San Diego

  • The 7th largest city in the United States with nearly 1.3 million inhabitants, San Diego is also a city known for benefiting from the Californian sun? 300 days a year! The wealth of its culture coupled with its natural beauty make it a major tourist destination in California. Moreover, the beaches on the city's Pacific coastline and Coronado Peninsula benefit from a very mild climate. San Diego is ...
    © Sean Pavone / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination United States of America

The 7th largest city in the United States with nearly 1.3 million inhabitants, San Diego is also a city known for benefiting from the Californian sun? 300 days a year! The wealth of its culture coupled with its natural beauty make it a major tourist destination in California. Moreover, the beaches on the city's Pacific coastline and Coronado Peninsula benefit from a very mild climate. San Diego is heaven for those who like to laze about! You can go on several interesting hikes in the surrounding areas or even venture to Mexico if you're feeling motivated! The border city of Tijuana is indeed just a few miles away.
San Diego itself has plenty of things to offer: Its historical centre, which is still intact, and its atypical Gas Lamp Quarter which, as its name indicates, is lit up using only gas lamps, give the city an incomparable charm. Balboa Park, offering a pure breath of fresh air in the city centre, is a small gem boasting an abundance of tropical vegetation. It is home to many museums and galleries.
The San Diego Zoo is also worth a visit. It is one of the largest zoos in the world and is especially famous for its activities focused on the protection of endangered species. San Diego's SeaWorld is another one of the city's must-see places.

San Diego: what to do?

Unfortunately, you will have to make a choice between all of San Diego's attractions. First of all, a visit to the San Diego Zoo is imperative. It is one of the largest animal parks in the world, with nearly 4,000 species spread out over a zone of 15 miČ. Among them you will see tigers, pandas, gorillas and many other endangered and disappearing species. There is a section reserved for children where they can pet some of the species.

SeaWorld is also one of the must-see places in the city. In addition to its attractions, this gigantic marine park proposes a show featuring 7 (!) killer whales, an underwater gallery where you can get a closer look at the sharks, and the inevitable tank where you can pet the dolphins. SeaWorld is also one of the only parks to have whales in captivity.

There are many military buildings around the port area of San Diego as, in fact, it is the country's largest Pacific base. If you are lucky, you might even see an aircraft-carrier present as part of an impressive show! If so, you will be able to take some wonderful pictures.

Lastly, surfers and other fans of breakers will be delighted by the Pacific waves and perfect beaches in San Diego! Consider bringing along your board.

At the very heart of San Diego, Balboa Park really should be near the top of your list of places to visit. There are about 15 museums and interesting sites to see, spread out over 1,200 acres of incredible greenery. The Museum of Man and its pottery, Maya decorations, and strange objects belonging to the tribes of the Southwestern United States before the arrival of the Spanish are worth a visit. Anthropologists will also be happy to see a replica of Lucy the Australopithecus' skull.
More original, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is dedicated to the miniature reproductions of railway networks. Fans of model-making or those with some nostalgia for the small trains of their childhood will be overjoyed by the quality of the 1/87 (or HO) scale reproductions!
Still in Balboa Park, you can visit the Spanish Village, built in the 1930s and now listed as a historical monument.
About 19 mi from the city, the seaside resort of La Jolla and its quiet charm will delight those seeking a calmer environment.

San Diego: what to visit?

The fauna and flora

Reminders

The San Diego Zoo is too big to be visited in a single day. Keep this in mind when planning your visit and try to allot it some extra time!
Prices in the United States are often indicated without taxes. Once you are presented with the final price by the cashier, you may be in for a bit of a shock?

To avoid

As is such a hit, the zoo gets full very quickly. No time for a lie-in, it is imperative to arrive as early as possible to avoid the crowds!
As everywhere in the United States, you are best off respecting the American mentality and not lecturing anyone, even as a joke! Smoking in the street is also frowned upon.

San Diego: what to eat?

Californian wine often keeps up its reputation.
Due to the proximity of Mexico, it is more than easy to find burritos and other extremely tasty Mexican specialities.
For those looking for something other than a hamburger, it is always possible to find a good French restaurant.
Fish holds an important place in Californian cuisine. Take advantage of the seafood! You will also notice the wealth of quality sushi served in good restaurants

San Diego: what to buy?

Apart from a few hundred photographs, you won't find any original souvenirs to bring back from San Diego. On the other hand, there is a strong chance that you will leave with a selection of San Diego T-shirts, a cuddly toy from SeaWorld, a Marines cap, a mug with a lion painted on it and maybe even a shirt from one of the city's teams. Or in short, a whole lot of junk that is as useless as it is essential!

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