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Go beyond the norm: Experience San Diego’s hidden gems

San Diego is full of iconic landmarks and legendary activities, but there’s much more to the city than the zoo, the Gaslamp Quarter and the beaches. Tucked away on the shoreline and in the hills, you won’t want to miss these hidden gems before or after leaving the convention center.

Harper’s Topiary Garden

Edna Harper grew tired of the conventional shrubs that lined her Mission Hills home so she started a whimsical topiary garden. Take a walk by and you’ll likely see elephants, pyramids and a surfer. But she’s always crafting something different— they don’t call her “Edna Scissorhands” for nothing!

La Jolla Secret Swings

Spruce St. Suspension Bridge
Spruce St. Suspension Bridge

Some people claim to have spotted the La Jolla secret swings (search for #lajollasecretswings on Instagram), while others have never heard of them. The swings are rumored to be hidden off a trail in La Jolla, offering panoramic views of the city and ocean. The swings supposedly disappear and reappear, and they were spotted last year near the hills by Birch Aquarium.

Salt Mountains

South Bay Salt Works, said to be San Diego’s second-oldest business, boasts massive sea salt mountains hidden on the shoreline of south San Diego near Chula Vista. Two salt ponds and a nearby park with walking and bicycling paths accompany the mountains.

Spruce St. Suspension Bridge

This hidden pedestrian suspension bridge is not for the faint of heart. Suspended 70-feet above the Sessions Canyon, the bridge is 375 feet long and can sway slightly with big gusts of wind. But don’t let that stop you — the view and experience are unparalleled.

SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck
SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck

SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck

At low tide, the Monte Carlo shipwreck can be seen from Coronado Beach. This infamous vessel was a gambling ship, catering to 15,000 guests a week before it drifted ashore on New Year’s Day in 1937.

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