On your San Diego adventure, don’t miss the opportunity to escape the big city vibe in Point Loma. Forming the western shore of North San Diego Bay, this hilly area offers incredible coastal scenery and rich history.
The laid-back peninsula of Point Loma attracts tourists for its majestic sunsets and great outdoor activities. Spend your days indulging in sun, sea, and surf before sampling the historic fishing district’s mouth-watering coastal cuisine.
Take in the views at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park before soaking up the sun at Ocean Beach City Beach. History buffs can get their fix at Cabrillo National Monument and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, while foodies can graze the stalls at Liberty Public Market.
Ready to see a new side of San Diego? Plan your trip with this Point Loma neighborhood guide, including what to do, where to eat and drink, and where to stay.
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What to see & do in San Diego’s Point Loma
Cabrillo National Monument
Whether you love nature, history, or outdoor fun, Cabrillo National Monument is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon in San Diego. The area sits on the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, where the first European stepped onto the USA’s West Coast in 1542. Today, it’s a popular attraction with fabulous scenery and plenty to see & do.
If you love wildlife, you’ll love Cabrillo National Monument. Bird watchers could spot over 200 species like bluebirds and mockingbirds. During low tide, search for fascinating marine life in the tide pools under the striking sandstone cliffs. Discover a complex ecosystem of sea life, including crabs, sea snails, and octopuses.
Learn more about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo by visiting the Cabrillo Monument itself. The limestone statue towers over the seas and skies he fought to get here. Get an extra dose of history with a visit to Old Point Loma Lighthouse. You can go inside the quaint 1981 building and browse a selection of exhibits.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
The warm glow of the sandstone cliffs at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park has certainly earned its name. This impressive stretch of coastline was once home to dinosaurs and the Kumeyaay tribe. As well as glorious sunsets, the coastal park is one of the most popular places to visit in San Diego for hiking, tide-pooling, and surfing.
The trail along the dramatic cliff formations of Sunset Cliffs National Park is one of the most popular hikes in San Diego. It’s a relaxed route that takes you past stunning rock formations and towering archways.
The hike takes around 45 minutes, but make sure you allow time to stop and take in the panoramic views. Keep an eye out for the Open Ceiling Sea Cave. Peer through the hole to see the waves thrashing into the enormous cave below.
If you want some beach time, you can venture down the steep pathway and spend the day at Garbage Beach. The waves are strong, so it’s great for surfing, but only attempt a dip if you’re a confident swimmer.
Ocean Beach City Beach
For a buzzing city beach atmosphere, spend the day at Ocean Beach City Beach. Tourists and locals flock here for modern amenities and iconic old San Diego style. The wide stretch of sand offers plenty of space for everybody to spend a day in the sun.
Ocean Beach City Beach is one of the prime surf locations in San Diego. The challenging spot in San Diego’s cool Ocean Beach neighborhood has a great beach break, attracting some of SoCal’s most talented surfers. If you’re confident, grab a board and jump in the water. Or relax and appreciate the expertise from the sand of one of San Diego’s most popular beaches.
For great views of Ocean Beach City Beach, head to the Ocean Beach Pier. From here, you’ll have a lovely vantage point and can spot the pelicans and boats drifting by. Graze seafood dishes from the restaurant or grab a pole and catch your own lunch.
Liberty Public Market
All that sea air makes it easy to work up an appetite. Refuel with a visit to Liberty Public Market. The former Navy building is reimagined as a buzzing destination for food, drinks, and artisan goods.
Browse an emporium of specialty stores selling everything from handmade soap to vintage records. Pop into Pasta Design to purchase handmade pasta and sauces to eat in-store or take home and attempt for yourself. Or pick up a Cali-themed souvenir from Kai and Sky, an independent boho jewelry company.
When you’re ready to eat, you’ll have cuisine from around the world at your fingertips. Enjoy it outside with lots of sunny patio seating.
