San Diego is located on the southern coast of California
and has an urban population of about 3 million. The area was claimed
by Juan Cabrillo for Spain in 1542, but the city wasn't founded until 1769
with the establishment of the Presidio and the San Diego mission. In
1850 California was ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American
War. Today San Diego is a major center for the US Navy, which is its
largest employer. The city is also known for scientific
The year round warm, dry climate makes San Diego a popular
tourist destination at any time of year. Temperatures are cooler in
winter by only about 9 degrees F (5 C) and summer temperatures are
pleasant. From November to February it is possible to get monthly
rainfall of 2 inches (50 mm), but most days continue to be sunny and dry
throughout the winter.
San Diego International Airport (SAN) is centrally located only a few
minutes from downtown. A surprisingly few number of hotels offer airport shuttle
service as the distance from the airport is very short and the city
has an abundance of cabs. The transportation system doesn't link
well with the airport, as the Green Line Trolley bypasses the airport
on its north side.
The Cruise Ship Terminal is less than 10
minutes from the airport. The Amtrak station is at Santa Fe Depot,
which is directly across the street from the Cruise Ship Terminal.
It services the city MTS
transit system as well.
For tourists, the MTS
is an excellent option for reaching various attractions from the hotels
along the harbor. MTS operates the bus system and a trolley system.
The "trolley" is poorly named, as this is a modern and
efficient commuter rail system. It has Green, Blue and Orange
Lines all intersecting downtown at Santa Fe Depot
and also at 12th and Imperial. The trolley color for all
three lines is Red, which is somewhat confusing. Day passes are very reasonably
priced and can be purchased from automated ticket booths at each
station. Take the Green line to Old Town San Diego, Little
Italy, Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter and Petco Park. The
Orange Line travels through the downtown core, one block north of Horton Plaza.
Green line trolley is actually red, Seaport Village
the bus system Points
of Interest for connections from the trolley. An inexpensive day
pass covers the trolley and the bus system. The central hub for buses
West Broadway between Front and Union in the downtown area. You can
either walk from the harbor to the downtown in about 20 minutes or
take a combination of short rides on the Green and Orange Lines to get
there. Take the
#7 from downtown to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.
Old Town San Diego is also an important transportation
hub, as the Green Line connects with numerous buses right across the
street from the beginning of the Old Town State Historic Park. To reach
Pacific Beach from downtown, take the Green Line trolley to Old Town San
Diego and then the #8. For SeaWorld take the #9 instead of the
#8 at Old Town.
Town Trolley Tour is an easy way to visit many San Diego
attractions. It's a hop- on hop-off. Don't confuse this
green and orange "trolley bus" with the red MTS
"trolley train" that operates Green, Orange and Blue lines.
Things to see and do in San Diego:
- the largest urban cultural park in the United States, with over
1,000 acres. It
includes the San Diego Zoo,
15 museums, gardens,
performing arts, a carousel, gigantic outdoor pipe organ, miniature railroad, visitor
restaurants and recreation facilities. The San Diego Zoo offers
a Skyfari gondola ride over the zoo, a 35 minute guided bus tour and a
hop-on- hop-off express. They also have a number of 4D theatres
in the park.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
- located in the Old Town of San Diego, this California
historical landmark is dedicated to the early history of San
Diego. It includes restored buildings converted to shops, living history
demonstrations and free tours. There is no admission to the
site. The ambience
of Old Town continues with the shops and restaurants
adjoining the park. Enjoy a yard of beer at O'Hungry's.
Walk up the hillside to Presidio Park and the Serra Museum. Father Junipero Serra founded the first of
22 missions here. The mission was later moved a few miles
away. Two blocks east of the Old Town San Diego State
Historic Park is Heritage Park, dedicated to preserving Victorian
The San Diego Harbor is a favorite
destination. The Santa Fe depot, across from the Cruise Ship Terminal,
connects with Amtrak and the city transit system. Beside the cruise terminal to the north is the Maritime
Museum of San Diego. It offers tours of the Star of India,
the HMS Surprise and several other ships and submarines.
Beside the cruise terminal to the south is the Broadway Pier. San
Diego Harbor Excursion offers a number of options from the
Broadway Pier. They also operate under the name Flagship. Take a
one hour harbor cruise, a two hour harbor cruise or a dinner
cruise. Try their Patriot
Jetboat ride. They also operate the Coronado Island Ferry
here. Tickets are sold at the waterfront. Book online directly with San
Diego Harbor Excursion or some excursions can be booked through Viator.
The next pier south of the Broadway Pier is home to the retired aircraft carrier USS
Midway, where you can tour the ship and even sit inside some of
the fighter jets on the flight deck. Alongside the Midway on
its south side is the Unconditional Surrender Statue and the National
Salute to Bob Hope and the Military. From there it's about a 5
minute walk along the waterfront to Seaport
Village for dining and shopping. Enjoy al fresco
dining on the waterfront promenade at the Edgewater
Grill. Next stroll the
Embarcadero and then continue south along the waterfront past the
yachts, the Grand Manchester Hyatt, the Marriott, the San Diego
Convention Center and the Hilton. The Coronado Island Ferry has
a landing at the Convention Center, as an alternate to travelling to
Coronado Island from the Broadway Pier.
Hotel Del Coronado
Visit Coronado Island - actually it's the City
of Coronado on a point of land
accessible by a short ferry ride or a few minutes by car over the
impressive Coronado Bridge. The ferry ride to Coronado Island
Ferry Landing is inexpensive and offers the option of connecting to
the Broadway Pier or the Convention Center. You can also reach the island on the Old
Town Trolley Tour. The marketplace at the ferry landing is a
popular spot. Coronado Island includes the well
Coronado Beach and Silver Strand State Beach.
Gaslamp Quarter - dining,
shopping and historic buildings in the downtown. Horton Plaza is
the main shopping mall downtown. Watch the San
Diego Padres play at Petco
Park. The Gaslamp Quarter is the center of San Diego night
life. Use the Green Line trolley to reach the Gaslamp Quarter.
Little Italy - the best street side Italian
dining and shopping in San Diego, plus a weekly farmers market.
The Green Line trolley stops at Little Italy and it's a two block walk
from the station. Ironically, Little Italy is located on
- well known for its killer whale performances and controversy over
captivity of these animals. Shamu is their mascot killer whale.
From the harbor, take the Green Line trolley to Old Town and transfer
to the #9 bus.
Visit a beach - Coronado Beach, Mission / Pacific
Beach, Ocean Beach or Coronado Beach.
Park - beachfront amusement park and entertainment center. Located at Mission Beach and not to be confused with the famous horse racing venue in New
Point Loma Lighthouse and the Cabrillo National Monument
dedicated to Juan
Cabrillo, who claimed the area for Spain in 1542. Enjoy views of
the San Diego skyline and scan the sea for migrating whales.