18+ Exciting Things To Do In Downtown San Diego, CA

SD is so much more than laidback vibes, sun, and surf. And hey, I’m not complaining, those are all very dreamy characteristics of any city! If you’re looking for a healthy dose of urban exploration in a bustling city, Downtown San Diego’s got that for you! From the historic Gaslamp Quarter to the waterfront of San Diego Bay, from fine dining and nightlife to arts/culture museums and theater–Downtown is chock-full of exciting and entertaining things to do. No matter where you turn, there is no shortage of things to do in Downtown San Diego.

Traveling to San Diego as part of an extended vacation or even just for a weekend? We’ve got you covered on your perfect San Diego itinerary. Here are some of the best things to do in Downtown San Diego, CA!

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18+ Best Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Travels With Elle

WHY VISIT SAN DIEGO, CA?

There are so many reasons why you should visit San Diego. Where do I even start?

  1. Simply amazing weather all-year-round. With very few rainy days in the year, you can bet there will be decent to amazing weather during your visit. In the winter months, the weather ranges from the 40s (low) to mid-60s (high). Summers are wonderfully warm, with average highs in the mid-70s. You’ll get the occasional “June Gloom” (cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer) but it’s nothing unbearable.
  2. Simply amazing beaches at every turn. You must hit up a beach at least once during your trip–there’s a perfect beach for every type of traveler! Black’s Beach is popular with nude sunbathers and surfers, while Pacific Beach is great for its youthful atmosphere. Mission Beach is a family favorite and Coronado Beach is perfect for swimmers that like easygoing, lapping waves. And that barely even scratches the surface!
  3. The beer culture is unmatched. Well, with the exception of Portland, OR. San Diego has got the craft brew lifestyle down. The craft beer experience is massive in this region, with more than 150 breweries in existence. There is even a signature style here, the West Coast-Style IPA! If you enjoy beer, don’t miss it.
  4. The food scene is unique and delightful. Among many other things, SD is known for its unique cross-border flavor, Cali-Baja fresh cuisine. Try a California burrito or fish tacos while you’re in town! Not interested in that? Don’t worry, there are many other restaurants that have mastered the rest of the cuisines out there.
  5. San Diego is filled to the brim with California history. San Diego is considered the birthplace of California (as the first Spanish settlement was established in 1769 in Old Town SD). Many historic buildings in Old Town San Diego have been preserved, and you can still tour the missions in the area today!
  6. It’s easy to find nightlife in San Diego. If you’re looking to party, drink, sing, or dance, you’re in the right place. You’ll always find the party at the Gaslamp Quarter, Pacific Beach, or Hillcrest.
  7. The amount of outdoor adventures you can partake in is endless. From hiking at Potato Chip Rock or Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to kayaking at Mission Bay or La Jolla Sea Caves to boating on the San Diego Bay, there’s really something for everyone.
  8. The world-renowned zoo is in San Diego. Animals. Need I say more?

TRANSPORTATION: HOW TO GET TO SAN DIEGO, CA

There are a few different ways to get to San Diego, CA. All of them make traveling to San Diego pretty darn convenient. The transportation method you choose depends on your where you’re coming from and what your budget is.

Coming from out of state or internationally?

  • Fly into San Diego International Airport (SAN). Flights may likely be a bit more inflated compared to flying into LAX, but once you land, you’ll be literally minutes away from Downtown San Diego.
  • Fly into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Flights are usually cheaper flying into LAX than SAN since LAX is a larger airport. From LAX, simply rent a car and drive down to San Diego (120 miles).

Coming from Los Angeles?

  • Drive – it’s about 120 miles from city center to city center (2 hours)
    • Tip: Be sure to depart at a strategic time to avoid LA rush hour traffic! Aim for before 10am or after 8pm for the least amount of traffic. If you drive during rush hour, the trip could take upwards of about 4 hours
  • Amtrak – operates trains from Los Angeles to San Diego hourly (2h 54m)
  • Bus – like Greyhound, Megabus, etc. Cheapest option, best for budget travelers who don’t want to drive (3 hours)
  • Fly – this is the priciest option and I would not recommend it over the above options (50 minutes)

Coming from somewhere else in CA but don’t want to drive?

