San Diego In 48 Hours

San Diego is the southern most part of California and only 20 minutes from Mexico. It is a lovely city with great architecture, welcoming people and lots to see and do. We only had 48 hours to experience what San Diego has to offer so we only touched the surface but we would definitely return in the future. This is a taster of what we did.

Where To Go - Balboa Park

Balboa Park

The people of San Diego are justifiably proud of Balboa Park, which they call a 'landscape of arts and culture'. With 17 museums, 5 gardens and the San Diego Zoo all nestling in this park, you could spend a whole week here and still have more to see.

Japanese Garden

We visited the Japanese garden, an oasis of tranquillity. Due to a water shortage in California, the gardens were not as lush and green as I expected but still beautiful. We marvelled at the Bonsais and the colourful Koi carp and walked around soaking up the atmosphere. 

We didn't have much time to visit the museums but if we had a chance to visit again I would go to the Natural History Museum, The Air And Space Museum and the world-class San Diego Zoo which houses pandas as well as other animals.

What To Experience - The Seal Tour

A Sea Lion at Shelter Island

We took a trip on a Seal Tour of San Diego. We had already experienced a Duck Tour in Miami so knew what to expect.

This land to water vehicle took us on a tour of San Diego and then, when we visited Shelter Island it turned into a boat and we sailed on the bay.

A Dolphin At Shelter Island, San Diego

The trip on the water was a fabulous experience as we got to see sea lions basking in the sun and playing in the water, U.S. Navy hornet fighter planes launch from the U.S. Naval base and two dolphins swimming together close to shore. This was a definite highlight of our trip.

Sea Lions

Where To People Watch - Seaport

The Statue "Unconditional Surrender" - Seaport

This beautiful marina development was perfect for people watching. The yachts moored here are amazing and the restaurants and cafes positioned perfectly for bay views.

Exploring this area more we came across the USS Midway Museum. We didn't venture in but admired one of America's longest-serving aircraft carrier from the shore. It is certainly an interesting vessel, we could see the small planes on the hull.

The Bob Hope Memorial, USS Midway In The Background

The Bob Hope Memorial was interesting to see as I didn't even know it existed. The statue shows the actor entertaining the troops, with Bob Hope telling jokes as the soldiers are cheering him on. There is an audio part so you can hear him, which really adds to the experience. 

There is also a lovely statue of lovers called "Unconditional Surrender". A World War II sailor kisses a nurse before venturing off to war. A very poignant and beautiful thing to see.

Where To Stay - The Marriott Courtyard, Gaslamp Quarter


The Old Vault At The Marriott Courtyard, Gaslamp Quarter

This historic building was a former bank and the public areas are outstanding in its architecture. In the basement of the hotel is an old vault which you can see if you stay there. I felt like a spy from James Bond sitting in the vault!

The hotel has great service, welcoming staff and a tasty breakfast. It is also well situated in the Gaslamp Quarter, with numerous bars and restaurants close by. I would highly recommend the Marriott Courtyard San Diego for its location, service and historic setting. 

Where To Eat - The Gaslamp Quarter Or Seaport 

We ate at Seasons 52 one night at Seaport. We have been to a branch in Orlando before so knew what to expect. This upmarket chain focuses on healthy but still tasty eating and the shot glass desserts are amazing. I ate salmon for main and key lime pie for dessert. 

On the second night, we ate at Jsix. I couldn't fault the food here and I had homemade hummus and pitta with a burger for main which was well cooked and delicious.

So this is a taster of what we did in San Diego in 48 hours. If we had more time we would have visited Coronado and La Jolla. I would definitely recommend visiting San Diego and I leave you with this quote from the film Anchorman, 
"You stay classy San Diego!"

If you are thinking of doing a road trip on Highway 101 from Seattle to San Diego, this post by Mummy Alarm will help your planning and if you have kids read about the best things to do with kids in San Diego here

You can read more about my California and Vegas road trip below.

Top Things To Do In San Francisco
A Weekend In Napa Valley
The Best Of Las Vegas

Tell me, have you ever been to San Diego?


  1. What a great tour of San Diego, thanks! You always hear about the world famous zoo but not much else, I really enjoyed seeing the WWII statues and learning that there are so many other museums and parks to see. I'd love to visit.

    1. You are right you do hear lots about the zoo, but there is so much to do here, I wish I had more time.

  2. Looks absolutely amazing. So much History to learn. Have a great trip ! Very jealous.

    1. Hope you get the chance to visit one day Renna.

  3. Your posts have really wetted by appetite for california and I hope to visit one day with the family

  4. It looks like you had an incredible time! So much to see and do! I love the look of the Gaslamp Quarter! I have always wanted to visit San Diego.

    1. The Gaslamp Quarter is a really buzzing place. Lots have happening restaurants and bars, and people enjoying themselves. It feels very safe too.

  5. Wow this sounds like an amazing trip! Balboa park sounds incredible just on its own!

  6. awwww i would love to see dolphins,your so lucky!

    1. I have never seen dolphins in their natural habitat before, it was a beautiful experience.

  7. The Unconditional Surrender statue is on my bucket list. Beautiful photos. You managed to fit so much in to 48 hrs!

    1. We didn't stop, but all these attractions are within walking distance too, except for Balboa park, so it didn't feel rushed.

  8. I've been to LA and San Francisco, but never San Diego. It's looks an amazing place to go and not far from Mexico either x

  9. Oh my! Can I go now! This fills me with such wanderlust. One day I would love to explore California. The military ships would really make me quite giddy.

    1. I am sure you would love it there. Don't forget to check out the other stops on my road trip too.

  10. Looks fantastic :) Great Pictures X

  11. I haven't been to America... I'd love to go and explore like this! It's all looks cool!

  12. Love San Diego, you have added a few more places to my must see list. Thanks for linking to #outandabout