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11 Best Things to Do in Point Loma, San Diego

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With beautiful beaches, lots of history, and plenty of cultures that can be seen around the neighborhood, it’s no surprise that Point Loma has become a top vacation destination in San Diego! Here are our favorite things to do in Point Loma.

Point Loma is a coastal town that’s as fun to live in as it is to visit, with many local landmarks and historic sights that you won’t want to miss if you want to truly enjoy your time during your visit. The area is a peninsula that extends into the Pacific Ocean, bordered by San Diego Bay, with plenty of beautiful beaches all around.

Therefore, you’re never far from the ocean and miles of coastline, where it’s easy to immerse yourself fully in the laid-back atmosphere of the neighborhood. Of course, you’ll want to ensure you have enough time to visit all of Point Loma’s greatest attractions, too!

Plan the Perfect Point Loma Vacation

Scenic view of Point Loma Beach with rugged cliffs and shoreline, people enjoying a sunny day by the Pacific Ocean.
Alex / Adobe Stock

Point Loma is nicknamed the birthplace of San Diego, and given the number of historic sights, it’s not hard to see why. Visit the landing site of California’s first European explorers, learn about the area’s rich history as a military base, or enjoy authentic cuisine at local restaurants. However you choose to explore, culture and history are always right around the corner.

This is also a great neighborhood for nature lovers, with many family-friendly attractions that bring San Diego’s marine life to the forefront. Watch the migration of thousands of gray whales, and get close to sea life with tide pools on the beach.

Other ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Point Loma include sailing, surfing, and walking through popular local shopping districts. Explore the best of what Point Loma has to offer, and check out our top picks for the area’s best attractions, sights, and experiences.

Things to Do in Point Loma, San Diego

1. Visit Liberty Station

Barracks 17 things to do in point loma

Address: 2640 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

As a former Naval training center, Liberty Station is now a unique corner of San Diego. You can easily spend an afternoon walking around the area’s stores, historic monuments, and parks.

There are plenty of shopping boutiques here selling locally-made goods, as well as bakeries and sidewalk cafés where you can grab a bite.  You’ll find most of the stores and restaurants in the Liberty Station Public Market, the first market to be open seven days a week.

There are also a number of breweries serving authentic San Diego craft beer and microbrews, which makes it a great spot for bar hopping. Check out this brewery tour at Liberty Station if you are looking for a fun thing to do while visiting.

Liberty Station is also a hub of art and culture, with multiple art galleries and military sites. Enjoy opportunities to make your paintings, candles, and pottery, or visit The Lot, an upscale theater where you can dine and watch movies.

2. Visit Cabrillo National Monument

Statue of Juan Rodriguez

Address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

Located at the southernmost tip of the Point Loma peninsula, Cabrillo National Monument is a commemorative site recognizing the first time a European explorer set foot on the west coast of the United States. This monument offers stunning views of downtown San Diego from Point Loma.

It is named for Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who landed at the site in 1542. This is a great location to learn about local history, especially if you tour or watch a presentation at the Visitor Center.

Cabrillo National Monument was an important location during World War I and World War II, and tourists can learn about the area’s extensive military history. You can also visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The lighthouse operated from 1855 to 1891 and is now a local landmark and museum.

In addition to learning about history, Cabrillo National Monument is known for its great hiking trails, tide pools, and opportunities for whale watching off the coast. You can book a tour with GetYourGuide to learn more about this historic monument in California.

See Related: Things to Do in Southern California

 3. Eat Great Seafood at Point Loma Seafoods

Point Loma Seafoods

Address: 2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

There are few better towns for enjoying fresh-caught fish and seafood than San Diego, and the Point Loma neighborhood is especially notable for its seafood restaurants.

At Point Loma Seafoods, you can dine on fresh local catches like yellowtail, spiny lobster, white seabass, bluefin tuna, and swordfish, as well as imported seafood. Point Loma Seafoods is famous for its smoked fish, and the restaurant uses real hickory wood in the smoking process. 

