San Diego, California 2020
San Diego is famous for its stunning beaches, sunny weather, thriving urban core, impressive hotels and vibrant nightlife. Being a travel destination for over 35 million tourists every year, it’s no wonder this famous city is ranked as the sixth most sought-after destination in the United States. And with this city being the second largest in California, it’s no surprise that whether you’re traveling with family or on your own, San Diego definitely has something for you.
Geography of San Diego
The city of San Diego is located in one of the most widespread regions of the United States, the golden state of California. Being the second largest city in the state after Los Angeles, the city currently has a population of over one million. The area of the county is approximately 4,300 square miles, with almost 70 miles of beaches along its coast, and it is the fifth largest county in the United States. Located 120 miles south of Los Angeles and just 20 miles north of Mexico, the city is known for its rich culture that shines through in its local cuisine. San Diego County has a mix of urban and rural communities. It is an almost perfect vacation destination where you can find sunny seaside beaches, forested mountains, sacred valleys and deserts.
The city is divided by the San Diego River into north and south regions. It stretches from the east side to the west side. You can find everything from skyscrapers to restaurants and hotels and more. Previously, San Diego’s center of attraction was Old Town. Today, the New Town, now called Downtown San Diego, has become the city’s hotspot.
When it comes to climate, San Diego has one of the best in the country. Its climate is often described as that of the warm Mediterranean with high temperatures. Summer in the region is generally hot and dry; winters are cool with very little snow and ice. There are over 52 communities in San Diego County, the most notable being Downtown San Diego, Harbor Island, La Jolla, Clairmont, South Park, and Southeast San Diego.
San Diego History
Rich in history, San Diego is known as the birthplace of California. Originally, San Diego was inhabited by the ancient Kumeyaay Indian tribe, often considered the original Californians. They had occupied the area for over 12,000 years and had settled decades before the arrival of the Spaniards, considered the first Europeans to colonize the area. Many important landmarks in the city were founded based on what the tribe had previously built. Some landmarks are Old Town San Diego, National Town, Chula Vista and many more.
The Spanish arrived in San Diego Bay in 1542 under the command of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. He first named the Bay of San Michel area after a saint whose feast was near. However, his discovery did not attract much attention as the Spanish did not immediately settle in the area. Instead, they chose to continue their journey along the California coast, simply naming newly discovered locations for later settlement. In 1602, another Spanish explorer and merchant named Sebastian Vizcaino returned to Saint Michel to settle there. Upon his arrival, he officially renamed the area, San Diego, today the official name of the city.
Economy of San Diego
Being the metropolitan location of the state of California, San Diego is a leading economic center in the region. In fact, San Diego is said to have topped the California and US averages for economic growth and unemployment for the past two years. The economic drivers of the city are divided into five different aspects, three being the key players. First, this buzzing city is a powerhouse when it comes to technology and innovation and derives much of its income from its profitable businesses. San Diego is a driving force in the life sciences, clean technology, communications and software industries.
Another key player in the city’s thriving economy is its military. San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military bases and personnel in the world! It is the home port for 60% of the ships of the US Pacific Fleet and the bases for approximately one-third of US Marine Corps combat military personnel.
Tourism contributes greatly to the economy. Due to the multitude of recreational activities, miles of sunny coastline, state-of-the-art hotels and unique cafes and restaurants, the city is one of the most targeted destinations in the world. With its award-winning airport, it’s no secret that tourists from all over the world have easy access to this popular destination. Other economic drivers include the regional economy (healthcare, retailers, and restaurants) and San Diego’s six major universities.
San Diego Demographics
San Diego is considered the eighth largest city in the United States and has a population of 1,419,516. The city also currently comprises 490,219 households. Because it is located on the border with Mexico, it is considered one of the most multicultural in the country. Nearly 41% of the population speaks a language other than English. 27% of the population was born outside the United States, nearly double the average for the United States. Due to its many top universities, almost 44% of its residents have a bachelor’s degree, which makes it highly educated. The national percentage is around 30.3%. It’s also slightly predominantly male, with a female population of precisely 49.8%.
Attractions in San Diego
Several landmarks and tourist attractions can be identified in San Diego. This city offers a lot, from striking sandy beaches to cool mountain breezes. Here is a list of the many places you can visit when visiting this iconic city.
The charm of coastal beaches is the main feature that attracts millions of tourists every year. There are several shores along the coastline, which are home to some of the most expansive beaches in California. The best include Oceanside, Carlsbad (the village by the sea), Encinitas (surf town), Solana Beach, Del Mar and La Jolla (“the jewel” in Spanish, it is often considered a cultural haven).
There are plenty of activities that can be done while visiting the forested area. Lions, Tigers & Bears is a nonprofit rescue center you can visit to learn about the city’s abandoned and endangered wildlife, like big cats and bears. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is for all nature lovers. You can find something for everyone with miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, meadows and streams. At the California Wolf Center, you can observe and learn about the endangered Mexican gray wolf. You can also do wine tasting at Menghini Winery and gold panning at Eagle and High Peak Gold Mines.
You can head into the hills and discover the village of La Mesa, an old-town-style antique treasure. Here you will find a variety of traditional style shops, vintage restaurants and plenty of tasty treats. There is also a nearby museum dedicated to Olaf Wieghorst, dubbed the Dean of Western Art, called the Olaf Wieghorst Western Heritage Center. The painter was an artist who had resided in the San Diego area for over 40 years and was well known to townspeople. Viejas Casino & Resort and Golden Acorn Casino and Travel Center are also available for those who want to try their luck at a game or two.
Finally, you can take a city tour and visit its many points of interest that are important among visitors, such as Waterfront Park, San Diego Maritime Museum, USS Midway, Seaport Village, Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park and many more.
10 fun facts about San Diego
- Presidential Bridges: Ronald Reagan was the first person to cross the Coronado Bridge when it opened in 1969.
- Christmas Policies: You can be fined if you leave your Christmas lights on after February 2!
- For the Love of Lawyers: San Diego produces the most avocados in the United States.
- Welcome children: The famous University of California, San Diego has the largest collection of Dr. Seuss books and manuscripts.
- Tony Hawk Day: Famous skateboarder, Tony Hawk, has a day named after him on May 29.
- No swimming in the lakes: It is forbidden to bathe in the artificial lakes of the city.
- Birthplace of the drive-in: The first drive-in fast food restaurant was opened in San Diego by the same man who founded Jack in the Box.
- The ship capital: The port of the city is home to many ships, including the oldest sailing ship in operation, the Star of India.
- thirsty town: The famous city uses about 168 million gallons of water a day, enough bottles of water to circle the earth once a quarter!
- Famous for fleas: San Diego has more chips than any other city in the United States.
With so much to do, it’s no wonder everyone wants to sample what this city has to offer! With beautiful, unique sandy beaches and plenty of natural scenery and wildlife, this city has enough attractions to keep you entertained throughout a trip. It truly is a city for everyone.