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.
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.
If you wish to enjoy power-packed live music then the Music Box is your place to be. This fantastic club has a very busy calender with performers like Robert DeLong, Julieta Venegas, David Cook and Ginuwine entertaining local music fans. The venue is simply impressive with a massive LED screen that gives you a great view of the stage and the artwork that surrounds this place puts you in the right mood for the evening that is yet to follow. There is a bar on site that has all the necessary arsenal to keep you in high spirits throughout the evening. Music Box also has VIP rooms along with an intimate lounge for after-show drinks.
Plush as it may be, The Delta Room of House of Blues also exudes a cozy attitude. Serving as a venue for various social gatherings and receptions, this hundred to two hundred capacity hall flaunts a beautifully done interior that speaks of great taste. Comfortable seatings and a fireplace add up to the elegance factor. Apart from that, Delta Room is also well equipped on the technical front and serves as a complimentary venue to Music Hall, for here arrangements are made for the guests to enjoy live performances taking place in the latter through state-of-the-art live screening system. Setting a perfect balance between style and technology, The Delta Room is a venue to watch-out.
Originally built in 1924, the historic Balboa Theater has now been beautifully restored to its former glory. The place, originally operating as a movie theater was shut down once but was opened again to the public in January 2008. If you are a lover of beautiful architecture and the performing arts, this place will surely charm you. The theater building is heavily influenced by the Spanish Baroque style of architecture. A number of concerts and live performances are held at this 1399-seater theater.