We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Guide to San Diego for Families

Exclusively commissioned by TripAdvisor

94%
Found this guide helpful

San Diego has a lot to offer families, from stunning beaches and parks to a world-class zoo and other animal attractions. There is enough adventure, nature, and sunshine to keep the young (and the young at heart) entertained. Having enjoyed San Diego as both a child and an adult, I've put together a list of the best spots that families can enjoy together.

Good for
  • Family
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveler
  • Like a Local

10 Places

3 City Tips

Print
Map

10 Places

San Diego Zoo

Zoos

Balboa Park

Playgrounds, Gardens, Parks

SeaWorld San Diego

Theme Parks, Aquariums

LEGOLAND California

Theme Parks

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Nature & Wildlife Areas, Zoos

USS Midway Museum

Specialty Museums

La Jolla Shores Park

Beaches, Parks

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Natural History Museums, Aquariums

Extraordinary Desserts

Restaurants

The Mission

Restaurants

parttimetravel's City Tips

  • Whether you're on the beach or in the city, don't forget to pack the sunscreen. The city has earned the nickname "Sun Diego" for a reason.
  • San Diego's proximity to both the beach and the Mexican border has left marks on its cuisine. Try some seafood or a taco stand!
  • Although you can walk around the downtown area, a car is still the best way to get around.
  • San Diego Zoo
    Zoos
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    From small animals in the petting zoo to an Elephant Odyssey, the The San Diego Zoo has something to excite everyone. With more than 4,000 animals and a focus on conservation, it has earned its reputation as one of the best zoos in the world.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Come early to beat the crowds.
    • There are activities, games, and exhibits just for kids. Be sure to check out the Children's Zoo!
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 387 things to do in San Diego
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing 11/12/2018
    • Wonderful!!!!! 11/12/2018
    • San Diego Zoo
    Address:
    2929 Zoo Drive
    Balboa Park
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Phone:
    +1 619-231-0249
    Price range:
    $52 - $52
    Other:
  • Balboa Park
    Playgrounds, Gardens, Parks
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Balboa Park is the nation's largest urban park, home to 15 different museums, stunning Spanish architecture, and gorgeous landscaping. It's a beautiful place to take a stroll, experience some culture, or just relax on the grass.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring a picnic!
    • There are often artists and street performers throughout the park. Take some time to watch them.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 387 things to do in San Diego
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful place & scenery 11/12/2018
    • Architectural and lanscapce feast for the eyes..... 11/12/2018
    • Balboa Park
    Address:
    1549 El Prado
    San Diego, CA 92101-1660
    Phone:
    +1 619-239-0512
    Price range:
    $46 - $46
    Other:
  • SeaWorld San Diego
    Theme Parks, Aquariums
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Home to Shamu, the famous killer whale, SeaWorld grants visitors of all ages the chance to interact with and learn about some of the ocean's most majestic creatures. Watch live animal shows with orcas, dolphins, sea lions, penguins, and more.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Teenagers will enjoy the thrill rides, and there's a Sesame Street Bay of Play for younger kids.
    From the community
    Ranked #55 of 387 things to do in San Diego
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun filled day 11/11/2018
    • California vacation 11/11/2018
    • SeaWorld San Diego
    Address:
    500 Sea World Drive
    San Diego, CA 92109-7904
    Phone:
    +1 619-222-4732
    Price range:
    $55 - $55
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • LEGOLAND California
    Theme Parks
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    The land of Lego comes to life here, with 60-plus rides, shows, and attractions, including mini versions of major cities, built, to scale, entirely of Legos.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrill Seeker
    Tips
    • With younger kids, enter on the left and travel clockwise. For older children, enter on the right and go counter-clockwise.
    • There's also an adjacent Legoland Water Park and aquarium, should you wish to extend your visit.
    • Legoland is best suited to children aged 2-14 years.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 47 things to do in Carlsbad
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Happy Family 11/12/2018
    • So much more than expected 11/12/2018
    • LEGOLAND California
    Address:
    1 Legoland Drive
    Carlsbad, CA 92008-4610
    Phone:
    +1 877-376-5346
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Fri - Sat
    10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Other:
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
    Nature & Wildlife Areas, Zoos
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    The sister park of the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers a unique opportunity to see wild animals roam over 100 acres — as they would in their natural habitats.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring your camera — there are lots of great photo opportunities!
    • The park also has facilities and activities just for kids.
    • The guided tour, which range from behind-the-scenes to a Flightline over the park, are the best way to experience up-close-and-personal viewings.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 52 things to do in Escondido
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Just like being in Africa! 11/06/2018
    • Fun place 11/03/2018
    • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
    Address:
    15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd
    Escondido, CA 92027-7017
    Phone:
    +1 760-747-8702
    Price range:
    $52 - $52
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • USS Midway Museum
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    This is your chance to see a decommissioned aircraft carrier. The USS Midway Museum features 60 exhibits, which walk adults and children through the lives of sailors.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The audio tours are a great way to learn more of the history.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 387 things to do in San Diego
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent historic ship 11/12/2018
    • USS Midway- naval history at its best! 11/12/2018
    • USS Midway Museum
    Address:
    910 N Harbor Drive
    San Diego, CA 92101-5811
    Phone:
    +1 619-544-9600
    Price range:
    $23 - $23
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • La Jolla Shores Park
    Beaches, Parks
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    This beautiful beach in upscale La Jolla is consistently recognized as one of the most family-friendly beaches in the country. Its long, crescent stretch of sand is prime for any and all beach activities.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • This is a great place for kayaking.
    • There are convenient BBQ facilities, bathrooms, and showers.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 52 things to do in La Jolla
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Family friendly Beach 11/09/2018
    • Best area beach for swimming 11/06/2018
    • La Jolla Shores Park
    Address:
    8300 Camino del Oro
    La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037
    Other:
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
    Natural History Museums, Aquariums
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Set picturesquely on the bluffs of La Jolla, Birch Aquarium has both indoor and outdoor exhibits, with a wide variety of aquatic life.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Don't miss the massive kelp forest tank.
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 52 things to do in La Jolla
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great for Kids 11/12/2018
    • Awesome Aquarium, beyond what we expected! 11/12/2018
    • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
    Address:
    2300 Expedition Way
    Scripps Institute
    La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037
    Phone:
    +1 858-534-3474
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Extraordinary Desserts
    Restaurants (American, Cafe)
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    As its name suggests, Extraordinary Desserts specializes in really, really good desserts. With dozens of delicious choices, it's a fun place to relax after a long day, or the perfect place to celebrate something special.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The cheesecake and banana cream pie are crowd favorites.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #65 of 3,844 restaurants in San Diego
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great all-around 11/02/2018
    • Insane 10/17/2018
    • Extraordinary Desserts
    Address:
    1430 Union St
    San Diego, CA 92101-3406
    Phone:
    +1 619-294-7001
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 AM - 11:00 PM
    Mon - Thu
    8:30 AM - 11:00 PM
    Fri
    8:30 AM - 12:00 AM
    Sat
    10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
    Other:
  • The Mission
    Restaurants (Mexican, American)
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Famous for its breakfast and brunch, The Mission is a local favorite for both savory and sweet options.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Come early, as the wait can be 30-45 minutes at peak times.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #21 of 3,844 restaurants in San Diego
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great service and fantastic breakfast 11/06/2018
    • Great atmosphere with a decent breakfast 11/06/2018
    • The Mission
    Address:
    1250 J St
    San Diego, CA 92101-7541
    Phone:
    +1 619-232-7662
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo