SeaWorld visitors interact with killer whales through the glass.
10 things to do in San Diego in 2022
San Diego’s natural beauty, recreational offerings and endless entertainment opportunities make it a perfect place for Arizonans to visit. A hop-skip-and-jump flight or a doable day’s drive make this seaside destination a welcome reprieve from desert life. Whether it’s to escape the scorching summer sun in favor of beaches and breezes, a quick romantic weekend getaway in early spring or an extended family adventure at Birch Aquarium and Sea World, San Diego simply doesn’t disappoint. And, in addition to its tried-and-true locales, several new experiences and activities are arriving in the spring and summer for travelers of all ages to enjoy. Take a look at 10 things to do in San Diego in 2022.
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1. Liberty Station. Seattle has Pike’s Place Market; Philadelphia has the Reading Terminal Market and San Diego has Liberty Station. A former Naval Training Center, Liberty Station compliments many of the nation’s popular indoor/outdoor recreational and entertainment markets. Unique to Liberty Station — in addition to dining and shopping options — is an entire Arts District, where visitors get a firsthand look at the work of in-residence artists — from paint and easel creations to performance-based art. You could spend a full day at Liberty Station and still not see and enjoy all there is to offer.
2. Sesame Place. “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?” If you know the song, you’ll probably want to add Sesame Place to your San Diego visit itinerary. A generation of Sesame Street O.G.’s can relish in the nostalgia invoked by Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster and friends. New generations can experience the charm that is Sesame Street. And together, old and new generations can partake in seven Sesame Street-themed rides, 11 water attractions (including one of the largest wave pools in Southern California), daily parades, shopping and more!
3. Little Italy. Encompassing 48-blocks, Little Italy feels like its own contained slice of Southern Europe, with endless eateries and entertainment, including a newer addition — “Little Italy Food Hall,” a 10,000-square-foot open-air piazza. But Little Italy serves up more than Italian cuisine. Folks love five-star favorites like the Mediterranean-influenced Herb & Wood. Plus, after filling your belly, you can enjoy monthly events such as live music and comedy night.
4. Michelin Star restaurants. Speaking of food, San Diego never disappoints in this department. Gastronomy gurus and laymen alike won’t want to miss a Michelin dining experience. To earn a Michelin star (on a one to three-star scale) means a restaurant has achieved a crème de la crème distinction. Among San Diego’s elite Michelin options are the Addison, serving a rotating seasonal-based menu; Jeune et Jolie, featuring French cuisine; and Soichi, showcasing Japanese fare (visit the SanDiego.org blog for a full list of Michelin Star restaurants).
5. Barrio Logan. If you are a lover of art, cultural diversity and outright awesomeness, Barrio Logan is a must-stop on your San Diego itinerary. Tucked beneath a collection of freeway overpasses amidst Chicano Park’s 70 lively, historic murals, Barrio Logan entices the senses with flavorful, iconic Mexican music and food (be sure to check out the infamous homemade tortillas of Las Cuatro Milpas — the line is worth it). Chicano park features several seasonal events, including the popular annual April “Chicano Park Day,” with a multitude of art and vendors on display.
6. San Diego Zoo. It’s a treasure trove of animals from around the world. In addition to various wildlife exhibits, activities abound at the San Diego Zoo including Wildlife Care Specialist Talks, Botanical Tours and add-ons (for an extra fee) such as the Early Morning Cheetah and Exclusive VIP experiences (where you can receive a personal, guided tour of the zoo). In March, the zoo debuts its Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, where visitors can interact and play amongst desert, rainforest and other habitats while learning all about the importance of wildlife conservation.
7. Birch Aquarium at Scripps. If seeing baby seahorses is on your bucket list, or you’ve been clamoring for a look at a leopard shark, Birch Aquarium beckons you. But those aren’t the only sea creatures you’ll glimpse. In addition to a plethora of sea life exhibits, Birch Aquarium offers “behind-the-scenes” tours (that’s where you can see baby seahorses), interactive elements such as tide pools and — coming soon — The Beyester Family Little Blue Penguin habitat (summer 2022).
8. LEGOLAND. For LEGO enthusiasts or fans of the LEGO movie franchise, LEGOLAND is a must visit. There are ample opportunities for master builders to perfect their craft, rides the whole family will enjoy, and plenty of shows, activities and additional attractions to check out. Among newer additions, LEGOLAND has added THE LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD with new rides, attractions, restaurants and shops. And, in March 2022, the park debuts the Ferrari Experience, showcasing a lifesize LEGO Ferrari F40, in which participants get to test and race their very own LEGO Ferrari.
9. Sea World. If you can’t get enough of San Diego’s sea-life samplings, Sea World is eager to please. Whales, walruses, seals and eels are a small collection of aquatic animals in residence. And, if you’re looking for added entertainment, the park provides an ongoing live orca encounter show (warning: you may get wet!). Thrill-seekers have a number of rides and roller coasters from which to choose, including the Emperor roller-coaster making its debut in March 2022.
10. San Diego speakeasies. After a day full of activity (maybe from partaking in one of the experiences above), what better way to wind down than with a signature cocktail from one of San Diego’s speakeasies. Realm of 52 Remedies, Young Blood, Raised by Wolf, False Idol and Noble Experiment, are a few notable hotspots — several of which will have you in awe of their entertaining atmosphere (such as False Idol’s Tiki-themed bar).