One Amazing Day in San Diego: The Best of San Diego in a Day

San Diego has a diverse array of places to explore, things to do, and sights to see. From hanging out at the beach to checking out local breweries to exploring The Gaslamp Quarter, there really is something for everyone. While you may not be able to experience all that the larger county has to offer with just one day in San Diego, you can still fit in a lot of must-do activities during a day trip. 

As a California native who grew up in San Diego, I’m here to break down the perfect day in San Diego.

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to spending a day in San Diego, some additional activity ideas to consider if you have more time, as well as some tips to make the most of your visit.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on one and purchase something, we make a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. It goes without saying that we would never recommend something we wouldn’t use or do ourselves.

Is a Day in San Diego Enough?

If you only have one day in San Diego, you’ll have enough time to explore the most popular sights in Downtown San Diego and the surrounding area.

The day trip itinerary below includes Little Italy, Balboa Park, Hillcrest, the Embarcadero, the USS Midway Museum, and the Gaslamp Quarter, so you can certainly pack a lot in one day.

That said, a day isn’t enough if you want to truly experience the greater San Diego County.

San Diego is known for its beaches and picturesque coastal towns, and unfortunately you won’t be able to fully explore downtown and one of these beachside destinations if you are doing San Diego in one day.

You also won’t be able to visit Coronado Island – which is right across the bay from Downtown San Diego – if you only have a day. 

While you’ll definitely still have fun taking a day trip to San Diego, if possible, I’d recommend adding at least another day to your itinerary.

You could spend one day following the itinerary below, and then another hanging out at the beach and exploring one of San Diego’s coastal towns or Coronado Island. For beer lovers, you could also make some time on a second day to do a bit of brewery hopping.

If you do decide to extend your visit, after the one day itinerary below, you’ll find more detailed information on what to do with more time in San Diego. You can also check out this guide to a weekend in San Diego, which includes some of the activities mentioned above, as well as things to do with a third day. 

How to Spend One Day in San Diego: The Best of San Diego in a Day

You’ll kick off your San Diego day trip with breakfast in Little Italy, and then make your way to Balboa Park, followed by Hillcrest for lunch. After that, you’ll return to Downtown San Diego to explore all that the Embarcadero has to offer, and then have a fun night out in The Gaslamp Quarter.

It will be a pretty full day, so be sure to get out early to make the most of your short time in San Diego!

Grab Breakfast or Coffee in Little Italy

The Little Italy Mercato on Saturday Morning

To start off your 24 hours in San Diego, head over to Little Italy to grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee. Little Italy is a charming and super walkable neighborhood in the northern section of Downtown San Diego.

It’s filled to the brim with great restaurants and coffee shops. Take a walk down India Street to catch a glimpse of the Little Italy sign (between Date Street and Fir Street), and then head to one of these spots for some caffeine and a bite to eat:

  • Morning Glory: This quirky and colorfully decorated breakfast eatery offers a super unique menu – you’ll find dishes like breakfast carbonara and souffle pancakes, in addition to more classic morning dishes. Morning Glory also has an impressively large selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.  

  • Parakeet Cafe: Parakeet Cafe offers a ton of delicious pastries (with lots of vegan and gluten free options), as well as a variety of breakfast dishes, including acai bowls, avocado toast, and waffles. Their coffee and tea drinks are also excellent – I highly recommend the lavender matcha latte!

  • Bird Rock Coffee Roasters: Bird Rock is an award-winning San Diego coffee company that has cafes across the county, including in Little Italy. The coffee shop has an extensive menu of both coffee and tea drinks, and also offers some small snacks. 

  • Little Italy Farmers Market: If you happen to be visiting San Diego on a Wednesday or Saturday, consider stopping by the Little Italy Mercato for breakfast, snacks, and/or something to drink. Vendors sell pastries, coffee, juice, nuts, and so much more. 

Explore Balboa Park

Next up is Balboa Park, which is a less than 10-minute drive from Little Italy. While I’d recommend taking a car for efficiency, the main entrance is about 1.5-miles away if you’d like to walk. 

To take public transportation: To get to Balboa Park from Little Italy, you can take the route 7 bus. You’ll need to walk over to the Front Street and B Street bus stop (about three-quarters of a mile away from the center of Little Italy), and then take the bus to Park Boulevard and Zoo Place – the ride will be about 15 minutes, and will cost $2.50. 

