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You Haven't Seen San Diego Until You've Seen It From A Hot Air Balloon

San Diego enjoys a famously beautiful setting, from the knobby ridges of the Peninsular Ranges west to a glinting Pacific Ocean coastline. Local high points such as Mount Soledad provide fine vistas of our lovely cityscape and its broader context, but to really get a sense for the scenery, it helps to add a few thousand feet to your vantage.

A hot air balloon provides just this kind of lofty perch: a bird’s-eye view that comes far quieter and more leisurely than via a helicopter or airplane flight. Numerous companies offer balloon rides over San Diego, and it’s the kind of experience you really ought to add to your bucket list!

Soaring Over America’s Finest City

There’s nothing like the quiet cruise of a hot air balloon for sightseeing. You can really get a sense for the splendor of the ocean-to-mountains layout that defines San Diego County.

Plus, let’s face it: A hot air balloon is pretty darn delightful. Lifting off in one awakens all kinds of childhood dreams you’d long forgotten about.

Specific balloon routes and protocol vary from operator to operator, but a typical tour includes some narration to fill you in on the mechanics of the vessel and the background of the mesmerizing scenery you’re taking in from the skies.


The operator of your hot air balloon will give you the full lowdown on the experience ahead of time. A few basic considerations: Safe and effective hot air ballooning depends, unsurprisingly, on the prevailing weather, and sometimes your operator may need to make an 11th-hour scheduling change on account of conditions. It’s a good idea to build a little flexibility into your visit to make sure you’re able to get up in the air.

You can find out from a given company what you should expect on a flight and what you should bring. It’s often a good idea to tote a hat (especially if you’re taller) to shield against the heat of the balloon flame. And sturdy shoes and long pants are helpful for scrambling into the basket.

A New Perspective on a Gorgeous City

So if you’re looking for something special to do in San Diego, consider a hot air balloon ride. It’s the perfect way to mark a birthday or anniversary, but, really, you don’t need an excuse to take a magical flight over a magical oceanfront city.

Here at the Sofia Hotel, we’ll be waiting for you on the heels of your sky-cruise!