If you’re visiting San Diego for the first time, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed with the vast amount of things to see and do. Where should you go? What attractions are an essential part of the San Diego experience?

As a San Diego native, I know of a few spots tourists absolutely must see when visiting the city. Forget wasting exhausting hours coming up with the perfect itinerary for your trip — I’ve got the must-see spots in San Diego right here!

amazon deals
NEW! Amazon Interesting Finds. Click Here.

1. Mission Beach

Mission BeachYou can’t visit San Diego without heading to at least one of our beautiful beaches. While there are several beaches I love, Mission Beach belongs on this list for several reasons.

Explore the beautiful expanse of sky blue waves and gorgeous coastline, or take a walk along the boardwalk and peruse the various shops, bars and restaurants the beach has to offer.

Mission Beach is also home to Belmont Park, where kids will love spending hours in the large arcade or taking a ride on the Giant Dipper roller coaster. You can also explore the bay for a more low-key, quiet day at the beach while enjoying a picnic or simply people watching.

2. San Diego Zoo

San Diego ZooThere’s a reason the San Diego Zoo is world-famous, and it’s a definite must-see for your trip to San Diego! New exhibits are constantly opening, and visitors can enjoy viewing polar bears, monkeys, panda bears, and more.

Children can explore the Children’s Zoo, where young ones can get up close and personal with sheep, goats, and more. More fun can be had visiting Tiger River to examine these gorgeous creatures, or explore the Asian-inspired tropical rain forest paradise of Sun Bear Forest.

3. Maritime Museum

MaritimeMuseumThere’s no shortage of museums in San Diego, and you can’t possibly visit them all. However, you should make it a point to check out the Maritime Museum.

The museum boasts one of the world’s largest and finest collection of historic ships, and offers several permanent exhibits as well as rotating exhibits throughout the year. Enjoy artifacts, photographs, and historic ships when you visit this information-packed museum.

4. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

TorreyPinesStateNaturalReserveFor nature buffs, a visit to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve will excite and delight you. Explore miles of scenic trails (make sure to stay on designated trail paths!) as you take in the beautiful views.

Torrey Pines is also home to the rarest pine tree in the United States, and one of the rarest pine trees in the entire world! After your hike, enjoy a scenic picnic or explore the adjacent beach. There’s also a museum and visitors center.

5. Balboa Park

BalboaParkNo visit to San Diego would be complete without a trip to Balboa Park, a mecca of museums, parks, gardens, and performing arts. There are more than 15 museums located within this expansive park: a carousel, numerous garden exhibits, and plenty more things to see and do. If you enjoy people watching, there’s always something interesting to spot.

Additionally, both children and adults alike will enjoy a short train ride through Balboa Park’s grounds.

While it’s impossible to list every San Diego attraction, these are definitely some must-see areas of this beautiful city. Even though I’m a native, I still enjoy visiting these spots and discovering things about each area that still surprise me to this day!

If you plan on visiting this gorgeous city, make it a point to visit at least one of these attractions. I guarantee your visit will be a trip to remember!

Pic of the Day: Pupper wearing a hoodie

Pupper wearing a hoodie