San Diego

Destination Location

  • 32.715, -117.1625:primary
  • 32.7336006164551, -117.190002441406:secondary

Overview

Situated on the southwest coast of the golden state of California, San Diego is a beautiful, sunny and friendly destination just 32 km north of the border town of Tijuana, Mexico. And with everything from sandy beaches and desert, to lush valleys and breathtaking mountain ranges, this city has all the makings of a fabulous vacation.

Aside from its world renowned harbour and fantastic water sports options, San Diego is probably best known for its golf courses. Golf is one of the most popular pastimes here and there are more than 90 golf courses in San Diego County to choose from. The most famous, Torrey Pines Golf Course, is where the PGA Tour plays the Farmers Insurance Open (formerly the Buick Invitational).

There are also plenty of family-friendly attractions in San Diego, including major draws such as SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. For three days each July, San Diego also hosts Comic-Con International – the world’s largest comic book and popular arts convention.

For couples, San Diego is also a romantic getaway, perfect for honeymooners or those just simply looking for a vacation in the sun. From its sun-kissed beaches to the beautiful boardwalks of Pacific Beach, you're sure to find plenty of spots to share an intimate walk – or perhaps even a bike ride.

Rent cruiser bikes or rollerblades from beachside kiosks and glide for hours along San Diego's peaceful shores. The boardwalk is best during weekdays if you want to avoid the crowds. When you want to take a break from cycling, toss a Frisbee on the beach or dip your toes into the warm ocean water. 

Fans of Dr. Seuss books will appreciate how San Diego inspired the author and cartoonist's artwork. After the Second World War, Theodore Seuss Geisel and his wife moved to the quirky, gorgeous neighbourhood of La Jolla on the northwest tip of San Diego. It was here that he wrote and illustrated books such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Look at Seuss’s drawings and you'll notice the same fanciful landscapes of strangely twisted trees with shaggy tops found right here in La Jolla.

But whether you come to San Diego to laze around during its sun-warmed winters or to sip white wine on summer patios next to the beach, you'll never be far from the sounds, sights and smells that make this city so unique.

San Diego is a fantastic destination for:

  • beaches
  • romance
  • shopping and dining

Destination basics

Sun-worshippers, this is the city for you, year-round. San Diego is a mellow, sun-splashed town with a mild, dry climate. Here, you'll find clear blue skies and warm, salt-scented air. It's easy to see why The Weather Channel ranks San Diego as one of the top two destinations for best summer climate in America (the other destination being Maui).

San Diego has an average of 201 sunny days a year, with average daytime temperatures of 21 C – and remember, that's a year-round average! Summers are warm and dry and the winters are gentle. Winter temperatures rarely fall below 4 C and when that does happen, it only happens at night. Humidity is typically quite low, even during the summer and average annual rainfall is less than 25 cm. When it does rain, it is typically between December and March.

The end of spring brings a thick marine layer cloud that keeps the air cool and damp near the harbour. About 8 km inland, the layer yields to cloudless sunshine.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for San Diego

San Diego is the birthplace of California. On September 28, 1542, Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed in San Diego Bay and claimed the area for Spain. He named the city after the Catholic St. Didacus, whose name in Spanish was San Diego de Alcala.

Today, you can experience San Diego’s border town culture just about everywhere you go. Popular restaurants such as El Take It Easy serve unique creations like fried chicken necks and nuggets in mole sauce – not exactly Californian cuisine and not exactly Mexican either. At the New Children’s Museum, visitors climb into an enormous two-headed Trojan horse that simultaneously faces the U.S. to the north and Tijuana to the south.

Like so many border cities, San Diego exists within what the late Chicana poet Gloria Anzaldúa once described as a “Third Country” – a place neither here nor there. A vast international metropolis with a border fence running straight through its middle.

You can see the fence at San Ysidro, the last stop on San Diego’s Blue trolley line. It is the world’s busiest land border, where more than 100,000 people cross every day to and from Tijuana.

Or, visit Border Field State Park and hike along the beach to where the fence ends at the Pacific Ocean. No fence can keep the music, spice and Latino flavours from spilling over.

In San Diego, north and south collide, creating a sort of kinetic energy that will leave you feeling at once excited to partake in new adventures and relaxed enough to leave all your troubles on the beach.

It is advisable to carry some U.S. cash with you for general expenses. For entertainment and shopping, your credit card will give you the exchange rate at the time of purchase. There are also numerous ATMs inside banks and public spaces where you can withdraw funds at your convenience. Just be aware that transaction fees vary by ATM.

San Diego is striving to become the culinary capital of California, with its wide assortment of restaurants and bars offering an array of cuisine to suit any taste. Known for fresh Mexican dishes and exceptional seafood, San Diego has some of the best dining in all of Southern California. Boasting an average temperature of 70 degrees, the city offers outdoor patio dining and breathtaking ocean views year round.

Downtown
Featuring over 16 square blocks of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, the historical Gaslamp Quarter is affectionately known as the entertainment hub of San Diego. Catch a glimpse of local street entertainers, watch the crowds or simply hang out with friends in this popular downtown district, which is frequently compared to the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Numerous dining choices exist within the Gaslamp Quarter. For delicious seafood, try Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, an elegantly appointed restaurant. Meanwhile, Irish delicacies are offered at The Field, while desserts such as chocolates, ice cream floats and shakes are found at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop.

Popular bars also hold a prominent spot in the Gaslamp District. Visit The Tipsy Crow and enjoy the upscale ambiance of this tri-level club.  

For those who desire a dining experience without all the hustle and bustle of the Gaslamp Quarter, visit the outlying sections of downtown. Harbor Drive is home to Anthony's Star of the Sea, a traditional seafood restaurant appealing to a mature clientele.

Old Town
Old Town is where San Diego began. Romance and charm fill the air and dozens of historical buildings, transformed into shops and restaurants, line the streets. Enter the Bazaar del Mundo and dine at one of the festive eateries. Stroll down San Diego Avenue and experience the wonder of a real fiesta at the Old Town Mexican Cafe, where servers are dressed in traditional garb and tortillas are made fresh, right before your eyes. Meanwhile, Cafe Coyote Bar and Grill boasts an incredible selection of tequila.

Beach Cities
San Diego's beach towns feature an abundance of bars and restaurants catering to a young crowd. In downtown Pacific Beach, Garnet Avenue hosts the Pacific Beach Bar and Grill, an American restaurant known for scrumptious burgers and sandwiches. Also located in the beach cities, Moose McGillycuddy's is a traditional American sport bar, jammed with locals on weekend nights.

University Heights
A few miles shy of East San Diego lies one of the city's oldest and most charming communities, University Heights. There's never a shortage of places to satisfy the palate here. If it's coffee and live music you crave, Twiggs Tea and Coffee on Park Boulevard is always a good bet. With their decadent desserts and relaxing atmosphere, you'll never want to leave. If you prefer beer to tea, the world-famous Toronado boasts dozens and dozens of draft offerings, and even more in the bottle. Tried-and-true dive bar more your speed? Then head over to the Live Wire, a popular spot locals love raving about. Walk a block down and satisfy those hunger pangs at Harar Ethiopian Restaurant, a great place to munch on savory East African dishes without burning a hole in your pocket.

Mission and Fashion Valley
Beyond downtown San Diego, popular eateries are also splashed throughout an area of town known to locals as "The Valley." Or if you're in a mood for just delicious fare head to Pat & Oscar's, a casual restaurant famous for its breadsticks, assorted pizzas and salads.

Coronado Island
Across San Diego Bay and just minutes from downtown is Coronado Island, a conservative community with dozens of fine dining choices. Take the ferry from Harbor Drive and disembark right in front of Peohe's, a tropical paradise famous for its Crunchy Coconut Shrimp platter. Just next door to Peohe's, Bay Beach Cafe is an ideal spot for a traditional dinner. Travel further to the interior of the island and dine in royal elegance at The Crown Room, located in the historic Hotel del Coronado.

La Jolla
Just north of San Diego, the city of La Jolla is affectionately known as "the jewel" of the Pacific shoreline. In this city, tourists find world-class restaurants with memorable ocean views. Magnificent, yet traditional, California style culinary creations are served at George's At The Cove. This renowned seaside restaurant has a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, French restaurants are common in this city of love and fantasy, including The Marine Room and Top of the Cove.

