Surely, there must be more things to do in San Diego than in most cities of a similar size. Perhaps it is because of the near perfect weather that is enjoyed by San Diego that people often want to get out and do things around the city and its region.
San Diego boasts far too many outdoor activities, museums, team sports, water sports, boating, golf, restaurants, shopping, beaches, gardens, amusement parks, clubs, and much more, to list here. Almost any interest will be catered for somewhere in San Diego, or in La Jolla or other places near the city. But there are several very popular and internationally renown attractions that almost all visitors to San Diego will want to include in their itinerary. They are the "anchor" attractions. Many people visit San Diego mainly drawn by these attractions.
The first is the San Diego Zoo, which has an exceptionally varied world class collection of animals on display, including the very popular and rare panda bears. The animals are housed in some of the best laid out enclosures of any zoo, within the limitations of the compromises that have to be made between a natural setting and access for viewing. The setting makes for a very pleasant entertaining and educational visit, requiring most of a day to do it justice. There are plenty of reasons to visit regularly, especially as a family outing, not just because events and features change, but also because the animals are always fascinating to watch. The San Diego Wildlife Park is a separate safari-like zoo that is a similarly themed and popular San Diego attraction.
The second major tourist draw card to San Diego is San Diego Seaworld. The unique collection of marine creatures and show performances, especially by the orca whales, have made Seaworld internationally famous. The educational value of being able to get up close to rarely seen marine mammals fish and birds, especially the dolphins, is highly valued by visitors. San Diego Seaworld has developed into a substantial entertainment park worth setting aside at least a day in a visitor's itinerary.
Continuing the marine theme, San Diego is well endowed with beaches and boating facilities, maritime museums, harbor trips, whale watching trips, La Jolla cave visits and many other maritime related activities. While there is no one dominant attraction to point to, as a group, San Diego's links to the sea attract a great deal of visitor and local interest. San Diego is also a major base for the US Navy.
A fourth major attraction of San Diego is its link to early Californian history and nearby Mexico and Mexican culture, which give San Diego a unique "flavor" that further distinguishes it from other large cities. The Old Town area has preserved the past, and Tijuana in Mexico is just a day trip away.
This focus on the bigger and most well known San Diego attractions overlooks the numerous other exciting things to do in San Diego that make this such a wonderful place to live and to visit on vacation.