This post contains everything about things to do in San Diego alone.
Check out our other local guides:
1. Explore Balboa Park
It wouldn’t be a list of fun things to do in San Diego alone without mentioning Balboa Park. Every single one of my San Diego guides mentions Balboa Park. That’s because it is a centerpiece of San Diego. There are so many activities going on in the park. Take a stroll to explore the Spreckles Organ, The Japanese Friendship Garden, or the Old Globe Theater.
2. Relax at Sunset Cliffs
Located along the coastline, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a haven for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty. Take your time to explore the intricate network of trails that wind along the cliffs, offering breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean.
If you didn’t know already, there is actually a way to get on the beach at Sunset Cliffs. This may be a local-only known secret! Search for the stairs that go down to the water.
3, Surfing at Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach is one of the surfing hot spots in San Diego. This is where you will find all of the local’s favorite surf spots.
Pacific Beach is wide with mild waves that break farther out from the shore making it a great place to try and learn. Just be sure you’re aware of your surroundings and other people also trying to enjoy the waves.
4. Hike Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines Natural State Reserve is beautiful and usually not super crowded especially if you go early in the morning. Hiking is a great solo activity to get some exercise and enjoy San Diego’s coastline.
Enjoy panoramic views of Southern California’s rocky coastline as you hike to the top of the bluffs. If you go early enough, there is plenty of free street parking.
5. Visit the Birch Aquarium
The Birch Aquarium is the only aquarium located in San Diego (we are not including SeaWorld for many obvious reasons). Explore and learn about ocean wildlife as you mosey your way through the museum. Afterwards, you can enjoy a cup of coffee from PinPoint Cafe located just up the hill.
Look into going to the Birch Aquarium at night! When the aquarium is open at night, it’s for adults only and they offer other types of activities!
6. Stroll through Old Town
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a time capsule that transports you back to California’s early days. Old Town was established as the heart of San Diego way back when settlers first arrived. It’s since moved slightly further South, but all of the history still remains.
Stroll through Old Town and take your time browsing the shops and boutiques. There are many restaurants to choose from all offering delicious cuisine. Try searching for the hidden speakeasy Occulto 477.
7. Bike the Mission Bay Boardwalk
Mission Bay’s boardwalk has so much going on. During the summertime, this is where you can find all the hustle and bustle of tourists enjoying the outdoors right next to the ocean. There are plenty of bike rental shops where you can pick up a beach cruiser and go for a relaxing ride.
8. Discover La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is unique in that it hosts tons of wildlife even though it is busy with human traffic. Recently, parts of the cove have been closed for the next seven years to protect the wildlife such as the sea lions. Remember to be respectful to nature and wildlife and practice leaving no trace!
9. Take a Harbor Tour
What better way to enjoy the San Diego city skyline than on a boat? This is one of our favorite things to do in San Diego solo. There are a multitude of harbor cruises to try. Whether you’re looking for something laid back during the day, or something in the evening we’ve provided links to the companies that offer this option.
10. Visit the USS Midway
The USS Midway is one of my favorite spots in the city! I am such a fiend for history. Visiting the USS Midway is an easy activity you can do solo in San Diego. Enjoy our country’s history as you peruse the multiple decks and levels of the ship learning about what life was like on deployment.
11. Art Gallery Hop
Pretty much all of Southern California is known for its investment in art. San Diego is a huge art-centric city. There are multiple museums and galleries located throughout the county. Here are a few art galleries to check out if you’re looking for things to do in San Diego alone.
12. Balboa Park Botanical Building
The Balboa Park Botanical Building is like a pop-up tropical oasis in the middle of a desert. You will feel transported once you step inside and take in the feeling of being surrounded by tropical plant species.
Currently, the Balboa Park Botanical Building is closed for construction. They basically ripped the whole thing apart to rebuild it and restore it back to its former glory. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the lily pond, however!
13. Enjoy Wine Tasting in Temecula
Temecula Valley is only about an hour’s drive away, maximum. You don’t have to go all the way to the central or northern coast to enjoy beautiful vineyards because they exist pretty much everywhere in the state of California including around San Diego.
If you’re looking for things to do in San Diego alone, you should definitely put wine tasting on the list. Don’t forget to explore Old Town Temecula if you decide to make the trip all the way there.
14. Attend a Yoga Class on the Beach
Whether you do yoga regularly or not, yoga on the beach is a zen experience you shouldn’t miss out on. San Diegan’s take health and wellness seriously which is why you can always find a FREE yoga class to go to! That’s right you don’t have to pay an entrance fee. Donations are usually an option if you want to pay back those who help build a better, healthier community.
15. Explore the Gaslamp Quarter
The Historic Gaslamp Quarter is where all the nightlife pops off. During the weekend days, certain streets are closed off to cars making it a great place to walk around and peruse. You will see the farmers market with so many different booths to check out.
If you like to go out to bars and clubs, then Gaslamp is the place to go when the sun sets.
16. Picnic at Kate Sessions Park
Kate Sessions Park is a popular place where a lot of the locals go to hang out on a nice day. Pack yourself some snacks and throw down a blanket while you relax and bask in the beautiful weather that San Diego is known for. Bring a book for some light reading, or just take a little nap!
