San Diego General Information
Sun, surf and exquisite scenery are the qualities that most visitors equate with
San Diego. Nestled in the southern most corner of California's coastline, the
city is blessed with sun year round and temperate weather during most of its
winter months. Many travelers come here just to bask in the warmth and
experience what it is like to live in a Southern California paradise.
USS Midway, centerpiece of the new San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum next to
the cruise terminal.
||Surrounded by long sandy peninsulas (which the
locals call 'islands'), San Diego provides the optimum setting for a
vacation getaway. Pristine beaches - such as Coronado Island's secluded
waterfront - and trendy upper-class shopping districts, overlooking the
bluffs of San Diego's 'jewel', La Jolla, are two of the unique
characteristics of this city.
SeaWorld, on the shores of Mission Bay, is yet another. It is the city's
closest and most respected link to the ocean and in many ways, San Diego's
central identity. The centre for several wildlife conservation programs, as
well as a source for public education, its name is now inextricably linked
with San Diego. The more obvious ties to the sea are evident in the
sun-tanned, barefoot, bikini-clad surfers that fill the city, especially
just north of Mission Bay, where the small shops, coffee houses and
restaurants of the city's beach area, the heart and soul of Southern
California lifestyle, are located.
The San Diego Bay is a vital part of local commerce. Fishing boats and Navy
docks share space with a multi-vessel Maritime Museum and bustling cruise
ship port; in 2004 the bay welcomed the aircraft carrier
Even this battleship gray behemoth is dwarfed, however, by the cruise ships
that visit next door, including Carnival's Spirit, a Mexico fun ship whose
decision to make San Diego its home port provides an economic boost that
heralds an ambitious expansion of the cruise ship terminal.
to more than a dozen world faiths, including Hindu, Islam and Judaism. It is
not one single city; it is a patchwork of cultures, neighborhoods and small,
uniquely defined communities - the epitome of the American melting pot.
Historic communities like the Gaslamp Quarter - San Diego's first commercial
district - and Little Italy, which once supported a multi-million-Dollar tuna
industry, are now centers for performing and visual arts. Once a year, artists
in the downtown sector open their studios and galleries to the public as a
celebration of the area's artistic heritage. Music is an integral part of San
Diego's heritage as well - it has become the theme for its historic Gaslamp
Quarter festivals and the blues and jazz musician, Jim Croce, is a vibrant part
of the city's heritage. Home to dozens of cultural organizations, writers'
guilds and artist co-operatives, San Diego is one of Southern California's most
important centers for the arts.
The Spanish influences remain in this day, especially as San Diego is barely an
hour's drive from the Mexico-US border. The evidence of this inextricable
connection with its Hispanic beginnings is everywhere, although most notably in
cross-border festivals, such as the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, the San Diego
International Film Festival and the Latino Film Festival. Yet this city, which
attributes its modest beginnings to the efforts of a single Spanish monk, is
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