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Ultimate Guide to Visiting San Diego 2022

Downtown San Diego skyline in California, USA at sunset

San Diego is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike. Whether you want to relax on the beach, visit the world-famous zoo or head out on the water, you’ll find something that is perfect for your tastes in San Diego. 2022 may be the perfect time to visit the city. Many people have felt cooped up over the past couple of years, so getting out to explore and have fun is a top priority.

Planning Your Trip to San Diego

The first step of planning your trip to San Diego is figuring out when to visit. Unsurprisingly, as a coastal city, San Diego tends to be at its best during the summer months. However, this is also when the city is most popular with tourists. Given the pleasant weather all year round, visiting the city during the “off-season” may be a better option.

One aspect you may want to consider in your decision is whale watching. San Diego gets some of the best sightings of whales of any city on the West Coast. It is easiest to spot gray whales when they are migrating between mid-December and April. For blue whales (the largest living creatures on earth), you will want to visit between mid-May to September.

Where To Stay in San Diego

Where you stay can have a big impact on your visit. As a tourism-heavy city, San Diego is home to many hotels ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury accommodations. Many people prefer to stay near the downtown area in neighborhoods such as the Gaslamp District, Little Italy and North and South Park. These border Balboa Park, home to many cultural attractions including the zoo. Looking to go whale watching? Read more about the Island Palms

For a slightly more seaside visit, consider staying in Point Loma, Mission Beach or Coronado (technically this is a different city, but it is in the middle of San Diego Bay). In all these locations, you’ll find familiar hotel chains if you want highly reliable accommodations. However, if you want to experience something a little more local, there are numerous short-term rentals and boutique hotels available throughout the city.

Best Places To Eat

The food culture in San Diego is excellent. Between the exciting local flavors, fresh seafood and delightful imported cuisine, there is something to suit everyone’s fancy.

If you are looking for some of the best Mexican-influenced food in the city, head to Old Town. You can take a Tequila, Tacos and Culinary Tour of the neighborhood. For an artisanal treat drawing on the city’s heritage, try Nibble Chocolate.

The Liberty Public Market in Liberty Station is a great place to explore with numerous restaurants and other diversions. It is close to both the bay and downtown, so you can easily head there before or after other activities.

In the Gaslamp District and Little Italy, you will find delicious eateries such as Café Gratitude, Filippis, or Princess Pub. Alternatively, if you are just wanting a hot beverage to recharge, try James Coffee Co. Additionally, there are plenty of great Italian restaurants and places for fine cuisine throughout the downtown area.

Don’t forget about the Farmers Market! There is a fresh market available every day of the week in San Diego. These markets have a variety of fresh produce as well as delicious food trucks. The biggest market is in Little Italy on Saturday mornings, filled with delicious food, family friendly activities, live music, and art. Hillcrest has a wonderful market on Sunday mornings. Head down to Pacific Beach on Tuesday afternoon for a smaller, but tasty market. If your Wednesday night is open, don’t miss the Ocean Beach farmer’s market for an eclectic experience complete with bonfires, fire dancers, and live music. 

Family Activities To Do

While San Diego is home to a lot of great hotels and eateries, most people are visiting because they want a more activity-filled vacation. The city is perfect whether you want to pack your schedule or just lie out at the beach all day. These are some great family-friendly activities:

  • Whale Watching: San Diego has some of the best opportunities for whale watching in the country. In particular, it is one of the few places with regular blue whale sightings. The annual gray whale migrations are also a sight to behold.
  • The Zoo: The San Diego Zoo is often regarded as the best zoo in the country and one of the best in the entire world. It is an important center for conservation as well as being a beautiful attraction to visit. Plus, it is located in Balboa Park, so there are many other activities nearby.
  • Paragliding: The cliffs along the coast are perfect for paragliding. Torrey Pines State Reserve and the adjoining beach are particularly well known for this sport. You can participate yourself or just watch the experts from the safety of land.
  • Nature Tours: The natural treasures around San Diego are astounding. There are numerous places to get tours that will show you some sights like you’ve never seen before. Whether you want to explore Torrey Pines, the beaches or even the underwater sights, there is something for you.
  • Cruises: Head out on the water for some fun. You can enjoy a cruise around the bay or go further out for a relaxing day on the waves. Next Level Sailing offers cruises under sail for exploring, whale watching and events.
  • Beach Fun: Of course, you can always hang out on the beautiful beaches. Whether you want to lie in the sun, play some beach games or go swimming, there is a lot to do. Just make sure to look up beaches ahead of time. Some are better suited to specific activities than others.

Best Beaches To Visit

San Diego is home to many amazing beaches. Some of the top choices include Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, Del Mar Beach and Coronado Beach. If you are willing to travel a little further, you will find some quieter options too. This can be a good idea during the peak of the summer.

Some beaches are less-than-ideal for swimming due to being relatively exposed on the coast. However, some places such as La Jolla Cove and Mission Bay are perfect protected areas. La Jolla Wind and Sea, Oceanside and Pacific Beach are perfect for surfing if that is your preference.

Start Planning Your San Diego Trip Today

With the above tips, you are ready to plan the ultimate San Diego trip for 2022. There is so much to do in the city, you just need to think of a couple of favorite activities, and you can find something to suit your tastes. Make sure to check out Next Level Sailing for our sailing trips out in the bay and beyond.