Balboa Park is an expansive outdoor space just outside of Downtown San Diego. The grounds are home to over 16 museums, as well as a variety of gorgeous gardens. Balboa Park is also famous for its buildings, which are built in an intricate Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial style architecture.

Even if you don’t stop inside one of the museums, Balboa Park is worth a visit if you’re doing San Diego in a day – especially if the weather is nice! It’s an amazing place to go on a stroll, soak up the sun, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. 

While you’re visiting, I highly recommend stopping by the Spanish Village Art Center, which is on the northeast side of the park. This brightly colored village is home to a variety of studios, where you can sometimes find local artists working on their pieces.

The Botanical Building is also a spot that can’t be missed. At the time of writing, it’s currently closed for renovations, but you can still view the beautiful exterior.

If you happen to be visiting during cherry blossom season (typically early March), stop by the Japanese Friendship Garden to see these flowers in full bloom. Even if the cherry blossoms aren’t in bloom, it’s worth a stop! 

As mentioned, Balboa Park is filled with many incredible museums. You can check out the full list of museums here to see what piques your interest, but some worth mentioning are the San Diego Museum of Art, the Fleet Science Center, and the newly opened Comic-Con Museum.

These museums do require a separate entrance fee – check the website of the museum(s) you’re interested in for ticket prices. 

Get Lunch in Hillcrest

Once you’ve explored Balboa Park, it’s time to head over to Hillcrest (which is northwest of Balboa Park) to grab a bite to eat for lunch. Hillcrest is about 2 miles away from the center of Balboa Park, so I’d recommend taking a car to get up there, rather than walking. 

If you’re taking public transportation: The most straightforward bus route will go from the 4th Avenue and Laurel Street bus stop, which is on the opposite side of the park from Park Boulevard and Zoo Place. Catch the route 120 bus, and then take it to the 4th Avenue and University Avenue stop. This ride will be about 5 minutes, and will cost $2.50 

Hillcrest is a trendy neighborhood featuring lots of great restaurants and bars, as well as cool secondhand shops and local boutiques. It’s also the home to San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community.

Take a walk down Fifth Avenue (the section between University Avenue and Robinson Avenue is home to many of Hillcrest’s most popular shops and restaurants), and then head to one of these restaurants for lunch:

  • Snooze, an A.M. Eatery: If you decided to skip the big breakfast in Little Italy (or just want breakfast round two), head to Snooze, where you can get creative breakfast sandwiches, benedicts, pancakes, and more. Heads up – this place is popular, but you can go to their website to get on the waitlist before you arrive to help cut down your wait time. 

  • Common Stock: Common Stock is a local restaurant and cocktail bar offering sandwiches, salads, shared plates, and more. Some menu standouts include the Nashville Hot Chicken, the Cubano Sandwich, and the Blistered Shishitos.

  • Goi Cuon: If you’re looking for a quicker lunch option, head over to Goi Cuon, a casual Vietnamese eatery. The menu features Vietnamese sandwiches, salad bowls, and combo plates with spring rolls, soups, dumplings, and more. There are also a variety of vegan options on the menu. 

  • Bread & Cie: This cafe and bakery offers a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, paninis, and more. For a sweet treat, be sure to grab a freshly baked pastry from the bakery’s extensive menu, as well!

  • La Vecindad Neighborhood Tacos: San Diego is home to some of the best Mexican food that you can find in California, and this Hillcrest favorite doesn’t disappoint. The menu features not only a wide variety of tacos (including vegetarian options), but also quesadillas, bowls, appetizers, and margaritas. 

Head Back to Downtown San Diego and Walk Down the Embarcadero

Waterfront Park in San Diego

After lunch, it’s time to head back to Downtown San Diego for a stroll along the Embarcadero. Here, you’ll get lovely views of the bay, and also pass by a few cool points of interest.

If you’re driving your own car, you’ll find recommendations on where to park at the end of this article. If you’re taking a rideshare, get dropped off around Waterfront Park

For those taking public transportation: The most straightforward option is to take the route 11 bus. Head to the 1st Avenue and Robinson Avenue bus stop, and take the bus down to 2nd Ave and Ash Street. This ride will take about 8 minutes, and will cost $2.50. From there, you can walk west down Ash Street until you hit the Embarcadero (about three-quarters of a mile).

