San Diego is California's top beach destination, thanks to miles of manmade beaches and bays that were created simply for man's pleasure.
From the long arm that spreads down the coast to Tijuana, Mexico and includes Coronado Island and Imperial Beach, to the city's favorite beach destinations such as Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and La Jolla, this is a city that loves the ocean, the beach and nearly every place you stay or everything you do as a visitor or local is near the ocean or in it.
San Diego is one of California's oldest cities, and a monument on Point Loma pays tribute to the explorers credited with finding San Diego and spreading the word, Juan Cabrillo. The national monument at an overlook allows visitors to see the entire city and miles beyond...it's a great photo opportunity and best way to get an overview of all the places you are going to or where you have been. Next to the Cabrillo Monument is the Cabrillo Lighthouse and interpretive center, open to the public for touring.
For vacations in San Diego, you quickly learn that seniors love to retire here, but it is actually a kids vacation paradise that draws tourists. Four theme parks focus on sea life and animals of the world--San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, SeaWorld San Diego, and Legoland California's new Aquarium all pay tribute to nature. All are worth a visit during a trip to San Diego. The zoo contains some of the world's finest diplomats and favorite creatures to visit and see--the Giant pandas from China.
In addition to the theme parks, the shining glory of the city for anyone who loves art, history, trains, sports, airflight, geology and natural history is Balboa Park with around 14 world class museums all in one park, and all accessed in an easy walk. You can purchase the Balboa Park Pass to see quite a few, or take in an a la carte approach and stroll the grounds, just visiting one or two instead on a pay-as-go. Several museums offer free admission days. Inside the park is the Tea Pavilion with a Japanese garden where you can relax, or at The Prado at Balboa Park you might want to enjoy a delicious lunch in a lush setting. There are around a dozen places to eat inside the park. Admission to Balboa Park itself is free, as is the Botanical Building and most of the gardens. If you hear a glorious sound, head for the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion in the park where free concerts are sometimes featured. balboapark.org
Balboa Park Visitors Center i Museums Centro Cultural de la Raza 30 Marston House and Gardens 29 Mingei International Museum 8 Museum of Photographic Arts 14 Museum of San Diego History 14 Reuben H. Fleet Science Center 11 San Diego Air & Space Museum 25 San Diego Automotive Museum 24 San Diego Hall of Champions 32 Sports Museum San Diego Model Railroad Museum 14 San Diego Museum of Art 10 San Diego Museum of Man 7 San Diego Natural History Museum 16 SDAI Museum of the Living Artist 8 Timken Museum of Art 12 Veterans Museum & Memorial Center 39 WorldBeat Center 31 Performing Arts Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater 23 The Old Globe 6 San Diego Civic Youth Ballet 15 San Diego Junior Theatre 15 San Diego Youth Symphony 15 Spreckels Organ Pavilion 18 Starlight Bowl 26 Attractions Carousel 2 House of Hospitality i House of Pacific Relations/Cottages 21 Miniature Railroad 1 San Diego Zoo 5 Spanish Village Art Center 3 United Nations Building 20 Gardens/Horticulture Alcazar Garden 33 Botanical Building 17 Casa del Rey Moro Garden 35 Desert Garden 37 Inez Grant Parker Memorial 38 Rose Garden Japanese Friendship Garden 28 Lily Pond 9 Moreton Bay Fig Tree 4 Old Cactus Garden 40 Palm Canyon 34 San Diego Botanical Foundation 15 San Diego Floral Association 15 Veterans Memorial Garden 41 Zoro Garden 36 Restaurants The Prado Restaurant i Buildings Balboa Park Club 22 Casa del Prado 15 Hall of Nations 19 Municipal Gym 27 E VISITORS CENTER FOOD RESTROOMS PARKING ATM TRAM STOP GARDEN MTS BUS STOP TAXI STAND E-KIOSK N CENTRAL MESA