may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go San Diego Card.

LEGOLAND® California

Image of Shop, Shopping Mall, Person, City, Road, Street, Urban, Walking, Boardwalk, Bridge, Experience your kids' (or your own) favorite pastime come to life at LEGOLAND® California! You'll get to enjoy LEGO®-themed rides, attractions, shows, interactive exhibits, and more. You'll even get to see some of your favorite characters from popular LEGO® movies and experiences. Little ones will love the DUPLO® play area while the older kids can make the most of all the exciting thrill rides, 3D shows, Miniland USA, and more. Getting In: LEGOLAND® California tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

Belmont Park

Image of Amusement Park, Fun, Theme Park, Person, Plant, If it's rides and amusement park fun you're after, be sure to check out Belmont Park, located just steps from the beach. Whether you're a thrill ride junky or carnival game extraordinaire, there's tons of fun things to do at Belmont Park, it's easy to spend an entire day here. Getting In: Belmont Park All Access Combo Pass tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

The San Diego Zoo

Image of Animal, Bear, Giant Panda, Mammal, Wildlife, The San Diego Zoo is synonymous with a visit to San Diego. You'll get to see over 3,700 animals from all over the world, including its famous pandas. This historic park is located in the heart of Balboa Park, so it's surrounded by a bunch of other popular attractions, restaurants, and beautiful landscapes and architecture. Your San Diego Zoo ticket includes a guided bus tour, the hop-on hop-off Kangaroo Express Bus, a ride on the Skyfari® aerial tram, and any special shows occurring throughout the day. Getting In: San Diego Zoo tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

San Diego Natural History Museum

Image of Indoors, Museum, Also located in Balboa Park, TheNAT (as it's known by the locals), is a fantastic place to visit when you visit the zoo. One of the fun things about TheNAT is that many of its exhibits explore the natural history and culture of Southern and Baja California. San Diego Natural History Museum tickets include a daily film screening too, check their schedule before you go! Getting In: San Diego Natural History Museum tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Image of Shop, Shopping Mall, City, Play Area, Outdoors, Person, Zoo, San Diego Air & Space Museum gives visitors an overview of the important and strategic role San Diego has played in naval aviation. You'll also get to explore topics like space exploration and modern aviation with hands-on exhibits. Learn about the first hot air balloon ride in 1783, see the Navy F6F Hellcat, A-4 Skyhawk jet, Wright EX Vin Fiz, the Apollo XI Space Pen, and more. Getting In: San Diego Air & Space Museum tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

San Diego Safari Park

Image of If you love animals, be sure to check out the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. San Diego Zoo Safari Park features large animal enclosures where visitors can observe animals roaming, running, jumping, flying, and more. Special exhibits, shows, demonstrations, and interactive experiences take place throughout the day, so be sure to check the park's schedule before planning your day. Your San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets include admission to all general exhibits, a ride on the Africa Tram Safari, viewing of the Cheetah Run, and all regularly scheduled keeper talks and shows. Getting In: San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

USS Midway Museum

Image of Aircraft Carrier, Military, Navy, Ship, Vehicle, Cruiser, One of San Diego's most-visited attractions, the USS Midway is a historic aircraft carrier-turned-museum. Onboard, you'll get to explore the ship's many features and explore lots of exhibits detailing the role the ship played in WWII and what life was like for those who served aboard it. On the ship's main deck you can see an array of aircraft up close (and even climb inside a couple of them) and see where the airplanes would take off and land when the ship was out at sea. Your USS Midway tickets include a screening of “Battle of Midway: Voices of Midway,” an informative and moving narration. We recommend reserving between 2-3 hours for this attraction. Getting In: USS Midway Museum tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

Coronado Bike & Kayak Rentals

Image of Lifejacket, Vest, Water, Boat, Vehicle, Canoe, Kayak, Rowboat, Hop on a ferry and head to Coronado, a small 'island' right in San Diego Bay. Pick up a kayak or stand up paddleboard to get out on the water and explore the sights. You'll get to see unique views of Petco Park, the Embarcadero, the USS Midway, Naval Station North Island, the Silver Strand, the Convention Center, and Glorietta Bay. Getting In: Coronado: Tandem Kayak and/or Stand-Up Paddle Board Rentals are included on the Go San Diego Card. Please note: reservations are required for this attraction.

Birch Aquarium

Image of T-Shirt, Mouth, Person, Teeth, Face, Head, Photography, Portrait, People, Adult, Female, Woman, Child, Girl, Happy, Laughing, Birch Aquarium at Scripps is a famous oceanographic institute that places a special emphasis on sea life that can be found right in the La Jolla waters. Check out the many hands-on and interactive exhibits and be sure not to miss the stunning Pacific Ocean views from the Aquarium. Getting In: Birch Aquarium tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

La Jolla Beaches

After visiting the Birch Aquarium, make the most of your time in La Jolla and check out its picturesque beaches. Go for a swim, sunbathe, snorkel, or poke around the shops and restaurants located near the beaches.

Miramar Speed Circuit & Laser Tag

Image of Helmet, Kart, Vehicle, Boy, Child, Male, Person, Shoe, See what it's like to get behind the wheel in a racecar and test out your expert driving skills at Miramar Speed Circuit. The state-of-the-art equipment and challenging racecourse complete with hairpin turns and long speedways, will have you thinking you're racing with the pros. Clock your lap times, compare your performance with friends and see how you stack up to the pros, and more. Plus, your admission through the Go Card now includes Laser Tag! Getting In: Miramar Speed Circuit tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

Whale Watching Cruise by Newport Landing

Image of Animal, Mammal, Sea Life, Whale, Adult, Male, Man, Person, Female, Woman, Handbag, Hat, San Diego is one of the best places to go whale watching. Head out to sea and see how many you can spot with a Whale Watching Cruise by Newport Landing. With several daily departures available, it's easy to fit a whale watching cruise into your San Diego sightseeing itinerary. A few of the fascinating and majestic species you may see on your adventure include the California Gray Whale, Giant Blue Whales, Orcas, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, and other sea creatures including dolphins, seals, and sharks. Getting In: Newport Landing Whale Watching tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Image of Amusement Park, Fun, Roller Coaster, If you're looking for the classic theme park experience, head to historic Knott’s Berry Farm - California's first ever theme park (originally a berry stand). Spend the day experiencing thrill ride after thrill ride and enjoy other theme park attractions like carnival-style games, activities, and more. While you're there, sample a bit of California history and pick up a Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Pie! Getting In: Knott’s Berry Farm tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.

Let’s Recap

These are just a few of the most popular things to do in San Diego besides SeaWorld - the possibilities are endless. Part of the reason San Diego is such a popular vacation spot is that it's packed with a variety of attractions and activities, so there's something to suit every type of traveler. Whether you're looking to experience San Diego beyond its theme parks or just want to do things other than SeaWorld, it's all here. Visit each of these above attractions with a Go San Diego® Card and save on combined admission costs.

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