  • Fly – Either fly direct to SAN, or fly into LAX and drive 2 hours the rest of the way there.
  • Amtrak operates trains from various cities in CA to San Diego. Take a peek at their site to see if there’s a stop/direct route near you.
  • Bus – like Greyhound, Megabus, etc. Cheapest option, best for budget travelers who don’t want to drive.

TRANSPORTATION: HOW TO GET AROUND SAN DIEGO, CA

  • Drive – Having a car to explore San Diego is crucial if you want to get out and explore past the downtown area. There are lots of freeways in SD and the sights you want to see may have some decent mileage between them. Not only will you get to your destination faster, but you’ll also be able to stow things in your trunk (such as surf/beach gear, picnicking supplies, hiking boots, etc.) Either come in your own car or rent one.
  • Public Transportation – San Diego and its surrounding areas have affordable public transit systems that include trolleys, buses, trains, and shuttles. Find more about each of these transit systems here.
  • Rideshare Apps – San Diego is serviced by both Uber and Lyft. Download your preferred app and easily request a ride to and from your destinations. (I like Lyft.)

MAP OF THINGS TO DO IN SAN DIEGO, CA


BEST THINGS TO DO IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO, CA

LITTLE ITALY

This vibrant cultural neighborhood is one of a kind and a must-visit landmark in Downtown San Diego. In my opinion, it sits above the rest of the other Little Italy’s I’ve been to in the USA. San Diego’s Little Italy has so much going on, no matter what day it is or what time it is. This neighborhood is filled to the brim with a grand assortment of restaurants (both traditional and modern), art galleries, and a great Saturday farmer’s market. What you’ll find here is a number of great Italian restaurants, bakeries, wine bars, and even boutique shopping.

During dinner time, the neighborhood really comes alive and becomes the perfect spot for al fresco dining, taking a stroll, and even people watching. Some of my favorite eateries here include Barbusa, Civico 1845, and Queenstown Public House.

For dessert, head to Pappalecco for authentic gelato and one of the best blueberry muffins ever made. Little Italy is also the site of ArtWalk, the largest art festival on the West Coast.

GASLAMP QUARTER

18 Exciting Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Gaslamp Quarter Downtown San Diego - Travels With Elle

The Gaslamp Quarter is another one of those lively, must-see neighborhoods in San Diego. This 16-block Victorian neighborhood is a San Diego destination for dining, bar hopping, and pure entertainment.

If you’re looking for fine dining, looking to meet up with friends or want a night out on the town, Gaslamp is for you. Though the Gaslamp Quarter is classified as a historic district, the sheer number of entertainment and nightlife options here is as up-to-date as you can get.

Aside from the many restaurants located here, you’ll find a number of rooftop bars, pubs, clubs, art galleries, theaters, and music halls. Not only is it home to the San Diego Symphony, but it is also home to the San Diego Film Festival which takes place every fall.

Looking for a rooftop bar option with stellar views? Visit the Altitude Sky Lounge. Looking to go dancing or clubbing? Head to Omnia Nightclub. And if you’re here in the morning or early afternoon, make sure to grab some coffee and bagel sandwiches at Spill The Beans!

18 Exciting Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Gaslamp District - Travels With Elle

Don’t miss out on the chance to eat at the Gaslamp District! Explore the best eats in the Gaslamp Quarter on a walking tour with an expert guide who’ll give you the rundown on the district’s popping restaurant and bar scene. On this 2.5-hour culinary walking tour, you’ll sample delicious dishes at several eateries, sip drinks, and learn about the rich history of the district (includes interesting stories about the early ‘women of the night’ and where they worked).

ALTITUDE SKY LOUNGE

Drink in hand? Check. Amazing sunset views? Check. See all of Downtown San Diego from this iconic rooftop bar located at the Marriott Hotel in The Gaslamp Quarter. The bar is on the twenty-second floor and has incredible views over the city. The Sky Lounge opens in the late afternoon, so it’s recommended that you get here soon after so you can grab a good seat and watch dusk settle over downtown.

LIBERTY STATION

18 Exciting Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Liberty Station - Travels With Elle

If you love food halls, then you’ll have to add Liberty Station and Liberty Public Market to your list of places to visit. Liberty Station, formerly the Naval Training Center, is a repurposed landmark with strong historical significance. Over the years, the Navy gradually wound down activity at NTC and officially closed in 1997. The grounds gradually transitioned into what it is now, a center for shopping, dining, history, and arts.

