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Final San Diego Bucket Checklist (101 Issues to Do in San Diego)


Can’t believe it’s already been 2 weeks since we moved to San Diego. We made a decent dent on our city bucket list for Las Vegas during our 15 month stay, but getting through our San Diego list will take a lot more strategic planning. Food is always high priority on our list, but we know not everyone travels for food, so all the food and breweries are listed towards the bottom.

This list will continue to change and evolve as we discover new and better things to eat, see, and do in San Diego.

The Ultimate San Diego Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in San Diego // localadventurer.com

The Ultimate San Diego Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in San Diego // localadventurer.comUltimate San Diego Bucket List / 101 Things to Do in San Diego.

Last Updated: Jun 17, 2018 Originally Created: May 25, 2015

THE ULTIMATE SAN DIEGO BUCKET LIST (101 Things to Do in San Diego):

  1. San Diego Zoo – this is probably the most famous tourist attraction here.
  2. Balboa Park (Botanical Building)
  3. Comic Con International
  4. Caravan Safari through San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Wild Animal Park by locals)

Caravan Safari San Diego Wild Animal Park (101 Things to Do in San Diego).

  1. Tide Pooling at Cabrillo National Monument (also explore the secret sea cave)
  2. Old Point Loma Lighthouse
  3. Whale Watching
  4. USS Midway Museum
  5. Maritime Museum of San Diego
  6. Hike up Cowles Mountain (highest peak in San Diego)

Cowles Mountain Hike (Ultimate San Diego Bucket List / 101 Things to Do in San Diego).

  1. Beluga Whale Interaction at SeaWorld
  2. Jet Skiing San Diego from Shelter Island to Coronado Bridge
  3. Learn to Surf with San Diego Surf School
  4. Indoor Rock Climbing at the Grotto (click here for coupons) – we’ve visited a lot of bouldering gyms, but we love the folks that run this gym, and they have a lot of creative routes too.
  5. Legoland California
  6. Hotel Del Coronado (Skating By the Sea in Dec)

Coronado Beach (Best Things to Do in San Diego).

  1. Hike around Torrey Pines State Beach
  2. Imperial Beach Pier
  3. Mission Bay Beach
  4. Grunion Run at Pacific Beach or at Mission Beach)
  5. Kayaking through La Jolla Caves

Kayaking through La Jolla Caves (101 Things to Do in San Diego).

  1. Scripp’s Pier – for that perfect shot of the pier at sunset. Tons of engagement, wedding, family photographers shoot out here.
  2. Pacific Beach
  3. Solana Beach
  4. Windansea Beach
  5. Moonlight Beach
  6. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park (You can jump off the arch at your own risk)
  7. Carlsbad Beaches

Carlsbad Beaches (101 Things to Do in San Diego).

  1. Silver Strand Beach (try land sailing)
  2. Oceanside Beach & Pier
  3. San Diego Harbor & Hops on the Harbor Dinner Cruises
  4. San Diego Museum of Man
  5. San Diego Museum of Art
  6. San Diego Air and Space Museum
  7. Pacific Crest Trail Hike at Cleveland National Forest

Ever since reading Wild, I’ve been thinking if she can do it, maybe I can too! I’d love to check out portions of the hike this before attempting the full thing.

  1. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
  2. Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala
  3. Padres Game at Petco Park
  4. Belmont Park
  5. Horton Plaza & the Gaslamp Quarter – step into the world of Dr Seuss.
  6. Reuben H Fleet Science Center
  7. Hang Glide at Torrey Pines Gliderport
  8. Old Globe Theater
  9. Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
  10. Sunny Jim Cave

  1. Coronado Ferry
  2. Jump into the Devil’s Punchbowl (do it at your own risk)
  3. Del Mar Fair Grounds
  4. Little Italy Farmer’s Market
  5. Hillcrest Farmer’s Market – get the fresh uni
  6. La Jolla Open Air Farmer’s Market
  7. Carlsbad Flower Fields
  8. Key’s Creek Lavender Farm
  9. Shopping / Dining at Seaport Village
  10. Birch Aquarium
  11. Split Mountain Hike
  12. Hike Mission Trails
  13. Hike Cuymaca Peak
  14. Mt Woodson / Potato Chip Rock Hike

The Truth about the Potato Chip Rock Hike

  1. Intertubing at La Jolla Indian Reservation
  2. Gondola Ride at Loew’s (Coronado)
  3. Stonewall Peak Hike
  4. Camp / Hike Mount Laguna
  5. Hike the Santa Margarita Trail
  6. Palomar Observatory Hike
  7. Los Penasquitos Canyon Hike
  8. Ho Chi Minh Trail Hike (our fave short hike)
  9. Cedar Creek Falls
  10. San Diego Derby Dolls


  1. The Cat Cafe
  2. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
  3. WhisknLadle (La Jolla)

Whisknladle La Jolla (101 Things to Do in San Diego)

  1. Doner Kebab at the Kebab Shop (6 Locations) – The doner box is on a lot of lists, but when we went Jacob got the doner box and I got the doner kebab, and we both think the kebab is much better. 🙂
  2. The Pork Belly App at Carnitas Snack Shack (North Park)
  3. Phil’s BBQ
  4. T-Deli (local fave lunch spot in Hillcrest)
  5. Coop’s West Texas BBQ
  6. Noble Experiment
  7. South Beach Bar and Grille
  8. Juniper and Ivy
  9. Extraordinary Desserts
  10. 32 Flavor Ice Cream Flight at Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream (North Park)

32 Flavor Ice Cream Flight at Hammonds Gourmet Ice Cream North Park San Diego.

  1. Brunch at Catania (La Jolla)
  2. Lucha Libre
  3. Cucina Urbana
  4. Carne Asada Fries at Lolitas
  5. Prep Kitchen
  6. Great Maple
  7. Soda and Swine
  8. Puesto (La Jolla and Seaport Village)
  9. Tacos el Gordo (Chula Vista)
  10. Donut Bar
  11. Park & Rec (University Heights)
  12. Stone Brewing
  13. Societe Brewing Company
  14. Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
  15. Green Flash Brewing Company

Green Flash Brewing Company (Ultimate San Diego Bucket List).

  1. AleSmith
  2. Duckfoot Brewing Co – gluten free beer that actually tastes good!
  3. St Archer Brewery
  4. White Labs Brewery – try a flight with the same beer but different yeast strains. It’s crazy how just changing the yeast strain makes the beer taste totally different.

Taken off the list, but honorable mentions:

  • Alforon (Mediterranean / Lebanese food in Rolando) – this was on yelp’s 2014 top 100 places to eat in the US. Maybe we overhyped it, but we were underwhelmed.
  • Nomad Donuts (Other people seem to love it, but I don’t love cakey donuts as much)

Reader’s Favorites:

  • Raglan’s for Burgers & Beer (Ocean Beach)
  • Mitch’s for Great Local Fish (Point Loma)
  • The Living Coast Discovery Center (Chula Vista)

101 Things to Do in San Diego California - the Ultimate San Diego Bucket List - from the popular spots everyone has to do at least once to the spots a little more off the beaten path. // localadventurer.com


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Anything I’m missing that you feel belongs here?
What would be at the top of your Ultimate San Diego Bucket List?



Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

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San Diego Zoo (Ultimate San Diego Bucket List / 101 Things to Do in San Diego)San Diego Zoo (Ultimate San Diego Bucket List / 101 Things to Do in San Diego).

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