San Diego
Neighborhood Tours

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Our most recommended San Diego Neighborhood Tours

San Diego Walking Tour: Balboa Park with a Local Guide

1. 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.

GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Balboa Park

2. GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Balboa Park

This is the essential San Diego tour. You will see almost all of the greatest sights San Diego has to offer, like the visually stunning Balboa park which is littered with Spanish Renaissance inspired architecture. Pass by over a dozen museums, colorful flower gardens, and world renowned outdoor organ pavilion all the way to the always happening Hillcrest, which has a great variety of shops and restaurants. Hillcrest is known to have some of the best food in the county. But best of all you will also get to see Downtown San Diego at its finest, from the Maritime Museum, to the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Downtown San Diego is one of the best places in the world for its diversity, and visual appeal. Don’t miss the best places San Diego has to offer on this tour.

Carlsbad Village: 3-Hour Local Food Tour

3. 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.

GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Gaslamp Loop

4. GPS Talking Tour Cars: Downtown & Gaslamp Loop

Take a GPS-guided tour in the Storytelling Car® and see for yourself why TIME Magazine called GoCar "The Most Amazing Invention of the Year!" Let GoCar be your guide through an exciting loop of San Diego. GoCar, The Cure for the Common Tour®, lets you experience the beauty of San Diego and visit places tour busses cannot go – all at your own pace! Fold up your map, put away the guidebook and let the GoCar show you what most visitors never see! Zip around in a cute, yellow Storytelling GoCar as it takes you on your own GPS-guided tour. The GoCar is easy and fun to drive. Since it is GPS-guided, the car knows where you are – even if you don’t. With you in the driver’s seat, it not only tells you where to turn, it tells the stories that bring the city to life. Let the car direct you, or for those more adventurous, blaze your own trail! Above is only a suggested route. Your tour’s length may vary due to circumstances such as departure time and location, traffic and your itinerary. If you do take additional rental time, this will be billed in 15-minute increments at our retail rates. You may visit all or some of the tour’s highlights. If you are unsure of which tour to book, just book according to the amount of time you think you would like to spend. We can customize a tour especially for you, with the sights you want to include, when you come into our shop. PRICING IS PER VEHICLE NOT PER PERSON. EACH VEHICLE SEATS 2 PEOPLE. GoCar Tours, a CarbonNeutral® Company Gocar Tours is certified CarbonNeutral® by offsetting all CO2 emissions from vehicle operations, electricity use, business travel and employee commuting across global operations in Europe and the United States.

San Diego: Old Town Tales, Tacos, and Tequila Walking Tour

5. San Diego: Old Town Tales, Tacos, and Tequila Walking Tour

As the birthplace of California, Old Town San Diego has seen its fair share of history. Today, it’s also widely regarded for its restaurants, margaritas, and souvenir shops. Start your exploration at the Adobe Chapel which served both as a home and church in the 19th century. Then, you'll be treated to handmade tortillas, a world-famous dish that dates back to before Columbus landed in North America. After that, continue the tour and see one of the oldest brick buildings in Southern California, best known for its haunting ghost stories. Marvel at the wonderful examples of Victorian architecture, including San Diego's first Synagogue. The nourishment from the tortillas will be handy as you'll start a brief hike to the original European settlement on the West Coast of the U.S. You'll see the outline of some of the 18th-century structures and learn about the history of indigenous people living on this land upon the arrival of European settlers. Once back in town, visit a hundred-year-old Catholic church, followed by a stroll through a landmark cemetery with graves dating back to the 1850s. By now you might be thirsty, so take a brief walk to a local tequileria boasting a collection of thousands of bottles. Here you will learn about the many different types of tequilas and be treated to a tasting of one of the best tequilas in the world. (This sample is included as part of your tour price, but you may instead choose a margarita, beer or another beverage of your choice). You’ll bid adios here, but feel free to linger over another drink, or dig into some great Mexican food. Or, if you want to keep moving, you can continue shopping and exploring this great San Diego neighborhood.

