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San Diego Travel Guide


  San Diego, California

San Diego, CaliforniaSan Diego is a city located in the southwestern corner of the state of California and the southwestern corner of the continental United States. It is the county seat of San Diego County, California. The city is noted for its temperate climate and beautiful beaches. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 1,223,400. The city is the second largest in California and the seventh largest in the United States.

San Diego is the home of numerous military facilities including Navy ports and Marine bases. It is the home port of the largest naval fleet in the world, including three Navy supercarriers, the USS John C. Stennis, the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan, five amphibs, several nuclear submarines, and numerous smaller ships. One of the United States Marine Corps' two Recruit Depots is located here. Several Navy vessels have been named USS San Diego in honor of the city.

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History of San Diego

San Diego, CaliforniaThe area has long been inhabited by the Kumeyaay people. The first European to visit the region was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, sailing for Spain, in 1542. He named it San Miguel. The San Diego Bay and the area of present day San Diego were given their present names by Sebastian Vizcaino when he was mapping the coastline of Alta California for Spain in 1602. The explorers camped near a Native American village called "Nipaguay" and celebrated Mass in honor of San (or Saint) Diego de Alcala (Saint Didicus of Alcala). California was then part of the colony of New Spain.

In 1769, Gaspar de Portolá and his expedition founded a presidio (or military post) and on Sunday July 16, Franciscan Fathers Junípero Serra, Juan Viscaino and Fernando Parron raised and blessed a cross, establishing the first mission in Upper California, Mission San Diego de Alcala. Colonists began arriving in 1774, and the following year, 1775 the native people rebelled. They killed the priest and two others, and burned the mission. Father Serra organized the rebuilding and two years later a more fire-proof adobe structure was started. By 1797 the mission had become the largest in California, with over 1,400 natives associated with it.

In 1822, New Spain became Mexico. The governor of Alta California and Baja California moved the capitol to San Diego from Monterey. The mission was secularized in 1834 and 432 persons petitioned Governor José Figueroa to form a town, and Commandant Santiago Arguello endorsed it. Juan Maria Osuna was elected the first alcalde (or mayor), winning over Pio Pico in the 13 ballots cast. However the population of the town shrank to little over a hundred persons, and by the late 1830s it lost its township until the province of Alta California became part of the United States of America in 1850 following the Mexican-American War. The village was designated the seat of the newly designated "San Diego County" and incorporated as a city.

In 1885, San Diego was linked to the rest of the nation by railroad. San Diego was reincorporated as a city in 1886.

Significant U.S. Naval presence began in 1907 with the establishment of the Navy Coaling Station.

San Diego hosted two World's Fairs, the Panama-California Exposition in 1915 and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935.

Since World War II, the military has played a leading role in the local economy. Following the end of the Cold War the military presence has diminished considerably. San Diego has since become a center of the emerging biotech industry and is home to telecommunications giant Qualcomm.

Because of its proximity to the southern states and the strong military presence, San Diego is well-known for a political atmosphere that is somewhat more conservative than California's other coastal cities. However, many of the cities in the Central Valley are far more conservative, like Bakersfield.


San Diego Attractions

San Diego is a major tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. Noted San Diego tourist attractions include:

  • San Diego, CA San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Wild Animal Park
  • Mission Bay
  • Old Town
  • SeaWorld
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Petco Park
  • Qualcomm Stadium
  • Balboa Park *
  • La Casa de Estudillo *
  • Hotel del Coronado *
  • Mission Beach Roller Coaster *
  • Mission San Diego de Alcala *
  • Old Mission Dam *
  • San Diego Presidio *
  • Star of India, barque sailing ship *
  • Berkeley, ferry boat *
  • USS Midway, aircraft carrier museum
  • * National Historic Landmark
  • Mt. Soledad Veteran's Memorial*
  • San Diego is about two and a half hours south of Los Angeles and about half an hour north of Tijuana, Mexico.


San Diego Geography


San Diego is located at 32°46'46" North, 117°8'47" West (32.779541, -117.146344)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 963.6 km² (372.0 mi²). 840.0 km² (324.3 mi²) of it is land and 123.5 km² (47.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 12.82% water.

The city's borders are very irregularly shaped because of the absorption of many suburbs into the city limits.

San Diego Demographics (2000 census)

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 1,223,400 people, 450,691 households, and 271,315 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,456.4/km² (3,771.9/mi²). There are 469,689 housing units at an average density of 559.1/km² (1,448.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 60.18% White, 7.86% African American, 0.62% Native American, 13.65% Asian, 0.48% Pacific Islander, 12.39% from other races, and 4.83% from two or more races. 25.40% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 450,691 households out of which 30.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% are married couples living together, 11.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% are non-families. 28.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.30.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 101.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 100.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $45,733, and the median income for a family is $53,060. Males have a median income of $36,984 versus $31,076 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,609. 14.6% of the population and 10.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.0% of those under the age of 18 and 7.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

San Diego Education

  • Colleges and universities
  • University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • San Diego State University (SDSU)
  • University of San Diego (USD) (Roman Catholic)
  • Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) (Nazarene)
  • Alliant International University (AIU)
  • New School of Architecture & Design (NSAD)

San Diego Notable Secondary Schools

  • The Bishop's School
  • Francis Parker School
  • Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High Charter School
  • La Jolla Country Day School
  • The Academy of Our Lady of Peace
  • St. Augustine High School

San Diego Sports Teams

San Diego Airports

San Diego International Airport, a.k.a. Lindbergh International Airport or Lindbergh Field

San Diego Localities

  • Scripps PierLa Jolla
  • Mission Beach
  • Pacific Beach
  • Ocean Beach
  • Miramar
  • Mira Mesa
  • Rancho Bernardo
  • Mission Valley
  • Poway
  • Scripps Ranch
  • University Towne Center


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