7 Top attractions in San Diego

San Diego is one of the earliest towns in California and is located not far from the Mexico border. Founded in 1769, the enchanting town lures hundreds and millions of visitors every year because of its pleasant climate, plenty of sunshine and enchanting natural beauty. The city boasts of Spanish Colonial-style architecture as well as museums and gardens. There are miles and miles of beaches and a lot to do and see in San Diego. Whether one is on a family holiday or traveling solo or are looking for a romantic getaway, the town will not disappoint you. There is never any shortage of music festivals, road races and sporting events in San Diego. Look for San Diego beachfront rentals for a fantastic and affordable stay and enjoy easy access to many of the top sites and attractions in town.

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[Photo courtesy of pixabay/pexels.com]

Here are some of the prime tourist attractions in San Diego.

Take a tour of USS Midway Aircraft Carrier

San Diego is the perfect place if looking for military ties. The 972-foot-long aircraft carrier is a major tourist attraction and makes sure that you just don’t skip this one. The tour appeals to visitors of all ages and genders. The USS Midway was the longest-serving U.S. Navy carrier and remained the largest ship in the world from 1945 to 1955. The impressive ship could carry more than 4,000 people. Apart from the aircraft carrier, there are other aircraft on display.

Explore the Balboa Park

The 1,400-acre site of the Balboa Park encompasses museums, gardens, and historical buildings. With plenty of green space, it is easy to note the predominant architecture is Spanish-style within the natural surroundings. Some of the highlights of the place include the famous San Diego Zoo, the Museum of Natural History and the San Diego Museum of Art. Balboa Park was originally constructed for temporary use, and today it has become the city’s most-loved park. There are trees, lawns, and fountains and one can easily find several picture-perfect spots to capture in their camera. Individuals of all ages and interests enjoy being in the park. One could ride a bike, take a walk, ride a carousel or see a Shakespeare play.

Go to the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo first showcased its animals in 1916. It was a Kodiak bear named Caesar. Today, the zoo has come a long way and topped the lists of the zoos. The animals here are kept in the most natural settings possible. The Giant Pandas are the most popular inhabitants of the zoo. Other than that, one can see warty pigs, koalas, albino boa constrictor and California Condors. The 100 acres of the zoo also houses more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals. There are more than 700,000 exotic plants in its prominent botanical collection.

Visit La Jolla, the prime beach town

La Jolla means “the jewel” in Spanish, and as one of the most upscale prime beach town in San Diego, the location of the beach indeed makes it shine like a gem among the beaches. Visitors can enjoy lovely ocean views and dine at excellent restaurants. They can kayak, surf, or tide pool-hop. Or, one could simply walk along the cliffs and overlook the waters. Backed by the steep slopes and surrounded on three sides by the sea, you will simply get captivated by La Jolla’s natural beauty. Enjoy that abundance of activities, museums and art galleries, and a slew of outdoor activities. Families can picnic, and the beautiful beaches are the biggest draw for locals and visitors.

Sky View of City during Sun Set

[Photo courtesy of picjumbo.com/pexels.com]

Stroll around the Seaport Village

Seaport Village is indeed a delightful place to spend an afternoon. The village is situated right on the waterfront and is one of the city’s must-sees. The area boasts of unique shops and restaurants, and one can enjoy their food at picnic tables, benches, and waterfront patios that can be found throughout the area. Enjoy the outdoor performances that are held regularly in the afternoons. Take the stroll along the waterfront of the Seaport Village, which has fun-filled pleasures for the whole family. There are free shopping shuttles that pick up at the cruise ship terminal and drops off on Harbor Drive. The waterfront shopping and entertainment complex is spread across 14 acres and is enough to keep one busy for hours.

The Coronado island

Coronado is actually a peninsula and is a narrow strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Bay. Its beaches are named among the best in the country, and it is indeed an enjoyable experience to be in the lively little downtown. Coronado Walking Tour is indeed one of the best things one could do in San Diego. Coronado Cruise Bike Tour is both fun and adventurous as it takes you along many picturesque spots. Another fun activity is to go for stand-up paddle boarding is, which is the newest and most fun ways to enjoy Coronado Island. You can also tour the island on a Segway.

San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art collection covers a broad spectrum of works from around the world. In fact, there are artworks that date back to 7,000 years ago. The architecture of the museum with finely-chiseled terracotta and silversmith work is based on Platero style. Artworks from famous Spanish painters adorn the façade. One also gets to see art from the Americas as well as Asian art and European art.

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Finding Culture In California

When we travel, many of us seek a little culture. The whole purpose of going away is to experience new things. Yet, all too often, we miss the most striking features of our destinations. This is especially the case with areas such as California. Here, people are usually more concerned with soaking up the sun or spending time at Disney.

The good news is, if you are after culture in California, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There’s a multitude of cultural activities to keep you busy. If you can drag yourself away from Disneyland, you’ll be amazed by what you see. To give you an idea, we’re going to look at the what, where, and how of Californian culture.