San Diego: Downtown and Gaslamp Loop Scooter Tour

6. San Diego: Downtown and Gaslamp Loop Scooter Tour

Start your day of adventure at the scooter rental location where you will meet with your guide for your tour. After a friendly meet and greet and brief orientation session on proper use of the scooters, you will follow your GPS and set off on your multi-cultural journey through Downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp Loop. You will commence your tour in Little Italy, where you will learn about the rise and fall of San Diego’s Italian population. You will then continue on past the maritime history museum, the USS Midway, and into the beautiful Seaport Village. You will also get to travel past the Horton Plaza, which just begs to be visited again after the tour ends. Following the Horton Plaza, you will make your way into the heart of San Diego, with a quick loop around the home of San Diego Padres, and into the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Gaslamp Quarter, following its reinvention, is much more family friendly than it used to be. As you leave the Gaslamp Quarter, you will enter Banker’s Hill, complete with its unique shops which also border the always beautiful Balboa Park. You will then finish your tour of San Diego back at the rental location center, with a new found appreciation and knowledge of this exciting and wonderful city. 

From San Diego: Private Puerto Nuevo Tour with Lobster Lunch

7. From San Diego: Private Puerto Nuevo Tour with Lobster Lunch

This private tour from San Diego explores Puerto Nuevo, the lobster village of Baja California. Located only minutes from Rosarito Beach, the town claims to have some of the best lobster in the world. Find out while listening to live mariachi music and drinking margaritas. This tour also allows for plenty of free time for shopping and craft beer tastings at Rosarito Beach. At 9:30 AM aboard a luxury 6-14 passenger van with air conditioning and reclining seats. Relax with plenty of legroom and enjoy complimentary bottles of drinking water. At 10:00 AM arrive at the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT) and the Botanical Garden. Afterward spending time there, at approximately 11:00 AM visit to the infamous border wall at the USA/Mexican border. Then at 11:30 AM spend time at Rosarito Beach to enjoy craft beer tastings. By 2:30 PM have a lobster lunch at Puerto Nuevo with tequila margaritas and live mariachi music included. For those unfamiliar with Baja lobster, it’s cooked with garlic butter and lime and served with beans and rice. Scoop up the lobster in warm handmade flour tortillas while savoring tequila margaritas. After lunch, have free time to shop at the traditional Mexican Curios Market. At 4:00 PM head back to San Diego with an approximately 5:30 PM arrival time.

San Diego: Self-Guided Scooter Tour of Downtown & Old Town

8. San Diego: Self-Guided Scooter Tour of Downtown & Old Town

Start your tour with a trip through historic Little Italy. Once home to the city’s Italian community, the neighborhood has now become a modern business and arts district. Make your way to the bay and see ships that explored the new world, and patrolled the waters in time of war. Then cruise down the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter which was once San Diego’s red-light district, but is now the center of the city’s nightlife.  Leave modern San Diego and take a trip through the past as you check out the beautiful Mission Hills and the historic Fort Stockton. Visit Presidio Park where see the old Spanish mission used to stand. Ride through Old town San Diego and see how the city looked in the era of the old west when its Spanish and American residents were just laying the foundation for a thriving community.

San Diego: Downtown, Balboa and Old Town GoCar Tour

9. San Diego: Downtown, Balboa and Old Town GoCar Tour

This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to get out and really experience San Diego.It takes you through the best parts of Downtown, Balboa and the Old Town area, and gives you plenty of time to see all three. There will also be time to stop and check out all the sights of San Diego.  You will have more than enough time to park the car, tour the Maritime Museum and check out all of the ships. Navigate through the unique Horton Plaza Mall, and the Gaslamp Quarter to see all the sights of Downtown. From there, you can peruse Balboa Park on foot and really take in the sights and sounds. You can even go to one of the many other museums and stop to smell the roses in the Rose Garden with over 800 different varieties.  Be sure to visit San Diego’s most spooky location, the Whaley House, which is officially America’s most haunted house. All along the tour, there are many great spots to stop and take pictures, eat, drink, relax and truly experience why San Diego truly is special. Lastly, have a quick bite to eat and try some authentic Mexican food in Old Town after walking through many of San Diego’s historic buildings.

From San Diego: Tijuana City Guided Tour and Food Tasting

10. 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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What people are saying about San Diego

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 29 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!

Ben was very knowledgeable, engaging, and kept the tour going at a great pace. We’ve recommended this to local shops to promote and would definitely do it at a new location the next time we’re in town.

Very nice walking tour through Old Town, our guide was great. The tequila (margaritas) and tocos at the end exceeded our expectation as it was enough for a lite lunch.

Informative and fun! We learned a lot of info about the early days of San Diego!

Generous servings of tacos and margaritas and tortillas.