San Diego
Art & Museums

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Our most recommended San Diego Art & Museums

Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

1. Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

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San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

2. San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

Activities, attractions, and tours included on the Go San Diego All-Inclusive pass: THEME PARKS & ZOOS• San Diego Zoo • SeaWorld San Diego• San Diego Zoo Safari Park• Belmont Park• Knott's Berry Farm• LEGOLAND California OUTDOORS• San Diego Speedboat Adventures• La Jolla: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• La Jolla: Full-Day Snorkel Adventure• La Jolla: All-Day Bike Rental• La Jolla: Surfboard Rental• La Jolla: Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Rental• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr SUP• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr Kayak Rental• San Diego Harbor: 1-hr Pedal Boat Rental• Coronado: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• Coronado: SUP Board Rental• Coronado: Full-Day Bike Rental• San Diego Pier Fishing TOURS & CRUISES• 1-hr San Diego Harbor cruise by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watch & Dolphin Tour - Beautiful Newport Beach• San Diego Hiking Tour• San Diego Beach Tour• San Diego City Tour• Catalina Flyer (ferry to Catalina Island)• One Way Coronado Ferry• PETCO Park tour• GoCar San Diego 30-min tour• Dolby Theater Tour MUSEUMS & PLACES OF INTEREST• USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum• Japanese Friendship Garden• San Diego Air and Space Museum• San Diego Natural History Museum• The Fleet Science Center with IMAX• Birch Aquarium at Scripps• San Diego Museum of Man• San Diego Automotive Museum• San Diego Model Railroad Museum• San Diego Museum of Art• The New Children's Museum• The Whaley House Museum• Coronado Museum of History and Art• Museum of Photographic Arts• Museum of Contemporary Art (Downtown)• San Diego Art Institute• The Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House• Mingei International Museum• San Diego History Center• Living Coast Discovery Center• Museum of Making Music• Hollywood Museum• UTC Ice Sports Center• South Coast Shop & Dine Package The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is an all-access attraction pass offering the ultimate in convenience, savings, and flexibility for visitors to the area. Choose a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7-day pass and save up to 55% compared to the cost of full retail admissions. Enjoy the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND, The U.S.S. Midway, Harbor Excursions, the New Children’s Museum and more. A total of over 50 attractions and tours are included with your pass.  The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass comes with a digital guide including helpful attraction information including how to get there and opening times.

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San Diego: San Diego Natural History Museum Ticket

3. San Diego: San Diego Natural History Museum Ticket

The San Diego Natural History Museum is a flagship institution in Balboa Park, showcasing the regional natural history and unique biodiversity of Southern California and Baja California. The museum has four floors of exhibitions, a 3D theater, and San Diego’s only Foucault pendulum. Through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, numerous educational programs, and the opportunity to see scientists at work, the Museum fosters a lifelong love of learning about nature and the environment for visitors of all ages. Current exhibits include: Hidden Gems Get to know The Nat's sparkly side with more than 100 of the best, brightest, and most spectacular selections from our gems and mineral collection. These hidden gems will be on every floor of the Museum. The Backyard Learn and explore the natural world through play. This new space invites our youngest visitors (ages 0-5) to play under a shade tree, search for hidden secrets along a wooden fence, or read their favorite book in a cozy potting shed. Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage This new exhibition gives visitors a rare "backstage" glimpse of the museum's storage areas. Specimens arranged on shelves and in cases offer the opportunity to revel in the natural world in all its beauty and peculiarity. Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science This new, permanent exhibition explores the past, present and future of citizen science through rare books, art, photographs, and historical documents. Coast to Cactus in Southern California This innovative, permanent exhibition tells the story of this amazing place called home. Take an immersive walk through the major regions of southern California's coast, inland valleys, mountains, and deserts and celebrate the abundant variety of life found here. Fossil Mysteries From dinosaurs to mastodons, travel through 75 million years and dig into the rich fossil history of southern California and Baja California. Skulls Take a look at 200 of the weirdest, wildest, and most fascinating animal skulls from our research collection. Giant-Screen Theater The Subaru Giant Screen Experience is one-of-a-kind. Settle into the 300-seat, stadium-style theater and enjoy films on the massive screen.

