Downtown San Diego

With unbeatable nightlife, plenty of breweries and cafés, and countless opportunities for fun, you’ll never find yourself bored in Downtown San Diego.
Downtown San Diego
Overview
Go Pass & Save
The Neighborhood
Famous For
Sidewalk Cafés
Breweries
Baseball
Nightlife
USS Midway
Cruise Ship Terminal
Taco Shops
Parks
Stay Nearby

See the Sights in the Heart of San Diego

Downtown is the cultural hub of San Diego, and it’s where you can best get a feel for the heartbeat of the city. Between lively attractions, educational and engaging museums, and all the trappings of a bustling city, you’re sure to find no shortage of eye-catching things to see and do here.

This is an especially large area that encompasses many sections of the city, each with their own unique feel. There’s the coastal Harborview and the Embarcadero alongside the bay, the historic Gaslamp Quarter, lively East Village, the artistic and industrial hub of Barrio Logan, the business district of Core-Columbia, and Little Italy which draws heavily from its cultural heritage. The wide array of neighborhoods only showcase how Downtown is a blend of the different ideas, experiences, and local customs of its residents.

The areas closest to the bay like Embarcadero and Harborview tend to get a little chillier than the more inland zones thanks to the colder coastal winds, but on sunny days this becomes a refreshing breeze. While expansive, this part of the city is easy to traverse with flat ground and sidewalks almost everywhere.

In addition to the many attractions scattered throughout Downtown, there are many historic landmarks that make for great photo opportunities. These include the Balboa Theater, Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse, and one of San Diego’s earlier skyscrapers, the 14-story Centre City Building.

Whale watchers save big!

Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises
Whale Watching Cruise
Bring your binoculars because your All-Inclusive Go Pass includes a Hornblower Cruise for whale watching! Look out for sea lions, dolphins and a variety of sea birds too. You'll love this four hour cruise out in the stunning Pacific Ocean!
Buy Now
Local Tips
What is a Go San Diego Pass?

The Go San Diego Pass allows visitors to experience more attractions while simultaneously saving money.

With the pass, you can visit San Diego’s top attractions like the San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND, all while saving up to 55% off on admissions. Plus, the pass gives you the ability to skip the line when visiting select attractions.

Downtown’s Location

Downtown is conveniently located within a few minutes' drive of most points of interest in San Diego. It's just a five-minute drive southeast of the San Diego International Airport, with public transportation options including the city bus and trolley services so you can forgo the hassle of parking.

There’s an attraction for everyone here. If you’re a craft beer or wine enthusiast, try the California Sunset Brewery Tour complete with tastings and lunch. Get a feel for local culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art, or spring for the Half-Day San Diego City Sightseeing Tour.

If all of these attractions sound appealing to you, you won’t want to miss out on the Go San Diego pass, which offers discounted rates on admission prices and beach gear rentals for the nearby coastline. Purchase the Go San Diego pass via our website to cut down on the cost of the pass even further with our exclusive discount!

Want to stay overnight in the area? Book a room at The Bristol Hotel, which is a boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown. With stylish rooms and its close proximity to the Gaslamp Quarter, it’s a great choice for anyone looking to walk around the city.

If you’re looking for upscale options with additional amenities like spa access and spacious rooms, check out our list of the Best Luxury Hotels in San Diego.

Popular Activities

The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More
Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Contemporary Art
Discounts Available
Learn More
The San Diego Maritime Museum
The San Diego Maritime Museum
Discounts Available
Learn More

Famous Sights and Attractions Downtown

Balboa Park
Balboa Park
Biking
Biking
Convention Center
Convention Center
Cruise Ship Terminal
Cruise Ship Terminal
Fishing
Fishing
Museums
Museums
Petco Park
Petco Park
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Skateboarding
Skateboarding
USS Midway
USS Midway

There are countless ways to spend your time Downtown. Visit landmarks like the business district and the USS Midway, catch a baseball game, walk through a park or through the busy streets of the business district, visit local breweries and eateries, explore the nightlife, or book a bay cruise. With so much to do, there’s a fun activity for everyone.

Sidewalk Cafés

In Downtown San Diego, experiencing the city can be its own attraction. When you eat at a sidewalk café, you get to enjoy the city atmosphere while you rest and refuel. Cafés with extensive options for enjoying local cuisine are a great way to get a complete, authentic San Diego experience.

