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Itineraries for Your Trip to San Diego

San Diego locals share their perfect days.
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2 Days in San Diego for First Timers

Curated by Leah Still Jollfreelance writer based in San Francisco.

With two days in San Diego, you can spend one day exploring historical and family attractions in the city and another on activities that highlight the area’s natural beauty and Southern California lifestyle. Here are a few ways to create a 2-day itinerary that encompasses the best of San Diego.

Day 1: Morning

Get oriented on a hop-on hop-off trolley tour to popular destinations such as Old Town, Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, and Little Italy. The Go San Diego Card includes entrance to several attractions at one price. Opt for a guided city tour if you prefer a set itinerary with commentary.

Day 1: Afternoon

Depending on your interests, check out one or two of the city’s major attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo (home to the giant pandas), San Diego Zoo Wildlife Park, SeaWorld San Diego in Mission Bay, or the USS Midway Museum, which sits on the San Diego Bay waterfront.

Day 1: Night

Admire the city from the water on a San Diego Bay dinner cruise, which typically includes an entree, sides, and dessert. Some cruises include features such as Champagne or a DJ for onboard dancing. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase if not included in the price.

Day 2: Morning

Explore the sea caves of La Jolla on a kayaking tour where you have the chance to spot wildlife such as seabirds, sea lions, and perhaps dolphins. Alternatively, go further into the Pacific on a whale-watching cruise to look for migrating whales and other marine life.

Day 2: Afternoon

With its pleasant weather, San Diego is made for Segway tours. Opt for a Balboa Park tour to explore the gardens, architecture, and cultural sites of this urban oasis, or head to Coronado on a Segway adventure that takes you on a ferry, to the beach, and past the Hotel del Coronado.

Day 2: Night

Discover the San Diego culinary scene with a food and drinks walking tour themed around history. Hear about the brothels and other seedy aspects of the Gaslamp Quarter, now a popular nightlife district, or explore Old Town for tastings of tequila and Mexican cuisine.

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