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City Profile: San Diego Important Information About the City of San Diego, California

San Diego is the United States’ 8th largest city. It is also the 2nd largest city in the state of California, preceded only by the city of Los Angeles. Located facing the Pacific Ocean’s pristine blue waters, the beautiful city of San Diego is an interesting environment, as it is also right at the Mexican border. It is for this reason that it is the city in America with the largest Hispanic population.

Those going to San Diego for business, pleasure or for further studies may want to learn Spanish or utilize the services of a professional language translation service provider. This is because Spanish is widely spoken in San Diego, although English remains to be the primary language in the city. With more than 1.3 million residents, San Diego remains to be a vibrant city with an interesting culture and energy.

Its location by the Pacific Coast is the main reason why the city of San Diego has become the birthplace of the state of California. It is on San Diego’s shores that Europeans first landed in 1542 with the area later being claimed under the Spanish flag. Today, San Diego is San Diego County’s county seat. It is the economic lifeline of the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metropolitan area. At the same time, it is the economic center of the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area. Much of the city’s economic power lies in the military presence and defense facilities, as well as a vibrant tourism sector, biotechnology industry, and international trade.

San Diego encompasses an area covering 372,398 square miles or 964,506 square kilometers. This makes it the 27th largest city with the largest land areas in the country. The city of San Diego comprises both land and water, with 12.68% of its total area covered by water for a total of 47.210 square miles or 122.273 square kilometers. The land area of the city is at 325.188 square miles or 842.233 square kilometers. San Diego sits at an elevation of 22 meters above sea level and has a population of 1.3 million people. This makes it the most populated city in San Diego County, the 2nd most populated city in California and the 8th most populated city in the country. It has a population density of 4,003 individuals per square mile, or 1,545 people per square kilometer. The city’s metropolitan population is a staggering 3.1 million residents.

The residents of San Diego come from a diverse mix of people. Whites account for over 47% of the population. However, the city has one of the largest Hispanic communities in the country, with over 28% of the population of Latin or Hispanic descent. Asians also have a strong presence in the city, accounting for over 14% of the total population, while African-Americans account for more than 6% of the total demographic. Close to 3% of the people living in San Diego come from two or more races.

Whether by land, sea or air, San Diego is an easily accessible city. The city is served by the San Diego International Airport, which is sometimes called Lindbergh Field. With only one runway, the airport is ranked as the country’s busiest single runway airport, handling more than 17 million passengers a year. McClellan-Palomar Airport also serves the city. At the same time, three other airports serve San Diego, the Montgomery Field in Clairemont Mesa, Brown Field near San Ysidro and Gillespie Field in El Cajon. San Diego is also linked to the rest of California through an extensive freeway system. The Broadway Pier handles the cruise terminal passengers. Once in the city, it’s easy to get around San Diego. There’s a trolley, bus, Coaster, Sprinter and Amtrak service. At the same time, many residents use bikes or walk to get around.

San Diego is a safe city, as the city’s crime index is still lower than the US average. In 2010, the city’s crime index is at 242.2, which is significantly lower than the US average of 319.1. Most of the law-breakings reported involve theft, with close to 18,000 thefts reported in 2010. Auto thefts are also a growing concern. Travelers are advised to exercise precaution even when out sightseeing or enjoying a day at the beach. It’s best to leave valuables at home or locked in your hotel safe. Be sure to lock your vehicle and avoid displaying valuables, such as bags, luggage, laptops and cell phones in clear view inside a vehicle. When driving around the city, it’s best to use your car’s GPS system and to be aware of the speed limits and road signs in the city. Keep your eyes on the road, as the beautiful scenery can be quite distracting at times.

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One of the key attractions of San Diego is its ideal climate all year round. The city’s climate has been dubbed by the Weather Channel as one of the best summer climates in the country, and is in the top ten of the best climates in the United States, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. With temperatures averaging the mid-50s to 70s Fahrenheit all year round, no wonder the city has been called “America’s Finest City.” San Diego enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers and pleasantly mild winters. Rain can be expected between the months of December and March, while the rest of the year experiences warm sunny days. The average annual rainfall in the city is at 10 inches or 250 millimeters.

