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San Diego, California Attractions

Unusual landmarks, museums, roadside attractions, and hidden wonders in San Diego and the surrounding area. Statues of Bob Hope and a giant, smooching sailor lend 20th century nostalgic flair to this Navy city's waterfront. Inland, Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden spins public art into a dizzy fever dream.

A National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military

Sights for Oddball Excursions

  • Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden

    Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden

    Escondido, California

    Colorful fantasy sculpture world of tiles and serpents. Massive work by sculptor and painter Niki de Saint Phalle.

  • Unarius Academy of Science

    Unarius Academy of Science

    El Cajon, California

    Headquarters of the Unarians, firm believers that 33 city-ships of the galactic Federation would arrive on Earth in 2001 (they didn't).

  • Craftsmanship Museum: Tiny Machines

    Craftsmanship Museum: Tiny Machines

    Carlsbad, California

    It's tricky enough to build a gun or a car that works. The obsessive model-builders in this museum take it a big step further by building their machines on an itty-bitty scale.

  • Giant Mary and Toddler Jesus

    Giant Mary and Toddler Jesus

    El Cajon, California

    Officially called the Mariam Mother of Life Shrine. Completed in 2003. Made of stone from Lebanon, the property was a Lebanese Catholic church.

  • Surfing Madonna

    Surfing Madonna

    Encinitas, California

    Glass mosaic of the Virgin de Guadalupe surfing, installed clandestinely in 2011 by artist Mark Patterson, has a permanent home right across from the spot of its original manifestation.

In and Around San Diego

Choice field reports and tips. Or check out: Complete list of California attractions.

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