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San Diego

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San Diego

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San Diego is a beautiful city in San Diego County in Southern California. The San Diego area is an incredible place to visit almost any time of the year. With temperatures near the ocean of around 75 degrees most of the time, the climate is ideal. The climate of Southern California is rather complex though, and temperatures change rapidly as one travels from the coast eastward. In the summer during the day, the temperature might increase as much as one degree F, for each mile going east. In the winter, especially at night, the east side is usually a little cooler. You should have a light jacket available after dark in the beach area year round. Don't expect warm ocean water in the wintertime. San Diego isn't Florida or Hawaii. Fortunately, it also means there are no hurricanes or typhoons.

There are innumerable restaurants to choose from and, of course, seafood is a specialty. One such place is Rubio's Fish Tacos (fast food).



San Diego was established in 1775 as the first Spanish mission in California.

Get in

By plane

San Diego International Airport (airport code: SAN) is about 10 minutes out of downtown San Diego. The descent into the airport, passing hair-raisingly close to downtown buildings, can be a bit alarming for first-time visitors. It's served by Southwest Airlines and most other major West Coast carriers.

There are a number of airport shuttle companies that handle transportation to and from the airport. They run about $15 per person. Metro bus #992 ("the Flyer", $2.25) travels the 10 minutes to downtown San Diego, and connects to the Coaster train, the Trolley, and the Amtrak station.

By train

San Diego's Amtrak station is at 1050 Kettner Blvd. It is within walking distance of downtown hotels and situated next to San Diego Bay. Shuttles offer service between the train depot and San Diego International Airport. Rail services include 'The Coaster' which is a daily commuter between Southern Los Angeles and San Diego.

Trolley service is limited to certain sections of San Diego. Major stops include downtown, El Cajon, Santee, Mission Valley, Qualcomm Stadium and San Ysidro, the border crossing between the US and Mexico.

By car

San Diego is easily accessible by car using any one of the three major interstate roadways, the I-5, the I-8 or the I-15.

  • I-5 gives access from San Ysidro, the US-Mexico border crossing, and the southern most part of San Diego, and heads north through California, Oregon and Washington terminating in Blaine, Washington at the US-Canadian border crossing.
  • I-8 runs west and east through Southern California into Arizona where it connects with the I-10.
  • I-15 runs north-south, with San Diego being the farthest south stop, and travelling through Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idahp and Montana.

Additionally there are numerous other freeways and highways criss-crossing the county making access to anywhere in San Diego quick and easy!

By bus

Greyhound has a station in downtown San Diego, on Broadway St. There are other charter buses, mainly operating Between Los Angeles and Mexico.

By boat

Current cruise services only offer excursions departing from San Diego to Baja Mexico and to Los Angeles. These include dinner cruises, three-day gambling cruises and 'party excursions' to the Mexican coastal ports of Baja.

Get around

By bus

San Diego does offer bus service to almost all parts of the county. If you will be mainly in the areas around downtown, the bus will will be quite suitable. Average cost is $2.00. Slightly less for shorter trips, and a bit more for express buses. All downtown buses intersect with Broadway St. at some point. During the day all kinds of people will be taking the bus. At nights some people might feel a little less comfortable, but generally not unsafe on the main parts of downtown. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has offices in downtown, on Broadway St.

By trolley (tram)

San Diego offers a trolley service, mainly for tourists and people living in the southern and eastern parts of the city that need to get to downtown areas. There are three trolley lines: blue, green, and orange. Blue operates from The US-Mexico border to Old Town, with service to Qualcomm Stadium during rush hour, where the San Diego Chargers play. The green line travels from Old Town past SDSU to Santee. The green line will also take you to popular shopping destinations in the Mission Valley area. The Orange line connects the eastern cities of El Cajon and La Mesa with Downtown. Generally not as usual for tourists except for getting around parts of downtown. Bus and trolley transfers are interchangeable. There's no formal system to check if you've purchased a ticket, but there are trolley guards that may come around and ask to see your ticket. The fine is normally around $150 for not having a ticket, although sometimes (not recommended) you can talk them into simply letting you get off at the next stop and purchase a ticket. A $5 all day pass is available, as are 2 and 3 day passes, valid on both bus and trolley.


