Top 10 Points of Interest in San Diego, USA

10 facts about San Diego | USA

San Diego

San Diego (San Diego) is one of the best and most famous resort cities, one of the top 5 tourist destinations in the United States, which is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the state of California. Compared to sunny Los Angeles, it has a better tourist infrastructure, including the old city and modern skyscrapers, a strip of beautiful beaches along the bay, grand amusement parks and shopping centers with branded boutiques, great restaurants and inexpensive cafes with a variety of cuisine and dishes from around the world. Every traveler is sure to find something different in San Diego, from a good hotel to an unforgettable vacation experience.

usa san diego

San Diego attracts vacationers looking for sandy beaches, sunshine, and a milder climate with better weather than foggy San Francisco, which is suitable for year-round tourism. And family travelers are primarily interested in visiting the famous attractions here, such as the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld Oceanarium.

Before you travel to this wonderful city of contrasts and a mix of cultures, we suggest checking out the basic facts about San Diego California , and for detailed background information, read Wikipedia. We’ve been here too during one of our independent travels in America, and in this article we’ve gathered all the things you should know about San Diego – the most interesting and important information about the city and useful recommendations for tourists – to help you.

San Diego is

Facts about San Diego

Let’s list the most interesting, in our opinion, facts about San Diego:

1. San Diego is located in the southwest of the U.S. state of California on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, very close to the border with Mexico. Judging by the geographical position of San Diego on the U.S. map, it is one of the largest cities in the south of the country, and the neighboring city in Mexico called Tijuana is literally within arm’s reach (you can take a streetcar to the border).

  • Life in San Diego is so relaxed and measured that many homes don’t even lock their doors. There is no hurry like in big metropolitan areas.
  • Homes in San Diego are lined with wide streets and look clean and tidy because of strict laws that encourage residents to take good care of their property.
  • The time in San Diego is 10 hours behind Moscow in summer and 11 hours in winter.

where is san diego on the map

2. You can get to San Diego by car or bus, by ship, or by plane. Self-travelers are advised to book a car in advance at the LAX airport, as we did (read our review about car rentals at LAX).

How long does it take to fly to San Diego? There are regular flights from major cities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, but you cannot fly to San Diego from Moscow without changing planes. You will have to use flights with 1-2 connections. First get to New York or Los Angeles and then fly to San Diego airport, also known as Lindbergh Field. The flight time is 18-20 hours. Click here to see flight tickets.

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how to get to san diego

Here are the three most popular bus and air routes:

  • Los Angeles to San Diego (distance 120 miles, travel time 3 hours)
  • Las Vegas to San Diego (distance 330 miles, travel time 5.5 hours, take 1 hour to fly)
  • San Francisco – San Diego (distance 540 miles, travel time 9 hours, fly 1.5 hours)
  • Our review of an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Los Angeles

San Diego weather

3. The weather in San Diego is nice and sunny and warm almost all year round. The mild Mediterranean climate and lack of hurricanes is one of the main advantages of San Diego compared to the beaches of Miami. It’s generally not very hot here, with temperatures in the summer being very comfortable at around +26-28°C (almost like in the Maldives), and in the winter at around +20°C. It rains in San Diego mostly in winter, and in summer it is dry and sunny, not a strong refreshing wind from the ocean blows.

Important to know: Water temperature in the bay is cool enough to swim and swim – not higher than +20°C. So if you are going to spend more than a day in San Diego, it is better to choose a hotel on the coast with a good pool, such as the Marriott Marquis .

San diego marriott hotel with pool

Pool at the Marriott Marquis on the San Diego Bay

4. Unlike Miami, where almost the entire population is Spanish-speaking, San Diego residents speak mostly English, although quite a large portion of them are immigrants from Latin America or their descendants. And in the XVI century San Diego was inhabited by the Kumeyaay Indians until the Europeans arrived there – the first was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who founded the port of San Miguel.

san diego coast

Today, San Diego’s population is about 1.5 million people (with suburbs over 3 million), a third of whom are Hispanic and another about 16% are Asian. Whites still make up the majority of the city’s residents. The city of San Diego is second in the state of California and eighth in the United States in terms of the number of residents.

Holidays in San Diego

5. Vacations in San Diego are not as expensive as in Miami or Hawaii, but still quite expensive because of the high prices of houses, hotels and hotels, expensive tickets to amusement parks and not cheap restaurants, as well as good shopping opportunities. According to cost statistics, the average per person comes out to about $200 per day.

Thus, a trip with children to the beaches of San Diego lasting – from 1 to 2 weeks on average costs $ 4-7 thousand for four, plus airfare, which is roughly comparable with an inexpensive vacation in the Maldives. It is possible to go to San Diego for 2 to 3 inexpensive days for $500, but you will have to live not in the center.

san diego hotels

6. Hotels in San Diego, as opposed to hotels in New York, are for every taste and budget. To make it easier to decide on housing, we wrote an article about which area to choose a hotel and where it is better to stay for 1-2 days. It’s better to book a room 2-3 months in advance, so you don’t overpay at the last minute.

