Whether you’re visiting because you’re trying to decide which neighborhood to move to, or you’re simply looking for the best places for San Diego sightseeing tours for the family, choosing which parts of the city to visit can be a hard decision. Luckily, this quick guide will help you find the best family-friendly neighborhoods in the area.
Downtown San Diego
You can’t visit the city without getting to the heart of it all. Downtown San Diego is a common gathering place for young, hip families and individuals. Home to the San Diego Padres (Petco Park) and the Convention Center, the area is famous for hosting Comic Con every year. If you aren’t into video games and superheroes, don’t worry. There’s still plenty to do. Follow the waterfront to Seaport Village for shopping and restaurants, or head to the Gaslamp Quarter and check out Horton Plaza, a five-story outdoor mall. Balboa Park is also downtown and houses 15 museums and theaters, the San Diego Zoo, and 16 gorgeous gardens.
La Jolla’s earned a nickname as the jewel of San Diego. Rocky shores make for crashing waves that are home to hundreds of sea lions and seals every year. Spend time in the sea caves to get an up-close view of these animals, or kayak along the water for another interesting view. The city has a children’s pool that allows you to still see the wildlife but provides the safety of a sea wall and a relaxing beach. There are even tide pools that house sea urchins, octopus, and other small sea creatures. Of course, that isn’t all. La Jolla features a wide variety of cafes and boutiques, many of which are also pet-friendly.
Old Town San Diego
Old Town San Diego is a favorite area among history buffs. Located a few minutes north of downtown, the neighborhood was California’s first settlement in the 1700s, and many of the area’s buildings have been standing since the 1800s. Gas lamps still light the streets at night, making for a perfect backdrop as you walk by the haunted Whaley House. You can also check out the city’s first public school and have an authentic Mexican meal in the center of the village.
The Pacific Beach area is the perfect casual beach town for families. The area sees a wide variety of skateboarders and rollerbladers on the boardwalk, and in the water, you’ll find plenty of surfers and boogie boarders. Lay in the sand and people watch while you soak up the sun, or grab a board and heat into the water yourself. You might even notice a dolphin swimming next to you! After your day on the beach, you can head into town for dinner at one of the area’s many casual, family-friendly restaurants.
There is much to do in San Diego, so plan to spend several days checking out the various family-friendly neighborhoods before you decide on your favorite. You might even want to check out some of the best whale watching in San Diego while you’re in town!