Venture beyond the baby gates! We’ve compiled a fantastic list of baby-friendly activities in San Diego that will keep you and your little bundle entertained while out on the town. From museums and nature parks to lunch dates and pool time, scroll down for baby-friendly activities to get you out and about.
1. Cabrillo National Monument
From the ocean to the bay, see stunning San Diego views. Walk the stroller-friendly path to the historic lighthouse. See how a family lived there and explore the ranger station with tons of historical facts. Then shop the gift shop. For more outdoor hikes with a wee one, check out our best hikes for kids.
2. Stroll through museums and take a train ride.
There’s no shortage of museums in San Diego! Head to Balboa Park on a Tuesday and take advantage of the free resident admission to select museums. The Model Railroad Museum has model trains that are sure to delight your baby. Afterward, you can even take him or her on the miniature train ride located right outside the zoo entrance. The New Children’s Museum downtown offers endless engaging sights and sounds and best of all, it’s free for babies under 12 months! If your little one prefers to see Nemo and Dory, the Birch Aquarium is a great choice for up-close observation of all kinds of fascinating fish.
3. Shop, eat and play at Westfield UTC.
Do you like to shop? Then Westfield UTC is a great spot to take baby. You'll find many baby-friendly amenities like the Family Lounge where you can sit and take a breather. Inside there's a private nursing area, baby changing stations, a large family restroom, books, and videos. Even more, you'll find a food court and two play areas for older siblings. Read our complete scoop on Westfield UTC.
4. Work out!
Feel like exercising? There are many baby-friendly fitness classes to choose from. GroovaRoo lets you wear baby in a soft carrier while you move to popular music. It’s a low-impact aerobic workout, perfect for emphasizing safety and comfort for baby. It’s also a great way to meet friends! Fit4Mom classes, such as the popular Stroller Strides, are offered all over the city and throughout the county.
5. Have a lunch date.
We love San Diego restaurants that cater to families, especially the ones that make babies happy. There are several Cheesecake Factory locations, and we dig that they give a complimentary plate (for baby) like bananas or other yummies to keep the little one engaged (and fed!). Our other favorites you can read up here.
6. Take me out to the ball game.
It’s never too early to start turning your newborn into a Padres fan! It might seem crazy to bring a baby to a baseball game, but PETCO Park caters to even the youngest visitors. They may not be able to stay for the entire game, but they’ll get free admission and they can see the sights in between naps. Every single restroom has baby changing stations, so even dads can help out with diaper duty. And if you bring a stroller, you can check it at any Guest Services Center located on every level of the stadium.
7. Play in The Backyard at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Visit a cool experiential exhibit at The Nat for wee ones: The Backyard. It's an enclosed inside space made to resemble a typical San Diego backyard. It is divided by age groups, so there is space for babies to roam separate from bigger kids. Good to know, it closes at 4:30 p.m. Then, check out the other Nat exhibits. Explore more indoor play areas with your little one to move beyond the living room floor into a world of new discoveries.
8. Plunge into the pool.
Getting baby used to the water early is one of the best things you can do. You can sign up for either inexpensive group classes or private lessons. Noonan Family Swim School starts babies swimming as early as 3 months-old with their Splash Babies program. If you prefer to be in the water with your baby, check out Aqua Pros and spend some fun, quality time while building critical water safety skills. Check out our list of favorite swimming lessons where you can make a big splash.
9. Try Mommy and Me yoga.
Hapa Yoga offers Mommy and Me sessions at a clean facility with friendly staff, hourly childcare, quality equipment. What more could you want? There are a wide variety of classes to take in addition to the Mommy and Me fitness classes, including prenatal yoga and even a Tots yoga class, for when your baby gets a little older.
10. Learn sign language together.
Wondering what your baby is thinking? Baby Sign Language Basics offers American Sign Language instructions to parents in order to help them communicate better with their babies. They specialize in workshops, sign, play and learn classes for parents and their kids.
11. Hit the beach.
It’s a no-brainer that a San Diego baby needs a trip to the beach. Too many people? Try Kellogg Beach, at the end of Point Loma, for a calmer, less crowded experience. Glorietta Bay Beach in Coronado is also a good choice, with calm waves, facilities and open grass areas. Here are more of our favorite family beaches in San Diego.
12. Learn new lullabies.
Babies love music and singing, so why not start their music education early? Songbirds Music is a mobile music class that nurtures your baby’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement. Recreational Music Center uses a curriculum designed to meet motor skills based on your baby’s development. You can also pay by class, which is perfect if you don’t want to commit to a weekly class.
