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This may seem obvious, but Balboa Park in summer is essential. There are the museums, and the film series, plays, and the dog parks, but simply walking through the entire park between Park Blvd. and Sixth Ave. offers lush scenery, architecture, fountains, and the company of tourists and San Diegans alike.

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Begin at Sixth Ave. where parking is plentiful even on weekends. Walk through the grassy areas where you'll find volleyball games, sunbathers, and picnickers.

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Then take the bridge into the heart of the park, past Alcazar Garden, the indoor botanical garden above the koi pond, and circle the fountain near the museums off Park Blvd. Or stroll into the Japanese Friendship Garden and take in a free organ concert (on Sundays).

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