According to those in the know, San Diego sports some of the most pleasant year-round weather that you’ll find anywhere.
Its southern California location and closeness to the sea keep it wonderfully mild and sunny more than 300 days per year.
It’s also home to lots of dramatic natural scenery, and in recent years it has experienced a food, wine and micro-brew renaissance that has made it a hotspot for international epicureans looking to bask in the sun and treat their taste buds to everything the city and surrounding country have to offer.
Below are 15 of the best food and drink tours in San Diego.
1. Micro-Brewery Tour
No two ways about it, micro-breweries are just cool places to visit.
They’re almost always staffed by quirky and passionate people whose love of their craft can’t help but rub off on you, and tours always include samplings.
This 5-hour tour will give you and your guests an interesting look into how ingredients are sourced, and how they’re combined and processed to make the refreshing elixir so loved the world over.
Lost Abbey and Ballast Point Brewery are on the schedule, as are a few others, and at each stop you’ll enjoy a beer flight of uniquely different and tasty offerings.
2. California Sunset Brewery Tour
This afternoon and evening tour is well-known for combining San Diego’s amazing sunsets with trips to a few of the area’s most popular breweries.
You’ll swing by some of the city’s most scenic and laid-back beach neighborhoods, and hit a few micro-breweries to see how beer is made.
Once you’ve toured the facilities and had a few sips, you’ll head to a nearby restaurant and brewpub that’s famous with locals and visitors alike.
The panoramic views from the pub include Belmont Park, one of the city’s most famous beach parks and boardwalk areas.
The tour last 4½ hours and everything is included except gratuities.
3. San Diego Craft Brewery Tour
Nearly everyone knows how to buy beer and drink it, but few of us are familiar with how it’s made, and more importantly, how to taste it and savor its nuances like a pro.
If your skills are lacking in the latter department, then this tour would be a great place to get up to speed.
You’ll be transported via bus to Green Flash, a local brewery known for its ales and IPAs, and inside you’ll get a guided tour that’ll teach you all you’ll ever need to know about making beer in all its wonderful forms.
Time allowing, other nearby breweries will be visited as well.
4. San Diego Dinner Cruise with Beer Pairings
If there’s a more romantic way of spending an evening than eating, drinking and dancing on the gently rolling deck of an executive-class yacht on the glistening waters of San Diego Harbor, then I haven’t heard about it.
Dinner includes an amazing buffet, and for those beer lovers it includes professionally paired beer that’ll enhance and compliment the already-delicious fare.
The 2½ hour tour includes a DJ, and you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of the city skyline, some amazing stretches of coastline and some iconic bridges too.
This tour is a great way to do something special for your significant other.
5. Tequila and Tortillas in Historic Old Town
Though San Diego is definitely known as a beer town, it’s also a city that likes its tequila due to its Mexican heritage.
From Old Town, this 2½-tour will lead you on a one-of-a-kind trip into the food and drink that’s loved the world over, and has its humble origins in the borderlands between California and Old Mexico.
You’ll munch your way through a variety of homemade tacos, while sipping and sampling some of the world’s best tequilas, many of which are made just over the border.
This tour includes a cultural element too, because you’ll visit an open-air market that’ll make you wonder if you’re still in the United States.
6. Guided Wine Tour of Temecula
Sometimes when visiting a city, it’s nice to get out into the country and see some natural beauty for a change.
If you agree, and you’re a wine lover, then this guided wine tour of Temecula would be a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
You’ll spend time exploring San Diego’s Old Town area, and from there you’ll stop at the tour’s first winery, where you’ll enjoy lunch and a selection of wines that have been professionally paired to the food you’re enjoying.
Two more winery stops are included, and even after a relatively short time you’ll probably start recognizing the faint nuances that make each offering unique.
Door-to-door transportation to and from your city hotel is included.
7. San Diego’s Brothel & Booze Tour
Though similar to red-light districts in cities all over America, San Diego’s historic Gas Lamp District was once the haunt of working girls and the men who couldn’t get enough of them.
This unique tour offers a seedy mix of history and drink, and will probably be one of the things on your San Diego vacation that you won’t forget.
The tour lasts 2½ hours, and your guide will fill you in on many of the characters and stories from the past that give the area such a rich feel.
You’ll stop at some of the area’s better-known watering holes too, where you’ll sample some great food and spirits, all while rubbing elbows with some eccentric locals.
