Discover San Diego: From Beaches to Nightlife
Travelers who want a beach vacation while still enjoying everything a big city has to offer should consider taking a trip to San Diego. California’s second-largest city has a mild climate year-round and a beautiful location on the Pacific Ocean.
With 70 miles of coastline, San Diego is a perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities, from hiking and bicycling to swimming, surfing, sailing and sunbathing. The city has more than a dozen beaches, each with its own personality. Pacific Beach is a popular spot for nightlife, with restaurants, bars and cafes lining the boardwalk. On Coronado Beach, deposits of the mineral mica give the sand a silvery sheen, and the area is very flat, making it great for walking. La Jolla Shores is one of the best beaches for surfing and paddle boarding.
When you’re ready for a break from the beach, the rest of San Diego will be waiting for you.
Sprawling Balboa Park, a National Historic Landmark, encompasses 1,200 acres of gardens, pathways and an eclectic group of museums, including ones dedicated to fine art, photography, aviation, natural history, automobiles and model railroads. The park is also home to the San Diego Zoo, one of the first to show animals in their natural settings. You’ll find more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals, including three giant pandas.
For a look at the heart of historic San Diego, head to downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, with buildings dating from the mid-19th century. Spread over 16 blocks, it’s the city’s premier shopping and entertainment district, with more than 200 boutiques and galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. On Sundays, visitors can browse for local handicrafts at the Artisan Market. Old Town San Diego is another place to soak up some history while enjoying dining and shopping. You’ll find restored and reconstructed houses that offer a glimpse into San Diego’s past, including the Adobe Casa de Estudillo, built for a Spanish aristocrat, and the reportedly haunted Whaley House.
As homeport of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, San Diego has numerous attractions for military history buffs. The USS Midway, the longest-serving American aircraft carrier of the 20th century, is berthed at Navy Pier, where it’s been turned into a museum. You can tour the ship and view more than 30 restored vintage aircraft. The Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show is the nation’s largest military air show. This year, it takes place Sept. 28-30, and scheduled participants include the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. And Fleet Week, from Oct. 28-30, features events throughout the city.
With some of the beach crowds diminished and a full calendar of special events, fall is a good time to visit San Diego. Other events include the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, which takes place Oct. 6-7 just steps from the ocean, with 150 artists, food, wine, and craft beer and music. Fashion Week San Diego brings top designers to the city from Oct. 12-14.
For help planning a trip to San Diego, contact your travel agent.