There are micro-climates in the city, given the diversity in the city’s typography. It tends to be cooler by the Bay, and a bit warmer inland, with temperatures dropping down as the elevation increases. A thick marine layer of clouds does cover the bay area during the late spring and early summer season, earning the period the moniker “May Gray” and “June Gloom.”

The period between May to September is the most ideal time of the year to visit San Diego, since warm, dry weather are expected. Snow is a rare occurrence in the city, since it has only been recorded to occur five times since the 20th century. August is the hottest month of the year, with temperatures reaching a high of 76 °F or 25 °C, while the coolest months are December and January, wherein the temperatures average less than 50 °F or about 9 °C.

Travelers could expect to enjoy much of the famous California sunshine while in San Diego. With pleasant temperatures and clear skies, travelers should pack lightweight clothing appropriate for outdoor activities and enjoy the numerous attractions of the city.

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History of San Diego

The early settlers in the area now known as San Diego were the Kumeyaay people and later known as Diegueños, who lived on the land for more than a hundred centuries. In 1542, Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed on the San Diego coast and claimed the land for the Spanish crown. Cabrillo named the bay “San Miguel.” After two centuries, this would become Alta California.

The city’s name is from a Catholic Saint, Saint Didacus. it is more popularly known in Spain as San Diego de Alcalá. It was explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno who gave the area its name in 1602.

In 1769, the first European settlements in California were established. These were Fort Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Today, these areas are regarded as National Historic Landmarks.

In 1821, San Diego became a part of Mexico under the state of Alta California after Mexico gained its independence from Spain. However, by 1850, control of the city was transferred to the Americans, due to the Mexican-American War. California became part of the United States, and San Diego then became an American city. It was also in the same year that San Diego was chosen as the newly formed San Diego County’s seat.

The city of San Diego was officially recognized in 1850. Today, the original area where the town of San Diego first emerged at the base of the Presidio Hill is now named as the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The area that is now Downtown San Diego is the new town settlement that moved closer to the San Diego Bay.

The new town’s location proved to be more ideal since it provided the city better access to the water, and therefore more access to shipping activities. This led to a significant economic boom in the city. By 1901, the US Government established the Navy Coaling Station, Point Loma. From here, the US Navy’s presence grew, with the establishment of various bases in the city, including the San Diego Naval Hospital, Naval Training Center San Diego, Naval Base San Diego, Camp Kearny and Camp Matthews. At the same time, the city was becoming a center for the aviation industry, with various important airline manufacturers making the city their base.

The presence of the military installations in the city made it a natural defense hub of the country during World War II. At the same time, the city’s population began to grow exponentially, more than doubling its numbers in less than two decades. However, eventual peacetime activities and subsequent military cutbacks took an economic toll on the city. In response, the city’s government developed other industries, especially tourism and bioresearch.

Today, San Diego is a top tourism hotspot in Southern California, thanks to numerous attractions such as Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World San Diego, San Diego Safari Park and the Belmont Amusement Park.

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Demographics of San Diego

San Diego is one of the most populated cities in the country, with more than 1.3 million residents as of the 2010 census and it is also one of the most culturally-diverse. Half are Whites, while the remaining population comes from Hispanic, Asian, African-American, Pacific Island and Indian descent. Of the white population, their ancestries come from German, Irish, English, Italian, American and French heritage. More than a quarter of the city’s residents are born on foreign soil. Of these, 11.3% are from Latin America, especially Mexico and Puerto Rico, while 10.5% comes from an Asian country. Of the Asians, Filipinos and Chinese make up the bulk, followed by Vietnamese, Indians, Koreans, Japanese, Laotians, Cambodians and Thai nationals. It ranks 23rd in the Top 101 cities in the country with the most number of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander residents. In the country, it is also the city with the 36th most number of American-Indian residents.

