With its deep history, spectacular parks, beautiful beaches, and amazing museums, San Diego is a wonderful city for a wedding weekend. Here’s a quick guide to tourist attractions in San Diego your guests will love.
Must-See San Diego Sights for Your Wedding Guests
Here are some main attractions in San Diego that even locals appreciate.
Balboa Park: This multi-attraction National Historic Landmark gives guests a feel for what makes this oldest city in California so unique. There are 17 museums offering something for everyone. And the architecture spans from Spanish Colonial to mid-century Modern. The 1200 acres provide a sanctuary of gardens and forests. You can also find cultural performances at the Old Globe Theater. And Balboa Park is probably best known for the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo: What started as an abandoned exotic animal exhibit after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, is now a world-class zoo and a leader in international conservation. The zoo is known for its unique animal encounters and naturalistic habitats. Tickets cover exhibits and shows. And you can upgrade your experience and go behind the scenes. Add a visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for more animal watching.
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum: From the flight deck to below deck, explore the life of a USS Midway aviator on this historic aircraft carrier. You can even experience a flight simulator. And be sure to take in the “Battle of Midway,” a multi-media movie about one of World War II’s most important naval battles.
The Embarcadero: After touring the Midway, your guests will enjoy wandering through this seaside area. In addition to the Midway, they’ll also find the Maritime Museum of San Diego and Museum of Contemporary Art. Family and friends can also grab a bite at one of the trendy restaurants at The Headquarters, an old police command post.
Gaslamp Quarter: If your guests are looking for city nightlife, point them in the direction of this historic district in the heart of downtown San Diego. Here they’ll find restaurants, entertainment, art galleries, and shopping – and it’s easily walkable.
San Diego Beaches: You can’t visit this Pacific Coast city without a stroll on one of its beautiful beaches. Choose from wide, flat, and easily accessible public beaches or meander down to secluded cliffside coves. Divers and snorkelers enjoy exploring San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve near La Jolla Shores.
Mission Bay: If your guests are looking for outdoor recreation, the 4600 acres “aquatic playground” is the largest of its kind. Bordered by several beach communities, you can enjoy a wide selection of water activities. There are also 14 miles of bike trails. And it’s all just minutes from downtown.
More of San Diego Must-See & Things To Do
San Diego Museum of Art: Every thriving city has a first-rate art museum. And San Diego is no exception. This top cultural attraction, located in Balboa Park, features a compelling collection of outdoor sculptures. Inside you’ll find the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautre, Henri Matisse, and Diego Rivera, to name just a few.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park: This area is popular with both locals and out-of-towners. Offering panoramic Pacific views along Point Loma’s western shoreline, your wedding guests can enjoy the scenery by driving along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park: Step back in time and learn about the early days of 1800s California at this 29-acre park. It’s one of the most visited parks in the state and is home to several historic buildings with living history programs and free tours.
San Diego Botanic Garden: There are four miles of trails winding through this nationally recognized botanic garden. It was named one of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For” by the American Gardens Association. There are more than 5,000 plant species and varieties and 30 different gardens.
Coronado Island: Guests can take a ferry ride over to the island for a great view of downtown San Diego, then spend some time strolling the beaches that sparkle like gold dust due to the mineral mica. And they’ll want to stop by The Sun Deck Bar at the famous Hotel Del Coronado.
Dolphin and Whale Watching Sunset Cruise: Weddings are romantic affairs. So why shouldn’t your guests experience some romance with a sunset cruise? This 2.5-hour adventure, offered by San Diego Whale Watch, includes a narrated tour by a marine biologist.
Hidden Gems that Locals Love
While all the popular attractions are great, especially for first-time visitors to San Diego, you may have guests who’ve been here before or maybe just want something a little off the beaten path.
Spruce Street Suspension Bridge: A local favorite, this swaying suspension bridge overlooks Sessions Canyon 70’ below. And the downtown skyline can be seen from the middle. Exhilarating, a little scary, and worth the trip.
Harper’s Topiary Garden: If your guests are heading over to Spruce Street, make sure they have on their walking shoes. This topiary garden is a 30-minute walk away. Created by Mission Hills resident Edna Harper, more than 50 topiary creatures can be viewed from the street.
Heritage County Park: Adjacent to San Diego’s popular Old Town, you’ll find quiet Victorian elegance at this 8-acre park. Here guests can see preserved examples of Victorian architecture, including San Diego’s first synagogue.
Little Italy: While many people think of New York City when it comes to “Little Italy,” San Diego’s version, encompassing over 48 square blocks, is the largest one in the United States. It’s also one of the oldest historical areas in the city. Home chefs can even gain some new dishes to try back home with the recipe tables in Amici Park. Each one features a sculpture of a plate of food and a corresponding plaque with the recipe.
Torrey Pine State Natural Reserve: Located within San Diego’s city limits, this area remains one of the wildest stretches of the Southern California coast. With unspoiled beaches, a lagoon that’s home to migrating birds, maritime chaparral, and rare Torrey pines, visitors can imagine how this area looked to the Kumeyaay people, the first California residents.
With so much to see and do in San Diego, your wedding guests are sure to find a way to enjoy their stay while you get ready for your special day!