old Town Trolley Tours quiz challenge

Magnificent beaches, history, art, culture and perfect weather–you’ll be smiling in San Diego.

by: Wendy Vogeley

Seaport Village San Diego San Diego Zoo Balboa Park San Diego

Going to San Diego is like leaving your real life behind and heading to an alternate universe where the people are all warm and so is the sun–where bright smiles and long stretches of sand transcend into cool evenings with cool friends, delicious food and fabulous music. I wanted to visit San Diego all my life and when I finally got there I never wanted to leave! There’s so much natural beauty, culture and art and so many fun things to do. Not to mention the fact that the weather is absolutely perfect. And there’s something that happens to you after just a day or two of being there–it’s like a calm, easy feeling comes over you and you can’t help but relax.

If you’re planning on going to San Diego, be sure to see Coronado Island. This is a tiny little island that is connected to San Diego by the San Diego-Cornoado bridge (catchy name) and overlooks the magnificent San Diego Bay. The Coronado Ferry Landing is especially charming–the aroma of fresh seafood makes your mouth water as you walk along the tree-lined streets past a variety of restaurants. There’s art galleries, antique stores and really unique shops in Coronado, too–I got a hand-painted wooden seahorse to hang in my guest bathroom–it’s a constant reminder of the great time I had in San Diego.

The bay is so picturesque, and you can see the Naval Base in the distance as well as the many different types of boats that are traveling in and out of the port. And of course if you are in Coronado you must kick your shoes off and hit the beach. I have never seen such clean, pristine sand! I was planning on just sitting under a tree but got roped into playing volleyball–which I stink at, but it was fun and I met some really nice people.

Take a tour of the area’s most popular attractions, you’ll be glad you did. When the tour stops in Balboa Park, plan on spending the afternoon as you’ll need lots of time to see everything the park has to offer.

Balboa Park was one of my favorite San Diego sightseeing stops because it is like a mega-cultural playground filled with museums, restaurants, theater–and the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ. I was lucky enough to be there on a Sunday when they were having a free concert. The music was fantastic. I’ve never visited such an amazing array of attractions in one place. Some of San Diego’s best museums are within the 1,200 acres, including the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art and about a dozen other ones that are all worth a visit.

And of course, the San Diego Zoo is also within Balboa park. It really beats any zoo I’ve ever been to. The giant panda bears were just hanging around in their trees, I know they are wild animals but they look so adorable I just really wanted to pet one. There are some 4,000 different animals in the San Diego Zoo and what makes it so famous is the diversity of the species that are represented. There’s everything from grizzly bears to kangaroos–giant anteaters to dolphins and duck-billed platypuses and tons more. I’ve been to many different zoos but never have I seen such a broad spectrum of animal habitats. I believe the exotic tropical setting also adds to the uniqueness of the zoo.

If you’re like me and always dreamed of taking a vacation in San Diego–you’re in for the time of your life. There’s really something for everyone–from young children on up. My son’s greatest thrill was to see Petco Park–home of the San Diego Padres. When we went there were no games happening, but he was happy just to get to see the stadium in person.

From historic Old Town San Diego to the glamorous Hotel Del Coronado, you could spend every moment sightseeing and still not see everything that San Diego has to offer. But that’s ok–you’ll have great reasons to come back!

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