8. Champagne Brunch Cruise
Billed as San Diego’s premier Sunday brunch excursion, this champagne and brunch cruise is one of those things you won’t want to miss on your California trip.
A variety of entrees, fruits, vegetables, salads and a carving station are included, and it’s all buffet-style, so you can stuff as much in as you can possibly stand.
Once you’ve had your fill of the delicious food and you can’t possibly drink another sip of the bubbly, feel free to head out onto the deck for some refreshing sea breezes and a narrated tour of the history of the bay and the surrounding area.
9. Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones Walking Tour
This tour is a great way to experience some amazing food, drink and history for which the area is known, while burning those excess calories and enjoying the amazing San Diego climate.
San Diego is often referred to as California’s birthplace, and was home to Spanish missionaries centuries before the country was officially founded.
You’ll sample some amazing Mexi-Cali cuisine from some of the area’s most popular food and drink hotspots, and your tour will include a visit to the Whaley House, considered one of the country’s most haunted houses.
The tour lasts between 2 and 3 hours, and is great value.
10. Walking Food and Wine Tour of Little Italy
Most of America’s largest cities have sections referred to as Little Italy, and San Diego is no exception.
This walking food and wine tour will lead you through some of the city’s most trendy neighborhoods, and you’ll learn the history of the Italian immigrants who settled here nearly a century ago.
This tour lasts 3 hours and includes an array of California wines paired with some traditional and contemporary Italian appetizers that’ll jump-start your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
All in all you’ll sample nearly a dozen wines. After the tour is over you may choose to stick around and have an espresso or a cannoli.
11. 10-Hour Baja Mexico Wine Tour
Though it’s known the world over as the global epicenter of tequila production, it’s not so well known that the Baja Region of Mexico is home to a wine industry that has been garnering a lot of attention lately.
This 10-hour tour from San Diego will take you and your companions to the Valley de Guadalupe near the Baja Peninsula.
You’ll be accompanied by a guide as you cross the border and tour a few of the region’s most celebrated wineries.
You’ll get a complete tour of the facilities, learn how grapes are turned into wine, and sample some special offerings, all while learning about the region’s history.
12. 2-Hour Open-Bar Yacht Tour
This 2-hour cruise on an elegant yacht is a great way to kick off a night on the town.
This tour’s cost includes an open bar, meal tickets and a live DJ who’ll set the mood for the dance floor.
You’ll cruise across San Diego Harbor and will get some amazing views of the city’s skyline, the iconic Coronado Bridge and the USS Midway.
This tour is popular with locals and tourists alike and is a great value. It’ll also leave you plenty of time to spend the rest of your evening eating, drinking or exploring the amazing city and its unique sights.
13. Food and Wine Harbor Cruise
This 1½ hour food and wine lover’s cruise of scenic San Diego Harbor is a great way to pack a lot of great stuff into just a few hours, making it a great value and leaving plenty of time to strike off on your own afterward.
While enjoying wine and appetizers, you’ll see some amazing panoramic views of Mission Bay, its historic sites and resorts, and the colony of sea lions that call it home.
This quick trip is a great choice for those without a lot of free space in their itinerary, and despite its brevity it’ll be a romantic evening-starter that you and your special someone won’t soon forget.
14. 5-Hour Craft Brewery Tour
This 5-hour craft brewery tour will lead you through some of San Diego’s hippest neighborhoods, and give you unrestricted access to the production facilities that create some of the city’s most popular brands of beer.
Along the way you’ll see some city historic landmarks, and have a private sampling at a rooftop bar with striking views across the bay.
You may hit Ballast Point and Green Flash, and then depending on the time option that you’ve chosen, you’ll enjoy lunch or dinner with more accompanying beer samples.
This tour is partly via bus and partly on foot, so wear comfy shoes.
15. 6-Hour Club Crawl
Last but not least, this 6-hour club crawl is for the young, crazy and adventurous, and definitely should not be on your granny’s itinerary.
This tour typically includes copious amounts of drinking, dancing and mingling, and is a great way to party like a rock star, meet some locals, and have an all-around great time.
You’ll hit some local favorites like Onyx and Side Bar, and some pre-party appetizers are included, as are skip-the-line tickets which will definitely come in handy as these clubs aren’t exactly easy to get into.
Drink specials are included as well.