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Travel & Holiday Tips
 
 
 

The heart of bustling San Diego lies at the foot of the harbour just minutes by car from San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field), where most travellers debark. Yet, modern San Diego has become much more than just a harbour-side city. Spanning from the North County beach areas to the South Bay cities along the Mexican border, San Diego is one of the top ten largest cities in the United States. While all these areas fall under the San Diego umbrella, each individual community maintains its own personality, geography and identity. Truly, in San Diego's case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

San Diego boasts several world-renowned attractions that keep tourists coming to this California metropolis. From sunny Balboa Park to the historic sites of the Gaslamp Quarter and the Old Town, a tour of San Diego is filled with possibilities.

Places of Interest

Downtown

Less than three miles from the airport is downtown proper. This thriving commercial area with its active waterfront is a bustling, colorful combination of major hotels, convention facilities, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping venues. Its focal point is Horton Plaza, an architectural masterpiece that holds trendy shops, lively restaurants, a theatre and even an ice rink during the holiday season. Just east of Horton Plaza is the Gaslamp District, a 16-block source of civic pride. Once slated for destruction, this area has been reclaimed by the people of San Diego thanks to the 1970s Redevelopment Plan. Where once dilapidated warehouses and run-down Victorian houses stood, and where no one dared to enter after dark, the Gaslamp District has now become the pulse of the city.

Due west of the city proper is the Embarcadero, a fun daytime location where visitors can take in leisurely views of the bay, hop aboard a harbour cruise or enjoy seafood at its finest. For shopping, visit Seaport Village, a 14-acre shopping and dining complex designed to emulate early California-style architecture.

Coronado

After visiting the downtown San Diego attractions, take the ferry from Broadway Pier or drive across the arching, 2.2 mile-long San Diego-Coronado Bridge to Coronado Island, a beautiful resort community boasting some of the most exclusive homes, boutiques and restaurants in San Diego. If you take the ferry, you will disembark at the Ferry Landing Marketplace. From here catch a shuttle bus that will take you to the town's main tourist drag, Orange Avenue, where you’ll find the Coronado Historical Association Museum of History and Art. Up the road is the Coronado Brewing Company, a popular pub and restaurant.

Balboa Park

No visit to San Diego would be complete without a trip to Balboa Park. Home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, the park is much more than a beautiful place to see exotic animals. Gardens and grounds in Balboa Park were established as a city park for the people in 1868. In preparation for hosting the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, a celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal, founding fathers, architects and master gardeners collaborated to create the fine Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings and gardens that still grace the grounds today. Additional buildings were raised on the site in the early 1930s, this time incorporating the look and feel of the Mayan civilisation and California's early indigenous peoples. Within the confines of the park, visitors can enjoy scores of museums and art galleries including the Museum of Man, San Diego Museum of Art, Timken Museum of Art and Spreckel's Organ Pavilion.

Old Town

For a taste of what San Diego was like in its earliest years, take in the sights and sounds of this colourful settlement, now preserved as a state historic park. Famous as the first European settlement in California, this area is also well known for its glorious year-round gardens, mouth-watering Mexican dishes, lilting Mariachi music and free-flowing margaritas. Be sure to spend a little time browsing through Bazaar del Mundo, truly a marketplace of the world.


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