  • San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive (Park Blvd. exit from interstate highway 5), 619-234-3153. 9AM-4PM every day. Possibly the premier zoo in North America, the San Diego Zoo encompasses over 100 acres of displays and habitats. Animal shows run constantly, and there's creatures here that aren't visible in any other zoo on the planet. Definitely worth a visit, but you need a full day to really do it justice. $19.50 (general admission; some shows and attractions extra).
  • Wild Animal Park
  • SeaWorld. Meet Shamu and almost get drowned in the Soak Zone. Around $45 for one entry.
  • Balboa Park.
  • Harbor seals, Children's Cove, La Jolla. A small beach built for children, now filled each day with furry lumps of blubber.
  • Birch Aquarium, La Jolla, (at Scripps Institution of Oceanography).
  • Belmont Park.


San Diego might not have a basketball team but it definitely has all the other major sports covered.


  • San Diego Chargers, San Diego's Professional football team who can Wow the fans by being bad one year and then great the next.
  • San Diego Riptide, San Diego's arena football team.


  • San Diego Padres, see the Padres play at their brand new stadium, Petco Park, in downtown San Diego.


  • San Diego Sockers, sadly as of right now the Sockers are on hiatus due to lack of funding and fan support.
  • San Diego Spirit, this is a team for the ladies. This all girl soccer team rocks every year and are worth seeing. This team and league has also folded.


  • San Diego Gulls, for the hockey fan in all of us, watch one of the best triple-A hockey teams.


  • Whale-watching - California gray whales migrate south along the coast each February.
  • Scuba Diving - San Diego has some great dives including the Yukon, Ruby E and others in Wreck Alley, kelp beds and much more. In addition several dive boat operators have regular runs to the Coronados Islands off the Mexican coast where you can dive with sea lions. Please be aware that diving here is usually considered cold water diving and the visibility is not always the greatest.


Universities in the area:


San Diego is a major technology and defense hub of California and the United States. Major industries include defense, telecommunications, biotechnology, computers and scientific research. With five major military bases located within fifty miles of San Diego, defense related services and support are a key part of San Diego's prosperity.

Major employers located in San Diego are:


  • Department of the Navy
  • General Atomics
  • Raytheon
  • National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO)
  • Dynacorp
  • Lockheed Martin

Telecommunications and Technology:

  • Qualcomm
  • Sony
  • Samsung
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Time Warner


  • StressGen Biotechnology Corp.
  • TriLink BioTechnologies, Inc.
  • Aurora Biosciences Corp.


San Diego is dotted with major shopping centers and upscale boutiques catering to nearly every style of dress and expression. The following is a list of a few of the major shopping centers in the San Diego area:

  • University Town Center
  • Horton Plaza
  • North County Fair
  • Plaza Bonita
  • Mission Valley Shopping Center
  • Fashion Valley Mall
  • El Cajon Mall

Dining and Entertainment

San Diego offers a variety of stlyes and flavors for any diners tastes. Food styles include Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Irish, Indian, Mongolian, Mexican, Italian, French and classic American.

The number one destination for tourists and locals is the downtown historic district known as the Gaslamp Quarter. Dozens of restaraunts, bistros, pubs, bars and nightclubs are centralized in the South Eastern part of the downtown area. It is not uncommon to find large crowds gathered here on weekends to enjoy a night of dining, dancing and the sounds of local musicians.

Dining is marked by a number of choices one can make from enjoying sterotypical American fast food, such as McDonalds, to equisite sunset meals at Georges on the Cove or the Fish Market. A fine point of any trip to San Diego is enjoying a spectacular sunset while enjoying a delicious meal with a few friends.



  • Ocean Beach International Hostel, 4961 Newport Ave(In Ocean Beach), (619) 223-7873. A popular hostel with backpackers and budget travelers. There is a bus line on Cable St. that makes it possible to reach the San Diego airport.
  • La Pensione Hotel, 606 West Date Street (at India), 619-236-8000, 619-236-8088 fax, 1-800-232-4683, [1]. In "Little Italy," 75 guest rooms, one of San Diego's best values.