In addition to serving hot, ready-to-eat dishes and sushi, Point Loma Seafoods is also a market selling seafood and fresh filets. The market opened its doors in 1963, quickly earning itself the reputation of always serving “the freshest thing in town.”

More than just a restaurant and market, eating at Point Loma Seafoods is an experience. Enjoy the soothing dining atmosphere on the docks of San Diego Bay, with a scenic view of the sun reflecting on the gentle waves.

4. Go See Live Music at the Famous Humphreys Backstage Live 

Humphreys Backstage Live

Address: 2241 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

As one of the most well-known music venues in San Diego, Humphreys Backstage Live is an attraction in and of itself, offering great waterfront views from the property and frequently putting on Concerts by the Bay.

The venue has hosted a wide range of acts, from internationally renowned musicians to undiscovered local talents on the rise. Additionally, music isn’t the only type of entertainment on offer. Humphreys Backstage Live also routinely hosts other performers like comedians and dance troupes, so be sure to check the calendar to see the upcoming events. 

In addition to hosting live music and other events on their stage, Humphreys Backstage Live has a bar and kitchen, perfect for a pre-show meal and a cocktail or two.

There’s also an attached hotel, the Half Moon Inn, so those traveling to see a performance can stay the night nearby and explore the rest of Point Loma’s attractions in the morning.

See Related: Things to Do in Temecula

5. Go Surfing at Nubes at Sunset Cliffs

Two Surfers on Two Waves at Nubes

Given San Diego’s significant surfing culture, it’s no surprise that Point Loma’s beaches are the perfect place to hang ten. One of the best spots to surf is at New Break, also called Nubes Beach, located right outside the Sunset Cliffs National Park. 

In addition to jogging along the shore, sunbathing, and swimming, the biggest draw of Nubes is the surf. Take advantage of San Diego’s year-round sunny weather, as you’ll find the biggest waves in the fall and winter.

Average right-hand swells at Nubes reach around three to five feet, but when conditions are right, you can find waves up to 12 feet tall. Visit at low tide for the safest experience.

The area is best for experienced surfers thanks to the fast-moving waves and rocky seafloor. Wipeouts can be dangerous here, so they may not be the best choice for beginners and less experienced surfers.

See Related: Top Restaurants in San Diego

6. Go Sailing in San Diego Bay

Sailing in San Diego Bay

There are many ways to view the beauty of San Diego Bay, but one of the best options is by boat. In Point Loma, you can take a sailing tour of San Diego Bay to see the beautiful, calm waters and gorgeous coastlines from a whole new point of view. 

You can rent a sailboat, which offers more freedom to explore at your own pace or take a guided tour, which offers a more in-depth look at many of the bay’s landmarks and historical sights. Taking a tour is a great way to learn about the area, as well as its unique culture and history.

Sailing in the bay is also a great way to see San Diego’s marine life. You may spot native seals and sea lions resting along the shore or go further into the ocean to watch dolphins and whales.

See Related: Things to Do in East Bay

7. Experience Polynesia San Diego Style at Bali Hai Restaurant

Bali Hai Restaurant

Address: 2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

 The award-winning Bali Hai restaurant is an especially unique place to dine in Point Loma, as it provides diners with a fully immersive Polynesian cultural experience, from the decor to the dishes. 

The restaurant dates back to 1954 when it first opened on Shelter Island. Bali Hai’s founding helped preserve the island’s tiki temple, which remains in place today as one of the world’s biggest original tiki temples.

Bali Hai started as one of many Christian Hut locations but soon developed a life and personality. It later received its iconic name, which translates to “your own special island,” a motto that still reflects diners’ experience today.

Currently, Bali Hai is considered a world-famous San Diego landmark. It serves many authentic Polynesian dishes with a local San Diego twist, as well as cocktails, including their signature mai tai.

8. Check Out the Sea Life at the Point Loma Tide Pools

Point Loma Tide Pools

Address: Lands End Road, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

The Point Loma tide pools are a must-see attraction for all nature lovers! While you can look at larger marine life up close in an aquarium, there’s no better way to see the many small fish, crabs, invertebrates, and other organisms that lurk beneath the ocean’s surface than in a tide pool.

