San Diego Overview
Even before the Spanish arrived in 1542 and named the city San Miguel, the area had a long history of settlement under the native Kumeyaay people. In 1602 it was renamed for the Spanish saint Didacus or San Diego. Today, this is a city with a warm sunny welcome that reflects its climate, making it a perfect holiday destination. With several village-like districts giving it a totally laid-back vibe it's hard to imagine it's the eighth-largest city in the States. Its long history provides plenty of attractions, while the beautiful coastline invites you to step away from the city bustle occasionally. And in the evenings, culture, nightlife and food all beckon.
Things to Do
With San Diego separating seamlessly into several districts, it's easy to plan your days. Strolling the streets of the Old Town, family fun at Legoland, museum and gallery tours or swimming, water sports, hiking and cycling all wait for you in this charming city. Or, be dared to visit a haunted house!
Watch out for the ghosts
Whaley House Museum is an important historical landmark built in 1857. Before becoming a museum, it was a house, a store, a courthouse and a theatre. It was built over a graveyard and is one of only two premises in California officially recognised by the US Commerce Department as haunted!
An urban park to savour
It's easy to while away a whole day in the world's second largest urban park Balboa Park. Home to the city's famous zoo as well as an eclectic mix of museums and botanical gardens the park also lies next to the hip and happening Hillcrest neighbourhood.
A day of beach and culture
When it's time for some sun and surf, head to La Jolla Beach located on some of California's most beautiful coastline. You'll also find the Birch Aquarium and the city's Museum of Contemporary Art here.
Calendar of Events
Plan your visit to San Diego to coincide with one of the many festivals and special events that punctuate its calendar. Concerts and fairs along with marathons and comic festivals are just some of the signature events the city hosts.
The CRSSD Festival. This two-day fest of electronic music takes place at the city's Waterfront Park in September. Dozens of performers entertain you while you sample local beer and tuck into food from pop-up restaurants.
The San Diego County Fair. Held in July, this annual county fair is the largest in the USA and takes place on the historic Del Mar Fairgrounds. It mixes a traditional farming show with all the fun of the fair along with music, food and exhibitions of all sorts.
Comic-Con International: This also takes place in July but offers something a little out of the ordinary with its celebration of comics and pop culture. Artists and fans of comic books congregate to meet among all sorts of memorabilia.