10 of the Coolest Things to Do in San Diego

Whether you’re a visitor or a local, I recommend that you go to the San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, and one (or more) of our awesome beaches. But, afterwards, I encourage you to veer off the beaten path. Here is my first list of 10 of the coolest things to do in San Diego that will get you there!

1. Eat an ice cream flight at Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream in North Park or Pacific Beach.

Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut, Peanut Butter Oreo Cookie, and Kona Coffee are just a few of the decadent choices for your five mini-cone flight from arguably the best ice cream maker in town.

2. Sip on coffee (or tea) at The Cat Café.

This quirky café is the real deal—especially for cat lovers—with quality coffee from local roasters and a variety of pastries. You don’t have to leave with a kitty, but it’s a perfect place to scope out one you might rescue if you’re so inclined.

3. Take a tour of Petco Park.

There’s a lot to be seen inside—and underneath—San Diego’s $456 million baseball stadium. You’ll see almost all of Petco Park on this tour, plus hear some cool stories.

4. Go on a photo shoot at Chicano Park.

This vibrant urban park, located in San Diego’s historical Barrio Logan neighborhood, is packed with (legal) graffiti that will take you on an artistic journey into the city’s Hispanic culture. While this isn’t a place to wander after the sun sets, it’s a must see—with camera in hand—when it’s out.

5. Take a pizza making class at an East Coast-style pizzeria.

The teacher and crew at this uber friendly pizzeria will fill in any gaps in your knowledge during your hands on pizza education. Best of all, you can wash down your artistic creation with one of their many local craft beers.

6. Dine on gourmet cuisine at a local food truck gathering.

No need to get dressed up, or even walk inside a door, to eat gourmet food in San Diego. Just head to the closest food truck gathering where you’ll find delectable dishes like grilled brie and caramelized onion sandwiches, savory and sweet crepes, and so much more.

7. Picnic in a tiny park with a ginormous view.

This teensy park may not be much bigger than a parking space, but it has one of the biggest views in San Diego, making it the ideal spot for a picnic. Dogs and alcohol are not allowed, but gourmet cuisine most certainly is.

8. Enjoy a private tea tasting with a local tea master.

This tiny and “radically simple” tea shop is hidden inside one of the city’s funkiest beach communities. Call ahead and schedule your private tea tasting, where you’ll learn all about tea (and the farmers that grow it) from a passionate master.

9. Eat lunch & drink local brew at a bait and tackle shop.

Yes, a bait and tackle shop…with a killer view. I honestly can’t think of a better spot to grab a burger and brew than this tiny spot on the Shelter Island pier. 

10. Steal a gourmet meal from culinary students.

Okay, you’re not really stealing. But, the prices at this culinary student-run restaurant inside the San Diego Art Institute make it seem like you are. Oxtail Soup for $7…pan roasted duck breast for $12…oh my! The menu changes weekly, so you can back again and again.

I’d love to hear about your experience doing one of my 10 coolest things to do in San Diego! Let me know about it in a comment.