San Diego Kids Summer Bucket List
Summer is here and the living is easy...especially if you're a kid in San Diego! There are lots of summer buckets lists out there online, but none quite as unique as what San Diego has to offer for the little ones. You'll find over 100 things to do in San Diego on my San Diego Kids Summer Bucket List below. (I even left some out!) And since summer weather pretty much lasts all year long in San Diego, you can use this list throughout the year.
These are grouped generally by activity, so pick one from each section or try to do all of them in one category. It's up to you how you spend your summer, but you don't want to miss out on these epic activities that for some only San Diego can offer.
I know there are a TON more that I could have included, so add in comments what your favorite places in San Diego are to spend the summertime!
Here you go.....
SeaWorld at night!
Ride the SkyTram over Mission Bay
Sesame Street summer weekend parade
Awe at the Electric Ocean Show
Watch the fireworks shows: 4th of July & Labor Day weekends
Zoo at Night!
Ride the Skyfari Tram over the zoo
Night time parade & special events
Safari Park at Night!
Caravan through the Safari Park
Zipline over the rhinos and try not to scream (ages 8+)
Play in The Backyard: Natural History Museum, it’s their brand new feature!
Walk inside the Packing Tape Tunnels at the Fleet (2018)
Find the moon rock: Air & Space Museum
See a puppet show: Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater
Climb on the green dragon: in front of the Mingei Museum (currently out for restoration)
Dance to the Sunday concerts: Spreckels Organ Pavilion
Friday Night Food Trucks & Museums: Balboa Park
Climb the California Tower: Museum of Man (ages 6+) (currently cancelled for retrofitting)
Ride the carousel
Get locked up: jail cell at The Headquarters
Eat a Dole Whip
Lots of rides for tots too
Climb to the top of the lighthouse
Find sea creatures at the tide pools below
Sit in a covered wagon: next to Cosmopolitan
Meet Don & Dulce, donkeys: next to barn
Drink fresh brewed iced tea: American House tea shoppe
Get schooled: old children's schoolhouse
See the slammer: jail cell behind Sheriff's Museum
Go to as many beaches as possible, build sand castles with your kids and look for seashells or cool rocks
See the Sand Sculpting Challenge - this year it’ll be lit up after dark
Make s’mores at one of the bonfire pits on the beach
Watch the sunset with your kids from the beach
Attend a luau on the beach: Catamaran Resort (or watch from the sidelines ;)
Walk down the longest concrete pier on the west coast: Ocean Beach*
Or walk down any other pier: PB, Shelter Island, Oceanside*, Scripps Pier (walk under it for pics), Imperial Beach Pier* (*these have a restaurant at the end of the pier)
Play on a Beachside Playground
Watch an outdoor movie
Or $6 movies at the Luxury Cinepolis in Del Mar! (tickets come with kids drink & snacks!)
Attend a local story time:
public libraries, B&N, SD Model Railroad Museum, SD Natural History Museum, SD Botanical Garden, Pottery Barn Kids, UTC Mall in front of Macy’s (next to the playground & new splash pad), Children’s Museum downtown, Children's Museum Escondido, Warwick’s Bookstore, symphony story time
Draw with neon body paint: Wonderspaces (currently running again this summer with new art installations)
RIDES & TRANSPORTATION
Go on a Cruise:
there are lots of great stops for kids to have fun, like Old Town, Hazard Center for $1 movies or Little Italy for the Waterfront Park downtown
Ride the Rails:
Take the Coaster Train up to Solana Beach, Oceanside or San Juan Capistrano for the day; each of these stops have kid-friendly activities within walking distance. The Sprinter connects inland North County.
Take a Tour:
We love riding on The Hopper! It's a Double Decker bus (with AC and free snacks!). You can hop on and off anywhere along the route between Old Town, Downtown, Little Italy and more.
Catch the Old Town Trolley Tours, a hop on/off trolley
Ride the SEAL Tour car/boat
Ride the trains:
Ride the mini train: Balboa Park
Up in the sky:
Earn your Jr. Pilot Wings from the scavenger hunt: USS Midway
Sit in a fighter jet: USS Midway
Watch paragliders jump off the cliff: Torrey Pines Glider Port
Ride a carousel:
Horses: Attend a family day at the Del Mar Horse Races
(every Sat 1-6pm, pony rides & lots of other fun kids events
Birds: see them for free at the Catamaran Resort (on display 10a-3p)