San Diego City Guide
About San Diego
San Diego is a large bustling US city and the second largest city in California. Tourism along with biotechnology, agriculture, manufacturing and defense supplies are the major industries San Diego has.
San Diego with its miles of sandy beaches, year around amenable climate, world class cultural and sporting events, numerous attractions and quaint historic districts is truly a vacationer’s paradise. It’s no wonder then this bustling American metropolis, which started out as a humble abode for indigenous peoples is often referred to ‘America's Finest City’.
Visitors, who book a vacation to San Diego, do so primarily to get a taste of quintessential California city that truly embodies the sunshine state’s carefree and laidback vibe.
Where to stay in San Diego
San Diego is equipped with a wide range of hotels, which can be found all over the city. Visitors to San Diego often choose the location of their San Diego hotels on the basis of their individual needs and requirements.
Most visitors to San Diego who book a vacation to San Diego like to stay in the heart of the city; close to its major attractions like San Diego Zoo and Sea World. These visitors tend to make their hotel reservations at one of the many discount hotels that are located within the San Diego neighborhood of Hotel Circle in Mission Valley.
Mission Valley is located just north of San Diego's downtown. The area also affords access to several of San Diego's most popular beaches and is home to San Diego's Convention Center.
Beach front communities- La Jolla and Mission Bay
Other visitors, who go for vacations in San Diego prefer to stay at hotels that are located within one of San Diego’s many beach front communities like the renowned La Jolla or Mission Bay areas, which are easily accessible from downtown. These hotes offer their own unique atmosphere along with many dining, shopping and sightseeing attractions.
Another popular area of San Diego that is popular with visitors is the city’s Old Town area and is also easily reachable from Downtown San Diego is the Old Town. It is often referred to as the ‘birthplace of California’. Today this area has a state historic park that is populated by many restored adobe buildings, shops and restaurants which provide an insight into the life of old world San Diego. Be here during your vacations to San Diego for a bite of history.
Places to see in San Diego
Balboa Park is located within San Diego’s Old Town district and is its most prominent attraction. Balboa Park contains one of the biggest groups of museums in the USA. The list of attractions located within Balboa include over 85 Performing Arts and International Culture Organizations, fifteen museums, the world famous San Diego Zoo, leisure gardens, hiking and biking trails, recreational facilities, and restaurants.
Many of the museums and culture centers that are located within Balboa Park are housed in stately Spanish-Mexican style buildings. The oldest and most famous museum located within the park is the Reuben H Fleet Science Centre, which is an equipped big screen Omnimax Theatre and a virtual reality simulator that transports visitors to outer space.
Other prominent attractions in the park include the Spanish Village Art Center and a Japanese Friendship Garden. Balboa Park constitutes a not to be missed attraction during vacations to San Diego.
The San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is one of the most prominent attractions of the city. This zoo extends over 100 and showcases nearly 4000 members of the animal kingdom. These animals are arranged in various enclosures like the Tiger River Asian rainforest, the Gorilla Tropics, the Ituri Forest Exhibit, The Sun Bear Forest and more. The San Diego zoo also has a Children’s area, which features a petting zoo and a nursery for newly arrived animals. Also on offer is an amphitheater that offers daily performances and shows that feature animals.
The San Diego zoo should be considered a must-do attraction during San Diego vacations with children.
Wild Animal Park
The San Diego Zoo is renowned for its conservation efforts and enlightened management, which specializes in preserving the natural environment of its charges and for the successful breeding of endangered species in captivity. The zoo, additionally, operates the Wild Animal Park, which is located in Escondido and offers a wide array of wild and endangered animals from all over the world like Cheetahs (the park offers a fantastic cheetah run safari), lions, giraffes, emus, okapis, elephants, rhinos etc
Downtown San Diego
Downtown San Diego contains its business district and the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Other attractions located in downtown include the Horton Plaza and the waterfront Embarcadero, which is the area along the San Diego harbor on the east side of San Diego Bay. This waterfront area of San Diego is populated by numerous shops, restaurants and museums. The Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego was its first commercial district that is now a fashionable district that extends over 16 blocks and features historic buildings, old-fashioned wrought-iron street lamps, antique stores, shopping centers, art galleries, coffee houses, restaurants and jazz bars.
Cabrillo National Monument
The city of San Diego also boasts of several fascinating museums, which aim to both educate and entertain visitors. One museum that catalogues the rich history of the evolution of San Diego is located in the Cabrillo National Monument, located at Point Loma to the west of the city.
This monument commemorates one of the early founders of San Diego, the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, who sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542 and came ashore at Point Loma.
The museum located here chronicles the exploits of Cabrillo and other early explorers who help found the city of San Diego. Also located at Point Loma is the tall Point Loma lighthouse, which soars up to a height of 433 meters to offer gorgeous vistas of the city of San Diego city and its bay.
