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Top Rated Attractions in San Diego

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Balboa Park

The United States' largest urban cultural park is also one of the world's most scenic, with a dazzling array of museums, entertainment venues, botanical gardens and architectural landmarks. The world-renowned San Diego Zoo is just one of the many treasures nestled within the verdant expanse of this 1,200-acre (490-hectare) park, set aside as a reserve for public use as early as 1835. The 1915-16 Panama-California Expo and the 1935–36 California Pacific International Expo left behind a wealth of architectural jewels strewn across the park, including the California Building fashioned after the typical design of a Spanish Colonial Church and now home to the San Diego Museum of Man. Fifteen museums, award-winning theaters, an antique carousel, a miniature railroad and the Spanish Village Arts Center come together at Balboa Park to celebrate the cultural diversity of the state and its inspiring natural landscape.

San Diego Zoo

The centerpiece of the blissful Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is a prolific destination for adults and children alike. Spread over 98.84 acres (40 hectares) of diverse landscapes, the zoo is home to an excess of 3,500 fauna that belongs to 650 species or subspecies. Established in the year 1916, it is one of the few non-profit wildlife conservation zones to nurture the highly-endangered Giant Panda. Laden with man-made habitats that emulate various topographies from around the globe, the park's most-visited exhibits includes the Monkey Trails, the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, Tiger River, Koalafornia and the Panda Trek. Virtually every nook and corner of the zoo is made conveniently accessible by the beloved Skyfari, a gondola system that spans across nearly 75 percent of the property.

Petco Park

One of the most important ballparks of Major League Baseball (MLB), Petco Park is a baseball fan's haven and the base of the San Diego Padres. Its unique architectural layout is an ode to the region's geography and its natural allure. The framework of the stadium resonates of the surrounding peaks while the steel edifice and enclosing structures are designed like canyons. Landscaped with indigenous plants and featuring a lush area picnic hill, this magnificent stadium boasts to have the best seats for not only sports lovers but also concert goers.

Mission Beach

Near the man-made islands of Mission Bay, this beach runs along Mission Boulevard and boasts a fabulous boardwalk. One of the best places in San Diego to soak up the city's beach lifestyle, this is an unsurpassed area for people watching or building sandcastles. For a faster pace, rent a bike or in-line roller skates or better yet, take a ride on Belmont Park's world-famous wooden roller coaster. Whatever attraction you choose, be prepared for large crowds and limited parking at Mission Beach.

SeaWorld San Diego

Having played host to more than 130 million visitors since its inauguration in 1964, it is safe to say that not only is SeaWorld San Diego’s leading tourist attraction, but also one of the most well-appreciated marine-life park in the world. A real-life underwater realm, this 189-acre (76 hectares) facility is home to nearly 26 diverse ecosystems that host a succession of themed entertainment programs. Riddled with interesting features, the Bayside Skyride, the Journey to Atlantis, Dolphin Point, Turtle Beach, Shark encounter and Wild Arctic are some of SeaWorld's most prominent attractions. The establishment stands by its founding principles of education, entertainment, research, and conservation and hence helps preserve highly endangered marine fauna such as Pacific walruses, Emperor penguins, Beluga whales, and Guadalupe fur seals through their acclaimed guardianship programmes.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

One of only two places on the California coast where these gnarled, once nearly extinct specimens grow, visitors will witness more than 3000 Torrey Pines in this untamed 2000-acre (809 hectares) reserve. You will also see cliffs, mesas, canyons, beaches, and wetlands. Discover eight trails ranging from a 20-minute walk to a two-hour hike. Trail maps are available at the Visitor's Lodge, where you'll also find a modest natural history museum complete with a souvenir shop. Despite the shade, it can be hot in the summer, so bring your own water. See website for maps, online resources and more. Open daily from 8a

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