Located in downtown La Jolla, Roppongi has earned a reputation as a favorite among locals. This popular venue combines cuisine from countries such as Thailand, China and Korea into an innovative fare known as "Asian Fusion."

North County
Just north of La Jolla, the seaside community of Del Mar continually draws locals and tourists with its upscale dining venues. Il Fornaio (meaning "The Baker") serves delectable Italian feasts. Pacifica Del Mar accents the "foods of the sea" with innovative seasonings and spices.

Regardless of the restaurant you choose there are many palate-pleasing treasures to be found in San Diego, so bring an appetite and explore the culinary creations of this seaside city.

Semi-tropical San Diego, with its mean temperature of 70 degrees F, Mediterranean-like white-washed stucco buildings and strong cultural influences from sunny Mexico, is as close to visiting a foreign country as visitors could get and yet, is as American as apple pie.

The heart of this bustling city lies at the foot of the harbor just minutes by car from Lindbergh Field, where most travelers debark. Yet, modern San Diego has become much more than just a harborside 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.

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 harbor 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.

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 civilization 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 colorful 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.

Within easy walking distance from the center of Old Town is the Presidio, a must-see while in San Diego. This structure, now a historic landmark, is where Junipero Serra established the first of the Spanish missions in California.

La Jolla
A short drive up the coast takes visitors to La Jolla ("the jewel" in Spanish), and truly a jewel it is. Despite its dense population, the people of this affluent city have somehow managed to maintain its beautiful natural setting. Cliffs along the main streets overlook the beaches and coves along the Pacific Ocean; tropical vegetation creeps and climbs across red-tiled roofs and verandas; and sunsets at La Jolla Shores are simply spectacular. Beyond breathtaking oceanfront scenery, this seaside community is home to the Birch Aquarium, which features the largest oceanographic display in the United States.

North County
Travel a few miles further north along the coastal drive to reach Del Mar, another fine beach community. Famous for its racetrack, founded by Bing Crosby and fellow Hollywood cronies during the 1940s, this seaside town offers as much to families as it does to racing aficionados. Beaches here are clean and family friendly. Boutiques and open-air restaurants line the main street, giving it a Riviera-like quality. Just north of this city, visitors can find the renown Carlsbad Flower Fields and LEGOLAND California, great for those with young children in tow.

Moving inland, the city of Escondido is a quieter, more rural version of San Diego, replete with avocado and livestock ranches, vineyards and granite-strewn hillsides. The community hosts the San Diego Zoo's 2,200-acre Wild Animal Park, an extension of the city's world-famous zoo providing visitors a look at animals in the wild.

South Bay
Visitors would be remiss if they never traveled south from the city proper into the area referred to as the South Bay. The main city in this area is Chula Vista, home to one of San Diego's greatest music and entertainment venues, the Coors Amphitheatre. This entertainment complex provides state-of-the-art acoustics, VIP tables complete with cocktail table service, stadium seating and picnic seating on grassy knolls. Adjacent to the amphitheater, visitors (and especially their children) can cool off in the watery fun at Knott's Soak City U.S.A..

While each district of San Diego has an original flair, the various sections blend seamlessly into a thriving, cosmopolitan city. From the North County beaches to the downtown shopping districts, San Diego's first-class attractions consistently please tourists and locals alike.

Although San Diego may be better known for sun, sand and surf, the city actually boasts a vibrant and flourishing arts and entertainment scene. From world-class theaters and magnificent museums to cool cafes and hole-in-the-wall nightclubs, there is something here for every entertainment taste.

Art
If you should tire of admiring San Diego's magnificent natural scenery, the city has a number of art museums that offer eye-candy of a different kind. Balboa Park offers many of these treasures, including the San Diego Museum of Art, which offers an impressive collection of Renaissance, Dutch, Spanish Baroque, Impressionist, Southeast Asian and Contemporary Californian works. Also located at Balboa Park, the Timken Museum of Art showcases an extensive collection of Russian icons and 14th Century religious paintings, while the Mingei International Museum has a delightful collection of pottery, textiles, ceremonial and daily-use objects from around the globe. The work of some of the world's best photographers is displayed at the Museum of Photographic Arts. Meanwhile, Spanish Village Art Center offers visitors a chance to watch painters, glassblowers, sculptors and woodcarvers at work. Those with more modern sensibilities may prefer the Museum of Contemporary Art, headquartered in La Jolla with a smaller branch downtown.