Tide pools form along rocky and uneven shore stretches when the tide goes out. Ocean water pools in these natural divots, catching many species of ocean life with it. Therefore, the best way to see tide pools is to visit during low tide.

The tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument are especially popular, as they boast a high level of biodiversity, and the rocky shore is perfect for tide pool formation.

It’s common to see shore crabs, sea urchins, limpets, California sea hares, sea anemones, periwinkle snails, and even the occasional octopus or lobster.

See Related: Best Museums in San Diego

9. Go On a Boat Ride With Wheels With San Diego SEAL Tours

San Diego SEAL Tours

If you want to see all the best locations and sights of San Diego with all the comfort and convenience of a single guided tour, you can’t go wrong with the San Diego SEAL Tours.

SEAL is short for “sea and land,” as these tours include top landmarks and attractions both in the ocean and shore. SEAL Tours can provide a varied look at San Diego because of the Hydra-Terras, a unique hybrid vehicle between a boat and a car, as it floats and has wheels.

On a 90-minute tour, you’ll traverse the streets and cruise the bay, all while learning about the city with a focus on its military history. It’s also common to see seals and sea lions during the tour.

A SEAL tour is a perfect option if you’re looking for a family-friendly way to explore Point Loma and the surrounding neighborhoods!

See Related: Things to Do in Big Bear

10. Visit Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument

Address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

Inside the Cabrillo National Monument, you’ll find the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which deserves its attraction. This historic lighthouse originally operated in the mid-to-late-1800s, though the area frequently suffered from low clouds and fog that all but blocked out the light. 

Even though Point Loma Lighthouse is no longer operational, having been replaced with a new lighthouse in the area, it remains to stand, and it has been renovated into an educational museum providing a peek into an earlier era of San Diego.

The interior has been refurbished to showcase what it would have looked like back in the 1880s, and visitors are invited to check out the exhibits on display or take a ranger-led informational tour to learn more about this point in Point Loma’s history.

Visiting Point Loma Lighthouse is a great, family-friendly way to experience the area’s history firsthand.

See Related: Most Exotic Places in California to Visit

11. Visit Our Fallen Heroes at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Fallen Heroes at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Address: 1700 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, United States

Visiting the federal cemetery for military members at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is a meaningful experience while visiting Point Loma.

Located right before the entrance to the Cabrillo National Monument, this large cemetery spans over 75 acres, overlooking the bay, with a tranquil atmosphere perfect for honoring many of our country’s fallen heroes. It is both a California and San Diego Historical Landmark, and it was also recognized by the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Fort Rosecrans is named after William Starke Rosecrans, who served as a general for the Union in the American Civil War. It is the resting place of dozens of recipients of the Medal of Honor. It also has multiple memorials and monuments honoring battles through the years, which serve both commemorative and educational purposes.

The cemetery is also the site of San Diego’s largest Memorial Day celebration, which takes place on the last Monday in May every year.

Tours in Point Loma

1. San Diego: Point Loma Electric GoCar Rental Tour Top Recommendation

The Point Loma GoCar Esport is an electric car from which you can take a tour of the beautiful San Diego area. With an impressive top speed of 75 miles per hour, you will be able to enjoy the scenery and attractions of this amazing city with your family, friends or colleagues.

2. GoCar 3Hr Tour: Point Loma Adventure

A GoCar is an innovative way to explore San Diego. The GPS-enabled touring car comes with a map and helmet! Drive through Point Loma, Sunset Cliffs, the Ocean Beach neighborhood and more. Depart Old Town, follow the road along Mission Bay, cross over Coronado Bridge, past North Island Naval Air Station, visit Sea World and Balboa Park before returning to Old Town.

3. GPS Talking Tour Cars: Point Loma & Beaches Loop

The GPS-guided Storytelling Car tour is a narrated audio guided tour that tells you where to turn, what sights to look for and when to stop. There's no need to worry about directions because the car does all the driving for you! It's a great way for visitors of San Diego to learn about the city.

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