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America’s finest city

With a trendy Gas Lamp Quarter and quaint gondola rides around the bay, San Diego, dubbed ‘America’s finest city’, offers a sophisticated European vibe, The zoo here has been voted the world’s best and there are cruises aplenty for spotting the Californian grey and blue whales. 

Essential information for San Diego

Local time

Language

USA flag
American English

Currency

US Dollar $
Official currency of the United States

Flight information

11h 30m
Los Angeles (LAX)
Direct flight

Flight schedule

  • Virgin Atlantic fly twice daily to L.A from Heathrow.
are our main partner airline

Do I need a VISA?

Yes. You'll need to obtain approval no less than 72 hours prior to travel to the US via the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme.

Find out more about Travel Visas here »

Getting there

San Diego is a straightforward 2 hour 30 minute drive from Los Angeles.

For local trips, trolleys and buses are cheap and run regularly. To travel further afield, your hire car is perfect.

Sunshine, seafood and surfing: San Diego holidays

Situated on the border with Mexico and perched right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego was once famous for its sun, sea, sand, and surfing. In that respect, not much has changed. On San Diego holidays, you can still hang ten, laze on the beach, and top up your tan. However, the city itself is a great place to explore with its burgeoning culinary scene, top galleries and museums, the most famous zoo in the world and miles of well-maintained trekking trails.

While other cities on the California coast might consider themselves trendier, more artistic, or more laid back, San Diego refuses to pretend to be anything it’s not. Instead, it’s known for having the best climate in the country. Its bars and restaurants are cool and affordable. It’s surrounded by pristine natural habitats, and is home to pretty much every adventure and water sport you can imagine. In other words, we think it’s pretty much the perfect holiday destination. Well, at least one of them, anyway...

Accommodation in San Diego is second to none. With resorts located in the most tranquil bays to hotels in the heart of the city, we’ve chosen some of our favourites to give you an idea of what’s available.

Hotel del Coronado: an enormous stately hotel that looks as though it’s the set of a Hollywood movie (because it was!), the Hotel del Coronado is a one of the top San Diego resorts for families. Luxurious, stylish and comfortable enough to please parents, the hotel also boasts a dedicated kids club, a teen common room, and water sports classes, so it’s suitable for all ages.

The US Grant: situated in the atmospheric downtown Gaslamp district, the historic US Grant hotel is an excellent choice for those that want to stay in the heart of the city. Close to a variety of attractions, including the Balboa Theatre, Petco Park and Symphony Hall, this is the place for culture vultures, city slickers, and those who like a little glamour in their holiday.

Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa: fancy a Polynesian tropical getaway, just a short hop from the centre of San Diego? This is a real beach beauty, with the glistening water of Mission Bay, a curved, sandy beach, and even its own waterfall and koi ponds. Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa is your chance to really indulge yourself at the only beachfront spa in the area.

Paradise Point: set in 44 acres and with its own water taxis to SeaWorld, a flotilla of sailboats for hire, and total seclusion, Paradise Point is the perfect getaway for romantic couples and families.

Holidays to San Diego naturally involve a lot of beach time, but there’s more than just sea and sand to this city.

  • Everybody go surfing!: the stereotypical San Diegoan is a long haired, smiley surfer who spends all of their time in the water. While not everyone in San Diego surfs, a lot of people do, and the city is home to several spectacular beaches and breaks. Whether you’re experienced or not, this is the perfect opportunity to grab your board and give surfing a go.
  • Torrey Pines State Reserve: if you want to see the Californian coast as it once looked, head out to Torrey Pines. Spread over 1,750 acres, there’s an enormous amount of flora and fauna to discover, lots of hiking to be done, and a pristine beach to stroll along.
  • Explore Balboa Park: Balboa Park is the city’s cultural hub and is jam-packed full of museums and other attractions. The world-famous San Diego Zoo, beautiful Botanical Building, incredibly cool Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and the San Diego Museum of Art can all be found at Balboa Park, and are all definitely worth a visit.
  • San Diego Crew Classic March: this is the first major regatta of the year in San Diego, and is one of America’s top meet for athletes from over 100 universities, clubs and high schools. They row for glory around Mission Bay, cheered on by thousands of spectators.
  • Comic-Con July: it’s time to dig out your Ironman and Wonder Woman costume, because July sees the biggest pop culture event in the USA roll into town. Comic-Con is huge, so if you want tickets book very, very early.
  • Monster Jam All Year: big trucks, big burgers, big soda, big everything! Monster trucks come to town regularly and put on a display that the whole family will love. Want to see a giant truck fly through the air and then crash onto some poor, unsuspecting Buicks? This is where you can watch exactly that, and much more.
  • Macy’s Museum Month February: throughout February, you’ll get special offers and discounts in the city’s museums and galleries, giving the whole family a chance to discover native art exhibitions, wildlife and history galore.
  • Car - Like a number of other Californian cities (we’re looking at you, Los Angeles), San Diego is a city of automobiles. A sprawling network of smaller streets connected by big highways, hiring a car is a good idea if you want to move around at all. We’ve teamed up with a number of car hire companies to ensure this process is quick, easy, and affordable for those booking package holidays to San Diego.
  • Bus: the city’s bus network is great for travel in and around the downtown area and central neighbourhoods.
  • Trolley: the city has several trolley lines that run from the downtown area to the southern and southeastern parts of the city.
  • Bicycle: if you want to move up and down the coast, but aren’t in a rush, bicycle is a great way to travel. Rentals are readily available and beachfront cycle lanes make bikes a safe and fun means of getting around.

San Diego’s reputation is quickly growing as a foodie’s city. All San Diego holidays should take in at least one of the three favourites we’ve listed below.

  • Sushi Tadokoro: probably due to San Diego’s abundance of fresh seafood, sushi is extremely popular in the city. Sushi Tadokoro sits at the peak of the San Diego sushi scene, and is highly regarded for its authentic approach to the cuisine. Reservations are an absolute must, as this place gets busy.
  • The Marine Room: waterfront dining doesn’t get much more waterfront than this. When the ocean’s a little more lively, waves often crash against The Marine Room’s windows, but this doesn’t stop its chefs from cooking up some of the best seafood in San Diego.
  • Galaxy Taco: considering how close San Diego is to Mexico, it comes as no surprise that there’s a huge number of excellent Mexican eateries in the city. Galaxy Taco is one of the best and will be a sure fire hit with all the family.

There’s not much you can say about the San Diego climate, apart from that it’s generally spectacular. Warm temperatures and little rain can be expected all year round, meaning holidays in San Diego usually play out beneath beautiful blue Californian skies.

  • June to August: the hottest period of the year, with an average high of just under 30°C.
  • September to November: autumn temperatures remain high due to strong, warm winds from the east and San Diego remains largely dry.
  • December to February: winter is the rainiest period of the year, but you can still expect large amounts of sunshine and average highs of around 20°C.
  • March to May: spring is a lovely time to visit San Diego. Average temperatures climb to around 25°C and it’s generally dry. However, May does have a reputation for being a little foggy and overcast.

With its great climate, pristine beaches, and vibrant and eclectic city centre to explore, San Diego is a Californian holiday with an interesting twist. Check out all our great San Diego hotels and holiday packages to start planning your sunny getaway.

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