San Diego Travel Guide
San Diego is the quintessential California city, with sand, surf and sunshine. It has over 70 miles of coastline, generously endowed with sandy beaches with volleyball courts and boogie-board rentals. It has haciendas, a carryover from south of the border – Tijuana, Mexico, by the way, is all but a stone's throw from here – with tacos, burritos and mariachi bands. It has a lively waterfront with seafood restaurants and souvenir shops, and a large, urban greenbelt with pavilions and other vestiges of a bygone exposition. It has a refurbished historical quarter, an old town that is now a living museum, an aquatic park for outdoor recreation, an iconic plaza – Horton Plaza – that is seemingly haphazardly tiered and jumbled and painted in a medley of mix-and-match pastels, as if straight out of a Dr. Seuss storybook, and a convention center with a sail-like roof. There are islands that are part of the city, connected by causeways and bridges, most prominently Harbor Island, Shelter Island and Coronado. There's a fabulous forest, Torrey Pines, that looms on the cliffs above, and an absolutely gorgeous, uppity resort town, La Jolla, which is just a few twists and turns to the north. There's even a significant military installation here – the largest U.S. naval base on the Pacific coast – which drives the city's economy. San Diego, ultimately, is a revitalized, reinvigorated city, with reliably good, warm weather, drenched in California sunshine – twelve months of the year!
San Diego is situated on San Diego Bay on the Pacific coast in Southern California, some 125 miles (200 km) south of Los Angeles, practically on the U.S. border with Mexico.
San Diego can be reached on Interstate 5, directly south from Los Angeles, 125 miles. Another north-south interstate route farther inland, I-15, also leads to the city, as does the east-west I-8, when journeying from, say, interior Southern California or Arizona. There is also a commercial international airport here, serviced by most major domestic airlines as well as several international carriers.
San Diego. although less crowded than Los Angeles, is nonetheless a modern metropolis, with its fair share of museums. galleries and cultural and historical venues, and home, too, to a well-regarded university and world-class zoo. In the city itself you can explore a revitalized, vibrant downtown, along with its supremely historic Gaslamp Quarter which offers a good selection of restaurants and shops; Balboa Park, a treasure trove of cultural sites, adjoining to the north of downtown; Old Town, where a basilica and adobes, mariachi bands and the flavor of yesteryear Mexico reign supreme; Mission Bay, the largest aquatic park in the country; Coronado, a surprising island, smack in the middle of San Diego Bay; and Point Loma, which has a lighthouse and offers superb, all-round ocean views. There are also seaside communities of interest to the north of the city, among them La Jolla, Oceanside, Del Mar and Carlsbad, and the pulsating Mexican city of Tijuana just over the border to the south. Inland lie wine regions and warmer tracts such as Escondido.
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