San Diego Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia


San Diego stands on the West Coast of the
United States. Situated right on the border with Mexico, it’s the southern-most city in California
and is home to almost one-and-a-half million people. Ever since the Europeans first settled here
in the 18th century, San Diego has been a city whose fortunes and
personality has been influenced by the warm currents of
the Pacific Ocean. With a deepwater harbor, the city has always
been an important trading port, and at one time was the tuna fishing capital
of the world. Today San Diego is the mainland home to the
US Navy’s Pacific Fleet. San Diego’s Old Town is often called the “birthplace
of California”. This heritage precinct preserves and recreates
life from the early Mexican and American periods. In the 1860s the city’s development and focus
shifted to the waterfront, however Old Town remains an important center
for community and cultural celebrations. San Diego’s Downtown area rises straight from
the water’s edge. The Central Business District is home to some
beautiful heritage buildings, but to feel the real pulse of San Diego, head
to the Gaslamp Quarter. This 16-block historical neighborhood of Victorian
buildings really lights up at night as theatergoers
and university students pour into the area. A few blocks inland from Downtown is the largest
urban parkland in the US – a place where nature, culture, and fabulous
architecture converge. Balboa Park features over a dozen museums
with collections ranging from automobiles to aviation, and from art
to natural history. There are almost twenty different gardens
to explore, including a recreation of the Alcazar Gardens
of Seville. Balboa Park is laced with miles of paths and
trails which connect its many treasures – like the San Diego Zoo. This is one of the world’s greatest zoological
parks, and one of the few places outside of China
where you can come face to face with a Giant Panda. To truly appreciate San Diego’s relationship
with the ‘seven seas’, head to the Downtown waterfront area. Here you’ll find the Maritime Museum and the
Navy Pier. Climb aboard the USS Midway, the longest serving
aircraft carrier of the 20th century. At the nearby Broadway Pier, jump aboard a
ferry and leave the busy Downtown behind. It’s just a short ride to Coronado, where
the pace slows. Locals have been kicking back in the sunshine
here since the 1880s. Just across the harbor entrance is Point Loma, the place where explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
first stepped ashore in 1542. Loma is Spanish for ‘hill’, and the views
here are incredible. When the weather is right, you can see all
the way to Mexico. Heading north, the dramatic cliffside neighborhoods
of Point Loma open out into an endless string of California
beaches – the kind of beaches that inspired all those
Beach Boys songs! Each beachside community is unique; Mission Beach is relaxed and laid back, while
neighboring Pacific Beach with its vibrant bar scene likes to stay up
late and party. A great way to explore these coastal neighborhoods
is to hire a beach cruiser and hit the promenade. A little further up the coast is ‘the jewel
city’ – La Jolla! Surrounded by ocean on three sides, La Jolla
is all about pristine coastline, picturesque streets and beautiful architecture. This is about as good as California Dreaming
gets. Even the sea lions agree! San Diego is a dream destination for children
too. The little ones can let their imaginations
run wild in Legoland, while at historic Belmont Park, the Giant
Dipper has been thrilling kids of all ages for almost
one hundred years. The people of San Diego have a deep abiding
respect for the ocean. The Birch Aquarium plays an important part
of the city’s tradition in marine research and conservation. Then of course, there’s SeaWorld, which has
been entertaining and educating visitors from around the globe
since 1964. Exploring San Diego can build up an appetite. With its proximity to Mexico and the sea, there’s no prize for guessing what the specialties
are. So why not wash down that shrimp taco with
an ice cold beer. Of course, the ideal way to end your San Diego
day is to grab a friend or two, head to the water, and simply look to the
west.

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