I love California.

I live with my wife and kids in Virginia where I work. But every Christmas we get to travel down here to visit our San Diego SEO clients and visit my parents for a few weeks, and invariably I have a hard time going back.

There’s just a particular vibration to this city that I haven’t been able to find everywhere else.

 

It goes without saying then, that we spend little time at home. For however many days we remain in the city, there’s a non-stop list of places to visit, things to see, and spots that we want to hang out at.

 

And since I’m going back in a few days, I thought it would be a great idea to put all that nostalgia and energy in writing up a simple list with all the things I enjoy doing, and places I love visiting, every time I’m here.

 

So, without further ado, here are the top 5 things to do in San Diego before you leave!

1 – See the sights of Balboa Park

This is simply one of the city’s most beautiful places. And being located right downtown San Diego, there’s just no excuse not to stop there for a while.

Most known for being the home of renowned San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park is just a 1200-acre nexus of multi-cultural attractions and natural beauty. It’s the ideal place spend an afternoon and have a picnic at while enjoying the wonderous Spanish-Renaissance architecture.

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2 – Go swimming at Coronado beach

Coronado is my go-to beach whenever I’m around. Don’t get me wrong, Mission beach is fantastic! But I find Coronado a little more family friendly since it gets a lot less crowded, the sand is clean, and the waves calmer.

You can enjoy the natural scenery of the waves, or take a walk around Ocean Boulevard (just behind the beach) and admire the impressive collection of mansions that sit there.

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3 – Build Something at Legoland

Even if you aren’t a fan of the toy, I can guarantee you and your family will have a blast once you stop by Legoland, not to mention that with the recent boost of popularity with the Lego movies, the place is bound to fascinate your kids.

An awesome waterpark, aquarium, and even a hotel you can chart your vacations at. You can enjoy all of that surrounded by impressive, giant constructions of Dinosaurs, Castles, and Rainbows, all made out of Lego.

4 – Visit the Gaslamp Quarter

If you enjoy Victorian-style architecture, and you love shopping, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit the Gaslamp Quarter.

Art galleries, restaurants, shopping stores, nightclubs… You can find almost any kind of place for entertainment placed along this 16-block long street, and that’s why this place earns a spot in my top 5 things to do in San Diego. Gaslamp Quarter is known to be San Diego’s go-to place for nightlife action, so if you are looking to have a good time night-out, hit the quarter at Fifth Avenue.

5 – Spend an afternoon at Birch Aquarium

San Diego is well known to have several good offerings as far as marine life-themed places to visit, and while more flashy and popular venues like Sea World, but I find Birch Aquarium to be just a perfect activity to add as an ideal ending activity to a Beach day.

There aren’t many “shows” per se, and you can pretty much explore the whole thing in a couple hours tops, but it is definitively a place worth going to if you want to spend some time looking at some beautiful marine life, without having to deal with the throng of people and long lines you’d find in other similar parks.

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