Are you searching for unique things to do in San Diego on your next vacation? Read ahead for our top suggestions!

If you’ve been looking for unique things to do in San Diego, then you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve compiled a bumper list of unique things to do in San Diego that skips the typical tourist traps and will make your trip one-of-a-kind!

We’ve tried really hard to diversify this list from all the others you’ll find online, so our list is genuinely unique to us.

From hula dancing, speakeasy bars, and model railway exhibitions to nudist beaches and incredible restaurants, this list of unique things to do in San Diego has something for everyone.

And to make things even better, we’ve picked out unique things to do in San Diego that will suit every budget! Yup – some of these things are even free!

Now let’s get to it.


45 Unique things to do in San Diego…


Visit the San Diego Donut Bar

To kick off our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s visiting the San Diego Donut bar!

If you’re got a sweet tooth, then we know this suggestion for unique things to do in San Diego is going to be right up your street.

This place has been described as ‘the gold standard of donut shops’ and that should tell you everything you need to know!


Grab cocktails at Raised By Wolves

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s checking out one of the city’s best cocktail bars: Raised by Wolves.

This place is open well into the night (1AM) so it’s a great place to plan a night with friends for lots of drinks and conversation.

What makes this one of the best unique things to do in San Diego, is the level of detail and care the bartenders put into each cocktail served here.

This isn’t your average bar, everything here is done with passion for the craft, and it really shows.

And that’s without mentioning the decor at Raised by Wolves, which is out of this world beautiful.

Image credit: https://raisedxwolves.com/gallery/

Visit the Coin-Op Game Room

Next up on our list of unique and unusual things to do in San Diego, it’s the fun Coin-Op Game Room.

This arcade games bar feels like stepping back in time, and if you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you’ll feel super nostalgic here!

This place specializes in games, food, cocktails and craft beer – but we’re all about heading here for the games. Everything else is just a bonus!

There are SO MANY nostalgic games in the bar, and it’s so much fun rediscovering them from your childhood!


San Diego Model Railroad Museum

Next up on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, we have the San Diego Model Railroad Museum!

This small but mighty museum is tucked away inside Balboa Park and offers everything from model trains to STEAM programs for kiddos.

Whether you’re looking to learn more about rail travel or are a train aficionado, this is one of the unique things to do in San Diego that you’ll love!

Just remember to buy tickets in advance to save yourselves the queues.

Editorial credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Visit the Mothership

Next up on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s visiting the Mothership.

Mothership is a themed bar in San Diego, and it’s just so damn cool. If you’ve never been, you need to put it on your list ASAP.

This intergalatic themed bar is so much fun, and it’s a real change from the ordinary. Everyone we know who has been has absolutely love the experience, and we think you will too!

Top tip! Make sure to reserve a table ahead of time. Reservations drop 21 days in advance at 10am.


Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

Next up on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, we have the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.

This bridge has been impressing visitors since 1912 and can be found inside a valley near Downtown San Diego.

You may not love it if you’re scared of heights and don’t enjoy the feeling of swaying from side to side.

But it’s one of the unique things to do in San Diego that’s perfect for photographers and influencers!

Read more about visiting San Diego: 30 fun things to do in the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego!


Black’s Beach (nude!)

Not only is Black’s Beach one of the best San Diego nude beaches, but it’s one of the most unique things to do in San Diego!

While you’re here, you can bask in the sunlight, strip off your glad rags, and enjoy San Diego’s balmy weather.

Just remember to put your clothes back on before returning to civilization!


Harper’s Topiary Garden

Harper’s Topiary Garden is our next suggestion for unique things to do in San Diego!

It was created by a charming Mission Hills couple who turned their garden into artwork.

These days, you’ll find everything from pyramids and surfers to topiary animals in this creative backyard!

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a San Diego newbie, this is one of the unique things to do in San Diego that you’ll adore as it’s just that creative!


Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

Our next pick for unique things to do in San Diego is paying a visit to Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop!

These guys serve some of the best tacos in San Diego, but not everyone knows they exist.

The tacos here are packed with fresh ingredients and top-quality meats, but it’s the eclectic and funky décor that makes this one of the most unique things to do in San Diego.