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Here are the best hotels in San Diego:

    – a 5-star beach hotel, where the movie “Only Girls in Jazz” was filmed. It is the most popular and prestigious hotel, in addition, originally built entirely of wood – a 4* resort hotel for families near SeaWorld – a new downtown hotel with a panoramic rooftop pool and views of the bay

Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

Hotel del Coronado – the best place to stay in San Diego

We also recommend good and inexpensive hotels in San Diego :

    – A cheap but clean and comfortable hotel near SeaWorld Oceanarium – A stylish inexpensive hotel with a homey feel downtown – A modern waterfront four with a view of the bay and a high rating

san diego california

Good to know: The best neighborhoods in San Diego for tourists are: Downtown, GasLamp, Little Italy, Coronado, Old Town, Mission Valley, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and most prestigious, La Jolla.

San Diego neighborhoods USA California

A map of San Diego neighborhoods.

7. The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park (San Diego’s largest and most famous park, like Central Park in New York City). The Zoo covers an area of about 40 hectares with many species of exotic plants and more than 3,500 animals including the rarest animals such as the giant panda and the red panda.

Interesting fact: It was at the San Diego Zoo that a short video was made about an elephant, which became the very first video uploaded to YouTube.

San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world, with the peculiarity that there are no aviaries for each animal species. It would take more than one day to see it in its entirety. By the way, in this zoo you can not only walk, but also ride a bus or move through the air on a suspended gondola.

san diego panda zoo

The big panda at the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo ticket prices:

  • 1-Day Pass – $56 (adult), $46 (children)
  • 2-Day Ticket – $89 (adult), $79 (children)

But if you are going to visit three major amusement parks in San Diego (Zoo, Safari Park and SeaWorld Oceanarium’s killer whale show), it is better to buy a single ticket for $149, it is cheaper than to visit them separately.

8. San Diego’s beaches are known far beyond the United States. A long and beautifully equipped strip of beach-perfect coastline stretches for dozens of miles along the Pacific Ocean. Americans, Mexicans, Canadians, and sometimes Europeans come here. Despite the fact that there are enough beaches for everyone, the question arises, which of San Diego’s beaches is better to choose?

San diego beaches

A diagram of San Diego’s beaches

We visited some of San Diego’s beaches, and we generally liked them for their cleanliness and not as crowded as Los Angeles’ beaches. Despite the rather cool water, it is nice to sunbathe on them, but the most interesting thing is to meet beautiful sunsets on the beaches of San Diego. But it is not very convenient to swim, unlike the beaches of the Maldives, so beloved by us, as there is no escape from the waves of the ocean.

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In our opinion, the best beaches in San Diego are:

  • Coronado Beach, with its clean sand and no algae, is an ideal place to vacation with kids as it is protected from the ocean waves by the Point Loma Peninsula; great for surfers and people who like to be active and have fun;
  • La Joya Beach with its sandy coves, picturesque shoreline and sea lions.

9. Among the attractions of San Diego are

  • Old Town, Gaslamp District and Waterfront (San Diego Zoo) (SeaWorld)
  • Coronado Peninsula and Coronado Beach in Cabrillo National Monument
  • The First Aircraft Carrier Midway (USS Midway)

San Diego is also home to the largest naval base in the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

san diego tourist map

10. There is only one national park near San Diego – Joshua Tree (260 km, drive 3 hours), and in the city itself there is Cabrillo National Monument. As independent travelers, it was very interesting for us to wander there among the rocks and unusual trees of Joshua, and then go to Palm Springs for the night.

If you want to admire desert nature and wander the rocks, you can visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, located in eastern San Diego County in the Colorado desert, a 2-hour drive from downtown (90 miles). This park is fun to drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle on special trails among the sand and rocks, and it is also where the famous Pacific Crest Trail or Pacific Crest Trail begins.

Close to san diego

Interesting to know: Every summer, San Diego hosts the Comic-Con International Festival (since 1970), originally dedicated to comic books and their characters, and later to other pop culture phenomena – TV series, fantasy, video games, anime, horror, etc. About 200,000 people visit it in four days.

If you are going to go to San Diego for the first time, be sure to check out this interesting vacation video:

San Diego on a map

As you have probably already realized, San Diego is a resort for absolutely everyone, but with its own peculiarities. Some people will enjoy spending two weeks on the beaches here, and for others a couple of days will be enough to make an impression of the city. Either way, it will be interesting, so choose the right time to travel to San Diego and pack your suitcase for a trip! Have a great vacation in the USA, dear readers!

Top 10 Points of Interest in San Diego, USA

The Basilica of San Diego de Alcala was founded in 1769 and was the first Franciscan mission in California. This National Historic Landmark is a well-known landmark in San Diego for its cultural and historical significance. The Basilica has survived upheaval . In fact, the current building we see is the fifth to be built on the site. Pope Paul VI declared it a small basilica in 1976. It is beautifully restored and surrounded by a garden. There is a small museum indoors that will introduce you to the history of the journey to this basilica.