The Hispanic population of the city is higher than the average in California. At the same time, foreign-born residents are also more than the state average. The city’s zip codes also place it as having some of the highest number of first-ancestry residents with Afghan, Somalian, Ugandan, Iraqi, South African, Sudanese, Ethiopian, Israeli, Iranian, British and New Zealander lineage in the country. Given the wide diversity in the city, it pays to know a second language, especially Spanish. Those who wish to do business in the city, want to appeal to the Hispanic demographic or have need of Spanish documents translated into English should avail of a professional language translation service provider.

The city has a median age of 35.1 years, although the Hispanic population has a young median age of only 27.5 years. A quarter of the city’s population is composed of minors, while seniors make up over 10% of the demographic. San Diego has a young active population, with more than two-thirds of the city’s residents below the age of 35. More than 43% of the city’s residents are affiliated with a church, a great majority of which belongs to the Catholic Church at close to 70% of the residents.

The average household in San Diego has 2.6 residents. Most of these are families, since more than 60% of residents are family households. The residents of the city live and work in the city, with over 77% of the population working in jobs also found in the city. At the same time, an estimated 14.3% of the city’s residents are living in poverty, as of 2009. Most of those affected are the Hispanics and Black residents and those from other races that made the city of San Diego their home.

The city’s population has been on the rise. Of the largest 101 cities in the country with the largest population increase, San Diego ranked second in the 1970s, and 5th in the 1990s. In 2008, San Diego was ranked as the 4th largest city in terms of population and is today number 8 in the Top 100 biggest cities in America. In the last decade, the population has increased by 7%. San Diego County is also a favorite destination of immigrants, ranked at number 80 on the list of counties with the highest percentage of residents migrating from other countries in the mid-2000.

The people of San Diego are quite well-educated. In fact, the city ranks as the 9th most educated city in the country, with more than 40% of the city’s residents having a bachelor’s degree. More than 13% have a graduate or professional degree. In 2011, the city’s unemployment rate was placed at 10.2%, which is slightly lower than the state average of 12.3%. The household median income in the city is at $66,715 as of 2008. In 2005, Forbes magazine ranked the city as the fifth richest American city.

With the strong naval presence in the city, San Diego ranked 7th in the Top 101 cities with the largest percentage of people in military barracks. Most of the city’s residents are employed in professional, scientific and technical services (14%), while construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services are other top employers. Administrative and support, health care and public administration are other sectors of employment in the city.

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Economy of San Diego

The most important economic contributor to the economy of San Diego is the Defense and Military presence in the city, since more than 15,000 businesses in the city are related of Department of Defense contracts or are military related. Thanks to its deep water port, the city has the only major submarine and shipbuilding facility found in the West Coast. The largest naval fleet anywhere in the world can be found here, with more than 53 ships, 120 tenant commands and 35,000 employees. The city is also home to a number of national defense contractors.

Trade is an important aspect in the city’s economic profile. San Diego’s port is a Foreign Trade Zone. More than 1.1 short tons of total trade are processed at its port. On land, the city shares a border with Mexico, and is host to the busiest international border crossing anywhere in the world, the San Ysidro Port of Entry. At the same time, the city also operates the commercial crossing at Otay Mesa, which is the largest commercial crossing in the Baja California border. The dollar value and volume of trucks that passes through the border accounts for the third largest of all US-Mexican land crossings in the country.

In 2010, San Diego was designated as the iHub Innovation Center. With great support from the city’s extensive pharmaceutical research industry, as well as various start-ups for medical devices and other medical related industries and the city’s wireless business, the State of California envisioned San Diego to link the two industries together to strengthen both industries.

The technology industry plays a major role in the economy of the city. San Diego is home to many wireless cellular technology producers, such as Qualcomm, Nokia, Kyocera International, Novatel Wireless, LG Electronics and Cricket Communications. The city is also the American headquarters for ESET, a Slovakian security company. Websence Inc. is a software company that is also based in the city.

Biotechnology is another important industry to San Diego’s economy, with more than 400 biotech companies in the city. The University of California San Diego is affiliated with USCD Medical Center and ranks at the top biotech cluster in the country.

