Spending the weekend in San Diego, and looking for ways to make the most of your time? To help you make the most of your San Diego getaway, we’ve put together a fun, family-friendly itinerary for 2 days in San Diego filled with a wide variety of attractions, activities, and dining options to suit every style. This San Diego itinerary is convenient, comprehensive, and best of all, totally cost-effective. Whether you're an outdoor adventurer, theme park enthusiast, or science buff, this itinerary has a little bit of everything. This weekend itinerary includes:
- San Diego Zoo
- San Diego Natural History Museum
- San Diego Air & Space Museum
- Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
- Balboa Park (free!)
- Kayak Tours – La Jolla
- Birch Aquarium at Scripps
- La Jolla Beaches (free!)
- Belmont Park
Save on Attraction Admission
Pick up a 2-Day Go San Diego® Card and save off combined admission vs paying at the gate. Remember, this 2 days in San Diego itinerary is just one of many ways to experience Southern California. The Go San Diego® Card gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.
Stop #1: San Diego ZooSpend the morning at America’s favorite zoo – the San Diego Zoo. You’ll love the vast expanses of this animal park, filled with creatures great and small from around the world. Be sure to take advantage of their shuttle service to get around! Some of the many fascinating creatures you’ll meet on your San Diego Zoo adventure include the lovable Giant Pandas, majestic Bald Eagles, exotic Snow Leopards, intimidating alligators, and lots more. Your admission includes use of the Guided Bus Tour for an overview of the park that goes by most of the exhibits, the Kangaroo Express Bus which zips around the park bringing people from one area to another (great for when you're feeling a bit tired--the park is very hilly!), the Children's Petting Zoo, a ride on the Skyfari Aerial Tram, and all general admission exhibits and shows. Make the most of your visit by checking out our Guide to Visiting the San Diego Zoo before you go. Take some time to learn about their conservation and rehabilitation efforts, too. We recommend reserving between 3-4 hours for this attraction. As a bonus, Go San Diego Card holders get to skip the ticket booth and proceed straight to the turnstile -- getting you access to these amazing animals even faster! Fun fact: Pay careful attention to your surroundings; San Diego Zoo is also a botanic garden with over 700,000 exotic plants. Getting In: San Diego Zoo tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.
Stop #2: San Diego Natural History Museum
Now it’s time to explore the rest of Balboa Park. Head to the San Diego Natural History Museum for an immersive educational experience that you’ll never forget. Kids of all ages will love to explore their diverse collections and exhibits. Although all of their permanent exhibitions feature artifacts and items from Southern California and Baja California, traveling exhibits are often more expansive in scope. A few of the highlighted exhibits available at the Natural History Museum (theNAT) include their extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, a bizarre and fascinating collection of animal skulls, and a rotating 3-D film. We recommend reserving about 1 hour for this attraction, and more if you want to see a movie. Getting In: San Diego Natural History Museum tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.
Stop #3: San Diego Air & Space Museum
This one’s for the aspiring astronauts out there, and for everyone interested in San Diego’s rich aeronautic history. The San Diego Air & Space Museum is filled with interactive exhibits, exciting installations, and real restored aircraft. Be sure to check out the highlights of their aircraft collection, including a model of the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon, a Navy F6F Hellcat, an A-4 Skyhawk jet, and a more recent acquisition, the Wright EX Vin Fiz. We recommend reserving between 1-2 hours for this attraction. Getting In: San Diego Air & Space Museum tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.
Stop #4: Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Love all things science-y? Then the Fleet Science Center is a must-do attraction for you and your family. This innovative scientific complex is filled with interactive, hands-on exhibits that will delight both kids and adults alike. A few of the most popular exhibits include “BLOCKBUSTERS,” “Cellular Journey,” “So Watt,” “Origins in Space,” and several more. Plus, you get a free IMAX movie with admission! There are also a number of long-term special exhibitions that visitors to the Fleet Science Center might enjoy. These include: MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition, Taping Shape 2.0 (which features an impressive maze/sculpture made entirely of carefully manipulated lengths of packing tape) and the IMAX original film "Pandas," which will complement your visit to the San Diego Zoo very nicely. We recommend reserving between 1-2 hours for this attraction. Getting In: Reuben H. Fleet Science Center with IMAX Movie tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.
Stop #5: Balboa Park
If you have some energy left before dinner, stroll around Balboa Park to enjoy the scenery. Filled with 15 museums, nearly 20 gardens, performance venues, picnic spots, dog parks, and other attractions, Balboa Park is truly the epitome of what an urban cultural park should be. It’s well worth devoting some time to explore the outdoors, even if it’s only for a short time. Getting In: We recommend reserving at least an hour to explore. Check out our guide for all the Balboa Park museums & more before you visit.
Stop #1: La Jolla
What better way to start off your second day than with a little time in the water? Spend your morning gliding through the peaceful waters of La Jolla Cove. With the Go San Diego Card, you can choose from a kayak, stand up paddle boards or snorkel rentals. (Sticking to land? You can also choose to rent a bike.) You’ll be able to wind through caves and past sea cliffs, perhaps catching sight of some rare ocean creature or beautiful Pacific plant. Some of the animals you may encounter include sea lions, leopard sharks, shovelnose guitarfish, and more. We suggest you spend a few hours exploring La Jolla on land and sea. Getting In: La Jolla Kayak Rentals are included with the Go San Diego Card.
Stop #2: Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Having piqued your interest with a few glimpses of wildlife on your kayaking adventure, you’ll want to get to know the indigenous marine life a little bit better. So why not visit the Birch Aquarium for an unforgettable educational experience? Perched on the Pacific Ocean, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps provides both stunning views and fascinating, interactive exhibits to enjoy. Some of the featured exhibits include the popular “Living Tide Pools,” “Shark Reef,” “Wonders of Water,” and “Feeling the Heat: The Climate Challenge.” We recommend reserving between 1-2 hours for this attraction. Getting In: Birch Aquarium tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.
Stop #3: La Jolla Beaches
So you’ve seen marine plants and animals in an aquarium environment – now leave a little time to discover them in the wild. Be sure to hit up the Shell Beach tide pools (located at the south end of the Ellen Browning Scripps Park) to see an authentic, real-life example of the amazing diversity of marine creatures and plants in the local waters. We recommend that you reserve about 1 hour for this attraction. Getting In: Beaches are typically free to explore in La Jolla, although some may incur additional costs (like parking) not covered by the Go San Diego Card.
Stop #4: Belmont Park
What kid doesn’t love an amusement park? Belmont Park is the perfect way to end your day, with classic rides and arcade games that the whole family can enjoy together. With an All Access Combo Pass, you can enjoy your favorite rides as many times as you want! Be sure to check out the Giant Dipper, a historic roller coaster built in 1925 that’s still just as exciting and fun today as it was when it was first constructed. Other rides and attractions include Krazy Kars, Beach Blaster, Coconut Climb, Lazer Maze Challenge, and more. Getting In: Belmont Park San Diego tickets are included on the Go San Diego Card.
So there’s your perfect weekend, An itinerary for 2 days in San Diego that will surely wipe you out. From zoos and aquariums to museums and beaches, you’ll find it all in this San Diego itinerary. You’ll practically never run out of things to do with this plan in mind! Visit all of these attractions with a 2-Day Go San Diego® Card and save on combined admission prices. You’ll also get additional discounts on shopping, dining, and attractions with the included extras that come with your Go Card.