San Diego

Last Updated: 16th Feb 2011

San Diego is a recreational paradise with it’s miles of sandy beaches and is also considered as the birthplace of California.

San Diego was claimed by the Spanish in 1542 and the first of California’s 21 missions were founded here by Father Junipero Serra in 1769. Today San Diego is home to the largest naval air station on the west coast and it’s bay is the home port of over a third of the entire US Pacific fleet as well as being a training ground for the elite S.E.A.L. division.

The southern most city of California has a distinctively Mexican flavor because of it’s proximity to Mexico’s border city of Tijuana. Spreading from the coast the desert, the scenery includes cliffs, hills mesas, canyons and valleys. The city is home to roughly 3 million Californians and is built on a natural harbor that has been key to the city’s development.

Local Foods

by – Angie, Tour Manager, USA

San Diego, with its proximity to the border, has had plenty of Mexican influence.

A favorite Contiki restaurant is Tio Carlos, which is conveniently located one block from the San Diego hotel! They make a DELICIOUS chile relleno (stuffed pepper), and have a huge selection which includes several American options as well. Afterwards, it is a short walk to Kristy’s, which is slightly divey, but has karaoke and pool.

My favorite neighborhood in San Diego is the Gas Lamp Quarter. There are dining options in all flavours here – Japanese, Italian, Polish, and of course the American staples of Hard Rock Cafe and Hooters for buffalo wings.

At night, a popular Gas Lamp hot spot is Moose and McGillicuddy’s. They only allow over-21ers, and inside is a little bit of everything: dance to a mix of Top 40 and blasts from your past – either on a dance floor or on a stage, drink $1-$2 drink specials, and there are even booths to sit in if dancing is not your thing. Moose & McGillicuddy’s has a $10 cover charge. Wandering the Gas Lamp will also lead to several low-key pubs.

san diego zoo sign

Nature and the Outdoors

by – davidg, Tour Manager, North America

San Diego has several natural scenery highlights that are worth checking out. First, try heading to the beach. Even if you live near beaches back home, you must go experience the beaches that influence the culture and lifestyle of Southern California so greatly. In addition, go check out the harbour. The waterfront area of the harbour is always bustling with action; the peninsula of Point Loma makes for a beautiful photo as a back drop to the harbour.

Sights and Attractions

Two of the most popular and most famous attractions not only in San Diego, but the Untied States are the San Diego Zoo and the SeaWorld.