5 Cool Things to Do in San Diego, California

Discover new things in the California hot spot as it celebrates its 250th anniversary this year

The Serra Museum in Precidio Park

Sun-kissed California weather year-round, a cool surfer vibe and mouth-watering cuisine are just a few of the many reasons to put San Diego on your travel list. After you check off the city’s well-known attractions, like the San Diego Zoo and even Legoland, discover these off-the-beaten-path options.

After Balboa Park, art fans should visit Chicano Park

Vibrant murals at the Chicano Museum

Spread across a space just under three hectares, Chicano Park houses the largest concentration of Chicano murals on the planet. It is the birthplace of the Mexican mural movement that transformed the concrete pylons of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge into colourful works of art—featuring pre-Colombian, colonial and modern imagery—as an ode to the community’s activism. In 2017, the park was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Already paddled the La Jolla Sea Caves? Find the La Jolla swings.

La Jolla swings at sunset

Close to UC San Diego and Scripps Pier, the La Jolla swings sit atop a hill offering exquisite views of the Pacific Ocean. Handmade and put up by locals, the swings often change in type of seats and colour. This scenic spot is easily accessible by a short hike from the parking lot of the Birch Aquarium, which is also worth a visit.

No matter what you’ve already eaten, do as locals do and get some tacos

A plate of tacos from Tacos El Gordo

Located less than 20 miles away from Mexico’s border, San Diego has some serious credibility when it comes to Mexican food. A local favourite is Tacos El Gordo, which serves Tijuana-style tacos. This taqueria is known for its adobada (spiced pork) tacos, but offers other classics such as chorizo,lengua (beef tongue) and tripa (tripe). The menu is short, but these authentic dishes draw a crowd, so be prepared to wait up to an hour.

After the USS Midway Museum, explore another side of maritime culture

Surfboards line the walls of an exhibit at the California Surf Museum

Surfing is an indelible part of California’s cultural experience, and its influence is captured at the California Surf Museum. Set in Oceanside, the museum includes a permanent collection that chronicles the history of the sport, and rare photographs and trophies donated by surfing enthusiasts, as well as revolving exhibitions. Don’t miss a peek at the board pro surfer Bethany Hamilton was riding when a shark bit off her left arm and a chunk of the board, one of the most popular—and talked-about—attractions.

Relax on shore after a San Diego harbour cruise

A view from the meditation gardens that overlooks the San Diego harbour

Picture paths winding through lush foliage, bubbling mini waterfalls and calm koi ponds. It’s all in the Meditation Gardens of the Self-Realization Fellowship’s Temple in Encinitas, north of San Diego. The gardens are free to visitors who come to read on one of the many benches or steal a moment of quiet reflection in a secluded meditation nook. The paths rise to the cliffs above, making it the ideal spot to watch the sun set over the famous Swami’s Beach surf break.

Planning a trip?

Contact a CAA Travel Planner who can help with all the details. Plus, don’t forget to put CAA Travel Insurance on your pre-trip checklist.

Looking for more ideas? How about a weekend in Chicago, or, discover this lovely town in Mexico

Image credit: Courtesy of sandiego.org; Craig Steven Thrasher/Alamy Stock Photo; SamAntonioPhotography/Stockimo/Alamy Stock Photo; istock.com/grandriver; Courtesy of California Surf Museum; ZUMA Press Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

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