Sea World is one of the world’s largest marine parks, whose aim is to educate and entertain its patrons. This park is a world acknowledged leader in marine conservation efforts. It offers various attractions like the Dolphin Interaction Program, the Shark House, the Penguin encounters and shows and performances that feature marine creatures like sea lions, walruses, otters, dolphins and killer whales. Sea World is considered to be a huge draw for booking a vacation to San Diego.
San Diego offers many gorgeous beaches and seaside towns that offer a good enough reason to plan a visit to San Diego. The city is equipped with 70 miles of sandy coastline and attracts swimmers, surfers, beach bums and sun worshippers who revel in the sun, sea and sand ambience offered by various San Diego beaches like La Jolla, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach.
Best time to visit San Diego
San Diego is famous for its amiable year round climate. The city is characterized by mild, dry and sunny weather, which prevails for much of the year and makes San Diego all weather, year round destination.
The year round temperatures that prevail over San Diego are quite range bound between average highs of 70–78°F (21–26°C) and average lows of 55–66°F (13–19°C). Very rarely do temperatures rise above 90ºF (32°C) while snowfall in San Diego is negligible; though the winters in San Diego can be quite rainy but mild with temperatures hovering around the mid-60s (20ºC).
Getting around in San Diego
San Diego is served by its Lindbergh Field Airport which welcomes most major international and domestic airlines. This makes this city where the ‘sun always shines’ infinitely accessible. Moreover, Fare Buzz makes it even easier to visit San Diego with its various cheap air flight and hotel deals for San Diego.
Getting around San Diego is also quite easy for the city equipped with well developed public transport that consists of buses, the trolley light rail, commuter rail and ferries. The public transport system of San Diego covers nearly all parts of the city but many of the services stop at midnight. It is for this reason many visitors to San Diego choose to rent a car for the duration of their stay.
It is quite simple to rent a car in San Diego and the city is quite easily navigable as it is well laid and equipped with an elaborate system of freeways. We at Fare Buzz offer a range of affordable car rentals for San Diego along with our various other travel deals.
Where to shop in San Diego
San Diego is equipped with a varied shopping landscape. Expansive malls, specialty and high-end stores, boutiques and farmers markets, all populate the shopping scene in this Californian city.
Westfield Horton Plaza located in the heart of the city’s Gas lamp district is one of the prime shopping destinations in San Diego. This huge mall hosts more than 130 stores belonging to popular retailers like Express, Chico’s, Coach, Bebe and department stores like Nordstrom. Also onsite are several restaurants and fast-food outlets offering shoppers a chance to regroup and refuel in the midst of hectic shopping sprees. Out of down shoppers are encouraged to visit the mall’s Facebook page for special offers at various retail outlets at the mall better still they can install the specially created Horton Plaza mobile app compatible with all smart-phones.
Fashion Valley Mall, an outdoor mall located in the Mission Valley neighborhood of San Diego is yet another favored shopping locale in the city. This mall which is referred to as the ‘Rodeo Drive of San Diego’ hosts more than 200 stores and restaurants along with an 18 screen movie theater. The retail mix at the Fashion Valley Mall features a mix of high-brow and low-brow retailers in the form of brands like Hermes, Gucci, Burberry, Gap, Anthropologie, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and many more.
Aside from these mall shopping options San Diego offers much opportunity for retail therapy, at the many boutiques, art galleries and lifestyle stores that line the streets of its tony La Jolla neighborhood.
However, if you are on the look-out for more wallet-friendly options then your best bet in San Diego is the Carlsbad Premium outlet mall, located 32 miles north of downtown San Diego, close to the LEGOLAND theme park. This outlet mall features more than ninety discount stores of upscale brands like Barney’s New York, Michael Kors, BCBGMaxAzira amongst others.
Where to eat in San Diego
The many diverse San Diego eateries offer myriad cuisines as they aim to satisfy diverse individual tastes and wallets. Recommended dining destinations in San Diego currently include eateries like Café Chloe (bistro fare), A. R. Valentien (farm to table cuisine), Carnitas' Snack Shack(pork-centric cuisine), Seersucker and Market (both serving New American fare) the original Sab-e-lee (Thai), Kaito Sushi and Sushi Ota, Super Cocina (Mexican), Farm House Café (farm to table French cuisine), and Mariscos El Pescador, a fish taco truck stationed in a Chula Vista parking lot.
Nightlife in San Diego
The nightlife scene in San Diego is somewhat tamer than that of its sibling cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Nonetheless, downtown San Diego is the epicenter of the city’s nocturnal entertainment. Located here are countless brew pubs, bars, dive bars, sports bars, lounges and dance clubs which usually heave with revelers from Thursday to Saturday. Popular nightlife haunts in San Diego at present include haunts like the Ivy Nightclub at Andaz San Diego, Nicky Rotten’s (bar), Voyeur (dance club), the Onyx Room (dance club), Quality Social and Prohibition (both lounges)