13. Attend a breastfeeding clinic.
For new moms struggling with breastfeeding, La Leche League is a great place to turn. Moms can ask questions via forums on their website and get information and resources. It also helps connect moms to groups in their area and lactation consultants. Groups meet monthly and parents are always welcome to call when they need breastfeeding help between meetings.
14. Nurture a love of reading.
No matter what neighborhood you live in, chances are there is a library nearby. Visit the library of your choice and check out the baby story time classes. Throw down a blanket, grab a pile of books and join in the singing, reading aloud and playing with your baby.
15. Baby’s first haircut.
The time will eventually come for baby to get his or her first haircut. To make it a memorable experience, purchase a Baby’s First Haircut package. Pigtails and Crewcuts offers one that includes a keepsake card, photo and lock of hair. Kids Hair Salon and Little Locks offer similar packages. Here are 6 salons where you can take your baby to get a new ‘do.
16. Visit the Farmers Market.
Get baby used to a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables by visiting a local farmers market. They’re colorful, smell delicious and many vendors offer samples, making this a great way to get baby to try something new. Check out our list of family-friendly farmers markets here.
17. Meet new parents online.
If you can’t get out because of the weather or are still recovering from childbirth, connect on Facebook! Groups like San Diego Moms clubs and San Diego New Moms Network have large followings where local parents connect and help one another out.
18. Have a smashing first birthday.
Celebrate baby’s first birthday with a smash cake that’s as sweet as they are! Check out our list of bakeries that offer show stopping first birthday cakes of all sizes for baby’s special day.
19. Get a baby coach.
Parenting a newborn can be scary. At Move Play Grow, you can hire a baby coach, who will address your questions and concerns and teach valuable skills when it comes to handling, playing and connecting with your baby. Or if your prefer, you can take one of their classes such as the popular Happy Tummy Timers and join in on their playdates.
20. Photograph your newborn.
Before you know it, your baby will be a toddler. Don’t let this precious first year pass you by! Preserve those memories with a photo session. Many local photographers give you the option to have the session done at your home, their studio, or at various places around town. Some faves include K. Loreth Photography, Little Blue Bow Photography, Lisa England Photography, Christy Wallis Baby Photography and Keane Studios.
21. Explore the San Diego Botanic Garden.
A cool baby hangout is the San Diego Botanic Garden. Walk the Children's Garden and dig up the dinos in the sand. Next, stroll over to hear the choo-choo of the toy train going through the mountain. Head below (it's stroller-friendly) down to the Hamilton Garden to splash in the small stream and climb around the treehouse.
22. Take a hike.
With San Diego’s practically perfect weather, you can pretty much hike all year round. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve has many beautiful, short hikes your family can enjoy. Just be sure to put baby in a carrier. If you prefer stroller-friendly walks, head for Mission Beach boardwalk, where you can people watch for 3.5 miles along the sandy shores of Mission Beach. For more ideas on where to hit the trail with your little one, here are great hiking trails for kids and families.
23. Take a baby class together.
Join up with other parents and their babies to sing, dance and play. Check out our top picks for the best San Diego classes for little ones.
24. Catch a flick.
Baby-friendly movie theaters? Yes, please. Enjoy these special screenings of grown-up movies for parents with babies and tots while you still can. Bring your baby to the movies at one of our family-friendly movie theaters for Parent Movie Morning or Baby’s Night Out. Crying, feeding and diaper changing are expected!
25. Go to the park.
Baby's love to swing, slide and crawl around. Check out our favorite family parks and playgrounds in San Diego.
26. Explore La Jolla Cove.
You'll find miles of stroller-friendly ocean views from La Jolla Cove down to the Children's Pool. Even more, there are birds, twisty trees, green grass, seals and seal pups to check-out. If you want to bring a picnic, there's a large grass area to set up your blanket––or you can head up to Cody's restaurant for a bite to eat with a view of the Cove.
27. Take a deep breath. Smile and enjoy the moment. You’ve got this!
Anywhere your adventures take you, even if it’s just to the grocery store, there’s always time to connect with your baby and enjoy the moment. Remember the saying, “the days are long, but the years are short!” It really is true.
28. Attend Toddler Tuesday Music & Yoga. This hour-long morning class includes live music, mindful movement, active music making and enriching experiences designed to promote the development of your little one's social, physical and language skills and emotional well-being.
—Marissa Mullen & Nikki Walsh
featured image via Flickr