San Diego Attractions
As of December 31, 2012, there are 26 animal habitats, 10 rides, 20 shows, 2 play areas, 4 special limited-time events, and 11 “distinctive experiences” (including special experiences such as swimming with dolphins). Note that some of the shows may vary during dayparts or seasons, but are counted as separate shows.
In November 2015, Seaworld announced that it would be changing its signature killer whale shows, which historically have featured theatrical and acrobatic performances, by making them more of a nature show that concentrates on natural whale behavior. The new orca presentation is scheduled to be released in 2017.
In 2017, the park will add five new attractions, including the Ocean Explorer, a dark ride that takes you through the sea while inside a submarine. There will also be a Zierer Waveswinger themed to a jellyfish, and three other family friendly attractions.
The parks are marketed to families with younger children (11 and under), and although the attractions include a number of roller coasters, the roller coasters are not as numerous or as extreme as those in other parks, and there is a greater emphasis on rides suitable for younger children.
Legoland parks are split into various areas, which are consistent among the chain’s parks. For example, all six of the parks include a Lego miniland, a model village which includes models of landmarks and scenes from around the world, made from millions of genuine Lego bricks.
Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) urban cultural park in San Diego, California, United States. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park’s site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. Balboa Park is managed and maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of San Diego.
Named for the Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the park hosted the 1915–16 Panama–California Exposition and 1935–36 California Pacific International Exposition, both of which left architectural landmarks. The park and its historic Exposition buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Landmark District in 1977, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This one probably doesn’t need mention. But there are a lot more beaches with different geographies than the Beach near the condo in PB. If you have pets, there are several dog beaches… Ocean Beach Dog Beach, Del Mar Dog Beach, and Coronado are the 3 main dog beaches in San Diego County. If you’re looking for something more scenic than the flat tourist-laden beach in PB, there are multiple options.
Past Dog Beach and the public beach in Ocean Beach, you will find Sunset Cliffs, which is actually considered part of Point Loma. This is a very scenic area in San Diego. And there are actually some sandy beaches along Sunset Cliffs, but it usually requires a strenuous hike down steep rocky paths. The area is popular for cliff diving also, but beware… it’s not only dangerous but also illegal.
WindnSea is a beach between Pacific Beach and La Jolla where you’ll see a more natural coastline with less beach area and more natural landscape like giant rocks emerging slightly from the sand. This is where the famous ‘surf shack’ is you might have seen in San Diego beach pictures.
Other destinations might include The Children’s Pool (sometimes called ‘seal beach’) in La Jolla. It is less of a beach and more of a place to check out large packs of seals and a view of the La Jolla coastline. The north end of Black’s Beach in La Jolla is a nude beach if you’re into that kind of thing.
The Gaslamp Quarter is a district of San Diego, California. It is a 16½ block historical neighborhood in Downtown San Diego, and is the site of several entertainment and night life venues, as well as scheduled events and festivals, including Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, Street Scene Music Festival, Taste of Gaslamp and ShamROCK, a St. Patrick’s Day event. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres is located one block away in downtown San Diego’s East Village.
The area is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places as Gaslamp Quarter Historic District. Its main period of development began in 1867, when Alonzo Horton bought the land in hopes of creating a new city center closer to the bay, and chose 5th Avenue as its main street. After a period of urban decay, the neighborhood underwent urban renewal in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Gaslamp Quarter extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue, covering 16½ blocks. It includes 94 historic buildings, most of which were constructed in the Victorian Era, and are still in use with active tenants including restaurants, shops and nightclubs.
Old Town San Diego
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, located in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego, California, is a state protected historical park in San Diego. It commemorates the early days of the town of San Diego and includes many historic buildings from the period 1820 to 1870. The park was established in 1968. In 2005 and 2006, California State Parks listed Old Town San Diego as the most visited state park in California.
Five original adobes are part of the complex, which includes shops, restaurants and museums. Other historic buildings include a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, San Diego’s first newspaper office, a cigar and pipe store, houses and gardens, and a stable with a carriage collection. There are also stores, with local artisans demonstrating their craft. There is no charge to enter the state park or any of its museums.
Adjacent to the state park is Heritage County Park, run by San Diego County. It houses seven buildings from the 1880s and 1890s which have been moved there from elsewhere in the city. Also nearby is the Mormon Battalion Monument and Visitor Center. The city-owned Presidio Park, site of the original Presidio of San Diego, is on the adjacent hill.
