San Diego, California

San Diego is famous for its stunning beaches, sunny weather, thriving urban core, impressive hotels, and lively nightlife. Being a travel destination for over 35 million tourists each year, it is no wonder that this famous city is ranked the sixth most sought-after destination in the US. And with this city being the second-largest in California, it comes as no surprise that, whether you travel as a family or alone, San Diego definitely has something for you.  

Geography Of San Diego

San diego
San Diego skyline and waterfront view. 

The city of San Diego is located in one of the most prevalent regions of the US, the golden state of California. Being the second-largest city in the state after Los Angeles, the city is currently home to over a million residents. The county's area is about 4,300 square miles, with almost 70 miles of beaches along its coast, and it is the fifth-largest county in the United States. Situated 120 miles south of Los Angeles and a mere 20 miles north of Mexico, the city is known for its rich culture that shines through its local cuisine. San Diego County boasts a blend of urban and rural communities. It is an almost perfect vacation destination where you can find sunny seaside beaches, forested mountains, hallow valleys, and deserts. 

The city is divided by the San Diego River into northern and southern regions. It runs from the east to the west side. You can find anything from skyscrapers to restaurants and hotels and much more. Previously, the center of attraction in San Diego was the Old Town. Today, the New Town, now called Downtown San Diego, has become the city's hot spot.

Regarding climate, San Diego boasts one of the best in the country. Its weather is often described as the warm Mediterranean with high temperatures. Summer in the area is usually hot and dry; winters are cool with very little snow and ice. There are over 52 communities in San Diego County, the most notable being Downtown San Diego, Harbor Island, La Jolla, Clairmont, South Park, and Southeast San Diego.

History Of San Diego

san diego, california
San Diego historic district.

Rich in history, San Diego is known to be the birthplace of California. Originally, San Diego was inhabited by the old Indian Kumeyaay tribe, often considered the original Californians. They had occupied the region for over 12,000 years, and were settled decades before the arrival of the Spaniards, considered the first Europeans to colonize the area. Plenty of prominent city landmarks were founded based on what the tribe had previously built. Some landmarks are the Old Town San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, and many more.

The Spaniards arrived in San Diego Bay in 1542 under the command of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. He first named the area San Michel Bay after a saint whose feast day was near. However, his discovery did not get much attention because the Spaniards did not settle in the area immediately. Instead, they opted to continue their journey along the Californian Coast, simply naming the newly-discovered places for later settlement. In 1602, another Spanish explorer and merchant named Sebastian Vizcaino came back to Saint Michel to settle. Upon his arrival, he officially renamed the region, San Diego, today the city's official name.

Economy Of San Diego

San Diego, California
San Diego, California cityscape at the Gaslamp Quarter.

Being the metropolitan location of the state of California, San Diego is a prominent economic center in the area. In fact, San Diego has been said to have exceeded California and US averages in economic growth and unemployment over the last couple of years. The city's economic drivers are divided into five different aspects, with three being the key players. Firstly, this buzzing city is a dominant player in technology and innovation and drives a lot of its income from its profitable companies. San Diego is a driving force in the life sciences, cleantech, communications, and software industries. 

Another critical player in the city's thriving economy is its military. San Diego is home to the world's largest concentration of military bases and personnel! It is the homeport of 60% of the US Pacific Fleet's ships and bases for about one-third of the combat military personnel of the US Marine Corps. 

Tourism contributes to the economy in a big way. Due to the multitude of recreational activities, miles of sunny coastlines, state-of-the-art hotels, and unique cafes and restaurants, the city is one of the top targeted destinations in the world. With its award-winning airport, it is no secret that tourists from all over the world have easy access to this popular destination. Other economic drivers include the regional economy (healthcare, retailers, and restaurants) and San Diego's major six universities. 

Demographics Of San Diego

San Diego is considered the eighth-largest city in the United States, and it boasts a population of 1,419,516 people. The city also currently encompasses 490,219 households. Because it is located on the border of Mexico, it is considered among the country's most multicultural. Nearly 41% of the population speaks a language other than English. 27% of the population is born outside of the US, nearly double the amount compared to the average US. Due to its many prominent universities, almost 44% of its residents own a bachelor's degree, rendering it highly educated. The national percentage is about 30.3%. It's also slightly predominantly male, with the female population rating at 49.8% precisely.  

Attractions In San Diego

Pacific beach in San Diego. 

Several landmarks and tourist attractions can be pinpointed in San Diego. This city offers a lot, from striking sandy beaches to cool mountain breezes. Here is a list of the many places you can go when visiting this iconic city.

The charm of the coastal beaches is the primary characteristic that attracts millions of tourists each year. There are several shores along the coastline, home to some of California's most expansive beaches. The best ones include the Oceanside, Carlsbad (the village by the sea), Encinitas (surf town), Solana Beach, Del Mar, and La Jolla ("the jewel" in Spanish, it is often considered a cultural haven).

There are a lot of activities that can be done while visiting the forested area. Lions, Tigers & Bears is a non-profit rescue facility that you can visit to learn about the city's abandoned and endangered wildlife, like big cats and bears. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is targeted toward all nature enthusiasts. You can find something for everyone with miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, meadows, and creeks. At the California Wolf Center, you'll be able to observe and get educated about the endangered Mexican grey wolf. You can also do wine tasting at Menghini Winery and gold panning at Eagle and High Peak Gold mines. 

You can head for the hills and check out La Mesa Village, an antique old-town-style treasure trove. There, you can find a variety of traditionally-styled shops, vintage restaurants, and plenty of tasty treats. There's also a museum nearby dedicated to Olaf Wieghorst, nicknamed the dean of western art, called Olaf Wieghorst Western Heritage Center. The painter was an artist that resided in the San Diego area for over 40 years and was well-known amongst the city folks. Viejas Casino & Resort and Golden Acorn Casino and Travel Center are also available for those who want to try their luck at a game or two.

Finally, you can take a tour around town and visit its many significant points of interest among visitors, like Waterfront Park, the Maritime Museum of San Diego, USS Midway, Seaport Village, Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park, and many more. 

10 Fun Facts About San Diego

  1. Presidential Bridges: Ronald Reagan was the first person to ever drive across the Coronado Bridge when it opened in 1969.
  2. Christmas Policies: You can get fined for leaving your Christmas lights up after February 2nd!
  3. For the Love of Avocados: San Diego produces the most avocados in the US.
  4. Kid-Friendly: San Diego's famous University of California possesses the most extensive collection of Dr. Seuss books and manuscripts.
  5. Tony Hawk Day: The famous skateboarder, Tony Hawk, has a day named after him on May 29th.
  6. No Swimming in Lakes: It's illegal to swim in the artificial lakes of the city.
  7. Birthplace of Drive-in: The first drive-in fast-food restaurant was opened in San Diego by the same man who founded Jack in the Box. 
  8. The Capital of Ships: The city's harbor is home to many ships, including the oldest active sailing ship, The Star of India.
  9. Thirsty City: The famous city consumes about 168 million gallons of water daily, enough water bottles to circle the earth once a quarter!
  10. Famous for Fleas: San Diego has more fleas than any other city in the United States.

With so much to do, it's no wonder everyone wants to get a taste of what this city has to offer! With gorgeous, one-of-a-kind sandy beaches to plenty of natural sceneries and wildlife, this city has enough attractions to entertain throughout a trip. It truly is a city for everyone.