Introducing the city

£1.00 | $1.27

GBP | USD

Gasoline £0.60 | $0.77

One-way ticket £1.96 | $2.50

Beer £3.93 | $5.00

Main Course £11.78 | $15.00

About San Diego

Located in Southern California beside the Mexican border, San Diego is blessed with year-round sunshine, vast natural beauty and a bucket-load of family-friendly attractions.

As far as nicknames go, 'America's finest city' isn't bad at all. San Diego is beautiful, welcoming and - with a fairly consistent climate all-year round - reliable. We guess what we're saying is, it's the kind of city you'd take home to meet your parents; the kind of city you're proud of.

With a population made up of over 1.3 million people, San Diego is the USA's eighth largest city. And once you've tasted the Cali-Baja cuisine, strolled the enchanting parks and relaxed on some of the 70 mile coastline, you'll see why so many choose to live here. A laid-back, relaxed vibe spreads from the coast, where surfers tackle waves from the crack of dawn, to the city centre where friendly locals enjoy a tipple at dusk. Families will find an array of attractions to keep them occupied, namely the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld among others that are just as enjoyable for those young at heart.

It doesn't take long to fall in love with San Diego. This city has fine written all over it.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

The best time to visit is May or September when temperatures are warm, rainfall is rare and the summer school holiday crowds are avoided.

San Diego has a dry Mediterranean climate and on the whole receives sunny mild weather for most of the year. During the hottest month in summer (August), the city experiences an average high of around 25 degrees Celsius and even in winter temperatures can reach around 18. The sun shines most of the year, although the month of June is sometimes labelled 'June Gloom' as it can be overcast. The city doesn't receive much rainfall throughout the year, particularly in the months between May and September; winter brings the most rainfall with February the wettest month. Chilly winds from the pacific can sweep the city in the evenings so a jacket may be needed at night in every month.

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Travioor top tips

Save
Get Around
Museums

Insider Info

  • You can save more than 50% with a Go San Diego Card - an all-inclusive pass to over 40 top attractions, valid for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days depending on what you choose. Better yet, alternatively you can pick the attractions you want to add to your pass and tailor it to your needs if you like.
  • The bus routes and trolley aren't as well connected as they are elsewhere, so most would suggest a car is the best way to get around if you want to fully explore all this city has to offer. A bicycle is also a good option if you're near the beach or exploring beach-side communities.
  • With all the natural and family-friendly attractions to explore, it's easy to miss San Diego's collection of superb museums such as San Diego Air & Space Museum and California Surf Museum. And a visit to these two plus some of 40 others is a must in February in particular when a free pass will give you half price entry across the month.

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Food and drink

Main Course £11.78 | $15.00

3-Course Meal £41.24 | $52.50

Cappuccino £3.10 | $3.95

Beer £3.93 | $5.00

The Scene

First and foremost, you can discover excellent seafood in San Diego due to the city's close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. There are many eateries for those on a budget and plenty of fine-dining options in areas such as La Jolla. A variety of cuisine can be found across the city, with specific areas specialising in certain nationalities. Given San Diego's location beside the Mexican border, the city is arguably the best place outside of Mexico to enjoy Mexican cuisine and Downtown San Diego is said to offer the most authentic dishes. In fact, a cuisine unique to San Diego known as Cali-Baja is said to describe the food that ignites and combines the flavours and ingredients of Mexico with those of California. Some of the fish tacos you'll find in the city are the probably the best representation of this fare.

People know California for its wine but many don't know about San Diego's beer. The city is home to over 100 breweries and you'll find an array of drinking dens serving some locally produced beverages which are popular with the locals such as Stone and Green Flash. As for the nightlife, there's plenty of it catering to all tastes and budgets.

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History

San Diego’s Story

The Portuguese were the first to make European contact with San Diego in 1542 after it was inhabited by the native Kumeyaay people. Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo took control of the bay and made it a part of the Spanish Empire, calling it San Miguel; although in 1602 a Spanish explorer arrived and renamed the area San Diego de Alcalá. Following a series of battles for power in the 18th century, in 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain and took San Diego as their own; however their rule didn't last long as the US declared war on them in 1846 and soon after in 1848, San Diego became an American city.

In the years to follow, San Diego's population was steadily increasing and significant developments were being made. In 1913 Broadway Pier was constructed, in 1915 Balboa Stadium was opened and in 1919 San Diego & Arizona Railroad was completed. The US Navy also made San Diego the home base for the Pacific Fleet. In the years leading from this period to today, San Diego has undergone much more development and now stands as one of the most appealing cities in the United States with a strong tourist industry.

Language

English

English is the official language here. The second most used language is probably Spanish. You will get by fine in San Diego if you only know English but perhaps it would be good to learn some of the lingo used in the city or throughout California in general, so you can relate to the locals. Try the examples below:

  • Dude: Can be used when speaking to a man or woman.
  • Bro: Used in the same context as 'dude'.
  • Hella: Used in place of 'very' or 'a lot of'.
  • Grip: Adjective used to describe a large amount of something.

Need to know

+1 Dialling Code
911 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • The city has an international airport.
  • A 15-20% tip is usually given in restaurants.
  • Beware of strong currents in the sea.
  • The city is pretty big and not walkable so you'll need some kind of transport.
     

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for the US here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. SeaWorld San Diego

Buy your tickets in advance to save money and time and enjoy SeaWorld's amazing range of animals and attractions.

2. Balboa Park

This huge park boasts several attractions but in the summer there are free Twilight in the Park concerts on select days in the evenings.

3. San Diego Zoo

This world famous zoo is a must when visiting San Diego but make sure you arrive early when the animals are most active, and look for discounted tickets online.

4. Cabrillo Park

Cabrillo Park and National Monument is a great historic spot but many don't know there's also a secret sea cave on the west side (accessible at low tide).

5. Sunset

One of the best places to catch the sunset (unknown to many) is on top of Broken Hill at Torrey Pines State Reserve.


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