San Diego ranked as the top city zip codes in the nation with the most number of law offices in 2005. It also has a high number of Internet business establishments as well as finance and insurance companies.

Tourism is a highly-developed industry in San Diego, with its glorious weather, its wonderful and readily-accessible beaches and the number of attractions that the city offers. The waters of the beaches such as Del Mar, La Jolla, Coronado, Mission, Pacific and Encinitas never fail to lure in people by the thousands each year. San Diego has historic sites, a lively arts and music scene, festivals, state parts and amusement parks including SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and the amusement parks of Belmont.

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San Diego Attractions

San Diego attracts more than 30 million tourists every year, making it one of the most visited cities in California and in the country. The tourism industry generates about $15 billion for the local economy. With various attractions to entice travelers of all ages and sizes, plus a busy San Diego Convention Center, the city has become a major destination for travelers in and around the country.

Balboa Park is a top destination for those going to San Diego. This is a 1,200-acre park and is one of the oldest recreational sites in the country. It is a National Historic Landmark and is home to 16 museums, 16 gardens and a number of cultural attractions and venues. You would be able to see some Spanish architecture built in the neo-Classical style. Here, travelers could ride and explore the Balboa Park Carousel, a mini railroad, the Old Globe Theatre, the Starlight Bowl, the Balboa Stadium, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Other attractions include guided tours of the historical Marston House, the Museum of San Diego History, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and the San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum.

Some of the art museums within Balboa Park include one that is dedicated in promoting the Latino, Chicano, Indigenous and Mexican culture and arts, the Centro Cultural de la Raza. You might also want to check out the exhibits at the Mingei International Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, or at the Museum of Photographic Arts. There are also museums that are dedicated to science and technology, such as the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the San Diego Automotive Museum, where you would find some of the most famous, rarest and finest cars in the world and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, which features several interact exhibits for all ages and home of one of the first IMAX theaters. There’s also an anthropology museum, the San Diego Museum of Man, where you would find ancient artifacts, prehistoric items, mummies, ancient monument replicas and exhibits on Kumeyaay Indians, ancient Egypt and Mayan collections.

Balboa Park is the home of the world famous San Diego Zoo. This is a 100-acre zoo that has more than 4,000 exotic animals from 800 different species, many of which are facing extinction. These animals are displayed in cageless exhibits, a first for zoos. At the same time, the zoo is also filled with over 700,000 exotic plants, creating the perfect backdrop and habitat for the animals. Some of the plants here cannot be seen anywhere else. One of the key attractions of the zoo is its large collection of giant pandas as well as some of the largest free-flight aviaries in the world. There are also themed animal exhibits, including a Polar Bear Plunge, the Ituri Forest, the Elephant Odyssey, Gorilla Tropics, Absolutely Apes, Bonobos, Sun Bear Forest and Tiger River. On the horizon is an Australian outback, which will feature animals from Down Under.

An extension of the San Diego Zoo is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, which recreates safari-like conditions for the animals and visitors who wish to see the wild creatures in a more natural setting. Opened in 1972, the Safari Park is home to a number of exotic creatures from all over the world. More than two million visitors walk through its doors to see antelopes, giraffes, rhinos, cranes and condors.

SeaWorld San Diego is one of the most popular marine life themed amusement parks in the country that has been delighting visitors since 1964. Its most famous resident is Shamu, the orca killer whale. There are thrilling rollercoaster rides such as Journey to Atlantis, the Bayside Skyride which is a gondola ride, entertaining animal shows and interactive displays to educate children about marine life. Kids can get up close to bottlenose dolphins and California sea otters at Rocky Point Preserve. Other attractions at the park include SeaWorld Sky Tower, Sesame Street’s Bay of Play, Shipwreck Rapids, Wild Arctic and Riptide Rescue. Soon to open is Manta, the newest roller coaster in the park that goes up to 43 miles per hour. Other animal attractions are Pacific walruses, penguins, Beluga whales and polar bears.

