No matter what time of year, San Diego is a top destination for families, couples and friends looking for a great time in southern California. The mild Mediterranean climate and miles of pristine coastline make it ideal for visitors looking to soak up the sun on white sand beaches or hit the surf at one of the many well known surf breaks, but what if you don't want to hang at the beach? Luckily, San Diego is also home to amazing attractions ranging from a world famous zoo filled with lions, tigers and bears, oh my, to the museums of Balboa Park. Friendly locals, a thriving nightlife and a beautiful downtown are all aspects that make life in San Diego just a little sweeter than other big cities, but it's the world class attractions that lure in visitors by the masses.

Photo Credit: Rene Rivers

San Diego Zoo

If you want to learn about every species from African elephants to giant pandas, the San Diego Zoo is an absolute must-see. Home to over 3,700 animals, they have a huge and successful conservancy program. The 100 acre park nestled in downtown San Diego is home to all kinds of animals including polar bears, gorillas, giraffes, lions and hippos to name a few. The zoo's most successful conservancy effort has been its incredible giant panda breeding program, the first and only place in the US to successfully breed these majestic creatures. The Zoological Society of San Diego is constantly upgrading its animal enclosures and working hard to keep all animals safe while educating the public on the many species of the animal kingdom.

Photo Credit: Michael Seljos

Balboa Park

Great for all ages, Balboa Park has amazing and educational museums amidst stunning architecture for a truly unique San Diego experience. You can spend the day playing Frisbee on the lawn or browsing children friendly museums like the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, designed especially for kids to get hands on, or the San Diego Air and Space Museum for flight simulators and 3D/4D movies. Adults will love a picnic next to the Koi pond or a stroll through the San Diego Natural History Museum. If you're looking for a great date idea, Balboa Park is also home to the historic Old Globe Theatre. Couples can find a little romance and end the night with a classic play.

Photo Credit: Henk Sijgers

Seaport Village

Nestled among the hustle and bustle of downtown is the charming coastal shopping area of Seaport Village. Packed with great restaurants, fun boutiques and live entertainment, Seaport Village is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle. It's located on the edge of the water and boasts breathtaking views of the San Diego bay, Coronado and the Coronado Bridge. If you're looking for some fun San Diego souvenirs, Seaport Village has over 50 shops including the San Diego Surf Co., Indian Trails Gallery and The Cerveza Store accented with quaint cobblestone pathways and waterfront restaurants like San Diego Harbor House where you can enjoy daily happy hour and a picturesque ambiance.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Anchondo

Birch Aquarium

Located above the gorgeous beaches of La Jolla, the Birch Aquarium is a sight to behold. From an array of sea creatures in beautiful aquariums and expansive ocean views, the Birch Aquarium is an exciting attraction for kids and adults. From sharks to bright orange Garibaldi, there are over 60 marine life habitats. The aquarium also offers an in depth look at feeding time behaviors with live animal displays. Group tours are available, as well as full facility rentals. The overwhelming beauty of the aquarium and views from Birch, make this one of the most enchanting locations for a big event in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert

Gaslamp Quarter

From exciting nightlife to miles of shops, restaurants and hotels, the Gaslamp Quarter is the place to be in San Diego. What used to be a seedy part of town, the area went through a huge renovation in the early 1990s and came out as the ultimate San Diego hotspot. Home to the best hotels like the historic US Grant, LEED certified Hotel Indigo and boutique hotel Sofia, the Gaslamp is the best place to stay for a local experience. 16 blocks of daytime and nighttime venues make this area come alive no matter when you visit and the old brick construction is like nowhere else in the country. For an unforgettable night out, make reservations at one of the many fine dining restaurants or grab a drink at the stunning Altitude Lounge overlooking the downtown skyline and Petco Park.