Beautiful Patio Restaurant Seating in Core Columbia, Downtown San Diego
Core-Columbia is the business district of San Diego in the heart Downtown. Featuring hotels, cafes and breweries, it is walkable to nearby neighborhoods including Harborview, Embarcadero and the Gaslamp Quarter and convenient to PETCO Park, the USS Midway, the San Diego Convention Center, Balboa Park and the cruise ship terminals.
The Social Tap in East Village
When you want to stay near the action, consider East Village. Centrally located near Downtown, Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, visit the San Diego Zoo and assorted museums, PETCO Park and the Convention Center for Comic Con. Walk to a sidewalk café or brewery and enjoy the vibrant nightlife!
Many Kinds of Restaurants to Try in the Gaslamp Quarter
Partake in the energetic nightlife or have lunch at a sidewalk cafe in the Gaslamp Quarter. Walk to local breweries, shops and a baseball game or consider touring Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Zoo. Climb aboard the USS Midway, or check out Comic Con at the Convention Center.
Little Italy San Diego Sign
Experience true authentic Italian cuisine at the local cafes and tour the breweries while exploring the vibrant nightlife, and delightful shops. Or take a pedicab to attractions such as Balboa and PETCO Parks, or the USS Midway. Fun and entertainment are just a few blocks away in this walkable neighborhood.

Breweries

The breweries downtown feature an exceptional selection of beers sure to please everyone from beer connoisseurs to those who rarely drink. Some breweries are pub-style with classic bar food fare, and some offer tours of the equipment and an explanation of the beer-making process for those who’ve always wanted to brew.

Mural of Frida Kahlo in Chicano Park
Stop in and eat some of the best tacos around in Barrio Logan! Walk to the shopping boutiques, a local café, trolley stop, many different breweries, and beautiful scenic parks. Take a day trip to Mexico or if you’re a baseball fan, tour Petco Park, home of the Padres.
The Social Tap in East Village
When you want to stay near the action, consider East Village. Centrally located near Downtown, Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, visit the San Diego Zoo and assorted museums, PETCO Park and the Convention Center for Comic Con. Walk to a sidewalk café or brewery and enjoy the vibrant nightlife!
Little Italy San Diego Sign
Experience true authentic Italian cuisine at the local cafes and tour the breweries while exploring the vibrant nightlife, and delightful shops. Or take a pedicab to attractions such as Balboa and PETCO Parks, or the USS Midway. Fun and entertainment are just a few blocks away in this walkable neighborhood.

Baseball

Downtown has a significant baseball scene, with the home base of the Padres, Petco Park, serving as the star attraction. Buy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and watch MLB players at work, make some memories touring the field, or catch a college-level game at the University of San Diego.

Mural of Frida Kahlo in Chicano Park
Stop in and eat some of the best tacos around in Barrio Logan! Walk to the shopping boutiques, a local café, trolley stop, many different breweries, and beautiful scenic parks. Take a day trip to Mexico or if you’re a baseball fan, tour Petco Park, home of the Padres.
The Social Tap in East Village
When you want to stay near the action, consider East Village. Centrally located near Downtown, Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, visit the San Diego Zoo and assorted museums, PETCO Park and the Convention Center for Comic Con. Walk to a sidewalk café or brewery and enjoy the vibrant nightlife!

Nightlife

Nightlife thrives Downtown. There are dozens of clubs and lounges scattered throughout the area. The highest concentration can be found just a few blocks south of Core-Columbia. Visit upscale clubs, rooftop bars, cocktail lounges, nightclubs, hookah lounges, dance clubs, comedy bars, and more once the sun goes down.

The Social Tap in East Village
When you want to stay near the action, consider East Village. Centrally located near Downtown, Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, visit the San Diego Zoo and assorted museums, PETCO Park and the Convention Center for Comic Con. Walk to a sidewalk café or brewery and enjoy the vibrant nightlife!
Many Kinds of Restaurants to Try in the Gaslamp Quarter
Partake in the energetic nightlife or have lunch at a sidewalk cafe in the Gaslamp Quarter. Walk to local breweries, shops and a baseball game or consider touring Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Zoo. Climb aboard the USS Midway, or check out Comic Con at the Convention Center.
Little Italy San Diego Sign
Experience true authentic Italian cuisine at the local cafes and tour the breweries while exploring the vibrant nightlife, and delightful shops. Or take a pedicab to attractions such as Balboa and PETCO Parks, or the USS Midway. Fun and entertainment are just a few blocks away in this walkable neighborhood.

USS Midway

The USS Midway is a historic aircraft carrier that was once used by the U.S. Navy in many different conflicts and missions. Now, it sits in the harbor at the Embarcadero as a fully-functioning museum, meaning you can climb aboard and learn exactly what life at sea was like.

