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Visit the Birthplace of Modern California

San Diego is both one of America’s largest cities and also one of its most beautiful. Situated immediately adjacent to the Mexican border, this city is known for its gorgeous all year round climate, deep water harbour and exceptional natural sights. Truly California at it’s very best.

As a city, San Diego is known throughout the United States for Balboa Park – an extraordinary 1,200 acre cultural recreation area home to no less than 19 museums, countless walking trails and sculpted gardens, several theatres and – of course – the globally famous San Diego Zoo. It is rare for such a huge attraction to dominate a city of this size, but Balboa Park really is quite the destination.

For lovers of culture, the park’s museums are worth a trip to the city on their own given they cover topics as diverse as Air & Space, Model Railroads and Latino culture. Whilst all 19 are fascinating, many visitors come specifically to see the Park’s most popular museums including the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Museum of Photographic Arts. There is also a museum dedicated to Veterans where people gather to pay their respects.

Of course, Balboa Park is best known as the location of 100 acre San Diego Zoo – one of the world’s most celebrated zoological collections featuring a staggering 3,700 animal exhibits, including the extremely rare Giant Panda. Whilst zoos are naturally child friendly, San Diego Zoo also includes a specific children’s exhibit.

Continuing the animal theme, the city is also home to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido where visitors can experience wild animals up close and personal in a safe environment. For even more animal based fun, visitors to the city can take in Sea World San Diego – an enormous oceanarium, animal theme and marine mammal park which is home to a truly extraordinary collection of sea creatures, many of which assist in demonstrations and shows throughout the day.

Naturally, there is much more to San Diego than simply parks and zoos. As you will expect from any large city, San Diego’s downtown areas are teeming with high end shopping malls and shopping districts, as well as countless places to wine and dine or simply catch a quick bite to eat. The city’s proximity to Mexico also means that visitors are free to explore the cultural melting pot that is Southern California through the fabulous mix of neighbourhoods, historical sites and independent museums that are dotted across San Diego – a fantastic way to spend a day, simply losing yourself in the city and seeing what you can find.

Guide to Exploring San Diego County

Top Hotel Deals

See all 1,453 Hotels in San Diego County
The Sofia Hotel

The Sofia Hotel

150 W Broadway, San Diego
of 5, from 2,750 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

In the heart of downtown San Diego, this historic boutique hotel is 2 blocks from Horton Plaza, 4 blocks from the Gaslamp Quarter, and 6 blocks from the San Diego Convention Center and the cruise ship terminal.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

1 Market Pl, San Diego
of 5, from 3,215 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This expansive highrise hotel towers over San Diego Bay next to the Seaport Village retail complex, 1 block from the convention center, and 2 blocks from the historic Gaslamp Quarter.

Wyndham San Diego Bayside

Wyndham San Diego Bayside

1355 N Harbor Drive, San Diego
of 5, from 2,606 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Just west of the downtown core, this San Diego hotel is across the street from the cruise ship terminal, Coronado ferry, and the Maritime Museum. The Gaslamp Quarter and Petco Park are within 1.5 miles.

Wyndham Garden San Diego Near SeaWorld

Wyndham Garden San Diego Near SeaWorld

3737 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego
of 5, from 1,336 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in San Diego, this family-friendly hotel is 1 mile from SeaWorld Adventure Park and 2 miles from Mission Beach. Belmont Park is 2.4 miles away.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

207 5th Ave, San Diego
of 5, from 1,084 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

The Hard Rock Hotel is in the center of San Diego's bustling Gaslamp Quarter, with restaurants, bars, and nightlife. The San Diego Convention Center is across the street and PETCO Park is a block away.

Best Western Seven Seas

Best Western Seven Seas

411 Hotel Circle South, San Diego
of 5, from 2,560 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Adjacent to I-8, this budget-friendly hotel is within 6 miles of 2 sports stadiums, the Gaslamp Quarter, the convention center, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, shopping malls, Fashion Valley & Mission Valley.

Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle Near SeaWorld

Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle Near SeaWorld

543 Hotel Circle S, San Diego
of 5, from 2,665 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in San Diego's Mission Valley corridor just off I-8, this San Diego hotel is a half-mile from 2 shopping centers, and within 5 miles of SeaWorld, downtown, Balboa Park, and the San Diego Zoo.

Beachfront Only Vacation Rentals

Beachfront Only Vacation Rentals

1821 South Coast Highway, Oceanside
of 5, from 2 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Offering direct access to the beach, this Oceanside vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of California Surf Museum, Carlsbad State Beach, and Oceanside Pier. Oceanside Harbor and Flower Fields of Carlsbad are also within 6 mi (10 km).

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