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 98.84 acres (40 hectares) of diverse landscapes, the zoo is home to an excess of 3,500 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 includes 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.
Near the man-made islands of Mission Bay, this beach runs along Mission Boulevard and boasts a fabulous boardwalk. One of the best places in San Diego to soak up the city's beach lifestyle, this is an unsurpassed area for people watching or building sandcastles. For a faster pace, rent a bike or in-line roller skates or better yet, take a ride on Belmont Park's world-famous wooden roller coaster. Whatever attraction you choose, be prepared for large crowds and limited parking at Mission Beach.
Located right along the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, the USS Midway Museum lends deep insights into naval aviation and one of the important chapters of American history. The museum is home to the iconic USS Midway, which has been one of the country's oldest aircraft carriers. A famed naval museum in the United States, it also shelters an arsenal of other significant carriers, most of which were crafted in Southern California. The museum is complete with simulators, myriad deck exhibits and the stirring Battle of Midway theater. The museum has also been a host to an array of private, media and sporting events.
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.
The San Diego Opera continues its tradition of offering world-class productions. As a theatrical experience, watching plays here is top notch and of particular note is the state-of-the-art Opera House itself. Equipped with a Digitext screen above the stage, the audience can follow along with an English translation. Although it can be argued that opera is as much a sensual exercise as it is intellectual. Whether you understand the words or not, the music, the vocals, and the visuals serving to create a production far greater than the mere sum of its parts.
Located next to the City Hall, this is a popular venue for many concerts and political events. Running for more than 30 years this hall has hosted musical performances by various popular artists like Rolling stones, Pink Floyd and Smokey Robinson, to name a few. It is also used as an election center where you can see live voting and speeches by the candidates. The Golden Hall can comfortably accommodate 4,300 people with the balcony seating giving a totally different view of the stage. The outdoor marquees in the Civic Plaza can help you to find out about the current event.
San Diego's performing arts venue is home to the San Diego Opera and California Ballet. It also hosts several annual community events throughout the year. 'San Diego Theaters,' is non profit organization and they aim to provide the public with world class theater experiences.
Forming an integral part of the city, Downtown San Diego is one location you just cannot miss. The center of the city, Downtown San Diego has attracted tourists and locals alike because of favorable climate throughout the year, fun activities, facilities and amenities and easy access to other parts of the city. Check the downtown website for details and plan your trip to this tourist haven.
This historic venue was built in 1912 and since then has been host to a variety of shows including plays, musicals, comedy shows and concerts. The Spreckles Theatre has been a vaudeville house, a movie palace, and now a theater. This architectural masterpiece is considered as one of the finest theaters in the country.