Historical Landmarks in San Diego


San Diego has something for everybody and is a perfect place to vacation, whether you want to watch a baseball game or spend the day at the beach. It can be difficult to fit everything into a single vacation because there is so much to do and see. Rather than trying to see anything, make sure to include these 7 San Diego landmarks on your itinerary for an unforgettable holiday. 

1. San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park

When visiting San Diego, you must visit the San Diego Zoo. It’s a rite of passage to visit this legendary attraction, which is ranked as one of the best zoos in the world. The San Diego Zoo is home to over 3,700 rare and endangered species, ranging from monkeys swinging from branch to branch to towering giraffes and trumpeting elephants. Did you know the zoo is also a botanical garden with over 700,000 different plant species?

Make use of the Bus Tour. The tour department departs every half hour and offers one of the most comprehensive zoo tours. It’s an excellent way to see as many animals as possible in a single day.

Another must-see attraction is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The 1,800-acre park offers tourists a one-of-a-kind safari experience. You’re guaranteed to have a wild time at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, between the behind-the-scenes tours and seeing animals in their natural habitats.

Arrive as early as possible to secure a fantastic parking spot to see the animals in action. The majority of the animals rest in the afternoon.

2. Cabrillo National Monument

The Cabrillo National Monument, like the other San Diego landmarks on our list, has its own story to tell. The historical monument honors Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who arrived in San Diego Bay in September 1542. When Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered the field, he named it “San Miguel.” It wasn’t until sixty years later that explorer Sebastian Vizcaino called the place “San Diego.”


3. USS Midway Museum

Climb aboard the USS Midway, an actual United States Navy aircraft carrier, for an educational experience you won’t soon forget. The museum has something for all, with 60+ displays, self-guided tours, 29 restored aircrafts, and breathtaking ocean views.

The USS Midway, one of San Diego’s most historic attractions, allows tourists to hear stories from Desert Storm pilots and experience life onboard the famous vessel. Daredevils can even “jet off” into the sky in a flight simulator!

By buying your USS Midway Museum tickets in advance, you can avoid long queues and spend more time inside the aircraft carrier.

4. Balboa Park

Did you know that Balboa Park is regarded as one of the best in the world? There are 15 museums, performing arts venues, botanical gardens, cultural and leisure attractions, and the San Diego Zoo in the park.

Balboa Park has over a thousand acres to explore, so you might spend the majority of your San Diego vacation there and never get bored! As the nation’s largest urban cultural park, it’s easy to see why Balboa Park made our list of must-see San Diego attractions.

5. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Hundreds of spectacular national and state parks can be found in California. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of 16 parks designated as reserves. This means that everything in the reserve is exactly as it was prior to the construction of the entire city of San Diego. From the tranquil paths to the breathtaking beaches, this natural reserve is one of San Diego’s hidden gems.

Follow all of the rules established by the CA State Park System while visiting Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The reserve’s aim is to protect the park from waste and damage when tourists visit.

6. Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is SD’s entertainment district, located in the center of the historic city. With 16.5 blocks of Victorian architecture and tales from San Diego’s history, you have everything you need for a fantastic vacation right at your fingertips.

As a consequence, the following can be found in the well-known neighborhood:

  • Theaters, Art Galleries, and Award-Winning Restaurants
  • Bars and Live Music
  • Attractions and Museums
  • Shopping at its Best
  • Hotels and lodging of the highest caliber

We guarantee you’ll enjoy Gaslamp Quarter, particularly since it’s one of San Diego’s most famous landmarks!

7. Old Town San Diego

Visit Historic Old Town San Diego, known as the birthplace of California. The State of California Department of Parks and Recreation founded Old Town in 1968, preserving the area’s rich history. You can learn about San Diego’s history, visit local shops, or attend a festival in the neighborhood.

It’s no surprise that a neighborhood with so much tradition and fun made the list of top San Diego landmarks.