Liberty Public Market is the main highlight here, which makes for a great spot to hang out for lunch or dinner. It’s essentially a large food hall that hosts a wide variety of different restaurants, bakeries, shops, and breweries.

Meandering through the food hall is always a ton of fun since there are so many food and drink options available at your fingertips. If you like beers and gardens (and beer gardens), Stone Brewing has an awesome outdoor dining space located here, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

When you’re done eating or picnicking, take a stroll, and explore historic landmarks as you wander the spacious courts and plazas. All in all, Liberty Station is a great place to grab a bite to eat and spend a few hours outdoors.

SAN DIEGO ZOO

18 Exciting Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - San Diego Zoo - Travels With Elle

You can’t take a trip to San Diego and not visit this world-renowned zoo! The San Diego Zoo is not only one of the best zoos in the country but in the entire world. With a safari park, an arboretum, an aviary, and various spacious habitats for its thousands of different animal species, the zoo is an amazing place to spend a day or two.

Located among the many other museums and attractions in Balboa Park, the zoo is easily accessible from Downtown San Diego. Just so you get a sense of how big the zoo is, it spans 100 acres and houses more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals. Once you leave a habitat with a plan to come back later, it might actually be too far to walk back to! There are plenty of restaurants throughout the park as well as a good amount of beer stations for those of you who want an afternoon pick-me-up.

Plan to spend at least a half-day at each park to get the full experience, which includes shows and animal presentations. And yes, there are two separate parks!

This skip-the-line ticket allows you to spend two days at the San Diego Zoo, or split your time between the Zoo and the Safari Park. At the zoo, see the diverse collection of animals, many of which are not present at other zoos in the United States. The Safari Park is inspired by the Serengeti Plains in Africa and the Asian plains and is home to lions, tigers, zebras, which you can see from a 32-acre (13-hectare) safari trail.

Only have one day to dedicate to the park? Not a problem. There’s a skip-the-line ticket for a 1-day admission to the zoo as well. Trust me, the line at the entrance can be a beast on any given morning. And it’s no wonder since this is a world-famous zoo!

OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO

Old Town San Diego is a great place to stop and stroll around for a few hours. This area features acres of Mexican heritage, historical sites, colorful shops, eclectic restaurants, and more. It’s known for its historical buildings, as it features a train museum, the El Campo Cemetery (houses lots of historic gravesites from the 1800s), and the Whaley House (one of only two officially designated haunted houses in California).

The Junípero Serra Museum in Old Town’s Presidio Park is also one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego, recognized as the site where California began. Shopping and eating in Old Town is also a lot of fun!

Don’t miss Old Town Marketplace, an open-air courtyard, home to a variety of carts and shops that sell handcrafted goods traditional to the Mexican culture.

Looking for food and history all bundled up into one stellar tour? Coming right up! Taste your way through Old Town San Diego during this historical tour with culinary samplings. Tequila, tacos, and tortillas included. What more could you ask for on vacation?

TROLLEY TOUR

Spend an hour in Downtown San Diego and I assure you you’ll see one of these bad boys rolling through the streets. Riding the trolley car is one of the most traditional ways to get oriented and acquainted with all of the many landmarks Downtown San Diego has to offer. Once onboard, the driver narrates the history of the area you’re passing through.

Choose your own adventure as you get on and off the trolley at any of the 12 stops (including the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway and the Cruise Ship Terminal, Little Italy, etc.) The trolley tour is a ton of fun, and the perfect solution to exploring during hot, sunny days. You can get off anytime you please to explore a different downtown district, then when you’re ready to move to the next one– jump back on the trolley!

Added perk: you’ll get some fantastic coastal views during your ride (the trolley runs down Harbour Drive down to Seaport Village).

Join the trolley tour at several stops in Downtown including at Seaport Village, the Embarcadero, and in the Gaslamp Quarter. Tickets come with unlimited hop-on, hop-off privileges so you can create your own itinerary on your own time.

BALBOA PARK

Balboa Park - 18 Best Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Travels With Elle

Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban oasis, known as the home to nearly 30 museums and cultural centers, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo. No visit to San Diego is complete without a trip to this jam-packed wonderland. Just a short walk or trolley ride from Downtown, the park is one of the largest urban green spaces in the entire country and completely worth visiting.

