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Things to do in San Diego with toddlers New 2020

What to do with little kids in San Diego

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What to do with little kids in San Diego

What to do with little kids in San Diego

Debbie Dubrow is a mom with a 15 month old and a 2 1/2 year old in Seattle.

She travels frequently with her kids and founded the website DeliciousBaby dedicated to giving parents the inspiration, advice, and information to travel with their babies and young children.

She shares excellent ideas for a week in San Diego (for both locals and visitors).

Other than how lazy she makes me feel, I am 100% a fan of her site and her efforts!

San Diego Zoo time

The San Diego Zoo is a must-see destination. As soon as your baby is old enough to engage with the world, he or she will enjoy watching the animals. Unlike many Zoos, this one is spread across 100 acres and animals live in lush “natural” habitats instead of tiny cages. If you arrive early in the day, a good way to beat the crowds is to take the gondola one way to the far end of the park (great fun for kids beginning at around 9 months) and work your way back on foot. Discount tickets can often be found on Ebay and Craigslist. Membership is almost always a good idea for local families.

For lunch, eat a sandwich at Bread & Cie the best bakery in the city. Try the roasted eggplant and feta cheese sandwich for you and some yogurt or fresh fruit for your little one. Consider picking up your food before heading to the zoo and having a picnic while you’re there!

Bread & Cie: 350 University Ave, San Diego (619) 683-9322

San Diegos Delicious BabiesCafe and Mission Bay

Have an omelet at the Broken Yolk. The rooftop dining room is pleasant in warm weather (but not suited for strollers). If omelets aren’t your style, there is also a large selection of other breakfast standards like pancakes, waffles, and French Toast

Take a walk and let baby play in the sand at Mission Bay. This enormous public park has 27 miles of shoreline and 15 miles of bay front beach (if that isn’t enough to get baby to fall asleep in the sling, I don’t know what is). With basketball courts, volleyball, playgrounds, and lots of birds, there’s plenty for baby to do when he’s awake too. You might even want to bring along some food to cook up on one of the many barbecues!

Broken Yolk: 1851 Garnet Ave, San Diego (858) 270-9655
Open 6am-3pm

Get crafty

Now that you have a baby, you have a built in source of gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles and daddy. Visit Cerimicafe in La Mesa and make handprint (or footprint) plates and mugs for everyone. If you’re able to make two visits, you can also make great looking prints in clay (Mon-Fri only).

Cerimicafe @ Grossmont Center Mall in La Mesa (619) 466-4800
Mon-Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 10am-6pm

Yoga and massage

JavaMama is one of those great places that you thought you’d want to hang out when you first had a baby. Drop in on a Baby & Me Yoga Class from 10:30-11:30 at Javamama. Class ends with a soothing massage for baby, maybe she’ll drift off to sleep! After class, grab lunch in the café. If baby isn’t asleep, she’ll love the play area (and you’ll love having your hands free). Best of all, there are so many kids around that nobody will care if your little one begins to wail. Not into Yoga? Check out one of JavaMama’s other great classes (and mom’s chair massage!) or just enjoy your coffee.

JavaMama: 8250 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa
Baby & Me Yoga: Thurs 10:30 to 11:30. $14 for Drop In

Balboa Park

There is so much to do at Balboa Park, that you can easily come back every week and find something different!

First ride the Miniature Train and Carousel outside the Zoo entrance.

Next head over to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and watch intricate scale models chug around the world’s largest model railroad museum. There’s even a tot area with four Thomas Train tracks, blocks, and more. On Tuesday and Friday the museum has stories, games and crafts for toddlers.

Finally, get a front row seat at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre for a children’s puppet show. Shows and schedule change regularly, so call ahead for details.

For lunch, the popular Mission restaurant is casual and noisy enough to accommodate babies. The Mission specializes in simple, healthy, Mexican inspired breakfasts and lunches.

Train & Carousel: Florida Dr and Morley Field Drive (outside the zoo entrance) Tel (619) 239-4748,
Hours 11a-4:30p Sa-Su in winter; extended hours during summer
Cost $2 for ages 1 and up

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: 1649 El Prado, San Diego Tel (619) 696-0199
Hours Tue-Fri 11:00 – 4:00; Sat & Sun 11:00 – 5:00
Cost 15+ $6.00; under 15 free

Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre: 2130 Pan American Place Tel (619) 544-9203,
Performances Wed-Sun, check website for hours
Cost $3 for adults; $2 for ages 2+

The Mission – University: 2801 University Ave Tel (619) 220-8992
Hours 7am-3pm

Sand and surf

Play in the sand on Pacific Beach, and watch the surfers if the waves are good (or check out the learners at Pacific Beach Surf School). There are several drug stores and supermarkets along the main strip, and any of them can sell you some inexpensive buckets and shovels for the sand.

Enjoy the excellent guacamole (and child friendly service) at Gringo’s Mexican Restaurant. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating.

Gringo’s: 4474 Mission Blvd., San Diego Tel (858) 490-2877
Pacific Beach Surf School/Shop: 4150 Mission Blvd. Suite #161 Tel (858) 373-1138,

La Jolla

Take a walk around stroller friendly La Jolla. You’ll find plenty of baby boutiques to stock up on anything you might be missing (or anything that catches your eye). Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, it’s time to pick up a picnic lunch and find a lunch spot. Girard Gourmet has excellent sandwiches and sides all packed to go for your picnic.

Put baby in a sling and explore the tide pools together at the beach or head to Torrey Pines Gliderport and watch the hang gliders while you eat

Torrey Pines Gliderport: 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, La Jolla
Girard Gourmet: 7837 Girard Ave., La Jolla, CA 92037 Tel (858) 454-3325

This most excellent day-by-day guide to San Diego was based on Debbie’s San Diego City Guide on Check out this one and others while you’re over there.

Keyword: Things to do in San Diego with toddlers

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