Seriously, the murals and seating area are worth the price of admission!

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/luchalibretacoshop/

Now or Never Comics

San Diego is home to Comic Con, so you know that there’s going to be some of the best comic book stores in the country here.

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, is just that! Find a comic book store and go support some local business!

We could spend HOURS browsing comic book stores in San Diego, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.

One we recommend visiting is Now or Never Comics. It’s a particularly great choice for visitors, as it’s super centrally located too.

This is such a great option for unique things to do in San Diego, and we really recommend it!

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/nowornevercomics/

See the Fallen Star art installation

Fallen Star is an art installation by South Korean artist Do Ho Suh on the grounds of the University of California San Diego.

It’s a really quirky piece, and it’s definitely something worth checking out if you’re looking for quirky and unusual things to do in San Diego.

You won’t have seen anything like this before, that much is certain!

Read more about San Diego: 15 Charming Small Towns Near San Diego!

Editorial credit: InnaPoka / Shutterstock.com

Visit a Speak Easy

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s visiting a Speak Easy.

The establish we recommend is a place called ‘The Grass Skirt‘ – which is a really fun, highly reviewed tiki bar in the heart of San Diego.

But how do you get inside? Well here’s the secret!

The entrance to the Grass Skirt lays inside Good Time Poké, and to gain access, you’ll need to head inside and walk towards the freezer. Once you’re in the freezer, keep walking and you’ll find a dark stone hallway. This hallway will lead you to the tiki bar!

Read more about San Diego: 12 best places for snorkeling in San Diego

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/thegrassskirtsd/

Unique things to do in San Diego: Take a sound bath in San Diego

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s taking a sound bath.

If you’re not familiar with what a sound bath is, it’s a form of audible meditation. And it’s absolutely other worldly when done right.

If you’re looking for unique things to do in San Diego, you can’t really find something more unusual and unique than this.

Because of the big wellness and fitness community in San Diego, it won’t be hard to find Sound Bath Meditation classes, but we recommend checking out the Japanese Friendship Garden, who run several classes.

Read more about San Diego: 38 fun things to do in San Diego at night!


Play some disc golf

Next on our list of unusually things to do in San Diego, it’s playing some disc golf.

Listen, San Diego is blessed with amazing weather (almost all year round) so when you visit you’ll want to actually enjoy some time outdoors in the sunshine!

Disc golf is a great way to do that, whilst also having fun. And there’s loads of places to play disc golf in the San Diego area too!

Read more about San Diego: 12 best places for paddle boarding in San Diego


USS Midway Museum

Although the USS Midway Museum isn’t necessarily one of the most unique things to do in San Diego (it’s very popular!), the experience is one-of-a-kind!

This naval aircraft carrier can be found right on San Diego Bay and it covers tons of US maritime history.

And hey, the views of Downtown San Diego don’t hurt either!

Editorial credit: randy andy / Shutterstock.com

Visit a rooftop bar in Gaslamp

There are so many wonderful rooftop bars in Gaslamp, and we only thought it right to include them on our list of unique things to do in San Diego!

Not everyone knows about the incredible viewpoints at many of these rooftop bars.

So, it’s a great way to skip the queues at more popular San Diego viewing spots while grabbing bar bites and signature cocktails! Dreamy.

Read more about San Diego: Top 20 best restaurants in San Diego with a view!


Unique things to do in San Diego: Eat every cannoli in Little Italy

If you’re looking for unique things to do in San Diego for foodies, why not eat your way around Little Italy?

But let’s make this suggestion a little more unique shall we? Because Little Italy isn’t exactly ground-breaking!

Instead of stopping by for a bowl of pasta, or a pizza… Why not search out the best cannoli in Little Italy.

Most restaurants serve them up for dessert, and you can usually grab one to take away too. So head over there and decide which place takes the crown for the best cannoli in Little Italy.


Visit Whips n Furs Costume Store

Listen, San Diego is well known for hosting Comic Con, and so (as you’d expect) there are plenty of costume stores and fancy-dress stores in the city.

If you want a really fun hour or two, we recommend paying one of them a visit and just having fun looking at all the costumes.