Sample authentic Peruvian food at Latin Chef or grab the fresh spring rolls from Bao Bar. Wash it all down with a boutique beer from Bottlecraft or a seasonal craft cocktail from Mess Hall Bar.
For a relaxed beach experience, spend some time at Shoreline Park. This small beach is on the bay side of Shelter Island, a nautical-themed area with lots of high-end hotels, restaurants, and water sports. The small beach gives you dreamy views of boats drifting across the sea, rolling mountains, and the Downtown San Diego skyline.
This mile-long stretch of sand at Shoreline Park offers a chance to switch off from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. Go for a swim or see what’s biting on the fishing pier. Head to the boat launch for a scenic kayaking trip against the backdrop of the city. As the sun sets, gather around a fire pit for crackling warmth and twinkling San Diego views.
At the west end of Shoreline Park, you’ll find the Japanese Friendship Bell. This pagoda monument is a tranquil place to reflect on the USA and Japan’s post-WWII friendship.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Take a moment to remember our fallen heroes at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, one of the largest national cemeteries in the country. With graves dating back to 1846, it’s the final resting place for 120,000 Americans.
The uniform white gravestones are an otherworldly frame for the views across the bay. Soak up the serene atmosphere and take a stroll through the lush green space. The burial sites represent soldiers who fought in a number of brutal wars. The inscriptions on the tombstones will give you a fascinating look into the lives and loved ones of fallen soldiers.
You’ll also find several war memorials at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. Feel tiny next to the USS Bennington Monument. The towering 75-foot granite structure remembers the crew who died in the ship’s explosion.
Where to eat & drink
This historic fishing district is brimming with seafood restaurants. Whether you want casual joints with classic fare or flashy eateries with innovative plates, you can guarantee fish will be on the menu. If you’re thirsty, you’ll find the bars in Point Loma have a laid-back, social setting. Indoor-outdoor spaces maximize stunning ocean-side views.
Get your coastal cuisine fix at Mitch’s Seafood. This relaxed marina-side seafood restaurant focuses on local and fresh. Pair fish caught in San Diego waters with drinks from famous local breweries and California family vineyards.
Enjoy fabulous views of the marina at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern. A large outdoor deck, tasty American classics, and a craft drinks menu make this an ideal spot for an al fresco lunch.
Pretend you’re on a Polynesian island at Bali Hai Restaurant. Its dreamy location on Shelter Island provides tropical vibes and stunning San Diego views. Make sure you accompany their Hawaiian-style seafood with a world-famous Mai Tai.
Harbor Town Pub is a small and friendly pub with fun activities to get you mingling with the locals. Grab a classic cocktail or craft beer and get stuck into a night of trivia, arcade games, or karaoke.
Settle on one of the window-facing tables at Wonderland Ocean Pub and take in endless ocean views. Their coastal-themed drinks menu includes a colorful mermaid sharing cocktail.
Or for lovely views of the harbor, Ketch Grill and Taps have a sleek patio perfect for trendy after-dinner drinks. Sip a craft beer or cocktail while picking out your dream yacht.
Where to stay
Although there are plenty of activities around Point Loma, there’s a limited selection of accommodations in the area. Most of the district’s hotels are concentrated around Liberty Station, Roseville – Fleet Ridge, Shelter Island, and Ocean Beach.
Step through the rainbow façade of this vibrant hostel and embrace San Diego’s hippy vibes. With a mix of dorms and private rooms, you’ll meet lots of solo travelers in the colorful common areas. There are organized activities to help you get the most out of your time in the city.
Right on the waterfront of the Liberty Station NTC Park, this is a serene location for your San Diego activities. Make the most of paddleboard and kayak rentals, or explore the pretty area with bike trails and jogging paths. If you prefer to stay in, soak in the heated pool or cozy up by the firepits.
This lavish hotel with a private marina has sweeping views of San Diego Bay. Look out at the boats from the balcony of your spacious suite or while sunbathing by the outdoor pool. Start your day with a free coffee and spend your evening by the fire pit at the on-site bar and restaurant.