Unique things to do in San Diego
Book unforgettable activities hosted by locals on Airbnb.
Travel like a local
Sometimes, stereotypes about a place can be a good thing, and San Diego is a perfect example of that. Locals here like to surf. They make great burritos. And the West Coast–style IPAs just taste better. When it comes to fun things to do in San Diego, the beach is a great place to start with harbor cruises, surf lessons, and hikes to sandstone slot canyons. For more laid-back activities, join locals on Airbnb Experiences for a bonfire party, beach yoga, and even for snorkeling tours with a marine biologist.
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Your guide to San Diego
Where do locals hang out in San Diego?
San Diego locals do love the beach and the outdoors, but there’s also an impressive art and theater scene here too. La Jolla Playhouse and Old Globe are some of the venues that have pumped out a string of shows that made it all the way to Broadway, and for theater lovers, it’s a great excuse to see plays before they hit it big. Balboa Park is not only home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, it is also where you can find the San Diego Art Museum where in-the-know art lovers get lost in an afternoon of exhibits and special collections. Bring it all together — art, outdoors, beach— in North Park, with a coffee in hand, as you stroll past murals before tacos and beach time.
What are the best ways to spend a day at the beach?
Kayak at La Jolla beach
You don’t have to be an experienced kayaker to enjoy the marine reserve at La Jolla Cove, an area where another set of locals (think seals, otters, and sea turtles) call home. Guided kayak excursions are a great way to safely explore places like Emerald Cave.
Spend time at Shelter Island
Shelter Island is a neighborhood within Point Loma, and offers some of San Diego’s best hidden gems (and best fishing). West of downtown San Diego, walking trails stretch along the peninsula where people walk their dogs, bike, and enjoy public artworks including the Yokohoma Friendship Bell, Tunaman's Memorial, and the Pacific Portal.
Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, there’s nothing better than enjoying San Diego on the water. The pleasant year-round weather makes it easy to plan a day out on a boat cruise or sailboat to spot wildlife and get up-close views of places like Coronado Island.
What are the best things to do at night in San Diego?
Go on a ghost tour of the Gaslamp District
Today, the Gaslamp District is a go-to spot for nightlife in San Diego, but if you’re not into bars and clubs, there’s a darker side to explore. On a guided ghost walk, you can learn all about the city’s more sinister past at places such as the William Heath David House, Pioneer Park, and the former city hall.
Head to the beach for a bonfire with locals
When it comes to a real San Diego experience, there’s nothing like sitting around a bonfire after a long day of surfing, swimming, and paddleboarding on the water. Friends and family circle around their manmade pits to swap stories, play music, and enjoy a beach picnic. Bonfires are not permitted from midnight to dawn (always check hours ahead of your visit), but it’s fair game the rest of the day.
Take a date night cooking class
For a unique take on a dinner date, join locals in their bistros or homes to learn how to make pasta, among other Italian dishes, to elevate your cooking game (and love language).