15 Best Things To Do Alone In San Diego, California - Updated 2021

Hannah
Hannah 
Updated

With its breathtaking coastline and laid back pace of life, San Diego is a city that never fails to delight. This captivating seaside city has an incredible amount to do, see, and explore for solo adventurers. From the beautiful beaches to the vibrant neighborhoods, San Diego is filled with plenty of brilliant attractions, stunning parks, chic eateries, and outdoor adventures. Once you’ve seen the best places to stay in San Diego, hike along lush trails like Point Loma for breathtaking panoramas or paraglide off the sandstone ravines in Torrey Pines State Reserve. Soak up the sunshine on gorgeous Coronado Beach and surf the frothy waves at Mission Beach. Head to Sunset Cliffs Nature Park to watch the sun slip over the Pacific Ocean before eating mouthwatering Mexican food in the vivacious Gaslamp Quarter. Of course, no tour of the city would be complete without visiting the remarkable San Diego Zoo in fantastic Balboa Park. No matter your passion, San Diego has so much to offer. The best boutique hotels are scattered around the city. After you’ve found a place to stay, take a look at the list of the best things to do alone in San Diego, California to try out while you’re in town.

Go City pass

Make the most of your time in San Diego with a Go City pass that allows you to experience all the iconic attractions of this vibrant city, including the San Diego Zoo and whale watching cruises. Take your pick from three different pass choices - All-Inclusive, Explorer or Build Your Own and experience the sights and sounds of San Diego. Enjoy savings of up to 60% and pay nothing at the gate. Get your Go City pass now!

1. A culinary tour of San Diego (from USD 75.0)

The vibrant Gaslamp Quarter has a reputation as a trendy district crafting unique food and drinks, but this popular area has a fascinating, colorful history. Sample delicious cuisine as your local guide gives you the history of the notorious neighborhood. From its days of illicit alcohol-smuggling during Prohibition, the Gaslamp Quarter is now home to many bars, and the area brims with historic buildings. Bustling with new eateries, there is so much to explore in Gaslamp Quarter even when this walking tour ends.

Food, Wine, and History Tour of San Diego

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

258 reviews

2. See La Jolla Cove in a different light (from USD 65.0)

The first stop on your solo travel in San Diego is La Jolla Cove. The cove holds so many beautiful things that invite visitors to come and appreciate it. Kayak tours are very common here, but what if there were other ways to see what La Jolla Cove has to offer? You can go snorkeling to observe animals such as seals, sea lions, and other interesting sea creatures. Make it an even more meaningful experience by taking advantage of the opportunity to explore the place with a biologist to learn all about La Jolla Cove and its wonders.

Snorkel La Jolla Cove with a biologist

Duration: 1.5 hours

148 reviews

3. La Jolla sea caves kayak tour (from USD 35.0)

An ideal activity for your solo trip to San Diego, take a kayak tour to explore the magnificent sea caves of La Jolla. There, you will see a rich diversity of marine life. Grab the opportunity to see majestic animals in their natural habitat and witness what makes each one of them unique. Kayak your way into the beautiful Emerald Cave and appreciate its natural wonders. Expect to see a lot of breathtaking views and let this experience make you appreciate everything that nature has to offer.

Kayak in La Jolla (Sea Caves and Marine Reserve)

Duration: 1.5 hours

4884 reviews

4. San Diego paddleboarding tour at sunset (from USD 40.0)

There’s nothing more exciting than watching the glow of the sunset. With San Diego’s immaculate waters, it is hard not to fall in love with all its magnificent views. Try paddleboarding while admiring the sunset and the trees surrounding Mission Bay. It will truly be a feast for the eyes. If you are up for it, you can even meet some new friends after the activity and share your interesting stories and experiences around the bonfire.

San Diego Paddle Board Sunset Glow Tour

Duration: 1.5 hours

380 reviews

5. San Diego Harbor cruise (from USD 30.0)

The best place to enjoy the balmy weather of San Diego is out on the water. This one to two-hour cruise takes you along the picturesque harbor where you can soak up the sun’s rays while you listen to the crew narrate the history of the city. Enjoy the beauty of the San Diego skyline as you skim the soft waves and glide past landmarks like the Coronado Bridge. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for glimpses of sea lions lounging along the piers! San Diego Harbor Cruise is perfect for taking in the sunshine, the surf, and the relaxing atmosphere of the seashore.

San Diego Harbor Cruise with Live Guided Commentary

Duration: 2 hours

993 reviews

6. Whale-watching cruise and Maritime Museum entry (from USD 85.0)

Embark on a marine safari in this four-hour whale watching cruise. This exploration highlights the brilliant aquatic life of the Pacific, including gray whales and dolphins. Skim the waves upon a classic sailing vessel as your crew describes the lives of the animals who make the ocean around San Diego their home. Stunning vistas surround you as the boat makes its way to the San Diego Maritime Museum which has an impressive collections of historic ships. Your tour will provide refreshments, and the luxury schooner has a “no seasickness” guarantee.