17. Take a Scenic Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as California State Route 1, offers one of the most breathtaking coastal drives in California. If you’ve never driven a portion of PCH, then you must!
18. Learn to Sail
Don’t miss an opportunity like this since you will be vacationing right by the water. Check Groupon to see what types of discounts and deals are available. I think one of the coolest things that is offered as far as sailing in San Diego goes is sailing on the San Salvador. You can see this huge 1500s-style ship docked outside of the Maritime Museum, and yes, they do teach you how to sail it!
19. Visit the San Diego Museum of Art
Once again another art option when it comes to things to do in San Diego alone. The San Diego Museum of art is located in Balboa Park and since you will probably be visiting there anyway, you might as well make the most of the museums located in the park as well.
20. Experience the San Diego Symphony
I think one thing a lot of people forget to look into is the live music scene in San Diego. Many people come for the beach, the weather, the breweries, etc., but they tend to forget that there are several theaters located around San Diego offering live music like the symphony. The symphony is a great solo activity to do in San Diego because you can’t talk through the show anyway!
21. Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Get yourself out on the water for some exercise by going standup paddleboarding. Head to Mission Beach early in the morning to grab a paddle board from one of the many rental shops. There are frequently good deals on Groupon for paddleboards if you’re looking for something budget-friendly to do in San Diego alone.
22. Take a Brewery Tour
When you think of craft beer, San Diego should be one of the first places that come to mind. For some reason, craft brewing exploded in this city making it a wonderful place to brewery hop and try things you’ve never tried before.
23. Watch a Sunset at Ocean Beach Pier
Ocean Beach Pier is a beloved spot to witness the breathtaking beauty of a San Diego sunset. As a solo traveler, you can soak in the awe-inspiring spectacle of the sun setting over the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Find a comfortable spot along the pier, whether on the wooden benches or at the end of the pier itself and prepare to be captivated by the changing hues of the sky.
24. Explore Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
If you are traveling to San Diego alone from out of state, you need to take advantage of the location you’re in. California is one of those crazy geographical places where you can be in the desert, the mountains, and at the beach all within the same day!
Anza Borrego is where you will want to go if you’re interested in seeing the ever-so-often super bloom that happens in the Spring after a year with good rainfall.
25. Attend a Padres Game
Experience the excitement of Major League Baseball by attending a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park. Petco Park is unlike any of the usual baseball stadiums you may have been to. The park offers a lot more high-quality food and drink options.
Petco Park’s unique design offers stunning views of the city skyline and a comfortable setting for watching the game. If you’re not a Padres fan, maybe they will be playing your team anyway!
26. Book a Spa Day
If you are looking for things to do in San Diego alone and you’re a solo traveler, then you should book a spa day. It isn’t a vacation or even a staycation without some rest and relaxation. The spa is one place you really don’t need anyone else to go with in order to relax and have a good time.
27. Learn to Cook Mexican Cuisine
Because San Diego is so close to the Mexico border, there is so much Mexican influence and culture. There is no shortage of delicious Mexican cuisine. By taking a Mexican Cusisine cooking class you can further immerse yourself in the culture.
28. Visit the Japanese Friendship Garden
Nestled within Balboa Park there is the Japanese Friendship Garden. There is a $14 fee, but it’s definitely worth the price. Explore the garden and enjoy the Bosai and Koi Ponds in this tranquil little park of Balboa Park.
29. Read at Geisel Library
Discover a haven for book lovers at the iconic Geisel Library, located at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). As a solo visitor, you can explore this architectural masterpiece designed by famed architect William Pereira. Recently ranked a #4 top public university, UCSD has a beautiful campus to explore.
30. Go Horseback Riding on the Beach
If you are someone who loves animals and wants to have a unique trip in San Diego alone, consider going horseback riding! There aren’t many places you can go horseback riding on the beach, so you should take advantage of the opportunity when it is present!
31. Hike to Potato Chip Rock
Potato Chip Rock is super famous for the way it juts out over a cliffside. We have many tips you should follow if you are planning to make the trek there. First of all, it’s actually a really hard hike! Make sure you wear proper shoes and gear and bring lots of water. Avoid going during the summertime or the hottest times of the day.
Make sure you go early! Because of this hike’s popularity, you could be waiting in line to take a photo on the potato chip.
32. Tour the Whaley House
If you’re really into all things spooky and paranormal, then a tour of the Whaley House must be in order. This is supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in all of San Diego with many guests reporting seeing, hearing, and FEELING things happening to them. What better way to be creeped out if you’re looking for things to do in San Diego alone than to visit one of San Diego’s most haunted historic sites alone?
We already said it, but everyone in Southern California loves the art scene. What better way to remember your trip alone to San Diego than to take photos at a photography workshop? Not only are you creating a forever memory, but you can meet other people interested in photography as well.
34. Take a Day Trip to Julian
Julian is only about an hour away from San Diego, but it feels like you’re somewhere entirely different. This cute mountain town is surrounded by pine trees. There is tons to do as far as hiking goes. Explore the quaint downtown area and don’t forget to grab a slice of pie or go apple picking.
The Old Globe Theater has shows almost every day all year round. From plays to cabarets there is something for everyone. If you are someone who enjoys a live performance, then we definitely recommend looking into seeing what’s playing when you decide to visit. The Old Globe theater is also conveniently located in Balboa Park!