Airport & Surrounding Neighborhoods

With plenty of nearby attractions, restaurants, and breweries, the San Diego International Airport area serves as a hub for some great vacation destinations.
Airport & Surrounding Area
Overview
Go Pass & Save
The Neighborhood
Famous For
Breweries
Balboa Park
Parks
Sidewalk Cafés
Gaslamp Quarter
SeaWorld San Diego
Walkable
Stay Nearby

Exploring the Airport and the Area Nearby

If you’re flying into San Diego, chances are the San Diego International Airport (SAN) is going to be the first and last thing you see during your trip. Many people only think of the airport as a way to get from point A to point B, but if you stop and take a look around the area you’ll find that there’s much more to do here than you might have imagined!

The airport and its surrounding area include the airport itself, Liberty Station, and Midway, with Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter close enough to visit as well. It spans over 600 acres and occupies the area previously known as Lindbergh Field.

Like much of Southern California, the weather here is typically sunny. It’s not far from the San Diego Bay, but far enough inland that it’s sheltered from the worst of the seaside winds. This means clear skies can really raise the temperature, so dress with the weather in mind.

If you’re looking for a first stop on your trip or a way to pass the time while you wait for your flight, there are plenty of options.

You can enjoy a light brunch at one of the many sidewalk cafés, or drink and relax at a brewery. Head to one of the smaller parks just across the street, or visit Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, both of which are filled with museums and other attractions. SeaWorld San Diego is also in the area if you’re looking to get up close and personal with marine life.

FUN with Go Pass!

Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass
Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass
Enjoy a day of FUN with your All-Inclusive Go Pass! Belmont Park is a beachfront amusement park with thrilling roller coasters, games and activities! You can also jump on the zip line or play mini-golf. Don't forget to peep the view!
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Local Tips
Who can use a Go San Diego Pass?

Adults and children (ages 3 to 12) can use the Go San Diego Pass – All-Inclusive, Explorer or Build Your Own - to visit the area’s top attractions and activities.

Navigating the Airport and Surrounding Areas

The San Diego International Airport is right next to Downtown San Diego, with the main entrance gate just an eight-minute drive away. This means you won’t have to travel far to enjoy everything Downtown and other notable neighborhoods have to offer.

Looking to get your bearings in the area shortly after arriving? Consider the Half-Day San Diego City Sightseeing Tour, which serves as a great introduction to all the landmarks and fun things to do here. You also can’t go wrong with the Museum of Contemporary Art in the downtown area.

Planning on hitting the park and museums or taking a tour? You’ll want to grab a Go San Diego pass before your trip to save on admission prices. By using our link to purchase the pass you can even get an added exclusive discount!

If you’re looking to stay at a nearby hotel, try the waterfront Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island Resort, which is right along the bay. It’s a great family-friendly option with its own restaurant, the Panorama Bar and Grill, and free WiFi in the lobby and rooms. The hotel is also pet-friendly.

For other great places to stay that won’t leave you fending off jet lag for long, check out our picks for the Best Hotels Near the San Diego International Airport.

Popular Activities

San Diego Harbor Cruise
San Diego Harbor Cruise
$28 per person
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GoCar: Downtown & Gaslamp Loop
GoCar: Downtown & Gaslamp Loop
$34 per person
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The San Diego History Center
The San Diego History Center
Discounts Available
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The San Diego Maritime Museum
The San Diego Maritime Museum
Discounts Available
Learn More

Notable Venues and Attractions

Basketball Courts
Basketball Courts
Belmont Park
Belmont Park
Biking
Biking
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Jetskiing
Jetskiing
Kayaking
Kayaking
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Petco Park
Petco Park
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Sailing
Sailing
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo

There’s so much more to do at and around the airport than just board planes. Check out nearby neighborhoods like the Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park, head to SeaWorld San Diego for some family-friendly fun, or stay close to the airport and enjoy the selection of breweries, sidewalk cafés, and parks.

Breweries

San Diego has a huge brewery scene, and the area around the airport is no exception. Try out all sorts of seasonal and staple craft beers. Some pubs are even conveniently located inside the airport, so you never have to go far to get a taste of authentic SoCal hops.

Outside Stone Brewery at Liberty Station
Break away from the crowds and visit the quieter side of San Diego in Liberty Station. Witness the astounding up-close view of the nearby Cabrillo National Monument. Or enjoy the exquisite California sunshine while shooting some hoops. Walk to several breweries, cafés, unique shopping boutiques and beautiful local parks at this former Naval Training Center.
Pechanga Arena in Midway
Midway is centrally located near popular attractions! Enjoy rides at Belmont Park, and wildlife at the San Diego Zoo & SeaWorld. Spend a day on the water jet skiing, kayaking, and sailing or visit nearby Old Town, PETCO Park and the Cabrillo National Monument. Patronize a local brewery or café.
Airplane Taking off from San Diego International Airport
Visiting the world-famous San Diego Zoo, or SeaWorld? San Diego International Airport (SAN) is your destination airport. It’s near Balboa Park, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Whether you want tourist activities, are visiting for a convention or quick family getaway, SAN will put you directly in the middle of it all!