Theater
San Diego boasts a remarkably healthy theater scene with not one, but two Tony-award-winning theaters. The consistently excellent La Jolla Playhouse often originates innovative and provocative dramas and musicals. Meanwhile, the oldest professional theater in California, Old Globe Theatre, performs classic, Shakespearean and contemporary works on three stages in Balboa Park. In addition, several smaller companies, such as the San Diego Repertory Theatre and the Lamb's Players Theatre, stage year-round performances of contemporary works.

Film
With giant multiplexes like the AMC Mission Valley 20, San Diego's cinemas offer plenty of mass, if not exactly highbrow, fare. Meanwhile, independent, art-house and foreign films are shown at the Hillcrest Cinema or the Ken Cinema, the latter specializing in revivals and cutting edge independent film.

Museums
First-time visitors to San Diego are often surprised by the variety of museums found here. The Museum of Man is an anthropological museum focusing on Native American, Southwestern, Mexican and South American cultures. In addition, the Junipero Serra Museum houses Native American and Spanish artifacts from the early days of the missionaries. Those not easily spooked should brave the Thomas Whaley Museum in Old Town, known for being haunted, a fact authenticated by no less than the United States Department of Commerce. Caveat Emptor, of course.

With a nod to San Diego's once prominent status as a commercial seaport, the delightful San Diego Maritime Museum offers visitors a chance to tour three historic vessels. Furthermore, the Birch Aquarium boasts the largest oceanographic exhibit in the country.

Nature lovers can indulge themselves at the San Diego Natural History Museum, which highlights the desert ecology of Southern California and Mexico. Meanwhile, science and technology buffs will enjoy the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center & Space Theater, which showcases a 3D tour of the ocean depths, rainforests and even outer space, all courtesy of IMAX.

Music
Options for classical music fanatics range from large concerts by the San Diego Symphony at Copley Symphony Hall to more intimate recitals by the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. The San Diego Opera season runs from January-May and consists of five operas performed at the Civic Theatre.

For those with slightly less rarefied musical tastes, San Diego offers an array of choices in rock, pop, jazz, folk, country, blues, hip-hop and alternative music. Serious rockers head to the ultra-sleek Coors Amphitheatre, which seats up to 20,000 and has become a "must-play" venue for top musicians. The 14,000-seat ipayOne Center also hosts big-name concerts. Smaller venues for upbeat tunes include Humphrey's By The Bay.

Sports
As far as baseball goes, the San Diego Padres have been the pride of the city. Playing in the National Football League AFC Western Conference, the San Diego Chargers have had a checkered record, but still manage to draw fans to Qualcomm Stadium between August and December.

Other prime spectator sports include horse racing and golf. From late June to early September, San Diegans place bets on their favorite thoroughbreds at the Del Mar Racetrack. This venue attracts some of the best jockeys and horses in the country. Meanwhile, the world's top golfers also visit San Diego several times each year at the Mercedes Championship at the La Costa Resort & Spa in January, and the Buick Invitational at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in February.

Whether your preference is for trendy nightclubs or traditional theater performances, San Diego has entertainment venues to please all tastes. Add sunny skies and ocean views to these top-notch attractions and it is no wonder why San Diego draws countless tourists every year.

San Diego

State: California


Country: United States


San Diego by the Numbers

Population: 1.25 million
Elevation: 62 feet / 18.9 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 10.34 inches / 26.3 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 58°F/14°C
Average JulyTemperature: 71°F/22°C


Quick Facts

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT-8

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Codes: 619, 760, 858


Did You Know?

From San Diego, you can walk across the border to Mexico!

Ever heard of a Zambian Sable Antelope? Well, the world-famous San Diego Zoo has one!


Orientation

San Diego is located at the very southern end of California on the Pacific Coast, about 13 miles (21 kilometers) from the border with Mexico. San Diego is 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of Los Angeles.

San Diego is one of the prettiest harbour cities in the world. It's located in the southwest corner of California, 193 km south of Los Angeles and just 32 km north of Tijuana, Mexico.

