The United States' largest urban cultural park is also one of the world's most scenic, with a dazzling array of museums, entertainment venues, botanical gardens and architectural landmarks. The world-renowned San Diego Zoo is just one of the many treasures nestled within the verdant expanse of this 1,200-acre (490-hectare) park, set aside as a reserve for public use as early as 1835. The 1915-16 Panama-California Expo and the 1935–36 California Pacific International Expo left behind a wealth of architectural jewels strewn across the park, including the California Building fashioned after the typical design of a Spanish Colonial Church and now home to the San Diego Museum of Man. Fifteen museums, award-winning theaters, an antique carousel, a miniature railroad and the Spanish Village Arts Center come together at Balboa Park to celebrate the cultural diversity of the state and its inspiring natural landscape.
A sailor's delight! Relax while a licensed captain takes you on the sail of a lifetime with Sail San Diego. Or for the more adventuresome, you take the helm! Cruise through the blue waters of San Diego Bay and see the city from a whole new perspective. During January and February, you can also board their 'Marine Biologist's' boat to get up close and personal with migrating whales.
The centerpiece of the blissful Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is a prolific destination for adults and children alike. Spread over 99 acres (40 hectares) of diverse landscapes, the zoo is home to an excess of 3,700 fauna that belongs to 650 species or subspecies. Established in the year 1916, it is one of the few non-profit wildlife conservation zones to nurture the highly-endangered Giant Panda. Laden with man-made habitats that emulate various topographies from around the globe, the park's most-visited exhibits include the Monkey Trails, the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, Tiger River, Koalafornia and the Panda Trek. Virtually every nook and corner of the zoo is made conveniently accessible by the beloved Skyfari, a gondola system that spans across nearly 75 percent of the property.
This club is a prime spot to hear new and cutting edge music in San Diego. Bands such as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Alanis Morissette have been among the previous guests. Local bands play here as well, primarily featuring a punk-rock flavor. In addition to music, the club offers pool tables, an enclosed smoking patio, vintage pinball and video games. A stage and dance floor provides plenty of room to dance. Meanwhile, the full bar serves a long list of beverages.
Fun for adults and kids, this museum-on-water is the focal point of San Diego's historic Embarcadero Promenade. Comprised of several painstakingly restored historic ships, it is a tribute to the sea-faring age. One of the ships showcased at Maritime Museum of San Diego is the Star of India (1863), a stunning vision that graces the coastline as the world's oldest actively-sailed, square-rigged ship.
This Landmark-chain art theater is a "landmark" in more ways than one, holding down the center of the block in Kensington Village at the east end of Adams Avenue. From single-night showings of classic films to week-long festivals or premieres, Ken Cinema attracts hordes of movie buffs. The schedule runs the gamut from animation, classic films, to political exposés or erotic art films, all intelligently discussed in the quarterly film schedule, available free outside the box office. It boasts a big old-fashioned screen, balcony seating, and a small lobby.
One of Chula Vista most beloved non-profit institutions, the On Stage Playhouse sits near the intersection of Third Avenue and First Street. An acclaimed non-profit community theater, it has remained operational for almost three decades and is primarily known as a venue for hosting musicals and plays. During the season, the theater hosts a series of 6 performances that are staged between July and June.
Chula Vista has been named one of the best places in the United States to raise a family. The area has plenty of open space to the east and an undeveloped bayside waterfront to the west. No wonder the visitor information center wants to get the word out on this prosperous community dominating the South Bay region. Stop by for pamphlets, maps, event information and general insights into this up-and-coming community.
Located on the Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge, Living Coast Discovery Center is dedicated to teaching kids and adults about Southern California's wildlife. You'll be amazed at their aquarium, which contains Leopard sharks, stingrays, and Moray eels. Enjoy some bird watching or check out the reptile residents of this institution!
Experience the calmness of the water at the Chula Vista Marina. Tucked away in the picturesque South Bay, the marina offers pleasures of boating and enjoying spectacular sunsets by the waters. The marina also features some top-class facilities like pool, waterfront restaurant, fitness center and restrooms.