Many of the park’s attractions, such as the Desert Cactus Garden and the Zoro Garden, are free to the public. A few paid attractions worth considering include the San Diego Museum of ManThe Natural History Museum, and the Train Museum. If you don’t want to visit museums or spend money here, no problem. Take a stroll through the park and check out the Organ Pavilion and the botanical gardens dotted nearby. 

Honestly, there are so many walking trails here. Might I recommend the 4.5-mile Balboa Park Loop? Should you choose to walk this urban loop trail, it will be a great few hours spent in San Diego.

JAPANESE FRIENDSHIP GARDEN

Japanese Friendship Garden - Downtown San-Diego

The Japanese Friendship Garden is located in Balboa Park, but worth calling out as an activity in itself. This serene garden has been open for 100 years and will transport you to Japan as soon as you step in. This garden was made as an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city in Japan, Yokohama. Enchanting Japanese gardens, koi ponds, and bonsai trees line the winding paths of this unique area.

Once you’ve had a chance to fully explore the garden, spend a few moments on the tea pavilion and soak up that California sun. There is an admission fee, but very well worth it for such a calming experience in the middle of a bustling city.

Looking for more things to do in San Diego? Check out these convenient and fun tours from Get Your Guide.

CORONADO BEACH

Though it’s technically not a part of Downtown San Diego, Coronado is close enough to be on this list. The dreamy town of Coronado is located on a nearby island comprised of beach hotels, resorts, and restaurants. Make the short two-mile journey over the Coronado Bridge or take the ferry to get here, the beach is a must-see.

You’ll be greeted by one of the best beaches in California, perfect for those who like calm waters and fine sands with speckles of gold in it! The main entertainment hub, which hugs Orange Avenue, is filled with shops and restaurants, as well as the famous Hotel Del Coronado.

If you’re in the area earlier in the day (which I recommend as parking tends to fill up by mid-morning on weekends), head over to The Henry for a casual sit-down brunch or grab some delicious coffee and pastries to enjoy on the beach.

THE EMBARCADERO

Located adjacent to Downtown San Diego along the bay, San Diego’s Embarcadero is chock-full of maritime history complete with historic ships and museums, as well as a fishing harbor, cruise ship terminal, and tons of lively restaurants and shops.

Another notable thing to do at the Embarcadero (other than enjoying museums) is to hang out at The Waterfront Park, which is a great place to picnic on the grassy lawn, while the kids enjoy the various splash and play zones and water fountains. The Waterfront Park also hosts regular outdoor events including a weekly Farmer’s Market and various festivals.

Want to get out on the water? Consider a dinner-dance cruise, Sunday champagne brunch cruise, or my personal favorite thing to do on the water– a speed jet boat ride on San Diego Bay. The jet boat ride is a ton of fun and you will definitely get wet (perfect for those hot summer days). I’ve done it twice!

MARITIME MUSEUM

18 Exciting Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Embarcadero - Travels With Elle

If you love old ships and submarines, you’re in for a treat. There is a massive exhibition of antique ships at the Maritime Museum of San Diego waiting for you. This collection of fully restored vessels date back to the mid-1800s, with even a fully functioning replica of a Spanish Galleon from 1542. You’ll not only get to explore the ships and submarines here, but the museum also displays permanent and temporary exhibits on art, maritime history, commerce and exploration.

Fun Fact: The HMS Surprise here was featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean films!

USS MIDWAY MUSEUM

This 971-foot-long floating museum is the best way to learn about San Diego’s naval community. This museum, located on a decommissioned aircraft carrier, is one of the most popular attractions in Downtown San Diego. This massive aircraft carrier turned museum is permanently harbored in San Diego, allowing visitors to explore the ship from head to tail, including its living quarters, engine rooms, flight control towers, and brig. The carrier also houses thirty aircraft!

TUNA HARBOR DOCKSIDE MARKET

Love all things seafood? Then check out this super cool place to shop for fresh seafood! The Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is an open-air seafood market offering consumers fresh-caught seafood direct from local fishermen and vendors.

