San Diego is famous for its all-year-round pleasant weather and vibrant outdoor culture. This delightful city is often considered a less glamorous cousin of Los Angeles; however, it has a host of recreational and natural delights to keep a visitor hooked for days. Visit this city once, and you'll never underestimate it again.
Whether you want to soak up the sun all day on a sparkling beach, windsurf in the ocean, party all night, or have an activity-filled family vacation-San Diego offers it all. The city's sustained economic growth, along with the remodeled downtown areas and ever-improving dining and clubbing option makes this one of America's finest cities to visit. San Diego has a distinctively military feel, as the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet is based in this city. It is also home to many retirees, especially ex-military men.
San Diego vacations are ideal for families and couples. It offers so much to do and has multiple facets to explore, ensuring that you never get bored. Also, it has something to offer to almost everyone. The following are some of the main attractions of San Diego.
1. Explore The Downtown Region: The downtown area is the commercial hub of the city, with high rise buildings, offices, and dining options. Most conventions and seminars are also held here. Its main tourist attractions are the famous Balboa Park, several museums, and the bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter area. Balboa Park is considered to be one of the world's best parks. Stop at the Balboa Park Visitors Center to get updated information about things you can do at the park. The beautiful rose garden is a must-see for all visitors; you can also spend some time at the space and science museums and watch the fine art performances such as organ concert or theater. The San Diego zoo, located inside this park, is a major tourist attraction; take the popular Panda Trek through bamboo trees to see the giant pandas in their natural habitat.
2. Visit the Old Town near Mission Valley: Located south of Mission Valley, Old Town is said to be the birthplace of California. Teeming with life, this is an must visit for tourists; it boasts of 17 museums, historical houses, theaters delightful boutiques, interesting art galleries, and cantinas surrounded with colorful bougainvillea. Listen to the melodious local mariachi performances while you have some mouth-watering tortillas and salsa.
3. What Not To Miss: Visit the haunted Whaley House; you can tour this museum yourself or try their 90-minute 'Ghost Hunting Tour' for some additional thrill. Take an Old Town Trolley tour to learn about the history and culture of the city. With a ride on this two-hour ride in the themed trolley, you can see all the major historical sites of the city while listening to amusing stories and funny anecdotes. This is a great activity for families.
4. Have fun on the Beaches of San Diego: Most people spend majority of their San Diego vacations enjoying the city's vast coastline. The most difficult part is choosing the beach towns to visit, for each town has something distinct to see and enjoy. The shimmering, expansive mica mineral sand beaches at Coronado, the small hidden beaches of Carsbald, and the sandy beaches and rocky cliffs of Cardiff-by-the-Sea are just a few of the numerous beaches in San Diego.
5. Mission Bay and Beaches: The scenic Mission Beach Boardwalk is a 3-mile long track staring from Mission Beach and ending at the Pacific Beach; this track is perfect for roller skating and biking. You can also relax and have a family picnic at the Mission Beach park and spend some time flying kites.
6. Visit the famous SeaWorld San Diego; learn about the wonders of aquatic life in this unique park, watch the "One Ocean" show starring the park's killer whales and the "Blue Horizons" dolphin show.
7. La Jolla Beach: The La Jolla central coastline is the jewel of San Diego. This mile long coastline is an ideal swimming spot and a great spot for snorkeling and kayaking. There are numerous shops along the beach where you can rent the gear or take guided tours. Guided tours offer you an in-depth understanding of the marine life. This beach stays alive all night with campfires and parties.
8. Add some adventure to your trip: San Diego is a sporty community; so enjoy the excellent water sports infrastructure and learn some amazing water sports, such as kayaking, snorkeling surfing, scuba diving, sail boating, and even fishing. Head out to the Torrey Pines Glider Port on La Jolla Beach to hand glide over the pristine coastline.
9. Indulge in casino gaming: The San Diego casinos are located on Native American tribal lands, and have been developed by the Native Americans. A quick drive from the downtown area, these casinos also provide world-class comforts, enticing buffets, musical shows, and comic performances. This is just the tip of the ice berg.
10. Even More: There are a host of other recreational activities in San Diego, including bird watching, trekking and rock climbing, excellent shopping options, cruises, and family entertainment resorts such as Legoland California.
A major part of any trip is deciding what and where to eat. You can fulfil all your gastronomical fantasies at San Diego. The city offers a variety of cuisines, with the main attraction being seafood, shell fish, and fresh water fish. And it's all "catch of the day!"Don't forget to try the much talked about Fish Taco.
• Dine at Gaslamp Quarter: The downtown Gaslamp Quarter has best restaurants and nightclubs in San Diego. You can find all cuisines and dining options here, be it small bistros or fine dining restaurants.
• Have San Diego's special craft beer: Exploring the local microbrewery scene is an essential part of all San Diego Vacations. The county is scattered with top-notch brewpubs with excellent chefs; spend a lazy afternoon pub hopping and taste some of the county's best suds. True beer enthusiasts can take a brewery tour to get a behind-the-scene look at beer making.
• Low budget dining at Mission Beach: If you want to keep the meals light on your wallet, try the restaurants on Mission Beach. The Mexican restaurants are quite good and reasonably priced.
Best time for visiting: San Diego is a sunny all year long paradise. Any time is the right time to visit this place. If you are keen on whale watching, then plan your trip between December and April.
Choosing where to stay: Depending on what you want to do during your San Diego vacation you can choose to stay near the downtown area or in one of the many beach towns. You can find accommodations of all price ranges, from five star hotels and resorts to low-budget bed and breakfasts. There are also several camping grounds within the city. Beach cottages for hire are easier find on Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, while luxurious resorts are found all along the coast line.
Getting around San Diego: Renting a car is the easiest method of getting around San Diego. There are frequent busses plying between downtown San Diego and major tourist destinations. However, bus connectivity between suburbs is sparse. The San Diego Trolley also connects various parts of the city to the downtown area. If you are staying in a beach town, you might consider hiring a bike to explore the town and get around. Spend a couple of days or an extended holiday in this delightful city; you are sure to want to come back for more San Diego vacations.