It’s the eighth largest city in the U.S., with over 100 neighbourhoods and a population of more than 1.3 million within city limits. San Diego County includes 17 additional incorporated cities, bringing the total county population to 3 million. But even as a relatively large city, San Diego is ranked among the top 10 safest cities in the U.S. by Forbes magazine.

The city overlooks lush parkland, deep canyons and the Pacific Ocean. In fact, you'd never guess by looking at it that it's so close to the desert (Anza-Borrego State Park).

Its canyons divide San Diego into hillside bluffs, giving it a segmented, low-density feeling with neatly divided neighbourhoods. The city is further separated by the San Diego River. The river flows from east to west and cleanly divides the city into southern and northern sections. However, as a result of these natural divisions, it’s tricky to walk between neighbourhoods, so cars and trucks are common modes of transportation here.

The city’s most notable peaks are Mount Soledad, Black Mountain and Cowles Mountain – the highest point in the city at 486 metres tall. Rising to the city’s east are the Laguna Mountains and Cuyamaca Mountains, sometimes dusted with snow. Make the half-an-hour drive northeast and you’ll also discover the gorgeous Cleveland National Forest.

Above all, San Diego is where people meet water – a navy town, of sorts. Locals and travellers enjoy more than 112 km of coastline and a natural deep-water harbour. The city’s total land area is 551 sq. km, while San Diego County encompasses 11,036 sq. km, stretching as far north as Orange County.

"It's the most beautiful place in the world to me and I had rather have the affection and friendly greetings of the people of San Diego than all the rulers of the world."

So said Alonzo Horton, founder of what would become downtown San Diego, on the occasion of his 95th birthday. Most likely, San Diego residents would heartily echo his sentiments today. This beautiful, geographically-diverse region in Southern California is truly a wonderful sight to behold. But it is the people who have persevered through boom and bust to build this city, now one of the top ten largest in the United States.

Archaeologists have determined that the first inhabitants of this area settled here more than 20,000 years ago, in the area now known as Rancho Santa Fe. By 7000 BC, descendants of these earlier peoples had migrated to the sandy shores of La Jolla and the riverbed of Mission Valley.

The simple life of these native peoples was forever altered when the Spanish Conquistadors overtook the Aztec civilization. The conquest for gold, land and religion brought Spanish explorers and religious leaders to the area.

While looking for a Northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542 and came ashore in Point Loma. In honor of the feast day on which he landed, Cabrillo dubbed the area San Miguel, now represented by the Cabrillo National Monument. For nearly 60 years, the land named by Cabrillo remained the quiet domain of the local inhabitants who continued to live their simple lives. And nothing much changed that way of life, even after Sebastian Vizcaino arrived from Mexico in 1602 and renamed the area San Diego de Alcala, in honor of his vessel, San Diego, and the Catholic saint of the same name.

In 1768, expeditions were organized from Baja (lower) California into Alta (upper) California in order to establish territorial rights along the California coast. Secondarily, the Catholic church decided to establish a series of missions along a northernly advance from which to convert the native peoples. By 1769, a contingent of soldiers and Franciscan Brothers established a military camp on Presidio Hill. That summer, Father Junipero Serra would found the first California Mission on that site. The Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala would later be moved to its current location in Mission Valley.

Around the time of Mexico's war to win independence from Spain, a thriving settlement of 600 people was established in Old Town. By 1821, Mexico earned its independence, and within four years San Diego was named the official capital of both upper and lower Baja.

In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico to gain rights to the western lands and within two years, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo was signed ending the war and setting the countries' current borders. San Diego became the southernmost city in the United States.

By the mid-1800s, San Diego became an official county and acquired one of its most influential residents, William Heath Davis. He was so enchanted by the city that he purchased 160 acres by the bay and determined to build a fine city. For a while, his vision soared. Land parcels were sold and businesses moved in. Then disaster struck. A series of floods and then a fire put an end to his dream. But his own home, the William Heath Davis House, is still the oldest surviving structure in San Diego.

In 1867, a newcomer arrived in San Diego after hearing of its beauty at a lecture. Alonzo Erastus Horton renewed Davis' dream. With the purchase of 800 acres at 33 cents an acre, he spent $50,000 to build a wharf at the end of Fifth Avenue. Before long, he would also build his "Horton Hotel" at the site where the current US Grant Hotel stands today. At the dedication of the hotel, he also set aside half a city block as a plaza for his guests with the stipulation that it would revert to city ownership upon his death. Today, this half city block is the site of Horton Plaza.

