Located on California’s southwestern shore, San Diego was the site the first European settlement in America. In the 1800s, the city became Mexican territory and later, after the Mexican-American War, became part of America. Once a sleepy Navy town, San Diego is now known as a major player in the biotechnology field. San Diego’s weather is enjoyable year-round as summer temperatures don’t get too high and winter weather doesn’t get too cold. With a thriving nightlife and the laidback attitude typically associated with coastal California cities, San Diego is a popular tourist destination.

What to Do

San Diego is home to 70 miles of some of the best beaches in California. Spend a day on Coronado Island and visit the historic Hotel Del Coronado, or rent a bicycle and enjoy the atmosphere at the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach boardwalk. As the sun sets, grab some s’mores supplies and claim a bonfire ring at Mission Beach. Outdoorsy types will enjoy Balboa Park’s hiking trails, gardens and museums. For some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and nightlife, head downtown to the Gaslamp Quarter. San Diego is also home to some of the best zoos in the world. Visitors will enjoy a day meeting giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo, exploring African wildlife at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park or feeding dolphins at Sea World.

Where to Stay

San Diego offers luxury, historic, boutique and budget accommodations. History buffs will enjoy a stay at the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, while budget chains are scattered throughout the city. Bed and breakfasts are available for romantic weekend getaways, and those on a tight budget can book a dorm bed at one of San Diego’s hostels.

Getting There

San Diego is about 30 minutes from the Mexican-American border and about two hours south of Los Angeles. Interstate 5 runs from L.A. to San Diego, and the city is also accessible via San Diego International Airport.