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San Diego

Culture & History

Our most recommended San Diego Culture & History

San Diego: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

1. San Diego: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

San Diego: Harbor Cruise

2. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

3. San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

See the sights of San Diego Bay on a fully-narrated cruise. Pass by Seaport Village, Shelter Island, Coronado Island, Point Loma, and Cabrillo National Monument, among other notable points of interest, while taking in beautiful skyline views. Choose between a 1-hour cruise of either the North or South Harbor, or book the 2-hour cruise, which includes both. San Diego’s North Harbor cruise takes you past historic ships in the Maritime Museum, Harbor Island, North Island Naval Air Station, and Shelter Island. The South Harbor route includes sightings of the Coronado Bridge, the U.S.S. Midway Aircraft Carrier, the U.S. Navy Surface Fleet, and the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. As you sail, keep a lookout for wildlife such as blue herons, sea lions, and pelicans Listen as your professional crew provides commentary about the rich local and military history, points of interest, and facts about San Diego Bay. This sightseeing cruise also showcases local environmental conservation efforts through video clips and onboard displays.

90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour

4. 90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour

Splash into San Diego’s most unique sightseeing tour. See the best of San Diego on land and in the water. Take a seat on the San Diego SEAL tour, an adventure that takes you through the most interesting sights in the city before heading out into the harbor of San Diego. Your 90-minute fully-narrated tour will wind through picturesque San Diego streets before splashing into the water for a cruise of San Diego Bay. On land, you will pass the Embarcadero and San Diego International Airport. You will learn about the importance of the military in San Diego and other San Diego icons as you travel along the scenic coast. Once you splash into the Big Bay, you will glide by Navy ships, tugboats, and fishing vessels throughout the harbor as you listen to stories of early sailors. Experience the history and ecological wonders of San Diego in the comfort and security of a virtually unsinkable Hydra-Terra. Driven by our experienced captains, these amphibious vehicles are specially designed and built to navigate on both sea and land. Each one is Coast Guard approved and meets all passenger vehicle and department of transportation requirements to ensure safety and comfort for all. Both tour bus and boat, the San Diego SEAL journeys through San Diego by land and sea. Our unique amphibious vehicles are Coast Guard approved, ensuring you a safe, one-of-a-kind experience. Relax and enjoy amazing views during the best sightseeing adventure in San Diego.

San Diego: Drive Your Own Speed Boat 2-Hour Tour

5. San Diego: Drive Your Own Speed Boat 2-Hour Tour

Ideal for those with a free spirit and sense of adventure, but who don't want to miss out on a guided tour, this 2-hour excursion combines the best of both worlds. You will be the captain of your own speed boat, all the while following a trained, knowledgeable guide as they keep you informed via the 2-way communication system that’s mounted in each boat. Hear the guide’s witty, yet historical narration as you cruise the harbor, seeing such luminous sights as the Russian submarine at San Diego Maritime Museum, the USS Midway and the skyline of downtown San Diego. Exhilarating and spontaneous, with laugh-out-loud moments, the thrill of driving your own boat, as well as the safety of having a skilled guide introduce you to the highlights makes for a perfect combination. Even the sea lions will give you a cheer!

San Diego: Haunted Historic Whaley House - Self-Guided Tour

6. San Diego: Haunted Historic Whaley House - Self-Guided Tour

Travel back to 1800s San Diego as you explore the family home of Thomas Whaley on a self-guided tour. After a 5-minute introduction, walk through the Whaley House Museum at your own pace and ask the docent in each room any questions you may have. For those who have an affinity for the paranormal, San Diego’s famed Whaley House is widely regarded as the most haunted house in America. With its rich and dark past, spine-tingling cases of spiritual encounters, and inexplicable events, its haunted pedigree is second to none. Get a glimpse into the past at a house that’s been viewed as an integral part of Old Town San Diego since 1857. With more than a century in the making, the Whaley House Museum holds an impressive amount of San Diego heritage. Recognized as the oldest two-story brick-structure south of Monterey California, the Whaley House features magnificent Greek Revival architecture along with an unrivaled historical timeline encompassing San Diego’s second county courthouse, a lively theater, a charming general store, and a prominent family home.

