Saturday, August 15, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

5 Must See San Diego Destinations

The world’s too big to stay in one place and many of us have come to realize that. It has been a trend nowadays to check off your bucket list and discover the wonders this world has to offer. One of those beautiful places to visit is San Diego. It is one of the most interesting cities in the US, not only with its rich culture and colorful history but also the bright minds of its diverse people.

Maybe you are planning a “staycation” in San Diego or are visiting on a weekend getaway. Either way, there are quite a few places that some of us might not have discovered yet, some interesting places that could give us an experience of a lifetime and some places that are just simply underrated. Here are 5 must see destinations in San Diego on your next visit!

Aquatic Aviation LLC

California is one of the pioneers of advanced modern technology. It is home to many brilliant ideas and inventions. In San Diego, you will find an extraordinary facility that perfects the art of flyboarding or hoverboarding and would surely give you an experience you only thought possible on TV. As kids, most of us may not have known Ironman but now that he exists in our minds, who wouldn’t want to try to be him for a day? Aquatic Aviation offers a unique experience of defying gravity. Using water jet propulsion technology, you will rise up to 45 feet high or the height of a three story building!

Flyboarding or hoverboarding could be a once in a lifetime experience for most of us, especially those not local to the area. Aquatic Aviation offers training and programs for people who want to do this as a hobby, for sports, to make a living or to start a flyboarding or hoverboarding facility of their own. This experience is definitely not for the acrophobic!
Aquatic Aviation LLC
Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium is one of the many places we can visit in San Diego. 70% of our beloved planet is composed of water and we have barely scratched the surface of what types of plants and animals call this waterworld home. Birch Aquarium at Scripps has opened a small window for us to glimpse into the wonders of marine life. Sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Birch Aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fishes including endangered species like the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

The Kelp Forest is just one of the many things you can see at this amazing aquarium. It is a two story 70,000 gallon tank which features the California and San Diego Coastline. Also, the old Bubble Coral which is approximately 2 feet tall and 30 inches across is among sights you don’t want to miss. The feeling of seeing something that has existed maybe even before you did is just a worthwhile experience. The old and huge Bubble Coral has been with the aquarium for 27 years now. These sights are just a few of the many things Birch Aquarium has to offer.

Witnessing this diverse water world is a wonderful experience. At Birch Aquarium, we are able to see how some of the inhabitants of the other part of our planet live leaving us full of awe and at how truly amazing our little planet is.
Birch Aquarium
Balboa Park

The US is home to quite a large number of theme parks. Balboa Park is one of the theme parks in the United States located in San Diego, California. This is a place that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Be fascinated with the sights of the Botanical Gardens. Discover stories and knowledge of the past through its 17 museums. Enjoy several performing arts venues and many other recreational attractions. The famous 100-acre San Diego Zoo can also be found in Balboa Park. It is home to over 3,700 animals. Imagine the look on the kids’ faces while exploring the animal kingdom in San Diego.

Also, among the exciting attractions here is the Museum of Man. Have a blast from the past and take a peek of what it was like back then. They even have the ancient Egyptian exhibit which will always be one of the most grand and interesting parts of human history. Of course, don’t forget to climb up the California Tower for that breath-taking view of San Diego.

Balboa Park was originally called “City Park” and was a national historic landmark in San Diego. It is a perfect weekend getaway for the family as it just a few minutes from downtown. Balboa Park has been ranked as one of the best parks in the World so it’s definitely a must see on your next trip to San Diego.
Balboa Park
USS Midway Museum

The 20th century marked an important period in human history. The advancement of technology lead to chaotic times. In 1939 came World War II, lasting over 5 years and it was devastating. It is undeniable that the US played an important role in those times. San Diego, California has been a home to many historical artifacts from the war. When you visit San Diego, you will realize that it is a big military town where you will see bases in the city especially around the San Diego Bay. There you will find the USS Midway Museum. It is a maritime museum located in downtown San Diego. The USS Midway Museum is home to the once glorious USS Midway carrier who saved thousands of lives and made history during the war era.

USS Midway was the longest-serving aircraft carrier. She played an important role in the chaotic period of the 20th century and had hosted approximately 225,000 sailors. She had been a part of world history as she aided many countries all over the world, serving not only the US but its allies. In 1992, the USS Midway was decommissioned in San Diego and remained in Bremerton, Washington until 2003 when she was donated to the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. The USS Midway Museum opened in 2004.

When visiting the museum, you will get the chance to see 60 different exhibits and 29 restored aircrafts. You will experience a self-guided audio tour where you’ll be able to have a look at the crew’s sleeping quarters, engine room and the primary flight control room. The museum has a gift shop where you could buy unique gifts and souvenirs and they even have a café where you could grab a bite after the tour.
USS Midway Museum
Whaley House Museum

The Whaley House is a Greek revival building built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley, an early settler in San Diego, California. At first, he built this as a storeroom which later became a courthouse. The upper floor rooms were used as meeting rooms and as San Diego’s first commercial theatre. It was the first ever brick house in San Diego and the area where it was built is now known as Old Town. The Whaley family lived there until 1885 when they moved to New Town now known as Downtown San Diego.

People are drawn to the Whaley house not only because of its architectural reputation but also because it is known as the most haunted house in America or maybe the world! Some say that with one glance at the house, you can tell immediately there’s something odd and scary about it. After you learn about its dark history, it will give you more chills so it is best to read about it before actually visiting the place for you to be able to appreciate it.

It is said that the place was built in what was the public gallows where people were executed. One of the few who faced a tragic death was the controversial Yankee Jim Robinson who was hung in 1852, five years before Whaley House was built. It’s said that his feet were scraping the ground while he hung from the noose and it took almost an hour for him to actually die. The stairs of the Whaley house sit on the very spot where Yankee Jim Robinson was hung!

The Whaley House is now a museum. This is a place to visit not only for people who want to experience its dark past but to experience the unique classic mid-nineteenth century feel. It is one of southern California’s most popular tourist destinations with over 125 thousand visitors every year.
Whaley House Museum
The world is indeed too big to stay in one place and the idea of having to travel and discover amazing places is just exciting but sometimes, we don’t have to go far to appreciate the beauty and brilliance of things around us. San Diego, California is truly a place of both beauty and brilliance. Have a look around and you might just realize what you have been missing!

The author, Dane Kolbaba, is an owner at San Diego Party Ride, a luxury transportation company located in San Diego, California.


  1. Anthony
    December 7, 2017 - 1:09 am

    Without reading this article, I wouldn’t have ever thought about the Aquatic Aviation. Apparently, hoverboarding is an experience many would like to have, but not for those who can’t stand the sight of such scenario.

  2. Michelle Gibson
    December 7, 2017 - 9:39 am

    Hoverboarding looks like fun but a bit scary. With my sense of balance, I don’t think it’s something I should try. But I’m all for going to the aquarium and visiting historic landmarks and museums. I’ve read about Balboa Park before and it’s really a beautiful place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. San Diego has a lot to offer to tourists. I really hope to visit it one day.

  3. Rachael Mills
    December 8, 2017 - 1:32 am

    I would really like to have an experience of Hoverboarding, though I’m just getting to know about it through this article. Though it seems scary it will be an awesome experience provided it is cost friendly.

  4. Chris
    December 8, 2017 - 2:30 pm

    We were planning on visiting San Diego to visit some close friends who recently moved there but we had no clue what to expect. We’ve already booked a nice apartment through Airbnb so all I have to do now is to find cool spots to keep our toddler entertained. Thanks for the tips!


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