More than sixty years before John Smith founded Jamestown, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, sailing under the flag of Spain, pulled into San Diego Bay in1542. Sixty years later, another Spanish explorer, Sebastian Vizcaino, arrived to give the port the name it bears today. In 1769, Fr. Junipero Serra established the Presidio of San Diego; this mission and the small settlement that developed around it became an agricultural and trading center. When Mexico declared her independence from Spain in 1822, most of the world had never heard of California yet alone San Diego. During the Mexican War the town and the port were commandeered by the U. S. Navy – the U. S. Navy never left. However as a consequence of the Mexican War, this small outpost and all of California became a part of the United States and a migration rush ensued. After the Civil War Alonzo Erastus Horton, a shrewd developer, decided that land south of the Mission had possibilities. He bought several acres of land for thirty-three cents an acre and sold them to adventure-seeking males looking for a piece of California. Within two years, the modern city of San Diego, founded three miles from Mission, went from 0 population to 2000. In the late nineteenth century as San Francisco and Los Angeles prospered, San Diego slowly grew into a city and seaport, primarily centered around fishing. Today San Diego’s diverse economy supports millions.
Population: San Diego, 1,256,950; San Diego County, 2,855,833.
Land Area: 324.3 square miles.
Flight times: Chicago-4.5 hrs, London-10 hrs, N.Y.-5 hrs, Los Angeles- 1 hr, Miami-6 hrs, Tokyo-10 hrs.
Average daily temperature of 70.5 degrees F (21.4 degrees C).
Days of sunshine: 248 Annual.
Precipitation: 10 inches Average Daily High/Low.
Average Daily High/Low Temperature:
March: 66°f / 52°f, 19°c / 11°c
June: 71°f / 61°f, 22°c / 16°f
September: 77°f / 65°f, 24°c / 18°
December: 65°f / 49°f, 18°c / 9°c
San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.sandiego.org): 401 B Street, Suite 1400, San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 236-1212.
International Visitor Information Center: 1040 1/3 West Broadway (at Harbor Drive) San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 236-1212.
San Diego International Airport (www.san.org): is 10 minutes from downtown San Diego, 22 major and commuter airlines service the San Diego International Airport. For terminal and airline information call (619) 231-2100. For a list of services to get you to and from the airport, into Mexico or around town, visit our shuttle services page. Public Transportation MTS buses, trolleys and coasters provide convenient transportation throughout San Diego County. Travel to and from the airport, all shopping centers, attractions, beaches, hotels and Mexico. Bus schedules differ, but most hotels and attractions have service every 15 to 20 minutes.
The San Diego Trolley (www.sdcommute.com): Runs every 15 minutes throughout most of the day and 30 minutes in the evening. The North County Coaster runs 43 miles along the coast with station stops in downtown San Diego, Old Town, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. You can also get a free trolly transfer which will take you to Tijuana. (800) COMMUTE.
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com): Operates nine daily traisn to San Diego. The Coaster operates during peak hours connecting San Diego County coastal cities. (800) USA-RAIL.
The Metropolitan Transit System (www.sdcommute.com): Operates 29 bus routes covering 635 miles.
Greyhound (www.greyhound.com): (800) 231-2222.
Taxis: Five can ride for the price of one! Taxicab stands are located at the airport, most hotels, attractions and shopping centers. Your fare will be displayed on the meter and will include a flag drop charge plus a per-mile and/or a per-hour charge. All cabs leaving the airport charge the same rate.
San Diego Cab (619) 226-8294
Orange Cab (619) 223-5555
American Cab (619) 234-1111
Yellow Cab (760) 722-4214
Arco/U.S. Olympic Training Center (www.usolympicteam.com): 2800 Olympic Pkwy Chula Vista, CA 91915, (619) 656-1500. United States Olympic Committee facility for Olympic-caliber athletes.
Balboa Park (www.balboapark.org): Featuring 15 museums, the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre and the Starlight Bowl. Balboa Park is the cultural heart of San Diego and the largest urban cultural park in the U.S. 1549 El Prado # 1 San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 239-0512 .
