The park now includes a nighttime rock 'n roll orca extravaganza with a dizzying light show. As..San Diego Zoo - Wild Animal Park Info
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Beautiful Balboa Park feels like its own city, specializing in serenity and knowledge. With 15..Old Town San Diego Information
Relive San Diego's early days as it became the birthplace of California. In Old Town San Diego..See all locations in San Diego
Located in the US state of California the bayside city of San Diego is known for its outdoor lifestyle, mild, sunny climate and relaxed, party atmosphere. Only 200 km (120 miles) south of Los Angeles and about 30 km (18 miles) north of the Mexican border San Diego is the second largest city in California with a population of around 1.3 million people. The climate is generally mild all year round with a daytime average of about 19deg (66deg) in winter and 25 deg (77deg) in Summer. San Diego is home to a large naval base and, apart from defense industries, the economy is based on manufacturing and tourism.
Traditional home of the Kumeyaay people San Diego was settled by the Spanish with the establishment of a mission in 1769. With Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821 San Diego became part of Mexican territory. Following the Mexican loss in the 1846-1848 Mexican / American War the area fell under American control and it was incorporated as a US city in March 1850. At the beginning of the twentieth century the US Navy recognized the suitability of the area for military purposes and established several naval bases there. The navy has continued to play a pivotal role in the city's development ever since.
Because of the sprawling nature of the city renting a car is probably the best way to get around. There is a light rail system (San Diego Trolley) that links the downtown area with southern and eastern parts of the city and a bus system also services the city - but for tourists these are limited in usefulness to the downtown areas. Cycling is a relaxing and enjoyable way to explore the relatively flat beachside neighbourhoods but venturing further inland the city is not so bike-friendly and the traffic can pose a serious safety risk.
Because of its temperate climate and coastal location watersports play a big part in San Diego's leisure activities. Boating, sailing and surfing are all popular past times and you can even scuba dive on the plentiful wrecks in Wreck Alley.
Balboa Park, an extensive park located close to the centre of town, is a tourist draw card with landscaped gardens in which to stroll or just relax, several museums, a golf course and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. One of the foremost zoos in North America, San Diego Zoo covers more than 100 acres and houses many rare and not so rare animals, so its recommended to set aside an entire day to fully enjoy all the animal shows and exhibits. Located just a few minutes from beautiful Mission Beach to the east of the city is SeaWorld, a theme park comprising marine exhibits, shows and rides, and offering the public a chance to interact with live marine creatures. There's so much to do and see here the whole family will be entertained for hours.
The massive US Pacific Fleet is based in San Diego and therefore their is a large military presence in the city with defense industries making up the largest sector of the city's economy. For a taste of maritime history the museum on the USS Midway, a decommissioned air craft carrier, houses a remarkable collection of navy aircraft, and the San Diego Maritime Museum showcases vessels and historical artifacts from all over the world.
Sports play a large role in American culture and there are plenty of opportunities to catch a baseball or football game in one of the many playing fields around the city. Or you can go rock climbing or hiking in the San Diego hills, kayak off one of the many beaches or in the bay, or even go hang gliding off spectacular the cliffs along the coast. Shoppers too are well catered for and the Downtown area is where to find big brand outlets and shopping malls. There are many smaller boutique and alternative fashion shops and markets dotted throughout the city which makes it easy to add a shopping holiday to your sightseeing vacation.
With its combination of magnificent weather, unique zoo and theme parks, shopping and a relaxed, outdoor lifestyle, its not difficult to see why San Diego is such a popular tourist holiday destination.
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