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a free 1,200-acre park in the heart of the downtown area with plenty of walking trails and space for picnicking. In addition to the eye-catching flora throughout the park, it houses botanical gardens, the San Diego Zoo, and over a dozen unique and captivating museums.

Airplane Taking off from San Diego International Airport
Visiting the world-famous San Diego Zoo, or SeaWorld? San Diego International Airport (SAN) is your destination airport. It’s near Balboa Park, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Whether you want tourist activities, are visiting for a convention or quick family getaway, SAN will put you directly in the middle of it all!

Parks

Stretch your legs after a long flight by taking a walk through one of the nearby parks. The Spanish Landing Park is just across the street, offering a stunning view of the ocean whether it’s your first stop or your final one. Beeson Field and Liberty Station are also nearby.

Outside Stone Brewery at Liberty Station
Break away from the crowds and visit the quieter side of San Diego in Liberty Station. Witness the astounding up-close view of the nearby Cabrillo National Monument. Or enjoy the exquisite California sunshine while shooting some hoops. Walk to several breweries, cafés, unique shopping boutiques and beautiful local parks at this former Naval Training Center.

Sidewalk Cafés

The sidewalk cafés near the airport are the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing lunch and immerse yourself in the San Diego atmosphere. They offer light fare and local cuisine with options for even the most discerning of palettes. Most cafés also serve beer and cocktails alongside entrées and snacks.

Outside Stone Brewery at Liberty Station
Break away from the crowds and visit the quieter side of San Diego in Liberty Station. Witness the astounding up-close view of the nearby Cabrillo National Monument. Or enjoy the exquisite California sunshine while shooting some hoops. Walk to several breweries, cafés, unique shopping boutiques and beautiful local parks at this former Naval Training Center.

Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is a historic district commemorating San Diego’s earliest days. Located on grounds that once made up New Town, much of the architecture in the area dates back to the mid-1800s. Check out the museums or visit the clubs, lounges, and restaurants of a bustling nightlife scene.

Airplane Taking off from San Diego International Airport
Visiting the world-famous San Diego Zoo, or SeaWorld? San Diego International Airport (SAN) is your destination airport. It’s near Balboa Park, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Whether you want tourist activities, are visiting for a convention or quick family getaway, SAN will put you directly in the middle of it all!

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is a great way to beat the heat. The water park and amusement park rides are fun for all ages, as are the marine life exhibits. Catch a dolphin show, watch a feeding demonstration, or sign up for a backstage tour, all while learning about amazing marine animals.

Pechanga Arena in Midway
Midway is centrally located near popular attractions! Enjoy rides at Belmont Park, and wildlife at the San Diego Zoo & SeaWorld. Spend a day on the water jet skiing, kayaking, and sailing or visit nearby Old Town, PETCO Park and the Cabrillo National Monument. Patronize a local brewery or café.

Walkable

Worried about catching a taxi around Liberty Station? Just walk instead! The area around the Liberty Station & the airport is very walkable, with few uphill climbs and most hotels well within walking distance. Even Downtown and its many attractions are just a few minutes away, so you can skip the traffic.

Outside Stone Brewery at Liberty Station
Break away from the crowds and visit the quieter side of San Diego in Liberty Station. Witness the astounding up-close view of the nearby Cabrillo National Monument. Or enjoy the exquisite California sunshine while shooting some hoops. Walk to several breweries, cafés, unique shopping boutiques and beautiful local parks at this former Naval Training Center.

Featured Activity

Kids next to gorilla statue at the San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Spend the day at the iconic San Diego Zoo! Featuring over 3,500 animals and 650 species, this zoo is the heart of Balboa Park. There are multiple exhibits & experiences for all ages to learn about animals and their habitats.
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Airport & Surrounding Neighborhoods
are Known For:
Balboa Park
Balboa Park
Breweries
Breweries
Gaslamp Quarter
Gaslamp Quarter
Parks
Parks
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
This Month's Forecast
66℉ / 82℉
Sunny in September
Oct
61℉ / 81℉
Sunny in October
Nov
53℉ / 75℉
Sunny in November
Dec
48℉ / 69℉
Sunny in December

Stay Nearby

TownePlace Suites by Marriott San Diego Airport
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TownePlace Suites by Marriott San Diego Airport
from $143 / night
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Kona Kai Resort & Spa
Family Friendly
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Kona Kai Resort & Spa
from $189 / night
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Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites
Family Friendly
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Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites
from $159 / night
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The Pearl Hotel
Family Friendly
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The Pearl Hotel
from $129 / night
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