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San Diego: Go City Explorer Pass - choose 2-7 attractions

4. San Diego: Go City Explorer Pass - choose 2-7 attractions

Experience San Diego's top attractions and tours and get up to 55% off admission with Go City's Explorer Pass. You have the flexibility to choose between 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7 top attractions from over 40 options.  Decide what you feel like doing on the day, so you don't even need to plan in advance. Visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo or the USS Midway Museum. Explore more of San Diego with a Hop-on, Hop-off trolley tour, or kayak and snorkel in beautiful La Jolla. The possibilities are endless. Your pass is fully digital and no physical card is required. Simply download your pass directly to your smartphone or print at home. Show your pass at each attraction for quick and easy entrance. Tours and Attractions Included with the Go San Diego Explorer Pass: Top Attractions and Museums: • San Diego Zoo OR San Diego Zoo Safari Park (choose 1) • USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum • Belmont Park Ride and Play Pass • Maritime Museum of San Diego • Air and Space Museum • Birch Aquarium at Scripps • The Fleet Science Center with IMAX • San Diego Natural History Museum • San Diego Museum of Us • Living Coast Discovery Center • The New Children's Museum • San Diego Museum of Art • San Diego Model Railroad Museum • Japanese Friendship Garden • PETCO Park Tour • San Diego Automotive Museum • Mingei International Museum Tours and Activities: • 2-Day Hop-On Hop-off Old Town San Diego Trolley • Living Coast Discovery Center • Hornblower Best of the Bay Cruise • San Diego Speed Boat Adventures • SEAL Tour San Diego • Jet Ski Rental San Diego Harbor • Pure Brewing Tastings in 3 locations • Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises • San Diego Pier Fishing • San Diego Hiking Tour • San Diego Harbor: Kayak Rental or Stand Up Paddle Board Rental • La Jolla: Kayak Rental, Snorkel Rental, Stand Up Paddle Board Rental, or Bike Rental • Coronado: Kayak Rental, Stand Up Paddle Board Rental, or Bike Rental • UTC Ice Sports Center • Speed Circuit: All Access • San Diego City & Beach Tours • 1-Hour Scooter Rental • GoCar San Diego Tours • Patriot Jet Boat Tour

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Carlsbad Village: 3-Hour Local Food Tour

5. Carlsbad Village: 3-Hour Local Food Tour

The tour sets off from the heart of downtown Carlsbad Village, where your 3-hour culinary adventure begins. Navigate the picturesque streets of the village with your local guide and discover its diverse history, architecture and culture. Stroll down some of the most famous streets in Carlsbad, home to a wonderful concentration of museums, restaurants, and iconic landmarks, uniquely mixed with shops, art galleries and vibrant street murals. Along the way, stop at 8 different eateries, popular with the locals, and taste the flavors of Carlsbad. The food samplings on this tour are sure to stimulate your salivary glands, and satisfy your appetite for a lunch that is chock-full of variety. Each tasting is served from a locally-owned specialty food store, and ethnic or locavore-style eateries. Some of the stops on the tour include one of Carlsbad’s most romantic restaurants and a dessert haven with recipes passed down through generations. There’s also time to delight your taste buds with a sampling of California’s award-winning wines at one of the village’s urban wineries.

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San Diego Walking Tour: Balboa Park with a Local Guide

6. San Diego Walking Tour: Balboa Park with a Local Guide

Balboa Park is home to gorgeous gardens, lovely walking paths, and plenty of cultural gems, from theaters to museums featuring the arts, the sciences, and more. You’ll get a full overview of the park and its rich history on this San Diego walking tour that explores how the park has become a symbol of the city. We’ll kick things off at the Founder’s Statue on the west side of the park. We think you’ll agree San Diegans were visionaries when they set aside 1400 acres of land for the park all the way back in 1868. Then we’ll stop at the California Tower, built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, has since become a city landmark. The face of the tower depicts the early history of the city. Next up, we’ll head to Alcazar Garden, which was inspired by the same-named gardens in Spain. Used for both the 1915 and 1935 expositions, the garden offered fair-goers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the exposition, and provides a picturesque foreground to photos of the California Tower. Snag the perfect Instagram shot while you’re here. Following after, we’ll head to the Old Globe Theater which is a Tony Award-winning, world-renowned professional theater group modeled after The Globe Theater London. From there, we’ll walk through the heart of the Prado, where you’ll get to spy unique building façades and roof supports that most visitors don’t notice. We’ll also check out Zoro Gardens, a sunken garden that was once a nudist colony (seriously) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. Today, it’s a butterfly garden that contains everything butterflies need for their full life cycle. We’ll then continue past the Bea Evenson fountain, the Natural History Museum and we’ll pop into the Spanish Village Art Center to observe artists at work in their studios. By now you will have worked up a thirst so we’ll grab a drink at a local coffee cart before continuing on past one of the largest Morton Bay fig trees in California and the San Diego Junior Theater. But we’re not done yet! We’ll then head to the Botanical Building and the adjacent lily pond full of koi makes more than just a pretty picture — you’ll learn how the pond was an important part of the war effort during WWI and how it helped injured sailors and soldiers during WWII. Our tour will end at the Plaza de Panama, but before we say goodbye, your guide will give you directions to the nearby Visitor Center (for snacks, maps, souvenirs, and museum passes), suggestions for places to eat, and tips on what else to see and do within the park.

