Do you want to learn the best San Diego photo spots? Well, you’re in luck because this local is spilling all the best places for San Diego photography. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy here and not only that but San Diego has the most picturesque spots for photography. That’s why I’ve created this “Best Photo Spots in San Diego: Instagrammable Places in San Diego” post to help you know the best places for Instagram spots!
The name speaks for itself. The cliffside phenomenon known as Sunset Cliffs is home to the most beautiful sunset in the world, according to San Diegans. You can walk along the cliffs, post up and watch the droves of Surfers walk down the cliffs with so much ease, or venture down to the tide pools at the far end of Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Golden hour is the best here for photography if you can brave the crowds! Finally, Cabrillo National Monument is close by and is worth a visit as well since it’s home to the Point Loma lighthouse.
Address: Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107
A small island off the coast of San Diego that is a pure gem with a stunning view of the San Diego skyline. This quaint community is home to the Hotel Del Coronado which is most famous for Marilyn Monroe filming a scene here in her hit movie “Some Like it Hot” in 1958. Not only that but the author, L. Frank Baum, who wrote The Wizard of Oz found inspiration for Emerald City by living on Coronado. It’s easily one of the best parts of San Diego and a must if you’re visiting.
There are two locations that are great for photography on Coronado. The Hotel Del Coronado has many beautiful spots along the ocean to take photos. Lastly, The Ferry Landing has a fabulous view of the San Diego skyline.
Hotel Del Address: 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
Ferry Landing Address: 1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
My favorite place in all of San Diego, Balboa Park is a must-see for everyone! It’s a true San Diego icon and there is so much to do in the park. Not to mention there are multiple locations that are great for pictures! I’ve written an entire blog post on Balboa Park so make sure to check out the “Insider’s Guide to Balboa Park“.
Address: Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
La Jolla Swing
Over-looking La Jolla this swing has sweeping views of the ocean below. It’s located atop the parking lot at Birch Aquarium. In order to get to the swing, head to the southernmost part of the parking lot and park. You’ll find a very small footpath with a tiny wood board to step across (between two bushes). Head up that path for about 100 ft and you’ll see the swing (it’s sort of steep wear proper shoes). UPDATE: as of February 2022 the swing is not up. However, locals are pretty quick to make a new swing and should be up shortly.
Address: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037
Torrey Pines State Park + Gliderport
Torrey Pines is HUGE! There are multiple places to snag the perfect instagrammable photo. You can either head to the state park and hike a few trails or visit Torrey Pines Gliderport. It’s my personal favorite place to watch a sunset and has sweeping views of the La Jolla coastline. This is a very famous place for paragliders and you may just catch one or two when you’re visiting. There is also a trail down to Black’s Beach located here. Finally, you can attempt the ho chi Minh trail but I will say it’s pretty treacherous in some parts.
Address Gliderpoint: 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
San Diego Zoo
Funnily enough, the San Diego Zoo has amazing spots for photography. There are tons of plants from almost every country in the world and it’s home to the cutest animals on earth. It’s a win-win for me! If you’re visiting San Diego for the first time you must check out the San Diego Zoo.
Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Old Town, San Diego
Old Town, San Diego is known as the birthplace of California and is the oldest neighborhood in San Diego. There are multiple historic buildings located here. Along with that, it’s a very popular tourist spot but it definitely doesn’t take away from the charm of this place. There are so many corners that are super photogenic for photos. You can check out this website for more of the History of Old Town. Finally, make sure to check out Heritage Park for beautiful Historic Homes.
Carlsbad Flower Fields
The best way to kick off the spring season is with a trip to the colorful flower fields. This field is world-renowned and is only open two months out of the year (March-May) but is such a legend in San Diego and has so many activities for everyone to enjoy (even the littles!). Please be respectful of the plants when you visit and stay on the designated paths. Click here for a full guide on visiting!
Address: 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Scripps Coastal Meander
This trail is a short one but the views are quite breathtaking. The wildflowers and sweeping views of the coast are worth the visit even on a cloudy day. If you walk the entirety of the trail you will come across a student building that has the most epic sunsets (pictured in the middle). On a clear day, you can catch paragliders cruising. It’s the perfect spot to post up for a coffee and take in the beautiful La Jolla views.
Address: Scripps Institution of Oceanography 9234-9218, La Jolla Shores Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
Bankers Hill in San Diego is located directly north of Downtown, San Diego and has multiple historic homes, bridges, and views that are amazing for photography. Whether you’re visiting the Spruce Street Bridge or the historic Long-Waterman House you’ll find the prettiest places with old-school charm.
One of the most historic “mansions” in San Diego, the Long-Waterman house has remained in the same family since 1889 and it shows! The preservation of this 1880 is unparalleled and it makes this a great spot to take photos.
Address: 2408 First Ave
Spruce Street Bridge
Built in 1912, this hidden suspension footbridge provides views of the serene valley below. It’s most definitely a local’s only spot so go check it out!
Address: W Spruce St, San Diego, CA 92103
I love coming to this area and marveling at all the gorgeous homes or “mini-mansions” as San Diego likes to call them. They make for some incredible backdrops and the above photo is located at 435 W Thorn Ave. It’s the most perfect Italian-style villa of my dreams!
Encinitas Boat Home
The Encinitas Boat Homes are a historical landmark in Encinitas. They are located within walking distance from the main street and are such a fun place to check out, especially if you have kids!
Address: 726 3rd St, Encinitas, CA 92024
The Salk Institute
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies seems odd for a photoshoot but the architecture is so unique and interesting. This spot is perfect for a minimal aesthetic and it’s right down the road from the Torrey Pines Gliderpoint.
Address: 10010 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
This park is located in the Mission Hills neighborhood and truly is a hidden gem. There are plenty of large grassy fields that are perfect for picnics. Also, the park overlooks beautiful views of San Diego. Lastly, the Junipero Serra Museum (pictured above) makes for an amazing photo opportunity. Not to mention, it’s usually empty!
La Jolla Murals
The “Favorite Color” wall in La Jolla has become so well known in the past few years. This technicolor wall is great for pictures and I’ve never seen anyone else around when visiting here.
Address: 7596 Eads Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
Thanks for reading my San Diego Photo Spots guide! Are there any places that you love that I need to add to this list? Comment them below and make sure to check out my most viewed post “The Ultimate Travel Guide to San Diego“. Enjoy America’s Finest City friends!
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