Discover San Diego with your student

725 West Broadway
21 minute drive

San Diego State University’s Downtown Gallery connects campus to the vibrant San Diego art scene. Drop in Thursday through Monday between 11 and 4 to experience innovative contemporary art, perhaps a lecture or reading, and conversation with the School of Art + Design students working as gallery assistants. Many terrific downtown attractions are within walking distance — the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (1100 Kettner Blvd), the Gaslamp Quarter (quaint Victorian architecture; fabulous 21st century music, food and boutiques), and the USS Midway Museum. Or maybe you’re ready to stroll a few blocks to grab a delicious lunch in Little Italy. It’s all good.

910 North Harbor Drive
21 minute drive
$10-20 (buy tickets online to save)

You have never experienced a museum
like this, built on and within the longest serving U.S. aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Open daily, the Midway houses 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircraft (World War II era through Desert Storm). An audio tour narrated by Midway sailors is free with admission, and docents are stationed throughout the museum ready to share their stories of life at sea. If you have the stomach, try the flight simulator ($8)! There is a café and gift shop, too.

2415 San Diego Ave
(Old Town Visitor’s Center)

15 minute drive

Slow down for a while in Old Town, where you can immerse yourself in the architecture, culture and mood of the state’s Mexican-American era (1821-72). Living history programs (blacksmithing, woodworking, dance), arts and crafts, an old-fashioned mercantile store, trolley rides, fiestas, a haunted building — there’s something to satisfy everyone’s taste and curiosity.

1549 El Prado (Park Visitor Center)
14 minute drive
The park is free; prices vary for attractions

You may want a full day to explore Balboa Park, especially if you will also visit the world-class San Diego Zoo (consider splurging on a special experience like “Early Morning with Pandas”). The Park offers miles of trails, glorious gardens, 17 museums, and shops and restaurants galore. If you prefer to pick just one or two activities, we recommend a docent-led tour of the Japanese Friendship Garden, a ride on the miniature railroad, or climbing the stairs of the beautiful California Tower (built for the 1915 Panama-California Expo and now part of the San Diego Museum of Man). Balboa Park offers one- or multi-day passes that include admission to a number of the museums located within the Park. Day passes to the Zoo start at $54; Zoo admission is included in the 3-day Go San Diego Card.

Locations vary

Whether you head to Mission Beach with its classic boardwalk and amusement park rides like the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, or the sparkling sands of Coronado adjacent to the historic Hotel del Coronado, or sheltered La Jolla Cove (perfect for snorkeling), you will not run out of things to do. Walk, swim or surf; rent a bike or kayak; pack a picnic dinner and claim a free fire pit. Wherever you are, plan to stay into the cooler evening hours and watch a sunset you are sure to never forget. Remember your camera!