The Big Bay (www.thebigbay.com): San Diego's biggest attraction, with 27 miles of scenic waterfront, seven yacht clubs, 16 bayside parks, 17 marinas, 69 restaurants, 14 hotels, hundreds of shops and miles of waterfront promenades and bikeways. (877) 2-BIGBAY
Cabrillo National Monument (www.nps.gov/cabr): 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr. San Diego, CA 92106, (619) 557-5450. National monument commemorating Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's 1542 exploration of California coast. Point Loma Lighthouse provides spectacular view of San Diego.
The Gaslamp Quarter (www.gqhf.com): 410 Island Ave. (619) 233-4692. A 16 1/2-block historic district located in the heart of downtown San Diego; home of 90 restaurants, 40 retail shops, 20 nightclubs and the William Heath Davis Historic House Museum.
Hotel Del Coronado (www.hoteldel.com): 1500 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118, 688 units,(619) 435-6611. National Historic Landmark, oceanfront resort, spa, nearby marina and golf. 26 acres of each, boating, surfing and tennis.
Knott's Soak City U.S.A. (www.soakcityusa.com): 2052 Entertainment Cir. Chula Vista, CA 91911, (619) 661-7373.1950's California beach-themed water adventures park including 17 tube and body slides, raft ride and remmie Lagoon kids area.
La Jolla Visitor Center (www.lajollabythesea.com): 7966 Herschel Ave. Suite A La Jolla, CA 92037, (619) 236-1212. "The jewel" of San Diego is renowned for its luxury resorts, beautiful beaches and coves, the La Jolla layhouse, Museum of Contemporary Art.
Legoland California (www.legoland.com): An interactive family theme park for youngsters 2-12. Rides, shows and attractions. One Legoland Dr. Carlsbad, CA 92008, 760-918-LEGO
Mission Basilica San Diego De Alcala (www.missionsandiego.com): The first of a chain of 21 missions along the California coast. Museum and gardens open daily, 9 am-4:45pm. 10818 San Diego Mission Rd. San Diego, CA 92108-2498, (619) 281-8449.4,000 square feet of visitor information on Mission Bay, the largest aquatic playground of its kind in the world.
Mission San Luis Rey (www.sanluisrey.org): California's largest mission on 56 acres. California's first pepper tree. Museum, Lavanderia, picnic gardens, gift shop. Daily, 10 am-4:30pm. 4050 Mission Ave. Oceanside, CA 92057, (760) 757-3651
San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park (www.sandiegozoo.org): 4,000 rare and endangered birds, mammals, reptiles; 6,500 varieties of exotic plants. Features Absolutely Apes, Ituri Forest, Giant Pandas and Polar Bear Plunge. Open daily.
Wild Animal Park: A 2,200-acre exotic animal and botanical reserve dedicated to the preservation and protection of endangered species.
Park Blvd. & Zoo Pl. San Diego, CA 92112, (619) 718-3000.
Seaworld San Diego(www.seaworld.com): 150-acre marine life park featuring Shamu, the killer whale, new attractions, shows, marine habitats, aquariums. 500 SeaWorld Dr. San Diego, CA 92109, (619) 226-3901. Single day admission: Ages 10 and over-$61, Ages 3-9-$51.
San Diego Museum Council (www.sandiegomuseumcouncil.org): consists of 27 member institutions in the county of San Diego reflecting a diverse range of educational, cultural and entertaining collections. San Diego's rich interest in arts and culture is showcased throughout the county in some 90 museums. San Diego Museum Council P.O. Box 3836 San Diego, CA 92163, (619) 276-0101
The La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art: 7966 Herschel Ave. Suite A La Jolla, CA 92037, (619) 236-1212.
San Diego Natural History Museum (www.sdnhm.org): 1788 El Prado San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 232-3821. Open daily 10 am-5 pm. Admission: Adults-$13, Seniors-$11, Active Military, Youth, and Students-$8, Children-$7.
Museum of Man (www.museumofman.org): 1350 El Prado Balboa Park San Diego, California 92101, (619) 239-2001. Open daily 10 am-4:30 pm. Admission: Adults-$10, Seniors, Youth, and Active Military-$7.50.
Maritime Museum of San Diego (www.sdmaritime.com): 1492 North Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 234-9153. Open 365 days a year, daily 9 am-8pm. Admission: Adults-$14, Seniors and Active Military-$11, Children-$8.