The beginnings of culture in San Diego seem to stem directly from its entrenchment in promoting the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. Since 1868, Balboa Park has existed, but it was not until plans for the Expo took shape that the city would have one of its most distinctive attractions. Construction began in 1911 on the buildings which would commemorate the completion of the Panama Canal. Sugar magnate John D. Spreckels presented the Organ Pavilion to the people of San Diego and this organ is still played on Sunday afternoons.

Perhaps by accident, San Diegans acquired yet another world-famous attraction: the San Diego Zoo, during preparations for the 1915 Expo. Animals being imported for display during the Expo were quarantined by Dr. Harry Wegeforth. His efforts to garner public support for a zoo led to the plans for the facility to be a showcase in newly-developed Balboa Park.

By 1960, San Diego's population topped one million people and tourism had become the city's third most important industry. Investments in the city's economy flourished with the establishment of the Salk Institute, SeaWorld, the San Diego Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium) and the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

From its humble beginnings as an abundant natural resource for indigenous peoples to a modern, bustling city, San Diego has witnessed both times of prosperity and decline. Through it all, the breathtaking natural beauty continues to attract people from all around the world. Yet, the true wonder of this city lies in its people, a truly divergent group who continue to look toward the future with hope, expectations, and genuine love for San Diego.

If you’re looking to explore the many exciting neighbourhoods of San Diego, a car rental is a must. Just sticking to downtown? Renting a car isn’t needed. In the city’s core, you’ll find great shopping, restaurants, theatre and nightlife all within walking distance or a short cab ride.

If you’re planning to travel around the city and surrounding areas, keep in mind that driving distances between neighbourhoods, attractions and beach communities vary widely depending on distance and time of day. Driving from one attraction to the next can take as little as 10 minutes or up to an hour. Due to variable travel times, renting a car can often save you money. Just make sure you avoid rush hour.

For those on a budget, San Diego also offers a number of public transit options. The San Diego Trolley services all of downtown, as well as other major connection points, including Old Town, the International Border and East San Diego County. For those visiting North San Diego County, the Sprinter light rail service is available.

Looking to visit multiple cities? Getting to Los Angeles and Northern California is easy when you take the passenger rail train, Amtrak. WestJet Vacations also includes transportation packages to major attractions in the San Diego area, as well as a variety of city tours and day tours that you can book in advance.

To get to and from the airport, there are several transportation options available. Scheduled shuttle vans, buses, taxis and limos run often – as does public transportation. If you haven’t booked transfers with WestJet Vacations, check with your hotel to see if they offer complimentary shuttle service.

Arrival

Before taking off for San Diego International Airport, you’ll pass through U.S. Customs. Once through, you’ll be on your way to gorgeous San Diego. After landing, pick up your bags from the baggage claim area.

To access the Transportation Plaza from baggage claim, just take the pedestrian crosswalk located directly outside of the building. From there, you can catch a shuttle to your hotel, a shuttle to a car rental agency of your choice, or a taxi or limousine.

Departure

Smiling WestJetters will greet you at the WestJet counter in Terminal 2. Have some time before your flight? Browse the numerous shops and restaurants conveniently located inside the airport terminals.

From beaches to museums, to boardwalks and boats, San Diego really seems to have it all. But one of its most unique attractions is Balboa Park.

What makes it different cont'd?

An easy walk from downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the U.S. and the largest cultural complex west of the Mississippi. Inspired by the numerous cultural institutions within its 1,198 acres, Balboa Park is often referred to as the Smithsonian of the West.

You could spend weeks exploring San Diego's rich cultural landmarks here. There are museums on every subject. If you enjoy the arts, visit the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Museum of Art and Timken Museum of Art.

Science buffs should check out the San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Museum of Man or the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. There’s also the San Diego History Center and the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center.

Balboa Park is also a horticulturist's paradise, home to eight lush gardens and 350 different species of trees, including 58 species of palm trees.

Before boarding, you'll pass through security and U.S. Customs in Canada.

It is advisable to carry some U.S. cash with you for general expenses.

San Francisco boasts many forms of public transportation, including the famous cable cars that can take you around the city.

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

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