If you happen to be in San Diego on Saturday, make sure to catch the weekly market in the morning. Some stalls sell fresh tuna, some sell lobster and shrimp, while others offer uni (sea urchin) and crab. For people who prefer cooked seafood, this is available at the market as well.

BASEBALL AND CONCERTS AT PETCO PARK

Baseball lovers, this one is for you. If you happen to be here on the right day, you can catch a home game of the San Diego Padres baseball team at Petco Park. Spectators not only get to enjoy the game but, depending on where they are seated, they get to enjoy fantastic views of Downtown San Diego and the San Diego Bay. Aside from baseball, Petco Park also hosts other sporting activities as well as music concerts.

Spanish Village Art Center - 18 Best Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Travels With Elle

SPANISH VILLAGE ART CENTER

Balboa Park - 18 Best Things To Do In Downtown San Diego - Travels With Elle

Want to take a break from urban exploration with some shopping and dining? Seaport Village is a huge shopping complex filled with dining options, unique stores, and free live music. The best part? You can enjoy all of this while enjoying waterfront views! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as there are over fourteen acres of shops, boutiques, art galleries, and eateries to wander through.

After shopping, enjoy a glass of wine at the San Pasqual Wine Tasting Room or fill up on fresh seafood dishes from Marion’s Fish Market overlooking Coronado.

TAKE A FOOD AND BEER TOUR

San Diego has become increasingly popular for its locally-crafted brews and growing food scene. Due to the growth of the vibrant homebrewing community, San Diego is now home to over 130 breweries. It would be hard to try all of the top restaurants and breweries all on your own, so why not maximize your food and beer tasting with a tour?

Looking for more things to do in San Diego? Check out these awesome tours from GetYourGuide.


WHERE TO STAY IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO, CA

Where To Stay in San Diego for First Time Visitors: Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego is great for first-timers simply because of its proximity to everything. Being minutes from the airport and with easy access to public transportation, you’ll get a great intro to SD by staying in this area.

The prime location puts you within a few blocks of the Gaslamp Quarter, home to some of the city’s best dining, shopping, and entertainment. A few blocks west of downtown is the Waterfront and Seaport Village. A few blocks northeast of downtown lies Balboa Park, where some of the best museums and the San Diego Zoo are located. Expect lots of skyline views and restaurants galore!

  • For a more luxurious stay –
    • The US Grant– a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel that was built by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant over 100 years ago. Work out at the hotel’s fitness center, dine in the hotel’s signature restaurant, or even relax with an in-room massage. The rooms look and feel so luxurious.
  • For a moderately priced, stylish option –
    • Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego – Boasting a rooftop pool and bar and an on-site restaurant, this luxury design hotel features stylish guest rooms with an on-site fitness center. Nightlife in San Diego’s vibrant Gaslamp District is a 1-minute walk away.
    • Hotel Indigo San Diego – Gaslamp Quarter – This Gaslamp Quarter hotel features unique guest rooms with contemporary amenities. Rooms have hardwood floors and plush bedding. The hotel’s onsite restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner with stunning views of the city.
  • For budget-conscious travelers –

Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for overnight parking fees when staying at a downtown hotel. Parking rates at even budget hotels can be high. If you’re traveling with young kids and need a bathtub, pay attention to the bathroom descriptions, as many guest rooms are shower-only.


ANNUAL/LOCAL EVENTS IN SAN DIEGO, CA

  • San Diego Restaurant Week (January) – With more than 180 participating restaurants to choose from, you can enjoy some great discounted prix-fixe two-course lunches and three-course dinners.
  • San Diego Museum Month (February) – offers 50% off admission at over 30 member museums throughout the month of February.
  • San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair (February) – 2-day festival celebrating Chinese New Year; eat traditional food, shop for Chinese handicrafts, enjoy live entertainment.
  • San Diego County Fair (May) – San Diego’s county fair is the largest fair in California, offering a variety of food, entertainment, exhibits, rides & games.
  • Comic-Con (July) – held at the San Diego Convention Center in Downtown San Diego
  • 4th of July – Big Bay Boom (July) – the largest fireworks display in the county.
  • Del Mar Horse Racing (July to September) – Experience the magic of horse racing at the Del Mar Racetrack!
  • Miramar Air Show (September) – This three-day event is the largest military air show in the U.S. Experience an amazing lineup of military and civilian performers, including the world-famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
  • KAABOO San Diego (September) – A 3-day music festival event that combines rock-n-roll music and tastemaking events.
  • Kids Free San Diego (October) – Kids will get free admission to attractions, meals on the house, and tons of other great perks throughout the city.
  • Beer Week (November) – A 10-day celebration of local, craft beer with multiple events happening across the county.
  • Wonderfront (November) – 3-day music, culinary and arts festival held at the waterfront of downtown San Diego from Broadway Pier to the Embarcadero Parks.
  • San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival (November) – Featuring dozens of culinary events celebrating wineries, craft beer and spirits, as well as local chefs and nationally recognized celebrities.

ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST: SAN DIEGO, CA

  • Smartphone UV Sanitizer and Charger | Our phones gather all the grime and bacteria we touch throughout the day, and then they are stored in warm, dark places like purses and pockets, which make for great breeding grounds for bacteria to grow. They are the third hand we never wash, but should! Using a UV sanitizer such as PhoneSoap on a regular basis will help keep germs and illness at bay.
  • First Aid Kit | It’s always good to carry a first aid kit around with you when traveling. Road trips make it easier to do this since all you need to do is toss it in the trunk!
  • Hiking Boots | If you plan on hiking, bring well broken-in boots with good ankle support and good traction. My all-time favorites are the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boots. They’re one of the lightest boots in its class, very durable, and provide out-of-the-box comfort, which is extremely important if you want to prevent blisters from the start.
  • Hiking Socks | If hiking, make sure you have a good pair of cushioned wool hiking socks. For extra toe protection and to prevent blisters from developing from skin-to-skin contact, go with a pair of Injinji toe socks.
  • Adventure Sandals | Tevas and Chacos are my go-to brands for multipurpose summer sandals. If you’re planning on having an adventurous day or two, you should definitely consider getting adventure sandals — comfortable for long-distance walking, safe for submerging in water, and super durable.
  • Walking Shoes | One pair of closed-toed shoes (walking shoes or running shoes) is always crucial for any trip. These are the ones that I’ve been traveling around with the longest; they are super light and breathable. I can even walk 15+ miles in them before getting sore feet!
    • For women: Adidas Cloudfoam runners are classic-looking and ultra-comfortable.
    • For men: ON Running Shoes have risen in popularity, and for good reason! They are comfortable as heck, my boyfriend loves his pair.
  • Puffy Jacket | If you’re traveling in the fall or wintertime, you’re going to need layers for this coastal weather, which tends to get pretty cool nights. You have a lot of options here, but I personally have the North Face Thermoball, and it’s kept me warm throughout my many years of adventuring!
  • Daypack | I’m a fan of the Deuter ACT Trail 30 Hiking Backpack. Even when I’m not hiking! It has ample room for all the snacks and water you’ll need, as well as for your camera and the safety essentials for the hike.
  • Sunhat | Sun protection is key for any California destination.
  • SPF 30+ Sunscreen (For Face) | COOLA sunscreen is my new go-to facial sunscreen. My face doesn’t feel sticky or goopy, which is so important for feeling comfortable when you’re out and about in hot or humid areas. I tend to not go below SPF 30 in hot and sunny climates.
  • Sunscreen (For Body) | Applying sunscreen to your body is absolutely necessary for sunny destinations like the West Coast. Even if it’s overcast and cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors.
  • Hand Sanitizer Hand sanitizer gel or wipes are a must any time you’re going to be in contact with surfaces many other people have touched. Never leave your hotel room without it! And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.
  • Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes | Feeling a bit gross after a hike or bike ride but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these body wipes for a quick refresher. The feminine wipes I like are infused with cucumber and aloe. Trust me, you will feel and smell so much better. Always good to have a few handy in your travel bag.
  • Travel Towel | These are light and quick-drying, which is exactly what you need in hot climates. They are super useful especially if you plan on having beach days. This one is a great option.
  • Portable Power Bank | You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures… the last thing you want is to be driving along with no phone battery! A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
  • Soft Hydration Flask | Stay hydrated throughout the day with a water bottle that can go anywhere with you—and fold up when not in use. I love the packability of these bottles!

And there you have it, some of the best things to do in Downtown San Diego. What are some of your other favorite activities in the area?

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