For your walk, you’ll start just north of West Ash Street, and head south. The first point of interest that you’ll see is the Star of India, which is right across the street from Waterfront Park.

This iron ship was built in the Isle of Man in 1863, and today is the world’s oldest active sailing ship (although it mostly remains docked, and doesn’t often sail beyond sight from the coast).

The ship – which has made over 20 trips around the world – has been used as a cargo ship to India, as well as transportation for British emigrants heading to New Zealand. It later worked as a salmon hauler, sailing between Alaska and California. The Star of India is both a California and US Historic Landmark. 

After checking out the exterior of the Star of India, continue walking south down the Embarcadero for about half a mile, until you hit the USS Midway. 

Explore the USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway is a decommissioned naval aircraft carrier that served from 1945 to 1992, making it the longest serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century. It is now permanently docked in San Diego, and is home to the USS Midway Museum. 

At the museum, you can see an extensive aircraft collection, which features a variety of restored WWII planes and helicopters. There are exhibits throughout the entirety of the USS Midway, from the flight deck to below deck, so you’ll also get a complete view of the aircraft carrier itself.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or on-site. An adult ticket currently costs $26, but be sure to check the website for the most up-to-date pricing. 

Keep in mind that, if you got a later start to the day (or spent some extra time in Balboa Park), you may not have enough time to dedicate to the USS Midway Museum. The museum closes at 5:00 pm (but check the website for the most current opening hours), and if you don’t have at least an hour and a half available to visit the museum, I’d recommend skipping it.

If you decide not to actually go into the museum, you can still get up close to the USS Midway. Take a walk down Navy Pier (just north of the ship), and you’ll be able to get a good view of the USS Midway, as well as some of the helicopters and aircrafts on display. 

Check Out the Unconditional Surrender Statue

Once you’re done at the USS Midway, you’ll finish off your walk down the Embarcadero. Walk just a few hundred feet south, and then turn right into Tuna Harbor Park.

Here, you’ll see the Unconditional Surrender Statue – it’s huge, so you won’t miss it! This sculpture is based on the famous “V-J Day in Times Square” photo from 1954 of a sailor kissing a woman in New York City.

Just past this statue is the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military war memorial. 

Grab Dinner and Drinks in The Gaslamp Quarter

You can’t spend a day in San Diego without checking out The Gaslamp Quarter.

This downtown neighborhood is the heart of San Diego’s nightlife, and is home to a variety of amazing restaurants. The center of this neighborhood is less than a mile away from Tuna Harbor Park, so you can easily walk over via Market Street.

For dinner, consider one of these great Gaslamp Quarter restaurants:

  • La Puerta: A lively Mexican cantina with an extensive menu featuring street tacos, burritos, quesadillas, loaded fries, and much more. For the tequila aficionados, the restaurant also has a huge tequila menu, as well as a variety of cocktails. 

  • Osteria Panevino: This Italian restaurant has been a Gaslamp staple since 1992. Osteria Panevino offers a variety of classic Italian dishes, including pizzas, pastas, and meat and seafood entrees. The restaurant also has an extensive wine and cocktail menu.

  • Meze Greek Fusion: This popular Greek restaurant is a great place to check out if you’re in the mood for Mediterranean food. The menu features a huge list of hot and cold mezes to share (including hummus, baba ganoush, dolmas, and more), as well as delicious Greek entrees. 

  • Rustic Root: This restaurant serves American comfort food with a modern, California twist. The menu features dishes like Maine Seared Scallops, Rustic Fried Chicken, Salmon Poke Tartare, Louisiana Shrimp and Grits, and more. Rustic Root also has a great cocktail menu. 

After dinner, it’s time to explore a bar or two in the area! Here are some great places to grab a drink:

  • Noble Experiment: This dimly-lit speakeasy style bar – which is hidden in the back of a restaurant called Neighborhood – is one of the best places to get amazing cocktails in San Diego. While they do take walk-ins, the bar is fairly small, so it is not a bad idea to make a reservation in advance online. 