Of the many museums in the city, one of the most unique to visit is the USS Midway Museum. This is a large and truly impressive naval aircraft carrier that has been decommissioned in 1997 and converted into a floating museum. It features several restored aircraft that were used during the Second World War, in Korea, in Vietnam and during the days of the Desert Storm. Visitors could see the jets, cockpit, kitchen, laundry rooms and a number of other areas onboard that are sure to stimulate anyone’s imagination. A San Diego skyline viewing deck is available to the public free of charge.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego, with its large collection of sea vessels of historical value is the home of The Star of India. The 1863-built ship is the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship in the world that is still in operation. Travelers could also find two submarines at the museum that allow visitors to walk through.

For a taste of history, visitors should go to the Cabrillo National Monument. This site is found in Point Loma and dedicated to the person who discovered San Diego Bay, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Travelers would enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and the city, as well as the Naval Air Station North Island, or even as far as Tijuana and the Coronado Islands of Mexico. Here, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse could be seen. This is the highest point of the park and where visitors are able to see bunkers that date back from the Second World War. It’s also an ideal place to see seagulls and pelicans.

Those who want to go swimming should try Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Coronado Beach or the Pacific, Imperial and La Jolla beaches. Other beaches in San Diego are suitable for surfing, sailing and boating.

Whale watching is an activity that is a favorite activity of visitors to San Diego. Thanks to its location by the Pacific Ocean, travelers are able get a close look at the thousands of beautiful gray whales that migrate on the ocean’s waters during January, although the whale watching season is between the months of December to early April. There are whale watching cruises that cater to travelers who wish to witness this spectacular event. Those who wish to have more intimate gatherings could hire a sunset cruise through Hornblower and H&M for private events out in the water.

There are also several hiking trails and national parks where visitors could explore the outdoors. Some popular outdoor areas are the Mission Trails Regional Park, Torrey Pines State Reserve and Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. The Torrey Pines State Reserve is the perfect place to view the lush wind landscape of the California Coast, with beaches, chaparral, trails to go hiking and a lagoon to go bird watching. Those who wish to go hiking, biking, fishing or camping also have the option of visiting the Mission Trails Regional Park. This is a 5,800-acre preserve that is also one of the largest parks in the country. Photographers and nature enthusiasts would enjoy the scenic views provided by the rugged canyons and hills. Here, travelers could trek up the highest point of the city, Cowles Mountain and have a panoramic view of San Diego County. The Old Mission Dam is also here, which historically provided the water of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, as well as Lake Murray, which is a water reservoir.

The typography of San Diego is also littered with breathtaking canyons, such as Switzer Canyon, San Clemente Canyon and the Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. These are perfect for hiking, camping, bird watching and a number of outdoor activities. In fact, San Diego’s biodiversity is one of the best in the country. It has the most number of animals and plants listed as endangered in America. At the same time, there are 492 bird species in San Diego, topping all other regions in the US.

Those who want to catch a baseball game should go to Petco Park. This is where the Padres play and where families spend a day out watching sports. There are six different casinos in San Diego for those who want to try their luck – Barona Casion, Harrah’s Rincon, Pechanga Resort and Casino, Sycuan Casino, Valley View Casion and Viejas Casino and Outlet Center, which is located in nearby Alpine.

Visitors should also go to nearby Carlsbad, which is where Legoland is located. This is a delightful theme park that is sure to appeal to all ages, featuring rides, displays, shows and attractions centered on Lego pieces. There is also a large outlet store in Carlsbad that features many premium brands available at great prices that will surely to appeal to shoppers.

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San Diego Culture

San Diego has more than 70 miles of beaches, more than thirty museums and nine theaters in the city. This gives the city’s residents and visitors many opportunities for entertainment and relaxation.