Whips n Furs Costume Store is a great one to check out, and it’s relatively central too (so great for visitors).

This is such a fun option for unique things to do in San Diego!

Editorial credit: The Image Party / Shutterstock.com

Check out Hillcrest

Hillcrest is a neighborhood in San Diego that’s northwest of Balboa Park and the center of San Diego’s LGBTQ+ scene.

So, we thought it made sense to include it on our list of unique things to do in San Diego.

Whether you want to head to an outdoor restaurant, take photos by the neon Hillcrest sign, or check out the vintage clothing shops around here doesn’t matter. 

You’re bound to agree that visiting Hillcrest is one of the most unique things to do in San Diego!

Editorial credit: Manuela Durson / Shutterstock.com

Go axe-throwing

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s a spot of axe throwing.

AxeVentures is a great place to visit for axe throwing as it’s right in central San Diego around North Park.

Feel free to visit on your own or get competitive with friends or a significant other!

If nothing else, it’s one of the unique things to do in San Diego that’s bound to release some stress and let you embrace that wild side!

Read more about San Diego: 24 things to do in Old Town, San Diego


Take a cooking class

There is a big foodie community in San Diego, and our next choice for unique things to do in San Diego, is aimed at them!

There are so many amazing cooking schools and classes in San Diego. From Italian food, to Mexican food – you’ll be able to choose the skills to brush up on and the dishes you want to master.

Here are some cooking classes it might be worth looking into!


Total Raptor Experience

If you’re even remotely interested in birds, then you’ll love the next item on our list of unique things to do in San Diego.

The Total Raptor Experience is one of the most unique things to do in San Diego and it allows you to take falconry lessons near Torrey Pines (hello views!).

Although the experience is completely interactive, you won’t be forced to do anything you’re not comfortable with – don’t worry!

Just enjoy these incredible birds of prey while engaging in one of the most unique things to do in San Diego!


Try footgolf

You might not have heard of footgolf, but it’s among the most unique things to do in San Diego – trust us on this one!

It essentially means playing golf with a soccer ball instead of a golf ball, and it’s a total riot!

You simply need to book the Family Footgolf Special at around $30 for a family of four at Reidy Creek Golf Course and you’re good to go.

Family bonding and trying one of the most unique things to do in San Diego? Sign us up.

Read more about San Diego: 26 things to do alone in San Diego


Visit a rage room

We all need to let out a bit of pent-up anger from time to time, which brings us right to our next suggestion for unique things to do in San Diego!

Brainy Actz is home to one of the best rage rooms in San Diego and allows patrons to smash everything from old bricks to furniture.

You’ll only get 20 minutes, so use the time wisely!

If you prefer escape rooms, Brainy Actz also runs several riddle-filled adventures that are bound to have you on the edge of your seat.


Go on a sailing tour

It’s no secret that San Diego is home to some truly stunning waterways.

So, we only thought it right to include a bougie sailing tour on our list of unique things to do in San Diego!

San Diego Sailing Tours is one of the most reliable companies to go with, and they offer a full two-hour sailing experience that takes you around San Diego Bay.

It’s one of the most romantic and unique things to do in San Diego for couples – so don’t miss it!


Spend the day at Bernardo Winery

Next up on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s visiting a winery. Bernardo Winery to be precise!

This gorgeous winery is located in north San Diego, and it’s such a gorgeous and romantic option for unique things to do in San Diego.

Spend the day soaking in those beautiful vineyard views, and trying local wines. It’s heaven.

Definitely worthy of a spot on our list of unique things to do in San Diego!

Read more San Diego food recommendations: Top 20 places for Mexican food in San Diego

Editorial credit: Dawn Damico / Shutterstock.com

Visit Hillcrest Farmer’s market

Next up on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s the wonderful Hillcrest Farmers Market.

This amazing local market is actually one of the original San Diego farmers markets, making it well worth a visit.

If you’re stopping in accommodation with a kitchen during your vacation in San Diego, the farmers market is. a great place to stock up on some delicious and local supplies!

This market has over 175 vendors (that’s a lot!) and it’s also the largest certified farmers market in San Diego County.