San Diego: City Lights Night Tour

7. San Diego: City Lights Night Tour

Your 90-minute night tour boards in Seaport Village and starts off by exploring the West Coast’s premier entertainment district, known as the Gaslamp Quarter, full of vibrant nightlife, bright lights, and Victorian architecture.   Then, make your way to Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the U.S., where stunning buildings, fountains, and statues glow bright at night. From Balboa Park, drive to the top of Coronado Bridge for more spectacular sights, including the lights coming in from Tijuana, Mexico, the bay, and Downtown San Diego. Then, travel to Coronado’s Ferry Landing for a 20-minute stop to take in the stunning beauty of the San Diego city skyline, visible from across the bay and a perfect photo opportunity. From Coronado, make your way back to San Diego to take in the Embarcadero’s bay-front views. You’ll see the Historic County Administration Building, Maritime Museum’s Star of India, the USS Midway Museum, and Navy aircraft carriers from across the bay. The tour ends in Seaport Village, where guests are invited to the Top of the Hyatt for 50% off a glass of wine.

San Diego: Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour

8. San Diego: Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour

Whilst San Diego is known the world over for its beautiful beaches, mild climate, and abundance of points of interest not many people know about the city's darker side. Discover San Diego's long history of unnerving deaths, mysterious occurrences, and more ominous sides on a fun and informative guided tour. Travel back in time and hear about the spirits of the notorious characters who lived and died in San Diego. First, venture into the sleepy streets of the Mission Hills neighborhood, where Pioneer Park is transformed at night. Continue to Old Town, walking through El Campo Santo Cemetery and learning about the notorious past of this city full of gunslingers, gamblers, ladies of the night, and many more unsavory characters. Finally, the tour includes a tour of the grounds and exterior of the Whaley House, where many reported paranormal occurrences have taken place.

San Diego: San Diego Natural History Museum Ticket

9. San Diego: San Diego Natural History Museum Ticket

The San Diego Natural History Museum is a flagship institution in Balboa Park, showcasing the regional natural history and unique biodiversity of Southern California and Baja California. The museum has four floors of exhibitions, a 3D theater, and San Diego’s only Foucault pendulum. Through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, numerous educational programs, and the opportunity to see scientists at work, the Museum fosters a lifelong love of learning about nature and the environment for visitors of all ages. Current exhibits include: Hidden Gems Get to know The Nat's sparkly side with more than 100 of the best, brightest, and most spectacular selections from our gems and mineral collection. These hidden gems will be on every floor of the Museum. The Backyard Learn and explore the natural world through play. This new space invites our youngest visitors (ages 0-5) to play under a shade tree, search for hidden secrets along a wooden fence, or read their favorite book in a cozy potting shed. Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage This new exhibition gives visitors a rare "backstage" glimpse of the museum's storage areas. Specimens arranged on shelves and in cases offer the opportunity to revel in the natural world in all its beauty and peculiarity. Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science This new, permanent exhibition explores the past, present and future of citizen science through rare books, art, photographs, and historical documents. Coast to Cactus in Southern California This innovative, permanent exhibition tells the story of this amazing place called home. Take an immersive walk through the major regions of southern California's coast, inland valleys, mountains, and deserts and celebrate the abundant variety of life found here. Fossil Mysteries From dinosaurs to mastodons, travel through 75 million years and dig into the rich fossil history of southern California and Baja California. Skulls Take a look at 200 of the weirdest, wildest, and most fascinating animal skulls from our research collection. Giant-Screen Theater The Subaru Giant Screen Experience is one-of-a-kind. Settle into the 300-seat, stadium-style theater and enjoy films on the massive screen.

Carlsbad Village: 3-Hour Local Food Tour

10. Carlsbad Village: 3-Hour Local Food Tour

The tour sets off from the heart of downtown Carlsbad Village, where your 3-hour culinary adventure begins. Navigate the picturesque streets of the village with your local guide and discover its diverse history, architecture and culture. Stroll down some of the most famous streets in Carlsbad, home to a wonderful concentration of museums, restaurants, and iconic landmarks, uniquely mixed with shops, art galleries and vibrant street murals. Along the way, stop at 8 different eateries, popular with the locals, and taste the flavors of Carlsbad. The food samplings on this tour are sure to stimulate your salivary glands, and satisfy your appetite for a lunch that is chock-full of variety. Each tasting is served from a locally-owned specialty food store, and ethnic or locavore-style eateries. Some of the stops on the tour include one of Carlsbad’s most romantic restaurants and a dessert haven with recipes passed down through generations. There’s also time to delight your taste buds with a sampling of California’s award-winning wines at one of the village’s urban wineries.

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What people are saying about San Diego

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 474 reviews

It’s worth going! If you’re ever in San Diego you have to come and check the USS Midway out, super thankful to be in San Diego to be able to visit more than once. Enjoy!!

It was a very nice experience. We learned a lot about the ship, my bf helped the crew to raise the velets. Just remember to bring some lunch, water and sunblock.

It was a great trip. They knew so many different details and were so informative. It was a perfect way to see SD!

Great experience from beginning to end. Love the videos and just being on the Midway

outstanding zoo and safari zoo,highly recommend you visit both.