The people of San Diego have a close relationship with the water. The economy, tourism industry and many leisure activities are centered on enjoying the city’s access to the Pacific Ocean. The San Diego surf scene is one of the best in the world. Regardless of the season, residents are found hitting the waters, with a Body Surfing Competition in August. In September, even their pet dogs surf in the Annual Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition. Every March, sailors from all over the world compete in boat races in the RC 44 San Diego Cup. In April, there is the annual San Diego Crew Classic Regatta, one of the country’s most important rowing competitions, as well as thunderboat racing in September. In July, there is a Sandcastle Competition on Imperial Beach. Every September, San Diego is also host to the largest rough water swimming tournament in the country. In December, even the Bay is lit up with the Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, where hundreds of boats participate in a spectacular themed boat parade where the sea vessels are decorated with holiday lights.

Travelers who want to take a glimpse of the city’s Hispanic heritage should see the various historic sites in the city, especially in Mission San Diego de Alcalá and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. At the same time, the Cinco de Mayo celebration of the city is one of the largest in the country, given the large Mexican community in the city.

Owing to the city’s diversity, there are a number of celebrations honoring the multi-ethnic background of the city. The city’s Hispanic community pays homage to their roots with the Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival as well as a massive Cinco de Mayo celebration. There is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in March, and the Annual Sicilian Festival and Gator by The Bay, which is a crawfish festival to celebrate Cajun heritage in May. Another Italian festival is the Little Italy Precious Festa that is held in October. The Pacific Islander Festival is held every September, which celebrates the culture of those from Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia. Finally, there is Oktoberfest in the fall season.

San Diego has a thriving arts and culture scene, thanks to the well-funded City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. There are more than thirty museums in the city that features various aspects of art and history. Travelers have the choice to go to the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Museum of Man, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the San Diego Maritime Museum, San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, as well as the Museum of Photographic Arts. The largest art event in the city is the annual Mission Federal ArtWalk. This is a visual and performing arts festival.

Movie lovers will enjoy the San Diego Black Film Festival and the Asian Film Festival while music enthusiasts will appreciate the Street Scene Music Festival. Every March, the city celebrates the San Diego Indie Music Fest in North Park. In April, there is the Adams Avenue Roots and Folk Festival, wherein talented traditional music roots artists perform different genres of music. During the Thanksgiving weekend, there is a massive jazz celebration in Mission Valley. The city also is home to the San Diego Symphony, which performs at the Symphony Towers. The San Diego Opera is a top ranked opera company in the country, and they perform at the Civic Center Plaza. There are also various venues in the city for theater production numbers, such as the Old Globe Theater at Balboa Park, as well as the La Jolla Playhouse and the Joan B. Kroc theatre.

There’s a lot going on every year in San Diego. Foodies will enjoy the San Diego Restaurant Week in January. With about 180 restaurants to choose from serving a variety of cuisines from all over the world, visitors are sure to enjoy the smorgasbord of gastronomic delights. To burn off all those calories, participate in the Carlsbad San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon. This is the 2nd oldest marathon on this side of the United States. Even young children could participate in the Kid’s Marathon Mile. The city is also host to the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, which is held at the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

During the spring, the largest flower show in the country is held in San Diego, the Coronado Flower Show. There is also the Wildflowers Bloom in the Desert held at the Anza-Borrego Desert Sate Park. Another botanical festival is the Flower Fields Ranunculus Season held at the Carlsbad Ranch.

Residents also have a fantastic Mardi Gras celebration with colorful parades, bead throwing and lively music. Held at the Gaslamp Quarter, this is considered the largest celebration of Fat Tuesday in preparation for the Lenten season anywhere on the West Coast. Another springtime celebration is the Spring Busker Festival, wherein a number of street performers entertain crowds at Seaport Village. An April celebration that is uniquely from San Diego is the Fallbrook Avocado Festival, where everything avocado is featured. Finally, one of the largest one day street fairs in the state of California is the Carlsbad Spring Village Faire held in May. This is a family-friendly event that features a number of exhibitors, food concessionaires featuring cuisine from different parts of the world, with rides to keep children entertained.

The city also celebrates its history with the Festival of the Bells celebration in July, which commemorates the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcalá. In September, there is the Cabrillo Festival, which marks Juan Cabrillos’ exploration of the bay in 1542.

