San Diego was actually discovered back in 1542. There are many examples of the cities Spanish heritage to be found – some are listed below.
The most southern city in California, San Diego is bordered on the west by the blue Pacific which imparts a warm, dry climate that delights residents and visitors. Learn more about San Diego’s climate.
San Diego County – Glorious sunrises over the mountains to the east, incredible sunsets over the Pacific to the west. Affluent, comfortable and bathed in sunshine, seaside villages, boat- filled harbors, quiet coves.
A legacy of Spanish place names, graceful architecture, and a relaxed life style reflect San Diego’s pride in its past and hopes for the future.
The interior, or back country, holds a wealth of surprises, ranging from the impressive Wild Animal Park to the old-fashioned mining village of Julian.
Photo: The wonderful resource of Mission bay with Ocean Beach and the ocean in the background.
The City of San Diego
The City of San Diego, home to the Chargers and Padres, is the 8th most populous city in the US with a population 1,301,617 (2010 census). If you are from the East Coast or Midwest, San Diego will strike you as clean; most western cities are as they evolved after the Industrial Revolution.
The City of San Diego is divided into neighborhoods often spoken of as if they are towns or cities such as La Jolla, Coronado etc.
The University of Southern California UCSD is world renowned with the University of San Diego USD being one of the most populous in California.
Time Zone – Pacific; eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight Saving Time observed from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
The city’s relationship with the ocean gives it a special character. San Diego offers numerous parks and beaches, Balboa Park, World famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Legoland, the Wild Animal Park, Broadway shows and so much more …
San Diego has more than 90 museums, a thriving orchestra, a world famous Zoo and a zillion other cultural activities to explore:
Cabrillo National Monument
In 1542 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed at San Diego Bay, the first time that Europeans had set foot on what later became the west coast of the United States.
Photo: Cabrillo Monument, Point Loma
Many visitors visit simply to enjoy the dramatic view of San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The park has one of the best harbor views in the world!
To the east the skyline of downtown San Diego, framed by the Cuyamaca mountains, serves as a backdrop to the bay.
To the south visitors can see Mexico across the shimmering waters of the bay, and to the west the Pacific ocean extents to the horizon and beyond.
Four hundred feet below the park it is common to see sailboats, commercial ships, and ships of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet as they glide in and out of the harbor entrance.
If you visit the park between late December and the end of February, you may see one of natures great spectacles – the annual migration of the gray whale.
The historic Gaslamp Quarter
Mostly Victorian (1873 – 1930’s) the Gaslamp district is named for its reproduction gas streetlamps.
Around the turn of the last century, the area was a red light district known as the Stingaree.
Wyatt Earp actually ran three gambling halls here and Madam Ida Bailey was only the most famous of the Gaslamp’s many dozens of enterprising brothel owners.
San Diego Maritime Museum
The Star of India is a spectacular sight to see. Built at the Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863, she is one of the oldest vessels still able to go to sea.
She made 21 circumnavigations of the globe, some of which lasted up to a year. Now berthed in The San Diego Maritime Museum at Embarcadero Marine Park.
Now more than 130 years old San Diego’s picturesque Balboa Park is one of the world’s great urban parks. 1,200 acres was reserved for a park by San Diego city leaders in 1868, only two decades after the discovery of gold in California. Read more about Balboa Park.
The park has been the site of two world expositions and today is home to the San Diego Zoo, Old Globe Theatre, numerous museums, recreational and cultural facilities, and distinctive buildings such as the House of Hospitality.
The House of Hospitality was one of the many buildings created, primarily in the Spanish Colonial style, for the Panama-California Exposition (1915 and 1916).
Others include the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Botanical Building, Casa de Balboa, Casa del Prado, Cabrillo Bridge, and the majestic California Tower.
The park hosted a second major fair, the California-Pacific International Exposition, in 1935 and 1936.
The Museum of Man opened in 1915, The Natural History Museum in 1933. The Timken Museum of Art opened in 1965, the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center followed in 1973, and the San Diego Automotive Museum opened in 1988.
The rebuilt House of Charm became host to the Mingei International Folk Art Museum in 1996.
Hotel del Coronado
The Hotel del Coronado, one of the world’s largest wooden structures, is a grand example of elegant Victorian architecture and one of America’s most popular and beautiful resorts.
Since 1888, this National Historic Landmark has served celebrities, tourists, and business.
In fact the classic film Some like it Hot, with Marilyn Monroe was filmed at this location.
The Arts in San Diego
The Civic Theatre, completed in 1965 by the city of San Diego is in the heart of downtown at the intersection of Third Avenue and B Street.
As a part of the inauguration of the building, San Diego Opera was founded in May that year.
The San Diego Chamber Orchestra established in 1984 has changed its name to Orchestra Nova San Diego under the leadership of Artistic Director Jung-Ho Pak. Provides San Diego with a resident chamber orchestra of the highest professional caliber, with fabulous concerts throughout San Diego County.
San Diego Symphony
Artistic Director Jahja Ling continues to captivate audiences nationwide with his vivid interpretations and compelling style.
Jahja Ling leads the revitalized San Diego Symphony into the new millennium with a vision to present classical music as an accessible and inspirational art form.
In fact the 2010-2011 season marks his seventh season as Music Director of the San Diego Symphony and the year in which the orchestra celebrates its centennial season
San Diego Zoo
Located in beautiful Balboa Park, the 100-acre World-Famous San Diego Zoo was founded by Dr. Harry Wegeforth in 1916.
Today, the San Diego Zoo cares for over 3,800 animals of 800 different species. Its collection of animals, as well as its plant collection of over 6,500 species, is acknowledged as one of the finest in the entire world.
The giant panda’s are a special attraction here, especially when there are new cubs.
The first trans-Atlantic solo flight ..
.. was achieved by Charles Augustus Lindberg, a 25-year-old air-mail pilot.
He departed from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York in a Ryan monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis.
He landed 34-hours later at Le Bourget airfield in Paris. The Spirit of St Louis was built in 1921 in San Diego. San Diego’s airport was named in his honor.
Presidio Park & Old Town
Old Town is the historical heart of San Diego. Junipero Serra chose Presidio Hill as the site for the first California Mission in 1769, establishing San Diego as the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the United States and Canada.
Over the next fifty years, this fortified military colony grew to become the chief administrative and judicial center for the region and home to more than five hundred inhabitants.
After the advent of the República Mexicána in 1821, the Presidio went through a period of boom, then bust, and by 1835 was largely abandoned.
For over one hundred and fifty years, it has lain undeveloped and largely undisturbed, you can still see the remnants of the Mexican village nestled at the base of the Presidio Hill, where restored adobe houses, stone wells and stables stand.
Old Town is more than a tribute to Mexican heritage. It’s a historical park and a tourist attraction. Along with the Black Hawk Smithy are eclectic boutiques and souvenir shops plus the best mariachi music in town.
Mission San Diego De Alcala
The oldest mission in California and the first link in the “chain” of missions that stretches 650 miles along the El Camino Real or King’s Highway.
On Presidio Hill there stands a large cross on which the following words are written:
” Here Father Serra first raised the cross. Here began the first mission, here the first town, San Diego, July 16, 1769.”