Featuring miles of beaches, San Diego, California, is the perfect weekend getaway place for beachgoers looking to soak up the sun and splash around in the ocean. For those who prefer to explore, this West Coast city has plenty of attractions to keep you busy during San Diego getaways.

  1. Balboa Park

    Spending time in the cultural hub of Balboa Park is one of the most popular things to do in San Diego. This 1,200-acre park features striking buildings of a Spanish-Renaissance architectural style, beautiful gardens, museums, theaters and more. Visit the Botanical Building to see orchids and other tropical plants in a collection of over 2,100 plants. For more flora in the park, wander through the cactus garden, the palm tree canyon and the Japanese garden.

    Browse the art galleries and studios dotted around the cobblestone plaza in the Spanish Village, or see the biggest outdoor pipe organs in the world at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Young kids love the puppet shows at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, and older kids are absorbed in science at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

  2. USS Midway Museum

    Take a self-guided tour of this incredible floating museum. Once the largest ship in the world, the USS Midway aircraft carrier has remained a museum since being decommissioned in 1955. Explore this historic aircraft carrier to see the main flight control room, the sleeping quarters for the crew, the onboard jail and the engine room.

    Watch demonstrations of how to tie knots, climb into aircraft, see cockpits and ejection seats up close, and test your skills in a flight simulator. Enjoy fantastic views of active US Navy ships, the San Diego Bay Bridge and the city skyline from the deck. Be sure to get there early so you don’t waste your precious getaway time queuing with the crowds.

  3. San Diego Zoo

    As one of the country’s most famous zoos, this is a must during your getaway. Follow various trails to reach different habitats, such as the Urban Jungle, the Northern Frontier and the Lost Forest. See animals ranging from hippos to arctic foxes and from monkeys to alligators. You can even find endangered and rare animals, such as giant pandas, koalas, giraffes and polar bears.

    Don’t want to walk anymore? Just hop on the bus for a guided tour or see the 100-acre park from above as you take a trip on the Skyfari aerial tram. Still got time on your hands? Watch a show in the 4D theater or take part in one of the daily animal encounter programs, a firm favorite for kids.

  4. La Jolla Cove

    Snorkel in the calm waters of La Jolla Cove. In this ecologically protected area, you’ll see wildlife that includes sea lions and colorful fish. Beginners can get the hang of snorkeling while advanced snorkelers enjoy exploring the sea caves with a guide.

    Those who don’t want to go underwater can take a kayak tour or walk in the Sunny Jim Cave through the man-made tunnel. Take photos of the beach from the bluffs, or enjoy a picnic above the cove at Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

  5. Gaslamp Quarter

    For the best nightlife in San Diego, head to the Gaslamp Quarter. Enjoy drinks at a rooftop bar, dine in one of the many trendy restaurants, or dance the night away in a club. You’ll be surrounded by Victorian-style buildings, and you can get your culture fix in an art gallery or take in a show at the theater. Check the yearly events held in this part of the city, and coincide your weekend getaway to visit Comic-Con, join in with the Rock and Roll Marathon or watch the Mardi Gras Parade.