Given the city’s strong ties to the Navy, it’s inevitable that there are a number of celebrations featuring the navy throughout the year. In February, the North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado and San Diego Bay celebrates the city’s naval aviation history. This celebration features tours on naval ships, aircraft exhibits, and a variety of food and music activities culminating with an air show of naval aircraft. In the summer, there is another heavily-attended air show that re-enacts WWII battles to the delight of the audience. In September, there is the MCAS Miramar Air Show, which features the famous Blue Angels and is one of the most spectacular air shows in the world.

The Del Mar National Horse Show is regarded as the most well-known horse show in the southern half of California. About 3,000 horses are featured that are sure to delight equestrians and animal lovers alike. The Del Mar Racing is a five-day race held at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar. There is also the annual Lakeside Rodeo, wherein visitors can watch various rodeo competitions such as bareback bronco rides.

In the summer, the San Diego County Fair is one of the most awaited events in the city, since this features the best of what the county has to offer. The city is also host to the LGBT Pride Parade, Rally and Festival, which is a two-day festival held in Balboa Park.

An annual event in San Diego that is heavily attended is Comic-Con. This is the biggest pop culture and comics event in the country. The city also celebrates its award-winning beer making craft with the San Diego Beer Week in November.

To welcome the holiday season, San Diego has an annual production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After all, Theodore Geisel is one of San Diego’s most famous residents. Another annual activity to delight children of all ages is the Mother Goose Parade, which is the city’s official holiday kick-off celebration.

There is certainly a never-ending list of activities for residents and visitors to enjoy the culture, history, music and flavors of San Diego. Whatever month of the year or day of the week, there’s always something to see or do in one of the most beautiful cities in America.

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Interesting Facts About San Diego