Beautiful Patio Restaurant Seating in Core Columbia, Downtown San Diego
Core-Columbia is the business district of San Diego in the heart Downtown. Featuring hotels, cafes and breweries, it is walkable to nearby neighborhoods including Harborview, Embarcadero and the Gaslamp Quarter and convenient to PETCO Park, the USS Midway, the San Diego Convention Center, Balboa Park and the cruise ship terminals.
The Unconditional Surrender Statue with the USS Midway in the Background
Enjoy the beautiful waterfront in Embarcadero. Visit nearby PETCO Park or the USS Midway. Enjoy the local museums, the neighboring Gaslamp Quarter or embark on a cruise from the cruise ship terminal. Walk to the local shops, cafés, and the boardwalk to watch the stunning sunset over San Diego Bay.

Cruise Ship Terminal

The two International Cruise Ship Terminals are along the Embarcadero. Whether you’re just looking for a quick tour around the bay or you’re preparing to go on a full week-long, all-expense-paid maritime trip, the cruise ships that launch from this terminal offer top-tier experiences for the whole family.

Beautiful Patio Restaurant Seating in Core Columbia, Downtown San Diego
Core-Columbia is the business district of San Diego in the heart Downtown. Featuring hotels, cafes and breweries, it is walkable to nearby neighborhoods including Harborview, Embarcadero and the Gaslamp Quarter and convenient to PETCO Park, the USS Midway, the San Diego Convention Center, Balboa Park and the cruise ship terminals.
The Unconditional Surrender Statue with the USS Midway in the Background
Enjoy the beautiful waterfront in Embarcadero. Visit nearby PETCO Park or the USS Midway. Enjoy the local museums, the neighboring Gaslamp Quarter or embark on a cruise from the cruise ship terminal. Walk to the local shops, cafés, and the boardwalk to watch the stunning sunset over San Diego Bay.
Boardwalk Along San Diego Bay in Harborview
If you are embarking on a cruise, you can leave straight from Harborview! See the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and enjoy the hop on hop off bus as well as many local museums. Watch the beautiful, golden sunset from the charming sidewalk cafés, or take a needed romantic stroll along the boardwalk.
Little Italy San Diego Sign
Experience true authentic Italian cuisine at the local cafes and tour the breweries while exploring the vibrant nightlife, and delightful shops. Or take a pedicab to attractions such as Balboa and PETCO Parks, or the USS Midway. Fun and entertainment are just a few blocks away in this walkable neighborhood.

Taco Shops

Barrio Logan is known for being a hub of San Diego’s cultural history, and nowhere is that more true than its food. Taco shops are an especially popular draw for tourists and locals alike, where you can get an authentic, traditional Mexican-American meal or something new, innovative, and always delicious!

Mural of Frida Kahlo in Chicano Park
Stop in and eat some of the best tacos around in Barrio Logan! Walk to the shopping boutiques, a local café, trolley stop, many different breweries, and beautiful scenic parks. Take a day trip to Mexico or if you’re a baseball fan, tour Petco Park, home of the Padres.

Parks

Even though Downtown is an urban area, there are parks here as well. Take the kids to Waterfront Park in Harborview to enjoy the picnic areas and playground equipment, see the duck fountains at the Children’s Park, or take in the sculptures and hedge maze at Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Mural of Frida Kahlo in Chicano Park
Stop in and eat some of the best tacos around in Barrio Logan! Walk to the shopping boutiques, a local café, trolley stop, many different breweries, and beautiful scenic parks. Take a day trip to Mexico or if you’re a baseball fan, tour Petco Park, home of the Padres.
Boardwalk Along San Diego Bay in Harborview
If you are embarking on a cruise, you can leave straight from Harborview! See the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and enjoy the hop on hop off bus as well as many local museums. Watch the beautiful, golden sunset from the charming sidewalk cafés, or take a needed romantic stroll along the boardwalk.

Featured Activity

Front of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Located in downtown San Diego, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum provides history of aircraft built in California. The museum includes over 60 exhibits with restored aircraft and tours of the carrier.
Learn More
Downtown San Diego
are Known For:
Baseball
Baseball
Breweries
Breweries
Cruise Ship Terminal
Cruise Ship Terminal
Nightlife
Nightlife
Parks
Parks
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
USS Midway
USS Midway
Walkable
Walkable
This Month's Forecast
62℉ / 76℉
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
66℉ / 81℉
Sunny in July
Aug
68℉ / 83℉
Sunny in August
Sep
66℉ / 82℉
Sunny in September

Stay Nearby

Andaz San Diego, a Concept by Hyatt
Near Petco Park
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Andaz San Diego, a Concept by Hyatt
from $199 / night
View Hotel
Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
Boutique Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
from $134 / night
View Hotel
The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
from $143 / night
View Hotel
Horton Grand Hotel
Boutique Hotel
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Horton Grand Hotel
from $143 / night
View Hotel
Show more San Diego Hotels >>