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Overview to San Diego: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

The City Skyline at Sunset

San Diego is markedly less self-conscious and obviously ‘Californian’ than its neighbor Los Angeles. And like many American cities, it’s a laidback place that likes to have a pretty seriously good time, whatever it's doing!

San Diego boasts some excellent beaches, most notably at Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. There’s also great surfing at Windansea Beach and Tourmaline Surfing Park (strictly set aside for surfers) and a vibrant beach culture to match.

The Embarcadero, Ocean Beach, Seaport Village and, particularly Newport Street with its fast-food joints and surfing shops, all have everything you’d associate with lazy days hanging around on the beach.

The Gaslamp District is the city’s old core which, though perhaps a little twee, is an attractive place for an evening stroll. As the evening advances, it’s also got some excellent live music bars and comfortable cafés, as well as some of the better dining options in the city.

But it’s by no means an empty, hedonistic place: San Diego is a city that takes its culture seriously, too. Downtown, there’s an excellent Museum of Contemporary Art (on Kettner Blvd) and the Maritime Museum on the Bayfront.

And then there’s Balboa Park, a complex of museums rivaled only by the Smithsonian in Washington. To the northeast of the city center, the range runs from the Natural History Museum to the (slightly more unusual and eclectic) Museum of Man.

In amongst its other lures, San Diego also has a couple of other prominent attractions: it's home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo and, of course, SeaWorld - an expensive but (for most, at least) worthwhile excursion. 

All in all, it’s quite hard to pin down exactly what the city’s main draw is yet, right across its eight separate districts, San Diego has more than enough things of interest to keep even the most world-weary traveler happy.