  • San Diego enjoys many aliases. It is also known as America’s Finest City, the City in Motion, Plymouth of the West as well as Silicon Beach, owing to the number of tech firms based in the city.
  • The city of San Diego has been dubbed by Money Magazine as one of the best places to live in the country. It is considered one of the wealthiest American cities. At the same time, it is home to a number of Fortune 400 residents. In 2010, it was ranked in the top ten safest cities to live in America.
  • San Diego has been the host of not one but two World’s Fairs. The first was back in 1915 with the Panama-California Exposition. It is thanks to this expo that we have the San Diego Zoo today. The origins of the San Diego Zoo trace its roots to the 1915 Exposition because it is from the first collection of animals that were featured at the fair that the Zoo emerged. The second World’s Fair that the city hosted was in 1935, with the California Pacific International Exposition.
  • During World War I, San Diego proclaimed itself as “the Air Capital of the West.” This is because of the number of important aeronautical manufacturers that based themselves in the city. In fact, in 1972, Ryan Airlines built the airplane, “The Spirit of St. Louis” in San Diego, which was made famous by Charles Lindbergh. Today, owing to the extensive naval and aeronautical presence in the city, San Diego has been dubbed as the “birthplace of naval aviation.”
  • If you want to see naval ships, they are here in San Diego. The city has the most number of American naval ships anywhere in the world. Most of the country’s US Pacific Fleet’s surface combatants, as well as all of the Navy’s West Coast amphibious ships and a number of Coast Guard and Sealift Command vessels are home-ported here.
  • The cruise ship industry used to be an important presence in the city, although Celebrity, Princess and Crystal cruise lines still continue to operate in the city. However, due to the recession as well as a decline in the demand for Mexican cruises because of the highly publicized drug-related incidences in Mexico, many cruise ships have stopped making San Diego a port of call. However, during its peak in 2008, as much as 250 ship calls were made and the city processed close to a million passengers.
  • It’s quite expensive to live in San Diego. In 2007, the average home in the city was worth $612,370. The Housing Affordability Index of the city was below 20% at the turn of the 21st century, which means that less than 20% of the population could afford the median cost of a home in San Diego. The San Diego Metropolitan area also has the second worst ratios of median house price to median household incomes compared to all metropolitan areas in the country. Fortunately, there are a number of hotels in various price ranges, so San Diego remains to be an affordable place to visit for tourists.
  • The cost of living index of San Diego ranks higher than the US average. In 2011, San Diego had a cost of living index at 131.4, compared to the US average of 100.
  • The city has 2,516 law enforcement employees, 1,863 of which are police officers. This translates to 1.42 officers per 1,000 residents in the city. This is lower than the state average of 2.46 officers per 1,000 residents. However, the city’s crime index has declined steadily in the past few years, dropping from a high of 359.4 in 2003, to a low of 259.8 in 2009, and even lower at 242.2 in 2010. This is significantly lower than the US average of 319.1 crime index. The lower the crime index, the less crime.
  • Bikers would be pleased to know that San Diego has the distinction of being the best American city for cycling with more than one million people cyclers in 2006. The year-round pleasant climate, varied terrain and beautiful scenery are just some of the reasons why people like to bike in San Diego. Many of the districts in the city are cycling oriented, making it a bike-friendly city.
  • Of the 50 largest cities in the country, San Diego ranked 18th in the most walkable cities in the United States, according to Walk Score in 2011.
  • One America Plaza is the tallest building in the city. Completed in 1991, the building measures at a height of 500 feet or 150 meters, the maximum height of any building allowable in the city. There are no super skyscrapers to mar the downtown skyline of the city, as regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1970s. This is because San Diego International Airport is only three miles away from the downtown area.
  • San Diego has 1,191 bridges, with a combined total length of 18,973 meters or 62,247 feet and is valued at more than $312 million. The average daily traffic on these bridges is 61.3 million vehicles, with average daily truck traffic of 2.4 million trucks a day.
  • Although located in California, the likelihood of an earthquake in the city is significantly below that of the state’s average. However, there is a 623% greater chance of an earthquake happening in San Diego compared to other cities in the country. The last big earthquake to hit the city was in 1987, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake, which resulted in two deaths and $4 million in damages.
  • The city of San Diego is sister cities with 16 important cities around the world. These include: Cavite in the Philippines; Edinburgh in Scotland; Jeonju, South Korea; Yantai and Quanzhou in China; Yokohama, Japan; Tijuana and Leon, Mexico; Perth, Australia; and Warsaw, Poland. It is also sister cities with Vladivostok, Russia; Campinas, Brazil; Alcalá de Henares, Spain; Jalalabad, Afghanistan; Tema, Ghana and Taichung City in Taiwan.
  • There are many celebrities that call San Diego their home. Because of its proximity to Los Angeles, many entertainers have made San Diego their base or have lived in San Diego. These include actress Cameron Diaz, Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik, Kathy Najimy, Holly Marie Combs of the TV series Charmed and Annette Bening; actor Ted Danson and Robert Duvall; entertainer RuPaul; professional skateboarder Tony Hawk; model Stephanie Seymour; musician Stephen Bishop, Frank Zappa and Jason Mraz; producer Cameron Crowe and director Gore Verbinski of the Pirate’s of the Caribbean fame; dance crew JabbaWockeeZ; McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc; Olympic diver Greg Louganis; professional surfers Rob Machado and Clay Marzo; and athletes Rashaan Salaam and Shaun White. Theodor Geisel, who is more popularly known as the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, lived and died in La Jolla. His widow Audrey is still a resident of the city.
  • The city is one of the surviving examples of American architecture, with the wooden Victorian buildings that make up Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888. This is a luxury beachfront hotel found in Coronado Island that also goes by the name of Hotel Del or The Del. It is a California Historical Landmark as well as a National Historic Landmark.
  • Aboard the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927, Charles Lindbergh from San Diego to New York and from there headed to Paris on a non-stop flight.
  • From the early 1930s up to the late 1970s, the label Tuna Capital of the World was held by San Diego. The city’s tuna industry provided employment for over 40,000 people.
  • The first baby giant panda that was born in the Western Hemisphere was born in San Diego Zoo on August 21, 1991. She was given the name Hua Mei. She was relocated to the Wolong Reserve in China on February 2004 upon reaching maturity and has since given birth to three sets of twins, a female cub and a male cub. The last one was born in 2010.

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