What to see?

Admittedly, it doesn’t get much better visually than Disney. But, if culture is your aim, it’s worth taking your eyes away from the excitement. First on your list should, of course, be the Hollywood sign. Located in Los Angeles, this is a must-see if you’re in the vicinity. In fact, you could go as far as to say that this is the most culturally iconic piece of Californian history. Erected in 1923, this has been the guiding light for some of the most iconic figures in the movies. The sign led them to their dreams, so let it lead you to yours.

If architecture is more your thing, take a trip to the astounding Hearst Castle in San Simeon instead. This 20th-century historical landmark is a sight well worth seeing. Opt for a guided tour to get the full grasp of what life was like in 1865. It’ll be an experience straight from the history books.

Where to stay?

There are also some fantastic cultural options for accommodation. Why not stay in San Diego’s 1906 Lodge for a little history? While the building has now been restored, it’s easy to see what life would’ve been like. Or, you could opt for somewhere like the Hotel Royal Long Beach California. Dating back to 1923, the hotel still has its art decor roots, providing both a historical and artistic experience for anyone who stays.

If history doesn’t appeal, why not opt to stay in a local Airbnb? When it comes to culture, this is always a safe bet. If you take time choosing, you can ensure you end up in a home owned by locals. What better way to get a real sense of Californian Culture?

How to eat?

When getting cultural, it’s always best to eat what the locals do. And, given that Californians eat more seafood per capita than the rest of America, it’s worth heading somewhere like Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach.

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Don’t fear if you can’t stomach eating seafood, though. Fast food is also big business. Why not head somewhere like El Segundo’s Hopdoddy Burger? Here, you’re sure to have a retro burger experience which you won’t forget in a hurry. Whatever you choose, remember that, when in California, it’s worth doing as the Californians do!

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5 of America’s Best Attractions for Local Residents

Some of the best places to live in America are close to world-famous attractions. The same cities that make great places to raise a family attract millions of tourists with their beaches, theme parks and museums. Fortunately, living near a popular attraction is also the easiest and cheapest way to take advantage of it. Here are five top American attractions that residents can enjoy in a way that no tourist ever could:

Disney World, Florida

A standard Disney World seven-day ticket can set you back a jaw-dropping $450. A Premium Annual Pass, on the other hand, costs less than $800 per year. For that you get unlimited access to all four Florida theme parks, and to Disney World’s two water parks. You also get free parking, discounts in shops and restaurants and access to Disney golf courses.

Disney World

[Image source Wikipedia]

Denali National Park, Alaska

It costs $10 per person to get into the Denali National Park, which is located in Alaska and includes Mt. McKinley. Visitors can see caribou, wolves, grizzly bears and other wild animals roaming a snowy wilderness landscape. If you live in the area, you can take advantage of a $40 annual pass. The pass doesn’t just provide year-round access for one person; it provides year-round access for an additional three adults. Permanent US residents aged 62 or over can get a lifetime Senior Pass for the price of a standard ticket.

Denali National Park, Alaska

[Image source Wikipedia]

Universal Studios Hollywood, California

A single-day ticket for Universal Studios Hollywood costs more than $80. Locals can purchase a 12-month Premium Star Pass for around $160, complete with free parking and in-park food and merchandise discounts. You need only spend two days in the theme park to make your purchase worthwhile, though if you live in the local area it’s likely that you’ll want to go much more often.

Universal Studios Hollywood, California

[Image source Wikipedia]

SeaWorld San Diego, California

Also in California, SeaWorld San Diego is another attraction that offers a great deal for local residents. Pass-holders get discounts and free parking, as well as cut-price tickets for other SeaWorld attractions including Aquatica water parks and Discovery Cove. A single SeaWorld ticket costs more than $80, and a two-year Platinum Pass costs just a little under $400 though there are a range of cheaper annual memberships starting at $145. Meanwhile, residents can also purchase the SeaWorld Fun Card which comes without in-park discounts but gives a year of unlimited entry for the price of one standard ticket.

SeaWorld San Diego, California

[Image source Wikipedia]

The American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, New York

As one of America’s biggest and best museums, the American Museum of Natural History has plenty for residents to see. General museum tickets cost a little over $20, and additional exhibitions cost extra, whilst annual memberships start at $105 and include an extensive list of benefits. Family memberships reduce costs even further for families living in New York.

The American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, New York

[Image source obsidianportal]

If you’re looking for places to live in America, then you might not want to base your decision on which attractions you’ll find nearby, though there are probably thousands of Disney fans that would love to spend every day in one of the Disney parks. Still, it’s nice to know that big attractions can provide great deals for residents that live in tourist hot spots.

Why not comment below, and tell us about your favourite American attractions? Do you live close to a popular theme park, or a museum that sells season passes? Would you move house to be closer to your favourite tourist attraction?

David Wilson writes for AreaVibes, the specialists in the best places to live in the USA.

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