Go snorkeling around La Jolla Cove

Next up on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, we have snorkeling around La Jolla Cove.

There are several excellent places for snorkeling in San Diego, but La Jolla Underwater Park is one of the best.

Offering 6,000 acres of underwater magic, you’ll be able to spot everything from sharks to Garibaldi fish if you pop your snorkel on for an afternoon!

Take it from us, it’s a wonderful pick for unique things to do in San Diego.


Watch the sunset at Point Loma

If you’re looking for unique things to do in San Diego for couples, you can’t beat watching the sunset at Point Loma.

Head to the Sunset Cliffs with a towel and a picnic to experience one of the most unique things to do in San Diego.

And hey, it’s a great place for a proposal!

Read more San Diego food ideas: Where to find the best Seafood Boil in San Diego!


Visit the Comic-Con Museum

The Comic-Con Museum is next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego for pop culture and gaming enthusiasts.

This fabulous museum gives you the chance to experience the joys of Comic-Con all year round with world-class collections, exhibitions, and special programs!

Regardless of what fandom you’re into, this is one of the unique things to do in San Diego that’s bound to impress.

Editorial credit: Roaming Panda Photos / Shutterstock.com

See the Carlsbad Flower Fields

No list of unique things to do in San Diego would be complete with the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

Carlsbad is one of the most gorgeous small towns near San Diego and it’s so easy to get to (seriously, don’t worry about the travel aspect!).

This is one of the unique things to do in San Diego that you’ll need to do during the springtime.

But it’s worth jigging your vacation plans around to see the stunning blooms at the Carlsbad Flower Fields!


Unique things to do in San Diego: Visit Cheese Shop in La Jolla

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s visiting the Cheese Shop in La Jolla.

This cafe/ lunch spot is a local favorite, and they serve up some mighty delicious sandwiches.

But it’s the history of this place, the staff, and the service that makes it a lovely choice for unique things to do in San Diego.

Read more about La Jolla: 35 fun things to in La Jolla, for every budget!

Image credit: https://cheeseshoplajolla.com/la-jolla-la-jolla-shores-cheese-shop-food-menu

Go camping at Mission Trails Regional Park

Attention nature lovers – the next spot on our list of unique things to do in San Diego is aimed at you!

Although camping isn’t for everyone, there are gorgeous spots to set up a tent around Mission Trails Regional Park.

It’s only 20 minutes from central San Diego and usually, the skies here are often clear enough to spot stars!

Sleeping surrounded by flora and fauna? Talk about unique things to do in San Diego that belong on your bucket list.

Editorial credit: Roaming Panda Photos / Shutterstock.com

Fleet Science Center

Our next suggestion for unique things to do in San Diego is the Fleet Science Center.

This is another excellent museum that’s located inside Balboa Park, and it’s the perfect way to kill some time if you’re traveling with kiddos.

Aside from the main exhibits, you’ll be able to learn about ecology, catch an IMAX film, and check out planetary events!

Oh, and it’s a great option for unique things to do in Chicago when it’s raining out.

Editorial credit: Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

See the Unconditional Surrender Sculpture

If you’re looking for unique things to do in San Diego, why not check out the Unconditional Surrender Sculpture?

You’ll find this statue right on the edge of the marina near Seaport Village, and it’s a fabulous photo opportunity for tourists and locals alike.


Visit the Green Dragon Tavern

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego, it’s visiting the Green Dragon Tavern. This place oozes charm, but it’s also great for anyone who loves brushing up on their history – because there’s a museum inside too.

Basically, as well as serving food and drinks, you’ll find a pretty well put together museum inside this tavern – with artefacts showing the American history of San Diego.

Read more about San Diego: Top 10 La Jolla restaurants on the water!


Visit Villa Montezuma

Villa Montezuma is one of the lesser-known tourist attractions in town, but it’s one of the unique things to do in San Diego that’s worth checking out.

The museum is essentially a Queen Anne-style mansion in Sherman Heights that has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971.

It’s said to have a slightly spooky vibe as it was once home to the famous Spiritualist Jesse Shepard.

