The Best Things To Do In San Diego With Kids (Or Without!)
San Diego is a coastal city of California, well-known for its beaches, parks and warm weather. There are so many things to do in San Diego with kids (and without!).
The 1,200-acre urban park is an icon in San Diego. Balboa Park contains more than 16 museums, theatres, open spaces, fountains, gardens, trails and the famous San Diego Zoo.
Botanical Building and Lily Pond
While there are many gorgeous gardens in Balboa Park, this is this is the most famous and one of the most photographed spots in the park. The Botanical Building was built for the 1915-1916 Exposition, and is now home to vibrant flower displays and more than 2,100 plants.
The lily pond outside the Botanical Building is a tranquil place to stroll and watch ducks (and take a photo or two!). A visit to the Botanical Building is one of the must-see things to do in San Diego.
On El Prado walkway adjacent to the Timken Museum of Art.
Japanese Friendship Garden
The beautiful 12-acre Japanese Friendship Garden features stone arrangements, koi ponds, water features, and sukiya-style buildings. It was built as an an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city, Yokohama.
2215 Pan American Plaza, San Diego
San Diego Air & Space Museum
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and home to a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world. Exhibits include a replica of Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis,” the actual Apollo 9 Command Module, and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world. There are also artefacts from the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Wally Schirra, a 3D/4D movie theater and a series of hands-on, interactive exhibits. Children will love the the Kid’s Aviation Action Hangar.
2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego
San Diego Museum of Man
A cultural anthropology museum, The San Diego Museum of Man explores the human experience from multicultural perspectives. A collection of unique and interactive exhibits covering human history and culture provides the opportunity to learn about our relationship to the world around us and reflect on what it means to be human.
1350 El Prado, San Diego
San Diego Natural History Museum
If dinosaurs and fossils are your thing, check out the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT). The museum explores the natural history of Southern California through interactive exhibitions spread across five floors. Journey through 75 million years of natural history, from the time of the dinosaurs to today, and discover more about the fascinating world we live in.
1788 El Prado, San Diego
The San Diego Museum of Art
Browse the San Diego Art Museum’s impressive collection of Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings and 19th and 20th century American paintings as well as their major art exhibitions from all over the world. The museum hosts family drop-in days and family workshops (check their calendar for details).
1450 El Prado, San Diego
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals from over 650 species and subspecies. It’s often described as having set the standard for modern zoos with its natural habitats for animals, often with different species living together, and lush landscaping.
San Diego Zoo is 100-acres in size, making for a big day out if you want to see everything on offer.
A visit to the zoo is one of our top picks for things to do in San Diego with kids.
Read more about visiting San Diego Zoo.
2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego
Fleet Science Center
Explore more than 100 interactive exhibits at the Fleet Science Center. The science museum and planetarium is the perfect place to immerse yourself in science and enjoy an IMAX film.There are two floors of exhibits to discover, and the dedicated “Kid City” play area for kids under the age of five.
1875 El Prado, San Diego
USS Midway Museum
This historical navel aircraft carrier museum is one of San Diego’s top attractions. Inside the aircraft carrier Midway is housed an extensive collection of aircraft, many of which were built in Southern California. There are over 60 exhibits and displays and over restored aircraft to explore, as well as plenty of family-friendly activities. Kids can earn their own pilot wings as part of the Junior Pilot Program.
910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum (SDCDM) is is full of hands-on educational exhibits and program that focusing on science, art, and world cultures. A visit to the SDCDM is all about play. Kids can explore, imagine, experiment, and discover through hands-on science, art, and cultural activities.
320 North Broadway, Escondido
Image courtesy of the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum.
LEGOLAND California Resort
LEGOLAND California Resort is located in Carlsbad, about 30 mins north of San Diego or just under two hours south of LA. The resort has two official LEGOLAND hotels attached to it, however visitors are able to self-drive or get a day tour from San Diego or LA for a day at the park. LEGOLAND California is aimed at 2-12 year olds, with the “sweet spot” being 4-9 year olds. There are 30,000 LEGO models scattered all around the park.
LEGOLAND is without a doubt one of the top things to do in San Diego with kids.
Read more about visiting LEGOLAND California Resort.
Read our review on the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel.
Read our review on the LEGOLAND Hotel.
One Legoland Dr, Carlsbad
Meet The La Jolla Seals at Children’s Pool, Casa Beach
No trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to meet the La Jolla seals. La Jolla is a seaside community located around 30 mins north of San Diego. The La Jolla Children’s Pool at Casa Beach is famous for its resident harbour seals and sea lions.
Read more about how to see the La Jolla Seals at Children’s Pool.
834 Coast Blvd S, La Jolla
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!