The 15 Best Unusual Things to Do in San Diego For All Budgets


With its sun-kissed beaches and laid-back vibe, San Diego is a treasure trove of unique experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re going solo or planning a trip with roommates in San Diego, looking for lavish adventures or budget-friendly fun, this list has got you covered. 

So, if you’re seeking something beyond the usual tourist spots, here are 15 unusual things to do in San Diego that will make your time truly memorable.

1. Explore the Secret Swings

Hidden around La Jolla and other parts of San Diego are mysterious swings, offering not just a playful escape but also breathtaking views. These swings are a free and fantastic way to enjoy the city from a different perspective, making them perfect for a solo adventure or a fun outing with friends.

2. Discover the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

This hidden gem is beloved by the locals and for a very good reason. Built to be 375 feet long in 1912, it offers a thrilling walk above a deep canyon. It’s a free experience that’s particularly enchanting at dusk, making it a great choice for a romantic stroll or a peaceful solo adventure.

Those who are scared of heights, beware! A sharp gust of wind can make the bridge swing.

3. Visit the Mushroom House

Accessible via a hike along the beach during low tide, the peculiar ‘Mushroom House’ at Black’s Beach offers a unique photo opportunity. This private residence looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a sci-fi movie. A visit here is the perfect way to add an unusual twist to your beach day.

4. Go Paragliding at Torrey Pines

For those willing to splash the cash, paragliding at Torrey Pines offers an adrenaline rush paired with stunning coastal views. It’s an unforgettable experience, perfect for thrill-seekers who want to soar above the scenic landscapes.

5. Check Out the Unconditional Surrender Statue

This giant statue of a sailor kissing a nurse is a unique and Instagram-worthy spot located by the USS Midway Museum. It’s a quirky piece of art that adds a fun twist to your sightseeing. You’ll find it in Tuna Harbor Park, which is open from 6 am to 10:30 pm.

6. Tour the Harper’s Topiary Garden

This private residence in Mission Hills has transformed its front yard into a whimsical topiary garden. Travels inspire the shapes the owners have taken together. It’s free to visit and offers a delightful experience for those who appreciate quirky art and gardening.

7. Enjoy a Speakeasy Night

San Diego has a variety of hidden speakeasies, offering a taste of the Prohibition era. Some require a reservation and a bit of a splurge, but they promise an exclusive and memorable night out for friends and family.

8. Take a Ghost Tour at the Whaley House

Dubbed one of the most haunted houses in America, the Whaley House in Old Town offers guided ghost tours for those who dare to take the risk. It’s a spine-tingling experience that won’t break the bank. But be warned – it’s not for the faint of heart!

9. Visit the Sunny Jim Sea Cave

For a small fee, you can explore this sea cave accessed through The Cave Store in La Jolla. This unique geological feature offers a bit of adventure for those seeking budget activities, either solo or with friends.

10. Explore the California Tower

For a small fee, you can climb the California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man, offering panoramic views of the city. It’s a workout with a reward and a great way to see San Diego from above.

11. Stroll Through the Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens

Located in Encinitas, these beautiful gardens offer a serene and spiritual escape. They’re free to visit, making them a perfect spot for some solo reflection and meditation or a peaceful walk with friends.

12. Join a Sandcastle Building Class

Got a flair for creativity? You can find classes on the beaches of San Diego that teach the art of sandcastle building. This unique activity is great for groups and is usually budget-friendly.

13. Kayak the Seven Caves

Rent a kayak or join a tour to explore all Seven Caves of La Jolla, such as Sunny Jim’s Cave, Clam’s Cave, and more. This water adventure offers a new way to appreciate the stunning coastline and marine life. It’s suitable for all skill levels.

14. Visit the Queen Califia’s Magical Circle

Discover a hidden sculpture garden in Escondido, created by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. It’s free, colorful, and offers an immersive art experience unlike any other.

15. Attend a Rooftop Cinema

Splurge on a movie night under the stars at one of San Diego’s rooftop cinemas. This is a chic and unique way to catch a film, complete with stunning city views. And with a range of iconic films on offer, from Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter, you’re sure to find a showing you’ll love.

Bonus Tip: Finding the Perfect Roommates in San Diego

Exploring San Diego is even more fun when you have great roommates to share the experiences with. If you’re looking for roommates in San Diego, check out Spareroom for a reliable way to find like-minded individuals to join you on these adventures.

Wrapping Up

San Diego’s unusual attractions offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking to spend or save. From hidden swings and haunted houses to paragliding and rooftop cinemas, these activities guarantee an unforgettable experience in this vibrant city.

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