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San Diego: Maritime Museum of San Diego Admission

7. San Diego: Maritime Museum of San Diego Admission

Start your visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego with a tour of the 1898 Victorian-era steam ferry boat, Berkeley. See a range of exhibits on the naval and commercial fishing industry history. Learn about navigational exploration and see vintage photography and artwork, military artifacts, and impressive yacht models. After the Berkeley, head down the gangway underwater to the USS Dolphin. Explore the USS Dolphin and see what the world’s deepest dive submarine looks like on the inside. Make your way to the Vietnam-era PCF 816 Swift boat, the 1904 royal steam yacht Medea, and a 1914 Pilot boat. See the replica of the 1452 Spanish galleon Explorer Cabrillo, which sailed into the West Coast. See both the replica galleon and the Californian topsail schooner. Visit the H.M.S. Surprise, the ship used in the award-winning motion picture Master and Commander and Pirates of Caribbean IV movie. Go below deck. See the man-of-war gunnery and remnants, along with wardrobe and props from the film that is exquisitely maintained. The last vessel is the Star, with three decks of treasured exhibits and gallery space. Learn about the history of the great Age of Sail onboard.

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San Diego: La Jolla Self-Driving Audio Tour

8. San Diego: La Jolla Self-Driving Audio Tour

Explore La Jolla’s coastal beauty with maximum flexibility, safety, and value on this self-guided audio and GPS tour. Simply hop in your own car, get the tour guide app set up on your phone, and get started. The commentary will play automatically based on your location. Start your tour at the Cave Store in La Jolla Cove. Learn about La Jolla’s early struggles with drinkable water, its historic figures like Ellen Scripps and Dr. Seuss, and its growth into the “Jewel” of the California coastline. Then, explore Coast Boulevard, La Jolla Cove, and Prospect Avenue. Finish your tour at La Valencia Hotel, a La Jolla landmark.

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From San Diego: Tijuana City Guided Tour and Food Tasting

9. From San Diego: Tijuana City Guided Tour and Food Tasting

Join your guide for an authentic Mexican experience as you leave San Diego to explore Tijuana City. Start your sightseeing tour with a convenient hotel pickup and head to your first stop, the Tijuana Cultural Center. Visit the museum and learn about the early history of the Baja peninsula, and take a walk through the botanical gardens. Leave the cultural center and head to the beach to see the wall that separates Mexico from the United States. Enjoy a couple of cocktails and ceviche tostadas before continuing your adventure. Walk down the Avenida Revolucion. Admire the sights, including the Jai Alai building and Caliente Casino. See where Caesar salad was invented, do some shopping, and enjoy a craft beer and tequila tasting. Take a break for lunch at the Plaza Rio Tijuana and refuel at local Taco restaurant. End your day with a trip to the city market for a taste of the local culture. Sample some delicious churros and shop for souvenirs before heading back to San Diego.

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Other Sightseeing Options in San Diego

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What people are saying about San Diego

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 371 reviews

Incredible tour! Jen was warm, funny and informative. The tour was really well planned out, and she would often circle back to things she’d told us earlier. The coffee stop was a well timed break and nice for a chat with the other guests. Overall the level of detail was great- lots of fun facts and interesting history. We learnt a lot and really enjoyed our walk in the park. Thanks, Jen!

Awesome way to see and learn about the workings of an aircraft carrier! The docents are extremely knowledgeable and friendly, most of whom served on the Midway. The self-guided tour listening devices were amazing! We loved going at our own pace, stopping at the sites we were interested in.

Excellent tour; guides are ex navy or pilots; very knowledgeable; professional; generous with their time and information. Informative and entertaining experience. Definitely recommend!!! A must in San Diego

We had planned for a 90 min event. It was so awesome we were there for over 3 hrs. Highly recommended.

The ability to purchase tickets online was very simple and quick and very efficient to skip the line.