Visit the Birthplace of Modern California
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.