Featured Photo: KC Welch
Everything you need to know about visiting San Diego.
- “America’s Finest City,” a slogan coined by its Mayor in 1972, San Diego is a year-round outdoor playground with 300+ days of sunshine and 72 degree average.
- The California burrito — featuring carne asada, french fries, and cheese — originated here.
- Home to the Torrey pine, the rarest pine in the U.S. It can only be found in San Diego County.
- Largest producer of avocados in the U.S.
A heavenly slice of the West Coast, San Diego stands out as a coastal paradise with a perfect blend of natural wonders and urban sophistication. As the birthplace of California, it’s rich in history. As a binational region and border town, the city is elevated by Mexico’s influence, which adds flavor and fiesta to the culture. With 70 miles of coastline, there’s always a new beach to explore. And 300-plus days of sunshine makes it a year round playground whether you want to charge some waves, kayak to a secret cove, espy whales while hiking a coastal trail, tee off on an emerald green, stand-up paddle with dolphins, or cycle the coast highway.
And while laid back and a favorite of beach-goers, San Diego has evolved beyond its fish-taco-flip-flop SoCal surfer culture into a dynamic cultural city with culinary flare, artistic design and adventure abound. There’s Michelin-starred chefs, authentic farm-to-table dining as the region boasts 5,500 small farms (the most in any U.S. county); 150 craft breweries, family-owned wineries Broadway-bound theater, world-class art, and the best collection of adventure parks for kids big and small. Oh, and, of course, tacos!
Intrepid Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to step foot on West Coast in 1542, landing at Point Loma Peninsula. The Kumeyaay Indians were living peacefully along the coastline, but when the Spaniards reappeared to rule their new province, their way of life was disrupted. In 1769, Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded by Spanish Friar Juniper Serra, the first of 21 missions in California, each 30 miles apart or a day’s travel by horse. In 1822, the rule of San Diego (named for Saint Diego) was transferred to Mexico and a pueblo was established (now Old Town), but a Mexican-American War win and an unyielding expansionist and “Manifest Destiny” vision led to San Diego and all of California becoming a part of the United States under President Polk in 1850.
As the waterfront city grew in the 1880s, bars and brothels appeared, along with gambling halls owned by infamous lawman Wyatt Earp. The raucous and historic Gaslamp District, named for the Victorian-styled lamps throughout downtown, got cleaned up when the city hosted Panama-California Exposition in 1915 in beautiful Balboa Park. The naval and tourism industries grew throughout the 1900s, as did education opportunities at the many universities. Today, San Diego is known for its bio-tech companies, medical research, education, naval base, beautiful beaches and incredible recreation.