If you’re spending any time in San Diego or will have the opportunity to stop by during a Southern California vacation, the downtown district is a must visit destination. Downtown San Diego mixes historic charm with new and modern construction for a city feel unlike any other. While some visitors are fortunate enough to spend days or more in the city, we understand that others may be on a tight schedule. If this is the case, here is the ideal one day itinerary for exploring the popular downtown district, presented by the Pacific Inn hotel in downtown San Diego. It might take a bit of hopping around, but it will sure be worth the hustle!
- 8am – Start the morning off early with breakfast at one of the city’s many great eateries. The famous Hash House A Go Go is known for their farm-chic atmosphere and unbelievably large portions of your favorite morning meals. For a more “whimsical” take on breakfast, Snooze Eatery is your best option, or you could go with classic downtown favorite like Richard Walker’s Pancake House.
- 10am to 1pm – Work off your morning breakfast by exploring Balboa Park. There are more than a dozen museums nestled among the park rounds including the famous San Diego Museum of Man and the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Check out the list at the visitor’s center and see which museums you’d like to visit and pair them with the admission package that works best. This way you can save and enjoy!
- 1:30pm to 4pm – Next, head along the coast to nearby Seaport Village, which is the ideal destination or a light lunch at one of the quaint waterfront cafes. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, Greek or American, you’ll find plenty of dining options. After, stroll along the waterfront, watch a street performance and check out the area’s boutiques for a few souvenirs to take home.
- 4pm to 6pm – Continue the coastal theme of the afternoon and head over to the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the USS Midway. Select which one interests you the most and tour the large vessels for a look into the history of military life in San Diego. You are sure to be amazed by the resident ships and countless historical exhibits.
- 7pm to 9pm – While you might think you’ve had plenty to eat, dinner is by far the best meal of the day in San Diego. First, know that you’re going to have difficulty choosing because the options are endless. For classic Italian fare, head to Little Italy and stroll the streets. One of the top restaurants near our affordable Little Italy hotel in San Diego is Isola Pizza Bar, which offers classic pizzas and pastas at affordable prices.
- 9pm to ? – Even after a long day, the nightlife of downtown San Diego is too great to pass up. As you stroll through the Gaslight quarter, you will have the opportunity to check out many of the quarter’s great nightclubs, bars and pubs. Also, don’t forget to stop by one of San Diego’s signature rooftop bars for a cocktail and a bit of relaxing with the beautiful San Diego skyline in the backdrop.
As you might have noticed the above itinerary doesn’t include a trip to the San Diego Zoo. While it is a top attraction and one that we do find worth going to, it takes a good majority of the day to explore the parks 100 acre lot. Therefore, we suggest staying at one of the cheap San Diego Zoo hotels in the area so you can stop at the zoo the next morning before heading out to your next vacation destination.