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Top 10 the most interesting sights of San Diego, USA - Photo 2

10th place: Basilica of San Diego de Alcalá

Place 9: San Diego Museum of Art

The San Diego Museum of Art is a museum and art gallery of fine arts. It is located inside Balboa Park. The museum opened as the San Diego Gallery of Fine Arts in 1926. It received its current name in 1978. The Art Museum, declared the oldest and largest art museum in the region. Is the city’s main attraction, attracting the attention of nearly half a million people each year. It has exhibits dating back to 5000 B.C. . This museum also features several modern masters such as Rubens, Matisse, Renoir and Van Dyke.

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Place 9: San Diego Museum of Art

8th place: Old Town State Historical Park

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is one of the city of San Diego’s most prominent landmarks. This state protected park is located in the Old Town area. It was created to preserve several historic buildings in the area that were built between 1820 and 1870. It is located on 29 acres where you can see many colonial buildings that are very well preserved. Note the Colorado House, which was built in the mid-19th century and is now home to the Wells Fargo Historical Museum . The restored 1870 Cosmopolitan Hotel still welcomes guests as a hotel and restaurant!

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8th place: Old Town State Historical Park

7th Place: San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world . There are more than 4,000 animals on more than 100 acres. These animals represent more than 800 species. Almost all of the animal exhibits are outdoors because of California’s pleasantly calming climate . The zoo is also actively involved in animal conservation. Many species are bred at the zoo and then released into their original habitat. The world’s only albino koala bear was born at this zoo in 1997. Recently, in 2014, the zoo added a colony of penguins.

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7th Place: San Diego Zoo

6th Place: Seaport Village

Seaport Village is an entertainment complex located on 14 acres. The complex recreates the harbor setting of a bygone era. It could easily be described as the entertainment center of San Diego. Best of all, it’s all free! Between 12 and 4 p.m. there is always some kind of performance . It could be a magician showing his tricks or a musician performing a classic. Grab a seat in the amphitheater and enjoy what’s going on . If you happen to visit on a Saturday night, you might even get to see a famous entertainer. There are 17 restaurants and more than 50 stores.

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6th Place: Seaport Village

5th Place: San Diego Sea World

Sea World San Diego is a marine mammal park, animal theme park and oceanarium all in one. It is owned by SeaWorld Entertainment. The theme park opened in 1964 and currently covers 190 acres. Sea World San Diego attracts nearly 4.5 million visitors each year . It is an attraction for the whole family, especially with children. It has 15 rides, including 2 roller coasters and 2 water rides. The attractions in the park are divided into several parts such as “Cape Dolphin”, “Sea Lion”, “Meet the Sharks”, “Shipwreck Threshold” and “Wild Arctic” and many others. At SeaWorld you can see polar bears, walrus, dolphins, otters and even orcas.

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Top 10 The Most Interesting Sights of San Diego, USA - Photo 7

5th Place: San Diego Sea World

4th Place: USS Midway Museum.

This is not the kind of museum you see in every city. The USS Midway Museum is a maritime museum located on the Navy Pier near downtown San Diego. It is housed in the USS Midway, a former U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. The USS Midway was commissioned in 9145, a week after the end of World War II. At 972 feet and 45,000 tons, it was the largest ship in the world until 1955. The USS Midway retired in 1992 as the U.S. Navy’s longest-running aircraft carrier, a record it still holds. Inside the museum are more than two dozen restored U.S. Air Force aircraft.

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4th Place: USS Midway Museum.

3rd Place: Mission Beach.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy San Diego’s laid-back atmosphere and sunny weather, head straight to Mission Beach. It stretches for almost 2 miles along the oceanfront. The south end of the promenade has a pier and walkway leading directly to the ocean . South Mission Beach is also home to historic Belmont Park. This historic amusement park was founded in 1925. It features several fun rides, including the original wooden roller coaster . During the day, popular activities at Mission Beach include sunbathing, biking, skateboarding and rollerblading. After the sun goes down, it gets even busier with its sports bars, restaurants and cafes.

Top 10 The Most Interesting Sights of San Diego, USA - Photo 9

3rd Place: Mission Beach.

2nd Place: Gaslight Quarter

The lively Gaslight Quarter is located in downtown San Diego. It’s a restored historic district spanning just over 16 blocks with restaurants, stores and Victorian-style buildings. The Gaslight District, located next to Petco Park, is home to 94 buildings of historic significance. They are all decorated with beautiful carvings, bright colors and stained glass windows. It is an interesting place to visit, where several festivals and events are held throughout the year . This is the only place where you will find modern skyscrapers and Victorian buildings standing side by side.

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2nd Place: Gaslight Quarter

No. 1: Balboa Park

No visit to San Diego would be complete without a visit to Balboa Park. It is a huge and beautiful outdoor park with many rides. There are over 15 gardens and museums within the park. There are also playgrounds and swimming pools within the park. A very popular attraction is the Children’s Ethnobotanical Garden, which grows organic vegetables, herbs and fruits. It is especially good for teaching children the importance of the environment and plants. Another popular attraction is the Bird Park in Upas , designed for little ones. There’s also the Pepper Grove Playground for kids of all ages . Along with all this there are tennis courts, a cupcake store and a cafe.

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No. 1: Balboa Park

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