San Diego, California: Culture, Shopping and Attractions
The birthplace of California and its second largest city, San Diego, lies 120 miles south of Los Angeles. Bordered by 70 miles of pretty Pacific Ocean coastline to the west, and Mexico to the south, it holds a host of attractions to explore.
Shopping and Dining in the Gaslamp Quarter
My first stop in San Diego was one of the city’s most vibrant entertainment districts. The Gaslamp Quarter is 16 square blocks of Victorian buildings, surrounded by skyscrapers housing over 100 of the best restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and boutiques in the city. Whether you seek karaoke, country, upscale jazz, or even tequila, there is a bar for you here. The restaurants serve a multitude of ethnic options and the whole area is always a lively place to people watch.
Stepping Back in Time in Old Town
To discover more about San Diego’s past, take a visit to vibrant and colourful Old Town, where the state’s first Europeans settled. You can find some of the best restaurants in the city here (Old Town is especially known for great Mexican food), as well as galleries, theatres and museums. See everything from restored Victorian homes and 16th through 18th century Spanish furniture. You will also find old-fashioned candy shops, a root beer shop (where you can try the very popular American fizzy drink), and all types of brightly coloured clothing and souvenirs.
San Diego’s locals maintain a strong passion for beer and craft brewing, with more than 80 breweries in the city creating their own flavours and tastes. The city was recently recognized by Men’s Journal as America’s ‘Top Beer Town.’ One of the favourites is Ballast Point. Their tasting room is open every day of the week, so go and taste their various award-winning brews, buy your own hops supplies and enjoy chatting with their friendly staff.
Fascinating Culture and Architecture at Balboa Park
Just a few minutes from downtown, you will find beautiful Balboa Park, which is ranked among the best parks in the world. This 1,200-acre urban cultural park is home to 15 museums, several performing arts venues and much more. Whether your interests lie in space, art, history, or even historic cars and motorcycles, Balboa Park has a museum for you. This lovely area is well cared for, so even just taking a peaceful stroll around the landscaped gardens or sitting by one of the fountains reading a book makes for a fun day out.
Family Focused Attractions
Balboa Park is also home to an absolute must-see, the San Diego Zoo. This zoo pioneered the concept of open-air, cage-free exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. The zoo holds the largest colony of koalas outside Australia, along with elephants, pandas, lions and tigers. Don’t miss soaring high above the city and animals in the Sky Ride.
Another brilliant day out for the family is the popular SeaWorld San Diego, an animal theme park where you can see many species of sea life. Take in a whale or dolphin show, enjoy thrilling rides and experience interactive animal programs. It’s the perfect way to cap off your fun-filled San Diego holiday!
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