San Diego is known for so many attractions–the sun, the sand, the world famous zoo, to name a few. Last summer we went to San Diego for a couple of days and had a lot of fun. What sorts of things can you do in San Diego with a toddler? Here are some of our favorites.
The main reason for our trip was a friend’s wedding reception, so we picked a couple of activities we could fit around that. We ended up going to the New Children’s Museum and a Padres game.
Note: There are two big attractions San Diego is known for that are geared toward families: the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. We’ve got a couple of good zoos where we live, so going to the zoo wasn’t a high priority on our trip to San Diego. That being said, I do hope we make it there on our next trip. The San Diego Zoo is home to numerous endangered animals, the likes of which I may never have the chance to see again… anywhere… on earth. As for Sea World, while a visit to Sea World might be fun, it’s just not that high on our list of things to do.
Flying Lad had a great time at this place. We managed to go later in the day when tickets were heavily discounted. I’m not sure if they still offer this, so check before you go. When we got there, it was late on a weekday so there was tons of room to roam around. They had giant, soft climbing structures, bounce houses, giant areas to make different types of bubbles, everything a tiny person needs! It also seemed that there was a camp going on and at the end of the day, they put on a performance for their parents who were coming to pick them up. Sort of like a drum corps routine – it was very impressive and Flying Lad loved it.
We’re big baseball fans, so whenever we visit a new city, we like to head to the ballpark to catch a game. We stayed at the Manchester Grand Hyatt and Petco Park was a 15 minute walk from the hotel–very convenient! We scored great seats at a great price buying our tickets on StubHub (again). We enjoyed some yummy barbecue from Phil’s BBQ.
Oh yeah. You know that song “It never rains in Southern California“? Not true! I couldn’t believe it. We got 4 1/2 innings of baseball in before the game got rained out. And we got DRENCHED walking back to the hotel. And I mean DRENCHED!
Speaking of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, I really enjoyed staying downtown. It was walking distance to a lot of good restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter and while it wasn’t close to the beaches, we took a nice long walk along the waterfront and visited the Seaport Village. Seaport Village is a nice little stroll with a handful of shops and restaurants to amuse yourself and your toddler with. By the way, at the end there’s the Embarcadero Marina Park South, where the San Diego Symphony plays its summer pops concert series. You need a ticket to go into the concert, but I could hear Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy just fine sitting on the steps of the convention center. Back to the hotel. The hotel itself is very nice, big, and family friendly. They’ve got a great rooftop pool area as well as a play area with games for youngsters to enjoy. They also have fire pits where families can roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Also, close by is Kansas City BBQ where they filmed a scene for Top Gun! (RIP Goose)
On a previous trip, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay which is quite a ways from the downtown area, and really seems to mostly exist for families who are going to SeaWorld. That being said, this location has quite the mini waterpark going on with several slides and splash areas. It’s also very busy, and very loud.
If you feel like walking a LOT from this location you can get to some nice waterside parks for picnics, and walk even further to get to Belmont Park, which looks like fun. Just not for a toddler. But close by there is a great grilled cheese place called Cheesy Express that is great for a toddler (and a mommy and daddy).
We didn’t have/rent a car, so we were somewhat limited to going places we could get to by cab or walking. Having a car is helpful if you plan to venture out, say to Coronado or La Jolla.
On the way out of town, we stopped by Sovereign, or at least the Food Shop next door to get some Banh Mi’s. This was a great little stop with some great food. I can only imagine how good the main restaurant must be, run by a Michelin starred chef! While we were there Flying Lad took a moment to introduce himself to a new friend
As you can see, we barely scratched the surface on our visit, so we can’t wait to go back! Do you have any tips for trips to San Diego with a toddler? Maybe we’ll check them out!