A Local’s Guide to Non-Touristy San Diego

More than 35 million people visit San Diego every year. That’s a lot of tourists! And like any town this welcoming of visitors, there are plenty of great things to do — many of which were specifically envisioned to attract non-locals.

But what if you’re looking for something … a little different? A bit off the beaten path? Something so distinctly San Diego that it can’t be experienced anywhere else, but that also isn’t likely to be overcrowded?

We’re here to help. Check out some of our favorite best-kept secrets and live like a local.

Enjoy the Suspense

The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is an adventure and a destination in one. Tucked away in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood, the bridge is a strictly pedestrian passage that spans nearly 400 feet across Sessions Canyon and sits 70 feet above it. It was built in 1912 in order to connect newly built trolley stops and has remained in place as a favorite spot for locals to take a gently swaying stroll. 

Spruce St, San Diego, CA 92103

¡Viva México!  

San Diego can boast one of the most active and vibrant Mexican communities of any city in the US. And there is perhaps no more exciting center of the city’s Latino culture than Barrio Logan, the city’s largest and oldest Latino neighborhood. Some of the best Mexican food in the city can be found here, as well as specialty shops and incomparable art exhibits. Weekly walking tours and art crawls in the neighborhood unveil countless treasures, including Chicano Park, which is home to the world’s largest collection of public murals.  

Barrio Logan, San Diego, CA 92113 

The Dromedary Dairy

Every time we head to the grocery store lately, it seems there’s a new kind of “milk” to be had. Almond. Oat. Soy. Regular old cow. But we’re willing to bet you haven’t tried camel’s milk. If you’d like to be one of the first of your circle to scratch that particular experience off of your bucket list, you’re in luck. Oasis Camel Dairy sits just a short trip north of San Diego. Here, free-range camels roam pastoral pasture settings and produce the milk that the dairy uses to create a variety of products that range from soap to lotion to tall, frosty glasses of the stuff. The dairy also is currently offering private tours to comply with CDC guidelines. Bottoms up, and mind the hump. 

26757 CA-78, Ramona, CA 92065

What’s Yours Is Mined

Many attractions in the city claim to be “hidden gems.” But only a few let you interpret that literally. At Oceanview Mine, visitors can grab supplied tools, head out into the mineral-rich grounds, and start digging for treasure. The open-air mine is rich with semi-precious stones like tourmaline, kunzite, morganite, and other beautiful jewels. The best part? You can keep whatever you find. The mine is open to visitors during the lockdown, but reservations are required. So grab a shovel, and get to it. Can you dig it?

37304 Magee Rd, Pala, San Diego, CA 92059 

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the offbeat places to see during your visit to San Diego. Everyone you’ll meet here has a favorite secret haunt. So if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s an intriguing escapade around every corner.