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Activities & Things to do Downtown San Diego During a Conference

a large building

Downtown San Diego is a vibrant area with a lot to offer. Here’s a list of all of the best things to do in downtown San Diego- so you can make the best of any downtime you have from your conference. 

There are many activities you can enjoy during a short break, as well as longer excursions that may take you an afternoon or a whole day to complete. Let us help you plan the best conference activities in Downtown San Diego.

Attending a Conference in San Diego

a group of people attending a conference in San Diego

If you’re attending a conference in San Diego, chances are good it’s at the San Diego Convention Center. 

The Convention Center is located right in the heart of downtown, making it easy to walk to all the best restaurants and attractions. 

If you’re looking for hotels near the Convention Center, there are many options within walking distance. Or, you can rent an Airbnb with your fellow conference attendees and have a place to stay and relax after a long day of sessions.

Plan Fun Team Building Experiences and Activities Downtown San Diego

Team building in San Diego with a Boat tour

A conference in San Diego is the perfect opportunity to get your team bonding outside of the office. 

There are many options for team outings, including Speed Boat Adventure tours, GoCar Sightseeing, and electric Scooter rides along the Embarcadero. This is a great way to get to know your colleagues in a relaxed and fun setting. 

Mixing and mingling internal teams in a casual, social setting is a great way to build morale and relationships that will last long after the conference is over. 

San Diego’s culture is one of relaxation and rejuvenation, making it the perfect place to unwind and have some fun with your coworkers.

The Best Things to do Downtown San Diego

San Diego Coast line view from the ocean

To create the perfect conference experience, make sure you explore! Make sure you set aside time to see the city and get away from the conference scene. San Diego is full of wonderful attractions and activities to help you experience the city and sea.  Even if you are just planning a quick three day trip to San Diego, these activities and things to do downtown San Diego are sure to make your visit a memorable one.

Here are some of the best things to do in Downtown San Diego During a Conference:

Best Outdoor Activities Downtown San Diego

a smiling seal sitting on a float in a body of water

San Diego is blessed with beautiful weather year-round, so take advantage of it by getting outdoors! Take a quick break to see the seals in San Diego, or you could take a quick trip and see the best San Diego lookout points. There are many outdoor activities to choose from, but here are a few of our favorites:

1. Speed Boat Adventures

Two women riding in a speed boat in San Diego

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity, look no further than Speed Boat Adventures. Located just minutes from Downtown, this is the perfect activity for a group of colleagues after a long day stuck indoors. You’ll speed through the waves on a high-powered speedboat, taking in the sights of San Diego’s famous skyline.

2. GoCar Gaslamp Quarter

Gocar driving at night in front of historic Gaslamp sign

For a more relaxed outdoor activity, hop aboard one of San Diego’s local GoCars and explore the Gaslamp Quarter. This is a great way to see the city at your own pace, and you’ll learn interesting facts about the history and architecture of Downtown San Diego. You can even take advantage of this fun way to explore and see the city lights with our Gaslamp Quarter Departure night tours

3. Balboa Park

Gardens at Balboa Park in San Diego

If you’re looking for greenery with a mix of culture, check out Balboa Park. This is one of the largest urban parks in the country (1,200-acres!), and it’s home to museums, gardens, and even a theater. There’s something for everyone at Balboa Park!

4. Japanese Friendship Garden

Exterior of Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego

Located within Balboa Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful oasis in the heart of the city. Stroll through this tranquil garden and enjoy the peaceful setting.

5. Little Italy

a group of people riding motorcycles on a city street

For a taste of Italy in San Diego, head to Little Italy. This vibrant neighborhood is full of delicious restaurants, cafes, and shops. You can even take a cooking class or go on a food tour to learn more about this culinary destination.

Best Indoor Activities Downtown San Diego

If you want to beat the heat or need activities for a rainy day, we have you covered! There is always something to do in America’s finest city.

San Diego Zoo

An owl near it's nest

The world-famous San Diego Zoo is located just a few miles north of downtown in Balboa Park. With over 3,500 animals representing more than 650 species, the zoo is one of the largest and most diverse zoos in the world. The zoo also offers a variety of tours and educational programs.

USS Midway Museum

The historic Uss Midway with boats on the side of it

The USS Midway Museum is located on San Diego Bay and offers tours of the retired aircraft carrier, as well as dozens of interactive exhibits. The museum is perfect for history buffs and those who want to learn more about the US Navy.

San Diego Museum of Art

a group of people walking in front of a museumImage Credit: Southby’s

The San Diego Museum of Art is located in Balboa Park and houses a collection of art from around the world. The museum offers a variety of tours and educational programs, as well as a cafe and gift shop.

Mission Brewery 

a cup of beer sitting on top of a wooden table

Mission Brewery offers tours of their brewing facility, as well as tastings of their award-winning beers. The brewery also has a restaurant and hosts regular events, making it the perfect place to relax after a long day of sightseeing.

Balboa Theater

a large auditorium

The Balboa Theater is a historic theatre located in the heart of downtown. The theatre hosts a variety of shows, including musicals, plays, and concerts.

Other Things to do Downtown San Diego

If you’re planning on arriving a day earlier or staying a bit longer after your conference, these day trips out of the city are on the top of our to-do list!

Hit the open road to Julian

a man riding a motorcycle in front of a mountain road

Just a short drive from Downtown San Diego, Julian is a must-visit for anyone in the area. This quaint mountain town is home to gorgeous scenery, delicious apple pies, and many interesting shops and galleries. 

If you’re looking for the best way to get there, try the Vanderhall. This exotic driving experience will leave you wanting more!

Wine Tour

a hand holding a glass of wine

San Diego’s wine country is located just north of the city, and there are many tour operators offering day trips from Downtown San Diego. Spend a day tasting some of California’s best wines while taking in the stunning views of the vineyards.

Ready to explore Downtown San Diego?

San Diego is a great place to attend a conference, and there is no shortage of activities to keep you busy during your stay. Whether you’re looking for things to do on your own or looking for group activities, there’s something for everyone in Downtown San Diego.