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

731 reviews

7. Open cockpit biplane sightseeing ride (from USD 248.0)

The vistas of San Diego are incredibly impressive; elevate your viewpoint on a Biplane Sightseeing tour! Each tour takes you to the sky in a classic 1920’s-era open cockpit biplane and lets you enjoy unprecedented panoramas of the coastline. Get a bird’s eye view of the San Diego downtown and watch the sands of the pristine beaches twinkle in the sun. Any of the five itineraries offered are a memorable way to see the sights and enjoy southern California’s spectacular natural beauty.

Open Cockpit Biplane Sightseeing Ride in San Diego

Duration: 50 minutes

10 reviews

8. San Diego Zoo (from USD 62.0)

The San Diego Zoo is one of the city’s most renowned attractions, and is always a delight to visit. More than 3,700 species of animals call the zoo home, and there are plenty of zoo education activities and experiences offered for a one-of-a-kind encounter. Explore the lush exhibits as you wander past rare species like pandas, Amur leopards, and Californian condors. Roam the park on foot, hop aboard the guided tour bus, or ride the overhead gondola lift to get a bird’s-eye view of the park. As you trek past gorillas in the African rain forest and Malayan tigers in a sloping canyon, each excursion around the zoo is an adventure of exploration and education.

San Diego Zoo 1-Day Pass Ticket, No Reservations Required!

Duration: 1 to 4 hours

880 reviews

9. Small-Group afternoon sailing excursion (from USD 107.0)

Sail through the gorgeous San Diego Harbor and admire the city’s skyline from afar. This three-hour, small-group journey is peaceful and relaxing, and a memorable way to explore the area. As you soak up the sunshine and the scenery, your crew will provide you with refreshments.

Small-Group San Diego Afternoon Sailing Excursion

Duration: 3 hours

245 reviews

10. Skip the line: USS Midway Museum (from USD 26.0)

Walk through time as you explore the exhibits in the USS Midway Museum. The former naval vessel is one of the largest aircraft carriers in the US Navy fleet and is a tangible emblem of American history. Learn about the long history of the ship as you explore the flight deck, the galley, the engine room, and more. The self-guided audio tour leads you through interactive exhibits that trace the ship’s journey from 1945 to 1992.

Skip the Line: USS Midway Museum Admission Ticket in San Diego

Duration: 2 to 5 hours

990 reviews

11. Private Balboa Park Segway tour (from USD 62.0)

Travel by Segway to some of the most popular spots in Balboa Park. A popular site for both tourists and locals alike, Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the country, and is filled with amazing views and fascinating history. Admire the gorgeous Spanish-Colonial architecture as you learn about the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, and watch local artists as you explore the Spanish Art Village. As you zoom past the desert gardens and remarkable museums, your local guide will tell you more about the history of this remarkable park.

Private Balboa Park Segway Tour

Duration: 2 hours

110 reviews

12. San Diego city tour (from USD 48.0)

Looking for things to do by yourself in San Diego? This incredible four-hour tour lets you explore the city’s wonderful attractions and exciting neighborhoods. Ramble among the mansions in La Jolla, check out the renowned PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, and admire the panoramas from Mount Soledad. Learn about the history of the city by visiting the amazing museums in Balboa Park and touring the historic landmarks. The tour also runs through the Gaslamp Quarter and Old Town, and can be upgraded to include visits to the USS Midway or Seaport Village.

San Diego City Tour

Duration: 4 hours

10 reviews

13. Best Value GoCar audio tour (from USD 133.0)

This next thing to do is one of the most creative ways that you can go around San Diego! Guided by GPS, this self-service tour will lead you to the most interesting landmarks in the city. You will be provided with your own map, helmet, and cute little yellow GoCar. The funky car has an installed audio guide that will provide you with information on the places that you’re passing by. Your listening and navigation skills will be put to the test!

GoCar San Diego Best Value Full Day Tour

14. Speedboating along San Diego Harbor (from USD 79.0)

Another interesting way to revel in the beauty of this majestic city is by joining San Diego Harbor Speedboat Adventure. The tour will be passing attractions such as USS Midway, Seaport Village, Coronado Bridge, Star of India, and many more. Before the tour, you will of course be briefed by your tour guide, who will be leading during your cruise from another boat. No boating license or experience is required, so grab the opportunity to experience self-driving a boat and be your own captain!

San Diego Harbor Speed Boat Adventure

Duration: 2 hours

451 reviews

Nearby option

15. Beginner surf lesson (from USD 100.0)

Have you always wanted to learn how to surf but don’t know the perfect place to get lessons? Look no further! California has a reputation for having beautiful beaches that surfers love. Go and see for yourself! Take surfing lessons at Huntington Beach and witness its unique beauty as you try to ride the waves. This is a solo activity, but make sure to have someone document your incredible experience as you glide through the splendid waters with your surfboard.

Beginner surf lesson

Duration: 2 hours

62 reviews

A city of adventure, exploration, and surprises

If you expect San Diego to have magnificent sandy beaches and a laidback, coastal charisma, you won’t be disappointed. Yet, there are also so many unique attractions, historical neighborhoods, hidden natural spaces, and other fun places to visit alone that will fascinate, delight, and spark your desire to explore. The charms of this Californian city are endless. You now know what to do alone in San Diego. Start packing and travel solo!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Hannah is a freelance writer, list making aficionado, and world traveler currently based in Germany. She is an avid explorer, and believes in creating new experiences to put on her bucket list to...Read more

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