  • The Nolen: A modern rooftop bar and restaurant located on the 14th floor of the Gaslamp’s Marriott hotel. Sip on a beer, wine, or craft cocktail while enjoying views of Petco Park, the Coronado Bridge, and the city of San Diego.

  • The Field: A cozy but lively Irish pub located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. The bar often hosts musicians, so it’s a great spot to enjoy some whiskey, a Guinness, or a cocktail while listening to live music. Fun fact: this spot is owned by an Irish couple, and they’ve shipped some of the unique pieces you’ll find in the pub over from Ireland!

  • Bay City Brewing Company Tasting Room: While you may not have enough time to do the full San Diego brewery experience, you can still try some amazing local beer. Bay City offers a variety of locally brewed beers on tap, including IPAs, lagers, pilsners, and more. 

What To Do With More Than a Day in San Diego

I definitely recommend adding more time to your San Diego visit if you’re able to. There is a huge diversity of things to do in San Diego, and an extra day or two will give you more of an opportunity to truly experience the county.

If you’re planning a weekend in San Diego, be sure to check out this guide. This comprehensive weekend itinerary includes Downtown San Diego, La Jolla (a beach town north of downtown), and a coastal hike. 

If you’re looking for more ideas on what to do in San Diego with extra time, here are a few of my favorite San Diego County activities. 

Get Outside and Go Hiking

The view from Potato Chip Rock

There are plenty of great places to hike all throughout San Diego County. Here are a few of my top recommended trails in San Diego: 

  • Mt. Woodson Trail to Potato Chip Rock in Poway (7.3 miles, 2,119-feet elevation gain): This moderate out-and-back trail is one of the more popular hikes in San Diego, largely thanks to the frequently photographed Potato Chip Rock. As you climb your way up the mountain, you’ll get sweeping views of the surrounding area, and eventually make your way to the rock. Keep in mind that there is typically a line to get a photo on the rock, so you may have to wait a bit. If the 7-mile trail seems a bit daunting, there’s also a 4.1-mile trail on the opposite side of the mountain that also goes up to Potato Chip Rock.

  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla (1.6 miles, 216-feet elevation gain): If you want amazing coastal views, this natural reserve is the place to go. While the series of trails linked here is under two miles, you can easily get in more hiking if you’d like – check out AllTrails for more trails in the reserve. There’s also a trail that takes you down to the beach (be sure to check when high tide is before you go), so you can also walk by the water if you’d like. Keep in mind that parking right by the trailheads is limited. You’ll likely need to either park at Torrey Pines Beach Parking or on the street along North Torrey Pines Road, and then walk up Torrey Pines Park Road to the trailhead. 

  • Iron Mountain Trail in Poway (5.9 miles, 1,125-feet elevation gain): This trail leads you up to the peak of Iron Mountain, which is 2,696 feet above sea level. The moderate out-and-back trail gives you amazing views of the surrounding mountains, especially on a clear day. There’s a fairly large parking lot right at the trailhead. 
Hiking at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Explore a Coastal Town & Spend Some Time at the Beach

Downtown San Diego is fun, but you’ll get to see a different side of San Diego by hanging out in one of the county’s coastal towns. If you have extra time in San Diego, I’d recommend visiting one (or both if you can!) of my favorite beachside towns: La Jolla or Encinitas.

La Jolla: An Upscale Beach Day

La Jolla is a lively coastal town about 13 miles north of Downtown San Diego that is known for its gorgeous, rugged coastline. La Jolla Cove is one of the must-see spots in town. While this beach is very small (and can get crowded), it’s incredibly picturesque, and definitely worth a stop.

At the park right by this cove, there’s also a great walking path that offers gorgeous views of the coast – and it’s a great place to spot sea lions! If you want to spend the day at the beach, I’d recommend heading up to La Jolla Shores Beach. It’s much larger than La Jolla Cove, so there’s lots of space to spread out and enjoy the view. 

The actual town of La Jolla is more upscale. You’ll pass by plenty of luxury hotels and fine dining spots as you walk around town, but there are more lowkey places to hang out, as well. For coffee, I’d recommend stopping by Better Buzz or Parakeet Cafe.

For food and drinks, some great spots include The Cottage (casual spot for breakfast and lunch with great outdoor seating), Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar (a more upscale contemporary restaurant serving seasonal California cuisine), George’s at the Cove (a three level restaurant with outdoor seating options serving California-inspired meals), and La Sala Lounge (a bar inside La Valencia Hotel with great views of the beach).  

