Plan the perfect weekend in San Diego
A weekend in San Diego is always a good idea. The weather is always great and there is a ton of things do in San Diego. Of course, a weekend is not enough to see it all, but this 2.5 day San Diego itinerary will give you a nice little sampler of what San Diego has to offer. So grab your partner, friends, or family, and head on down to San Diego for a fun weekend getaway.
Here are our top recommendations for fun stuff to do while in San Diego.
Friday Evening – North Park
North Park Dinner and Breweries
After checking into your hotel and freshening up a bit, head up to North Park for a nice low key dinner and some tasty beers. North Park has a hipster-y vibe, lots of cool eateries and even more taprooms to try some delicious San Diego Craft Beer. North Park is perfect for a chill night out, which is great after a day of travel.
Where to eat in North Park:
Great spot for some delicious fish tacos or one of their signature Cali burritos.
Taprooms & Bars in North Park
Saturday Morning – Little Italy, Waterfront & USS Midway
Little Italy Farmer’s Market
After a good sleep, head on over to the Farmer’s Market in Little Italy. You’ll find some artsy craftsmen, local farmers, musicians, and great breakfast options. Take a look at our top recommendations for the best San Diego brunch spots. If you are looking for some unique souvenirs, you sure will find something there as well.
Grab some coffee and some food to go and head down to the next stop:
Waterfront Park is a great spot of a little picnic. Splash around the fountain and enjoy the view over the bay as you enjoy your Saturday morning brunch. There is also a great playground, so this is perfect if you are traveling with younger kids.
>>Also read our List of Free Things to do in San Diego with Kids
After a relaxing morning at the market and the park, walk along the waterfront and head to the USS Midway Museum, the large aircraft carrier right in the heart of downtown.
It is a great museum with a lot of veteran volunteers who share their stories about life on board an aircraft carrier. Don’t be shy and ask them questions and check out the interactive exhibits. Get your tickets here>>
Saturday Afternoon – Coronado or Mission Beach
Ferry to Coronado
From the Midway, walk to Broadway pier and hop on the ferry to Coronado. The ferry is a great way to spend some time on the water and get great shots of San Diego downtown.
Take a look at some pictures and the Coronado Ferry schedule here.
Coronado Ferry Landing
The ferry drops you off at the Coronado Ferry Landing, which has some fun shops and restaurants. You’ll find some typical souvenirs, like T-shirts, fridge magnets, and shot glasses. You’ll also have some great views of downtown, so bring your camera.
Stroll along Coronado’s “Main Street” called Orange Avenue. You’ll find some nice restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.
Beach & Cocktails at Hotel Del
After the 1.6 mile stroll along Orange Avenue, you deserve some relaxing time on the beach. Alternatively, splurge and grab a cocktail at the famous Hotel Del Coronado on their beautiful beachfront terrace. The hotel has so much history and if the walls could talk, you’d hear some interesting stories.
If you are more in the mood to soak up some rays, head on over to Mission Beach instead. The beach is one of our favorite beaches in San Diego. If you get hungry, head to one of the eateries at the board walk.
If you are looking for some more entertainment, check out Belmont Park, the amusement park with the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster.
Saturday Evening – Gaslamp Quarter
After freshening up at the hotel, head out for a fun night out. The historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown is a great place to enjoy a fancy dinner followed by some cocktails, craft brews, finished up by some dancing.
There are quite a few really good restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter, no matter what your budget and taste. Read our guide to best restaurants in Downtown here.
Next, walk down 5th Avenue and find a bar or club that strikes your fancy. Whether you are in the mood for salsa dancing, a sports bar, an Irish pub, a speakeasy, or a trailer park club, you’ll find it in the Gaslamp Quarter.
If you are into something a little spooky, check out the True Crime and History Tour in the Gaslamp quarter. My husband and I did this tour a few months ago and loved it. Book your tickets here>>
Sunday Morning – La Jolla Or Whale Watching
Brunch in La Jolla and stroll along the waterfront at La Jolla
On your final day, head up to La Jolla for a delicious Brunch. La Jolla, the beautiful beach community up north has some really great brunch spots for any budget.
After stuffing yourself, go for a walk along La Jolla Cove. Stop by Children’s beach and watch the sea lions and the kayakers below at the La Jolla caves.
Whale Watching Tour
If you are visiting in the winter months, I highly recommend you skip Brunch and head out on a whale watching tour in San Diego. Morning tours usually have better success rates of seeing whales. It is simply incredible to watch these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Get your tickets here>>
Sunday Afternoon – Balboa Park or San Diego Zoo
Before you head to the airport or hit the road, we recommend you choose one of these two top San Diego attractions: Balboa Park or the famous San Diego Zoo, depending on how much time you have and your budget. The Zoo is only worth it if you have at least 4-5 hours to explore it. If you have less time, we recommend Balboa Park and save the Zoo for another visit. Book your Zoo tickets here>>
Balboa Park and Museums
Balboa Park has so much to offer. This huge city park has plenty of green space to explore and relax in, but also has a bunch of museums to explore. Stroll along the main street El Prado and enjoy the colorful gardens and stunning architecture of the buildings.
San Diego Zoo
If you have a little more time before you head back out, we highly recommend you visit the San Diego Zoo. It is known as one of the best zoos in the world and fun for people of all ages. Before you go, read our top San Diego Zoo Tips by a former Zoo employee. Book your Zoo tickets here>>
To be honest, a weekend in San Diego is too short to see it all, but it will give you a first glimpse of how much this city has to offer, and hopefully, you can come back for longer on your next trip to San Diego.