San Diego, California

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San Diego, California

San Diego is often called "America’s Finest City," and for good reason. The eighth-largest city in the U.S. offers heaps of attractions, cultural experiences, and an undeniable cosmopolitan vibe. Despite its size, San Diego maintains a laid-back ambiance that is emblematic of Southern California, embodied by its friendly locals and the city's famously perfect climate. With temperatures hovering around the mid-70s (21°C) year-round and abundant sunshine, there is never a bad time to explore its world-renowned museums, indulge in 5-star dining, bask on its internationally acclaimed beaches, and revel in its exceptional hospitality.

The City

With an estimated population of nearly 1.4 million people, San Diego ranks as the second-largest city in California and the eighth-largest in the United States. The city is home to the nation's largest military community that together with a diversity of neighborhoods provide San Diego with a unique flavor. The heart of San Diego is the historic Gaslamp Quarter where Victorian-style buildings and modern skyscrapers meet. Here, you will also find the city's coolest restaurants, theaters, art galleries, concert venues, and fashion boutiques. Neighboring the Gaslamp Quarter is East Village, San Diego’s largest downtown community and home to Petco Park, San Diego Padres baseball stadium. It is also the center for luxury hotels, foodies, and live music. North of downtown is Old Town, which has preserved the city’s Spanish and Mexican heritage, where some of its first houses can be seen. Adjacent to Old Town is Uptown, a pedestrian-friendly area that consists of North Park, University Heights, and Hillcrest. This area, particularly Hillcrest, serves as a center of the city’s gay and lesbian community. Further west, between the airport and La Jolla, is the scenic coastal area, which encompasses beach communities such as Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, both famously popular with surfers and students. If you continue north, you will eventually reach a stunning piece of coastline that belongs to La Jolla, home to some of the most beautiful and safest beaches in Southern California. It is also where you will find one of the region’s most affluent communities and some of the best – and most expensive – dining.

Do & See

Unlike the sprawling L.A., San Diego has the feel of a compact city, and it can be tempting to stay downtown. A lot of people, however, think of San Diego in terms of the whole county, which leaves a lot more to be explored. The regional terrain is extraordinary in itself and varies from the Pacific coastline in the west to the Sonoran Desert in the east. Those who travel to the northeast will come across snow-capped mountains, while travelers who visit the south will find themselves just 15 minutes away from the Mexican border. This impressive landscape variety makes the city a top spot for outdoor activities that include: hiking, surfing, biking, and sailing. Plus, the long list of family-friendly attractions, such as LEGOLAND, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and the New Children's Museum proves that San Diego has something for everyone.

Dining

Street food in San Diego is synonymous with fish tacos, and most locals couldn’t enjoy a Padres game without one. Although numerous food trucks specialize in this delicacy, the city boasts a plethora of other tempting dining options. For those craving contemporary Italian cuisine, Little Italy is an excellent destination, whereas the Gaslamp Quarter attracts avant-garde chefs seeking to create culinary masterpieces. If Mexican fare is more your style, head to the Old Town area. Don't forget to explore the local drinking culture by visiting the wine-making district (situated in North County, just a 45-minute drive from downtown) and the numerous artisan breweries.

Cafés

Whether you just want a regular black coffee or a signature espresso with a pastry to-go, San Diego knows how to please its coffee crowd. The city is known for its abundance of coffee houses and it has everything from simple and inexpensive cafés to well-established coffee chains, with some of the best and most loved places concentrated around Balboa Park.

Bars & Nightlife

San Diego offers a diverse nightlife scene that caters to a wide range of tastes, with plenty of trendy hangouts just waiting to be explored. From renowned jazz clubs to jet-set bars, there is something for everyone here. In the summer months, the city truly comes alive as outdoor concerts, theater performances, and movie screenings take center stage, adding even more excitement to the already vibrant atmosphere. And with San Diego being one of America's best microbrewery destinations, why not sample some of the finest local beers while you're at it?

Shopping

San Diego is a great city for heart-warming retail therapy. The very accommodating climate provides the perfect backdrop for open-air shopping centers, and there is an endless variety of top-quality malls, luxurious brands, and vintage shops to choose from. Hipsters are also very well served by many small designer boutiques, retro bookstores, and record shops.

Tourist Information