The Whaley House is an 1857 Greek Revival style residence, a California Historical Landmark, and museum located in Old Town, San Diego, California. It is currently maintained by Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO). In the 1960s, the Whaley House was designated as an official haunted house by the United States Commerce Department and is considered to be one of the most haunted houses in America.
Major League Sports
Chargers – Qualcomm
The San Diego Chargers are a professional American football team based in San Diego, California. The Chargers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) West division. The club began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL), and spent its first season in Los Angeles, before moving to San Diego from the 1961 season to the present. The Chargers joined the NFL as result of the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, and play their home games at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers had been the only NFL team based in Southern California since the Raiders and Rams moved out of Los Angeles in 1994. On January 12, 2016, the Rams were approved by the NFL to relocate back to Los Angeles for the 2016 NFL season, and the Chargers were given a one-year option to join the Rams in the Los Angeles area. Team chairman and CEO Dean Spanos, however, announced on January 29, 2016, that the Chargers would remain in San Diego for the 2016 season.
Will they stay in 2017? It doesn’t look good, so if you have a chance to see them in San Diego, it might be your last.
Padres – Petco Park
The San Diego Padres are an American professional baseball franchise based in San Diego, California. The Padres are a member of the West division of the National League (NL) in Major League Baseball (MLB), along with the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won the NL pennant twice: in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both times. As of 2015, they have had 14 winning seasons in franchise history. The Padres and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are the only Major League Baseball teams in California to originate from California; the Athletics are originally from Philadelphia (and moved to the state from Kansas City), and the Dodgers and Giants are originally from Brooklyn and New York City respectively.
Petco Park is not just for Padres games but also for shows. The stadium’s first concert came on November 11, 2005, when it hosted The Rolling Stones. On November 4, 2008, Madonna performed her Sticky and Sweet Tour at Petco Park. This marked the first time in 23 years that Madonna brought a tour to San Diego since The Virgin Tour in 1985. 35,743 fans were present. Season 11 auditions for the singing reality-television program American Idol were held at Petco Park on Friday, July 8, 2011. American Idol auditions at Petco Park, July 8, 2011. On October 28, 2011, Swedish DJ, remixer, and record producer Avicii and Canadian progressive house and electro house producer Deadmau5 played at Petco Park. In 2011, the Food Network filmed a “Chairman’s Challenge” at Petco Park that was to air as part of Season 4, episode 2 of The Next Iron Chef. On September 28, 2014, Paul McCartney played before a sell-out crowd of over 45,000 fans during his Out There Tour. This marked his first official appearance in San Diego since performing with Wings at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1976. On May 24, 2015, the Rolling Stones kicked off their Zip Code Tour at Petco Park.
Petco Park differentiates itself from many other Major League ballparks built in the same era by eschewing “retro”-style red brick and green seats. The stadium is clad in Indian sandstone and stucco; its exposed steel is painted white and the 40,162 fixed seats are dark blue. The design is meant to evoke the sandy color of San Diego cliffs and beaches, the blue of the ocean, and the white sails of boats on the nearby bay.
Architects Populous (née HOK Sport) and Antoine Predock’s design pulled restaurants, administrative offices and other amenities away from the seating bowl itself into other buildings surrounding the bowl. As a result, the ballpark’s concourses are open not only to the playing field but also to the surrounding city. Unlike many outdoor ballparks, in which the batter faces northeast, at Petco the batter faces due north, and fans in the grandstands are treated to a view of San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline beyond the left field seats, as well as a view of Balboa Park, which contains the San Diego Zoo, beyond center field. The San Diego Union-Tribune honored the ballpark in 2006 with an Orchid award for its design.
San Diego Convention Center
Notable events hosted at the convention center include the annual Comic-Con International convention and the Society for Neuroscience. Television game show Wheel of Fortune did live tapings of shows at the Convention Center featuring contestants from the San Diego area that aired nationally in 1997, 2003, and 2007. It hosted the 1996 Republican National Convention, which nominated Bob Dole and Jack Kemp for President and Vice President of the United States, respectively. It was also the venue for the 2007 California Democratic Party Convention.
A comic book convention or comic-con is an event with a primary focus on comic books and comic book culture, in which comic book fans gather to meet creators, experts, and each other. Commonly, comic conventions are multi-day events hosted at convention centers, hotels, or college campuses. They feature a wide variety of activities and panels, with a larger number of attendees participating in cosplay than most other types of fan conventions. Comic book conventions are also used as a vehicle for industry, in which publishers, distributors, and retailers represent their comic-related releases. Comic book conventions may be considered derivatives of science-fiction conventions, which began in the late 1930s.
