About San Diego, California
The coastal city of San Diego lies north of the Mexican border and is steeped in historical highlights and natural scenery. As one of California’s family-friendly destinations, San Diego boasts of theme parks, shopping, entertainment and other forms of recreational pursuits. Thriving since the days of the great Santa Fe Railroad in the late 1800s, the city beckons further with its picture-perfect beaches and year-round fantastic weather. Being in the southernmost tip of the state also makes San Diego’s coastline as the perfect spot for viewing the glorious sunset everyday.
Exploring the City
San Diego’s population is 1.38 million, making it the eighth largest city in America. The city itself is not big and most of the major attractions are found in the downtown district, which bodes well for exploring San Diego. Apart from the renowned Gaslamp Quarter, downtown neighborhoods of Little Italy and Embarcadero rank high in the sightseeing trail as well. Balboa Park is famous for its plethora of museums while the Old Quarter presents historical structures and delectable Mexican cuisine. La Jolla, where the University of California in San Diego is located, offers upmarket boutiques and exquisite restaurants. If it is the beach lifestyle you’re after, Mission Bay will not disappoint with its sandy beaches, water sports and refreshing boardwalk.
The profuse variety of shopping options in the city will entice visitors to take note of the areas that are definitely characteristic of San Diego’s diversity. The revitalized downtown district is home to Horton Plaza, a multi-level shopping mall containing more than a hundred shops housed inside a European-style building. Old Town San Diego has plenty of arts and crafts stores while Hillcrest is popular for its hip vintage boutiques. Mission Valley Center is an institution in San Diego shopping, specializing in cheap outlet stores. The shops in Mission and Pacific beaches are heaven-sent for affordable last-minute shopping for beach apparel.
Entertainment and Nightlife
The beaches may be the main draw but San Diego’s nightlife can be quite entertaining too. Party crowds have their own chill-out spots in the city. The most popular area for tourists is the Gaslamp Quarter, the epicenter of downtown entertainment where clubs and restaurants are housed inside Victorian-era buildings. Beach bars in Pacific and Mission Beach mostly cater to the college crowd. In uptown Hillcrest and University Heights, expect upmarket options and a lively gay bar scene.
Of the 21 Spanish Missions established in California, Basilica San Diego de Alcala is the very first outpost established. Thus, the city is more appropriately remembered as the site from which Christianity in the West grew. The church is also the first Catholic church in California. A visit to the Mission is one of the best ways to experience San Diego’s Spanish legacy. Dating back to 1769, the Mission was burned down by Native Americans in 1775. Scattered blocks of adobe stone are the remains of the original structure that housed the living quarters of the Spanish friars. The restored bell tower and the façade reflect the typical architectural elements of that period.