Our Favorite Kid-Friendly Places to Take Out of Town Visitors in San Diego
I know we all say this every year at this time…How did the holidays get here so fast?! I guess it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun. So hopefully that’s what you’ve been doing all year long! Well, if you’ve got family in town for the holidays, here are some places where you can bring them along for the fun!
These are some of our favorite places that are fun for the ENTIRE family…from grandma & grandpa, to aunts & uncles, to littles just learning how to walk. Be sure to save this post so you can refer back to it all season long. 💗
Our personal favorite place to bring family is BALBOA PARK!👆 It’s fun just to walk around even if you don’t go into any museums. There is plenty to do and see there for FREE! There are lots of gardens, easy walking & hiking trails, a free botanical garden, lots of street performers, a bubble man that the kids will love, lots of free events happen during the holidays and so much more.
If you want to go into a paid museum, here are some that are worth the money that everyone will love: Japanese Friendship Garden ⛩, The San Diego Natural History Museum 🦕, The Fleet Science Center 🔭 and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum 🚂 are our top picks.
Everyone always seems to love checking out SEAPORT VILLAGE. The carousel 🎠, throwing wishing pennies into fountains ⛲️, strolling over the little pond to see the ducks 🦆, lots of cute shops 🧸 that everyone will enjoy and a visit to see Santa 🎅🏼📸 make for a fun day. Don’t forget to walk across the street to the HEADQUARTERS for more restaurant & shopping…oh and the old jail cells 😲 are fun to walk through too!
While you’re down at the EMBARCADERO, hop on the FERRY ⛴ to Coronado or take a CRUISE on the Hornblower around the Big Bay. The USS MIDWAY ⚓️ and the SAN DIEGO MARITIME MUSUEM ⛵️ are big hits for everyone. Be sure to walk a couple blocks over to the WATERFRONT PARK and let the kids play. 🤸🏻♂️💦 From there you can walk a couple more blocks into LITTLE ITALY for a nice dinner. 🍝 It’s even more fun (& convenient) if you take the TROLLEY. 🚃
Going to CORONADO always makes for a fun day, whether you take the ferry or drive over the famous bridge. 🌉 Walking around HOTEL DEL 🏤, the boardwalk at CORONADO BEACH 🏖 and nearby shops, restaurants and playgrounds will suit everyone.
Walking over the ocean on some of San Diego’s famous PIERS will please all of your visitors and kids alike. 🌊 Some of them have restaurants 🍔 at the end of the pier and you can usually have fun watching what the fishermen pull up. 🐠 Oceanside, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Imperial Beach are our favorite piers. 👌
If you want to stun them with some of the most beautiful views, take them to the CABRILLO NATIONAL MONUMENT to see the Point Loma Lighthouse. If you time it right, you can do some tide pooling down below. From there you can either take them to see SUNSET CLIFFS 🌅 and grab a bite in OB; or go to LIBERTY STATION for a nice dinner, walk around and hit the playground. 🤸🏻♂️
Another spot with some of the most amazing views, and one of my personal reasons for going there, can be found at the BIRCH AQUARIUM. 🐙 It doesn’t take long to walk through the inside, but the outside touch pools is where it’s at! 🤩 Those views get me every time. The outdoor patio on the other side has great views too and lots of kids activities; that’s where my kids have the most fun. Try to time your visit with either a shark feeding 🦈 or a SANTA SCUBA DIVE SHOW! 🎅🏼👍
WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN
Saving one of our favorites for last is in East County at the WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN in El Cajon. It's worth the drive from wherever you are. 🌿 Kids will LOVE it there, grandparents will LOVE it there, you will LOVE it there, Everyone will LOVE it there. I guarantee it. 💚
Of course San Diego has a lot more places to take out of town visitors, but these are our top picks based on how big of a smile they put on our kids and grandparents faces at the same time. 😁