Katie Sagal

Things to do in San Diego During the Day

Got your bags ready and packed for your San Diego vacation? Even if you’ve got all your nightlife activities planned down to the littlest detail, you may still be in search of a few things to enjoy in San Diego during the day. Fortunately, San Diego has something to suit every taste and style. Whether you love arts and culture, history, the great outdoors, or dining and shopping, you’ll find something to love in this city.

Save on Admission to Daytime Activities in San Diego

If you’re looking to save on admission to things to do during the day in San Diego (you know, to save money for your late-night expeditions), then consider picking up an all-inclusive Go San Diego® Card. Save up to 55% on nearly 40 top San Diego attractions, from cruise and tours to museums and amusement parks – Learn more. Some of our favorite daytime activities in San Diego include...
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley
  • USS Midway Museum
  • San Diego Harbor Cruise
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • Birch Aquarium
  • Bike & Kayak Tours in La Jolla
  • And more!

San Diego Zoo

Image of Animal, Bear, Giant Panda, Mammal, Wildlife, Image Credit San Diego Zoo by Damien Lasater
Animal lovers will treasure the opportunity to visit the world-class San Diego Zoo. Among the most highly regarded (and largest!) zoos in the country, this fine establishment is a wildly popular attraction in the area. Come here to see, among nearly 4,000 other critters, the darling Giant Pandas. Of course, there are plenty of other famous animals like giraffes, koalas, polar bears, elephants, and more. They also boast over 700,000 exotic plants, so folks who enjoy a good botanic garden will appreciate the zoo for those qualities as well. Getting In: San Diego Zoo tickets are included with the Go San Diego® Card.

Hop-on Hop-off San Diego Trolley

Image of Car, Vehicle, Person, Bus, Aircraft, Airplane, Water, Waterfront, Boat, An ideal way to explore the city for first-time visitors, the Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour offers informative narration along the entire route. Visitors can also choose from 10 stops, including Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, Little Italy, and several more. Your ticket is good for three consecutive days, too, so it’s handy for those long weekend getaways. Getting In: San Diego Trolley tickets are available as premium attraction option with the 3-, 5-, and 7-Day Go San Diego® Cards.

USS Midway Museum

Image of Aircraft Carrier, Military, Navy, Ship, Vehicle, Cruiser, The legendary USS Midway Aircraft carrier has been turned into a floating museum that attracts droves of visitors from all across the world. Embark on a self-guided tour of over 50 exhibits, and then explore the ships’ collection of 29 historic and significant aircraft, all of which have been carefully restored. You’ll get to roam throughout the ship and see rare or special areas of the vessel, including the Lower Decks, which encompass all the personal spaces of the ship such as the laundry rooms, kitchen, and bunks. Don’t miss the Voices of Midway film, which tells the story of the Battle of Midway and how this particular ship has come to be so famous. Getting In: USS Midway Museum tickets are included with the Go San Diego® Card.

San Diego Harbor Cruise

Image of Vehicle, Yacht, Boat, Flag, Ferry, Person, Choose from two different harbor cruise options: the North Bay Tour & Sea Lion Adventure or the South Bay Tour. The North Bay Tour offers excellent views of top landmarks like Harbor Island, Point Loma Lighthouse, and the Cabrillo National Monument. You’re likely to get a peek at the colony of sea lions that tend to hang out near the lighthouse, too! The South Bay Tour, on the other hand, features the USS Midway, Seaport Village, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado Island, and more. Each cruise takes about an hour, so it’s an easy activity to work into a larger itinerary, or to squeeze into an afternoon when you might have to work a little. Getting In: San Diego Harbor Cruise tickets are included with the Go San Diego® Card.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Image of Convention Center, City, Grass, Urban, Airplane, Planetarium, Office Building, Outdoors, Shelter, Play Area, The official air & space museum of California (which is saying something in a state with an impressive naval presence), this attraction really showcases the region’s passion for flight. Designed to honor the aviation history of the region, this museum offers an excellent survey of the history of flight. You’ll see historic aircraft – including many in the Golden Age of Flight Gallery – that you won’t see anywhere else. Special exhibits include the landmark “American Women of Flight,” which showcases iconic female pilots, including, but going well beyond, Amelia Earhart. Getting In: San Diego Air & Space Museum tickets are included with the Go San Diego® Card.

Birch Aquarium

Image of Chandelier, Animal, Sea Life, Another one for the animal lovers, the Birch Aquarium is a comprehensive educational attraction that visitors of all ages will enjoy. Come here to explore and meet more than 5,000 marine critters spread throughout some 60 habitats. They’re particularly known for their hands-on activities, such as turtle feedings, touch pools, and dive shows. Getting In: Birch Aquarium tickets are included with the Go San Diego® Card.

Bike & Kayak Tours in La Jolla

For the outdoorsy folk, La Jolla is a paradise. Like all of the San Diego, it’s temperate year-round and offers plenty of gorgeous sightseeing from in and around the water. You’ll be able to enjoy kayaking the serene waters of the coast, biking along the shoreline, snorkeling, and more. On your adventure, you’re highly likely to see a number of sea creatures in the wild, including vivid tropical fish, playful sea lions, and leopard sharks. Getting In: Bike & Kayak Tour tickets are included with the Go San Diego® Card.

Shopping in San Diego

Image of City, Plant, Potted Plant, Urban, Downtown, Person, Fountain, Water, Adult, Female, Woman, Handbag, Metropolis, Street, Jar, Planter, Pottery, Vase, Office Building, Walking, Condo, High Rise, Formal Wear, Suit, Hotel, Coat, If you love nothing more than a good opportunity to get some shopping in, then you’ll relish your time in San Diego. Whether you want to shop your way through museum gift shops in Balboa Park or stroll around Seaport Village to enjoy the sea air along with your shopping, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up gifts or souvenirs. You can also save at any local Macy’s with the Go San Diego® Card, so don’t forget the big department stores, too! Getting In: Extra discounts at Macy’s are an included extra with the Go San Diego® Card.

Don’t Forget to Save on Admission to Daytime Activities in San Diego

Just to wrap things up, a reminder – don’t forget your all-inclusive Go San Diego® Card. You’ll save up to 55% on combined admission prices vs. paying at the gate. Enjoy the journey!
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