So, if you’re on the hunt for unique things to do in San Diego that might include run-ins with spirits, this should be on your list.

Editorial credit: Roaming Panda Photos / Shutterstock.com

Grab a drink at Bali Hito

Bali Hito is a tiny tiki bar and it certainly deserves a spot on our list of the most unique things to do in San Diego.

Aside from being the smallest tiki bar in San Diego, this hideaway also boasts pufferfish décor, an indoor waterfall, and tons of plant life dotted around the main room.

It’s slightly weird, but it serves killer cocktails!

You’ll find this spot inside Warshaw Provisions which is a small corner shop on 30th Street!


See Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car

Next on our list of unique things to do in San Diego? It’s paying a visit to Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car!

This old-school Cadillac is a must-visit attraction for any fans of vintage cars, and it’s said to have done a 6,320-mile round trip between San Diego and New York back in the day!

You’ll find it inside the San Diego Automotive Museum (which is also one of our top unique things to do in San Diego!).


Go Whale Watching

Our next suggestion for unique things to do in San Diego? It’s a spot of whale watching!

Believe it or not, thousands of enormous whales migrate through San Diego’s waters every single year.

So, there are tons of amazing boat tours that head out on the water all year round.

We recommend heading out during the feeding period which runs during the summer and fall, as the winter months can be slightly chilly!

But either way, it’s one of the unique things to do in San Diego that you’re bound to enjoy.


Yoga on the beach

Our next suggestion for unusual and fun things to do in San Diego, is a completely free idea.

Take yourself to the beach at sunrise, and follow a yoga video. You can find lots of free video tutorial on Youtube for free, and then all you need to do is enjoy the beach setting, and those good vibes!

It’s such an easy, but wonderful option for unique and unusual things to do in San Diego.


San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

If you’re a full-blown history buff, then you’ll want to check out the next spot on our list of unique things to do in San Diego.

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is completely dedicated to preserving and telling Chinese history and culture in San Diego.

There’s a particular focus on the history of the Asian-American community in the California area and it’s a truly fascinating way to spend a couple of hours.

It’s one of our top picks for unique things to do in San Diego and it’s never overly crowded either!


Take a hula class

To round off our list of unique things to do in San Diego, we have a visit to the San Diego Hula Academy!

You’ll have to trek up to San Marcos to enjoy this activity, but it allows you to get in touch with your creative side by donning a lei and shaking your hips!

No experience is needed either; the friendly course runners will have you up and moving even if you’re a complete beginner.

Read more about San Diego: Our favorite cheap eats in La Jolla! For budget-friendly travelers!


Yiddishland California

Whether you have a Jewish background or are completely unfamiliar with the culture and religion, Yiddishland California is bound to fascinate you.

A visit to this non-profit organization is one of the most unique things to do in San Diego as you can check out local art, learn Yiddish, and take part in events.

It’s technically a cultural center, but it also functions as a wonderful art gallery and a place to hold community classes!

We love multi-faceted unique things to do in San Diego.


Memorial to the White Deer of Mission Hills

You’ll only need a few minutes to check out the next spot on our list of unique things to do in San Diego.

This beautiful memorial is dedicated to a fallow deer named Lucy who passed away.

It’s tucked away in Presidio Park and is a lovely place to sit with a good book, ponder over life’s stresses, or just snap a few photos.

This isn’t one of the most exciting activities in the world, but it’s certainly one of the most unique things to do in San Diego that’s utterly charming.


Watch a show at the Old Globe Theatre

 If you’re on the hunt for unique things to do in San Diego that are oh-so-artistic, why not catch a show at the Old Globe Theatre?

It’s another amazing spot that’s tucked inside Balboa Park and it often hosts traveling Shakespeare companies throughout the year.

Whatever you manage to watch, it’s one of the unique things to do in San Diego that’ll help you get in touch with your creative side!

Read more about San Diego: Top 15 bed and breakfasts in San Diego

Editorial credit: Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

We hope this epic list of unusual and unique things to do in San Diego has given you loads of ideas!

As you can see there are so many unique and unusual things to do in San Diego! It’s a great city for exploring things of the tourist track!