Encinitas: A Low Key Beach Town

Encinitas is about 17 miles up the coast from La Jolla. The main stretch of restaurants, shops, bars, and coffee shops is on Highway 101 between Santa Fe Drive (to the south) and Encinitas Boulevard (to the north).

This stretch is located just a couple blocks inland from Moonlight State Beach, which is a great beach to go on a walk or just hang out. If you plan on going for a beach walk, head south, as you’ll get gorgeous views of the cliffs in this direction. Be mindful of when high tide is – the water does go up to the cliffs (and blocks any walking path) during high tide. 

The town of Encinitas is a bit more lowkey and casual than La Jolla, but it has just as many great spots to eat, drink, and grab coffee. For coffee, there is another Better Buzz, as well as Ironsmith Coffee Roasters.

For food and drinks, stop by Modern Times Brewery Restaurant and Tasting Room (which has a fully plant-based menu that’s great for lunch and dinner), Encinitas Fish Shop (a casual seafood restaurant), Plumeria (a vegetarian Thai restaurant), Q’ero (a Peruvian restaurant – get their Sangria!), or Death by Tequila (a coastal Mexican-inspired restaurant with great cocktails). 

Another great spot worth highlighting is Jorge’s Mexicatessen, a casual Mexican spot. It’s not on Highway 101 (it’s located in a shopping center on Santa Fe Drive), but it’s worth the quick detour. They’re famous for their amazing chicken soup!

Check Out Some Local Breweries

San Diego is known for its brewery scene, so if you love beer, you’ll definitely want to make the time to check out some local breweries. A lot of the San Diego breweries are located in and around Miramar, which is about 15 miles north of Downtown San Diego. The breweries recommended below are all in that area so that you can do some easy brewery hopping.

That said, there are breweries located all across the county. You can easily find at least a couple near you, regardless of where you’re staying or hanging out in San Diego. If you won’t be heading to Miramar, use this map to find some great breweries near you. 

Here are a few breweries in the Miramar area that I recommend checking out:

  • Pure Project: The Miramar location is small (and very popular, so it gets crowded!), but has a great selection of IPAs, sours, and more. 

  • Ballast Point: The Ballast Point in Miramar, on the other hand, is huge, and has a large selection of beers on tap. It’s also a great spot to grab lunch or dinner. 

  • AleSmith Brewing Co.: This large tasting room has a variety of year-round and limited release beers on tap. AleSmith also frequently has food trucks on-site – there’s a schedule on their website.   

  • Rough Draft Brewing Co.: The Rough Draft Brewery and Tasting Room has 18 taps, and offers a wide selection of IPAs, as well as ales, lagers, stouts, and more. It’s also a great spot to grab a burger, sandwich, or pretzel to share.

Do a Hornblower City Cruise Tour

This is one of the more touristy suggestions, but I can confidently say that this is an activity that locals and visitors alike enjoy.

Hornblower offers a variety of different boat tours that depart out of the San Diego Bay. This includes whale and dolphin watching tours, one- and two-hour harbor cruises, and dinner and brunch cruises.

Prices range from $33 to $145, and you can book your reservation online. 

Where to Stay for a Night in San Diego

If you decide to spend a night in San Diego, there are some great hotel options in the area.

Be sure to check out the more in-depth guide on Where to Stay in San Diego for details on the best neighborhoods to stay in, as well as hotel recommendations.

Here’s a quick guide to some hotel options in Downtown San Diego and La Jolla. 

Downtown San Diego

The US Grant: The US Grant is a luxury hotel on the border of The Gaslamp Quarter that dates back to 1910. You can book rooms and suites (some with balconies), and there is also a restaurant, cocktail bar, fitness center, and spa on-site. 

The Pendry San Diego: This modern and upscale Gaslamp Quarter hotel has both rooms and suites available, many of which offer views of the bay and the city. Pendry also has six restaurants and bars, a rooftop pool, a spa, and fitness center, and a nightclub.

The Omni Hotel: Omni Hotel is located right on the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter, towards the bay. This luxury hotel has both rooms and suites available (with amazing views of the city and bay). It also has a fitness center, outdoor terrace and swimming pool, and a bar and grill. 