  • Handlery Hotel, 950 Hotel Cir N, (Mission Valley), (619) 298-0511, [2]. A warm, friendly welcome and some big, lush rooms. Also has a hotel mini-bus to take you to SeaWorld. Around $100/room/night.
  • Hawthorn Suites, 1335 Hotel Cir S, 619-299-3501, [3]. Enjoy our 50 luxury suites and wake up to our daily complimentary hot breakfast buffet each morning and in the evening, enjoy our social hour Monday through Thursday.
  • Holiday Inn - Bayside, 4875 N. Harbor Drm (Point Loma), near San Diego International Airport, (619) 224-3621, (800) 662-8899, [4].
  • Holiday Inn - On The Bay, 1355 N Harbor, (619) 232-3861, [5]. Between the bustling downtown Gaslamp District and Lindberg Field, San Diego's airport. 600 newly renovated guestrooms and 17 suites, all with furnished balconies.
  • Town & Country, 500 Hotel Cir Nm (Mission Valley), 619-291-7131, 1-800-772-8527, [6]. Resort with swimming pools, restaurants, spa facilities, golf, and beautiful gardens. Adjacent to San Diego Trolley Station, and Fashion Valley shopping center.
  • Wyndham - Downtown at Emerald Plaza, 400 West Broadway, (619) 239-4500, [7].
  • Vacation Rentals in San Diego, [8] offers a selection of private homes for short-term rental direct by owner


Hotel del Coronado, a luxury hotel and national historic landmark.


Safety and Health

In an emergency (immediate danger to loss of life or limb), call 911.

Be aware that if you call from a cell phone, 911 calls are currently directed to the California Highway Patrol, which can result in delays in contacting city police. (911 calls made from land-line telephones are directed to the appropriate local agency.)

In many cases when within the city limits it may be more appropriate to directly dial the San Diego non-emergency number, (619) 531-2000. For example, to report a crime in progress when you are not in direct danger, it is probably best to call the San Diego Police (or other local municipality) directly.


San Diego is served by a professional police force as well as a county sherrif department, additional protection is offered on the major highways by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Additionaly some of the unincorporated areas of the county maintain their own police focres, such as the Coronado Police Department and the Chula Vista police Department.

The San Diego Police Department website offers tips to locals and tourists on staying safe in San Diego.

Fire Department-

The city of San Diego fire department is a top rated service offering fire protection, emergency medical care, hazardous waste cleanup and search and rescue functions. If you dial 911 for an emergency it is guranteed that the first responders will be the San Diego Fire Department.


There are numerous public and private hospitals in San Diego. These range from state funded institutions such as UCSD-Hillcrest and Thorton to private world renowned hospitals of Scripps La Jolla and the Childrens Hospital. First rate wrold class medical care can be found at any of these hospitals as well as interpreters for more than a dozen languages.

Beach Safety-

Rip currents are notorious in San Diego for their strength and sudden appearance. Do not go out in the water without lifeguard supervision or at night. All of the major beaches have lifeguards on duty in the summertime with only the more popular beaches having lifeguards year round.

Many of the ocean cliffs are made of a compressed sandstone and are prone to collapse especially in rainy weather. Access to the beaches is safely made by using any of the public stairways provided, they are free and well maintained.

Heavy rain may cause rising bacteria and chemical levels in the ocean waters. Care should be taken to read the newsapers or call the county health office to see if the water is safe for swimming.


Get out

San Diego is probably the best city in America for making a quick trip to Mexico. Tijuana, San Diego's twin city across the border, is only a few minutes away by car. There is also a trolley from downtown San Diego into Tijuana. Avoid driving hassles and long waits when returning by parking in pay lots near the border and walking across.

Or, for a delightful, low-key alternative, drive 30 minutes on the American side to the small border crossing of Tecate (home of the Tecate brewery). It's a short walk to the town square, and nobody tries to sell you chiclets here. Coming back, there are typically only a couple of people in line at the pedestrian crossing. You can easily combine a trip to the train museum in nearby Campo with a quick trip across the border for lunch!

The greater San Diego County has a lot of smaller, more private beaches, and some great small towns to stay in and explore. Further east, the Inland Empire and California Desert give a change of scenery.

It's also relatively easy to get up to Los Angeles and other points in Southern California. Highway 5 stretches up to the Oregon border. Although slower, Highways 1 and 101, through the Central Coast, Monterey Bay, and the San Francisco Bay Area, makes for more of a pleasant and fruitful trip.


In the area of the Westin Hotel there is free WiFi. The SSID is "turbonet".

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