San Diego Solo Travel Guide

solo travel guide San Diego


Situated on the Pacific Coast, San Diego has magnificent beaches and fabulous year-round weather. The second largest city in California, San Diego offers an awesome selection of shops, restaurants, and attractions for solo travelers to visit. 

Along the harbor, soaring palm trees are in abundance, giving the impression of a tropical atmosphere. Enjoy a swim in the refreshing ocean water, a stroll along the sandy beaches, browse the shops on the waterfront, or take a nature walk through the park. 

Thinking about traveling by yourself to this spectacular coastal city? Keep reading below for our guide to solo travel in San Diego. 

Things to Do on a Solo Trip to San Diego

La Jolla Cove

visiting La Jolla Cove by yourself

Surrounded by sandstone cliffs, this beautiful cove offers magnificent views of the coast. Peak over the rocky shore to see a multitude of sea lions lounging about in the wild. With all its beauty, it’s the perfect exploration spot for solo women. Admire the scenic landscape while enjoying a picnic, people-watch, or take a stroll along the nearby beach.


Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

This historic park is a fascinating spot for solo travelers to explore. Step back in time to the early days of San Diego, as the park showcases heritage buildings preserved from the mid-1800’s. This destination offers a rich blend of culture, shopping, dining, and history. Taste traditional flavors of Mexican cuisine, view the fascinating 19th-century homes, or browse the artisan crafts and confectionaries.


Balboa Park 

singles trips to Balboa Park

This massive 1200-acre park is situated right in the city. You’ll find museums, gardens, musical theaters, hiking trails, and much more. Admire the scenery and enjoy the surrounding landscape on one of the many walking paths through the park showcasing grounds such as a rose garden, cactus garden, and palm tree oasis. 

Stop by the Spanish Village Art Center, where over 200 local artists share their artwork, including glass, jewelry, woodworking, paintings and pottery. Balboa Park also offers a whopping 15 museums with a wide variety of interests to choose from, such as fine art, model railroads, aviation, natural history, and folk art. 


USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum is located in downtown San Diego by the Navy Pier. In this unique experience, step onto the historic naval aircraft carrier, which had previously been in active service for 47 years. In the Flight Deck exhibit, see 26 restored aircraft on display, including jet fighters and attack aircraft. In the Hangar exhibit, view the vintage aircraft from the World War 2 era. Take a tour and get a look at the captain’s cabins, sailor’s bunks, engine room, and many other interesting areas onboard.


Mission Beach & Boardwalk

singles weekend getaway Mission Beach

Mission Beach is a neighborhood situated on a two-mile long peninsula, offering soft sand, a lively boardwalk, and refreshing waters of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a wonderful spot to go for a swim or have a relaxing day lounging in the sun. Don’t miss the oceanfront boardwalk, which is perfect for a leisurely stroll. You’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants, along with an amusement park. 


Seaport Village 

Seaport Village is situated right on the harbor downtown. The vibrant waterfront complex offers an eclectic mix of restaurants, unique shops, and spectacular views. There’s a lovely promenade to take a stroll along, as well as art galleries to browse. It is also only a short walk from the USS Midway Museum, making it a convenient stop.


solo travel San Diego

This peninsula is an excellent stop for a day trip while on your solo vacation. Spend time relaxing at the spacious sandy beach, take a scenic walk through the park trail, browse the delightful boutiques, or go for a fun bike ride around the island. There’s also the opportunity to admire the wonderful view of the San Diego skyline. From downtown San Diego, Coronado can be reached by driving across the bridge, or via the ferry service. 


Where to Stay in San Diego

San Diego solo travel

San Diego encompasses a large area, so where you choose to stay will likely depend on what your plans are while visiting the city. Solo female travelers that are looking to spend a lot of time in the water might find it more convenient to stay right by the beach. Solo travelers that would like to be in a more central location might prefer to stay downtown by the harbor. 


Marina (Downtown)

This district is located on the edge of downtown, right along the water. Capture lovely views of the bay as you stroll along the waterfront. You’ll be a short walk away from the USS Midway Museum, the Seaport Village shopping complex, as well as the ferry terminal to connect to Coronado. Being right downtown and near the lively Gaslamp Quarter, there’s also plenty of restaurants and food options. It’s a convenient location for women that plan to travel alone without renting a car. 

Mission Beach 

Mission Beach is a wonderful choice for solo travelers looking for more of a beach experience that is typical of Southern-California. The area is located on a peninsula nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay. The boardwalk is a fantastic stretch to walk along, with fabulous views, shops and restaurants. The convenient beach access is great for those planning to spend their time swimming, surfing, or relaxing in the sun. 