San Diego Comic-Con International, a multigenre entertainment and comic convention held annually in San Diego since 1970, is the standard bearer for U.S. comic-cons. According to Forbes, the convention is the “largest convention of its kind in the world;” and is also the largest convention held in San Diego.
Del Mar Fairgrounds
Del Mar racetrack is an American Thoroughbred horse racing track at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, California, 20 mi (32 km) north of San Diego. It is the second largest horse-racing venue in the western United States, which has a capacity of 44,000. Owned by the State of California and leased by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, it is known for the slogans: “Where The Turf Meets The Surf” as well as “Cool as Ever.” It was built by a partnership including Bing Crosby, actors Pat O’Brien, Gary Cooper, Joe E. Brown, Charles S. Howard and Oliver Hardy.
San Diego County Fair
The San Diego County Fair (formerly called the Del Mar Fair) is a county fair held every summer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California. The fair is a major draw for San Diego County residents; in recent years, attendance figures have risen above a million annually, reaching a record attendance of 1,517,508 in 2012. The San Diego County fair only opens in early summer. Again in 2012, under the theme “Out of this world,” The San Diego County fair broke another record attendance with 1,517,508 guests.
Point Loma & Sportfishing
Point Loma is historically important as the landing place of the first European expedition to come ashore in present-day California. The peninsula has been described as “where California began”. Today, Point Loma houses two major military bases, a national cemetery, a national monument, and a university, in addition to residential and commercial areas.
Marine activities are mostly located on the Bay (eastern) side of the peninsula, where there are three yacht clubs, including the San Diego Yacht Club, which was home to the America’s Cup from 1988 to 1995. There are half a dozen small-boat marinas on the Bay side of Point Loma. There is also a commercial dock which services sport fishing cruises as well as seasonal whale watching expeditions. Point Loma hosts the biggest sport fishing fleet in Southern California. The Bay side hosts numerous other businesses related to yachting and fishing, such as marine supply stores, yacht brokerages, boat repair yards, and hotels and motels catering to fishing enthusiasts. Some restaurants and hotels have docks for customers who arrive by boat.
About 300,000 visitors cross by foot or car from the San Ysidro point of entry in the United States every day. To lessen the strain on the border crossing, the Otay Mesa Crossing has been boosted to support more traffic and 6-lane highway 905 built in 2012, as well as rapid bus transit coming in the future. Restaurants and taco stands, pharmacies, bars and dance clubs, and shops and stalls selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are part of the draw for the city’s tourists, many located within walking distance of the border. The city’s tourist centers include Downtown Tijuana including the nightlife hot spots around La Sexta, Avenida Revolucion, souvenir shopping at the Mercado de Artesanías and Plaza Viva Tijuana, Tijuana’s Cultural Center (CECUT) and neighboring Plaza Río Tijuana shopping center, and the city’s best known vices, in the form of its legal Red Light District and gambling (Agua Caliente). Mexico’s drinking age of 18 (vs. 21 in the United States) makes it a common weekend destination for many high school and college aged Southern Californians who tend to stay on Avenida Revolución. Tijuana is also home to several pharmacies marketed toward visitors from the United States, which sell some medicines without prescriptions and at much lower costs than in the US. Many medications still require a Mexican doctor’s prescriptions, available from adjacent doctors’ offices. Businesses such as auto detailing, medical services, dentistry and plastic surgery are heavily marketed and are usually cheaper than in the U.S.
Downtown San Diego, also referred to as Center City, is the city center of San Diego, California, the eighth largest city in the United States. There are many tourist attractions in the downtown area. The Columbia (waterfront) neighborhood of downtown hosts the Midway aircraft carrier museum ship, as well as the eight ships and boats of the San Diego Maritime Museum, headlined by the Star of India. The San Diego Convention Center and Petco Park are located downtown. The Horton Plaza and Seaport Village shopping and dining complexes attract visitors as well as local residents. More than 200 cruise ships a year call at the cruise ship terminal. A passenger ferry connects downtown San Diego with Coronado, and San Diego Bay harbor tours depart from Harbor Drive.
Downtown events include the Big Bay Balloon Parade, held in conjunction with the Holiday Bowl; the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade and Festival; the Parade of Lights featuring holiday-decorated boats on the Bay; and the San Diego Street Scene music festival.