La Jolla

Pantai Inn: This boutique Polynesian-inspired hotel is located just steps away from the beach. There are suites with full kitchens available, as well as studios, and you can also request an accommodation with a private outdoor space.

La Valencia: La Valencia is a gorgeous Spanish-style hotel that offers beautiful views of the ocean. The hotel has rooms, suites, and villas available (some with private outdoor spaces). There are also indoor and outdoor restaurants, a bar, a pool, and a fitness center.

Grande Colonial: Grande Colonial is an elegant boutique hotel located just a couple blocks away from the beach. The upscale hotel offers both rooms and suites (some of which have ocean views), and also has a restaurant and bar (Nine-Ten) on-site.

Getting Around San Diego

There are a variety of ways that you can get around San Diego during your visit. Here’s what you need to know about each mode of transportation. 

On Foot

Getting around Downtown San Diego on foot is pretty easy. The city itself is fairly small, so you can get from place to place without needing to drive or take public transportation.

That said, the above itinerary does take you outside of Downtown San Diego (to Balboa Park and Hillcrest). Getting to those spots on foot is doable (if you’re prepared to get some serious steps in!), but since the itinerary is pretty packed and you only have a day, this isn’t the most efficient option. 

To ensure you get to hit up each spot on the itinerary, I’d recommend taking another mode of transportation to Balboa Park and Hillcrest. Once you return to Downtown San Diego after lunch, you can park your car for the day and explore the city on foot. 

By Public Transit

San Diego has a public transportation system called the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), which consists of multiple bus routes and a trolley system.

If you don’t have a car and would prefer not to spend money on a rideshare, the bus can be a great more affordable alternative for getting to Balboa Park and/or Hillcrest (and then back to Downtown SD), but keep in mind that this won’t be quite as efficient as driving.

If you decide to take public transportation, you’ll find specific information on what buses to take in each section of the day trip itinerary above, where needed.

That said, be sure to check the MTS website for the most up-to-date bus and trolley schedules, as they may change. You can also use this website to plan any other public transportation trips you’d like to make during your visit. 

By Bike

San Diego doesn’t currently have a bike share program, but you can rent a bike from Wheel Fun Rentals, which is located on the southern section of the Embarcadero, at the Marriott Marquis. Hourly rates range from $12 to $40, depending on what you rent.

This is a great option if you’d like to bike the Embarcadero, rather than walk. Keep in mind that you’d be biking in the opposite direction than is outlined in the itinerary, since the rental location is on the south side.

Consider taking your bike to the end of the Embarcadero for great views of the city across the water, and then turning around and returning the bike before heading into The Gaslamp Quarter for dinner. 

By Car (Personal Vehicle or Rideshare)

For efficiency, I’d recommend having a car (or taking a rideshare – Lyfts and Ubers are easy to get) when exploring San Diego, mostly so that you can easily and efficiently get to Balboa Park and Hillcrest.

There are multiple free parking lots at Balboa Park, and you can find street parking in Hillcrest and Little Italy.

Once you return to the downtown area, you’ll want to park your car for the rest of the day and explore by foot.

In order to easily get back to your car after dinner and drinks, I’d recommend parking near The Gaslamp Quarter. Some 24 hour parking garages in the area include Park it on Market, 6th and K Parkade, and the Horton Plaza Garage

When to Visit San Diego

Weather wise, there really isn’t a bad time to visit San Diego.

Since the city is right on the coast, the temperatures don’t tend to get brutally hot in the summer – the average is around the high 70s. The warmer weather continues into the fall, and then during the winter, the average temperature during the day tends to be around the mid 60s. During the spring, expect temperatures in the high 60s during the day. 

The only time that you definitely don’t want to visit the Downtown San Diego area is when Comic-Con (which is held at the San Diego Convention Center) is happening – typically around the end of July.

The city gets insanely busy, and it will be more stressful to navigate than it’s worth. Restaurants and bars will be harder to get into, and some spots will even be closed for private events related to the convention. Additionally, rideshares will be expensive and difficult to get, parking lots will be packed (and the prices will be insane), and if you’re trying to stay overnight, hotels will be booked out.

In short, visit San Diego whenever you’d like – just not at the end of July!

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