La Jolla 

A 20-minute drive from downtown San Diego, La Jolla is a fabulous area with a sandy beach and ocean views over rugged cliffs. On the north edge of the district, is Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve, a beautiful area with oceanside trails. The La Jolla neighborhood is also home to one of the city’s top attractions, La Jolla Cove, the spectacular coastal inlet surrounded by cliffs and sea lions resting on the rocks. 


Staying in Coronado will give you the best of both worlds. Coronado is situated on a peninsula, with easy access to downtown San Diego via Coronado Bridge or the ferry. A fantastic location for a vacation by yourself, travelers will find more of a relaxed atmosphere, with a vibe similar to that of a small town. While the highlight of Coronado is the amazing beaches, it also offers a park with panoramic views of downtown San Diego, along with an excellent mix of restaurants and boutiques. 


Solo Dining in San Diego: Where to Eat

solo weekend getaway San Diego

San Diego has a diverse range of dining options with various types of cuisines. Mexican tacos and quality seafood in particular have quite an influence on the culinary scene. 


The Taco Stand

This counter serve taqueria is an excellent choice for solo travelers to grab a quick bite of Mexican tacos. Handmade corn tortillas are stuffed with various types of meat, and a selection of fresh toppings such as guacamole and salsa. Try the Al Pastor tacos which features rotisserie marinated pork, or the Camaron tacos which highlight spicy grilled shrimp. 

San Diego Chicken Pie Shop

This casual diner-style eatery is known for its chicken pot pies. Their most popular dish is the chicken pie dinner which includes tasty pot pies stuffed with chicken, turkey, and gravy. The dish is served alongside whipped potatoes, the daily vegetable, coleslaw, and a slice of dessert pie.  This restaurant is an excellent option for single travelers looking for a cosy spot to indulge in classic comfort food.

Mitch’s Seafood

Mitch’s Seafood is a casual restaurant overlooking the marina, with an emphasis on serving locally-caught fish. Their menu features a generous selection of fried seafood dishes such as the fish & chips and breaded shrimp platter. Choose from one of many tasty fish sandwiches including the crab cake sandwich and calamari sandwich. There’s also an excellent mix of items such as grilled fish platters, clam chowder, and crab poutine. 

Carnitas Snack Shack – Embarcadero

Enjoy the breeze from the harbor and the lovely waterfront view at this casual eatery. Choose from their wide selection of flavorful tacos, such as the carnitas tacos, marinated steak tacos, and Baja fish tacos. For a heartier option, try one of their sandwiches, such as the smokey pig sandwich featuring smoked pulled pork with grilled onions and coleslaw on a brioche bun. With outdoor seating, it’s a good spot for solo travelers to have a meal with the palm trees in view.

Sugar and Scribe 

Stop by this chic bakery and restaurant the next time you’re in the La Jolla neighborhood. With a bright aesthetic space, they serve a creative brunch menu, offering items such as butter poached lobster benedict, lemon curd pancakes, along with various skillets, egg scrambles, and sandwiches. If there’s no time to dine in, solo travelers can grab a turmeric ginger lattes or one of their other specialty beverages and choose from an array of decadent baked goods at the pastry bar. 


Getting Around San Diego by Yourself

San Diego solo trip

Public Transportation

The city of San Diego and its top attractions can be quite spread out. Getting around with public transportation is an option, although the convenience of doing so will depend on where you are staying and the places you would like to visit during your solo getaway.

San Diego’s public transportation includes the MTS system which has three trolley lines followed by many bus routes. Each of the trolley lines do pass through downtown. If you’re traveling on your own and not planning to rent a car, it might be more convenient to stay in a central area, such as the Marina district downtown. From there, you can take the ferry to explore Coronado, walk around to various attractions, as well as have access to restaurants and shops. 

The popular attraction of the San Diego Old Town is located right by a trolley stop. For visitors coming from downtown, the trolley is a convenient way to get to and from the Old Town.

Airport Transportation

Unlike many other major cities, the airport is quite close to the city center, with a distance of about 3.5 miles. There is a bus route #992 that travels between the San Diego International Airport and downtown San Diego. 

There are also various car rental companies on site at the airport. This makes it extra convenient when picking up and dropping off the car. Solo travelers that do not plan to stay in or visit downtown, can immediately hop in the car and head up North to various other areas and attractions including Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, or La Jolla. 


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