San Diego Travel Guide
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ATTRACTIONS

San Diego is a major tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. Among the many attractions are its beaches, and climate, and deserts.

San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California is one of the largest, most progressive zoos in the world. It is a private zoo, owned and maintained by the nonprofit Zoological Society of San Diego.
The Zoo advertises high-profile animal exhibits like its panda, polar bear, tiger and gorilla exhibits in the same breathless way that nearby amusement parks (such as Disneyland) tout roller coasters. It uses the profits from its attractions to maintain the animals and support zoological education, science and conservation. For example, it maintains the Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), literally the last chance for many species.
The cool, sunny maritime climate is well suited to many plants and animals. Besides an extensive collection of birds, reptiles and mammals, it also maintains its grounds as an arboretum, with a rare plant collection. As part of its gardening effort, it raises some rare animal foods. For example, the Zoo raises bamboo for the pandas on long-term loan from China, and it maintains eucalyptus trees to feed its koalas.

San Diego Wild Animal Park
The San Diego Wild Animal Park is one of the main tourist attractions of San Diego and Southern California. It houses a variety of wild and endangered animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The park is in a semi-arid environment and one of its most notable features is its large, natural looking enclosures for the animals. The enclosures hold such animals as cheetahs, gazelles, lions, giraffes, hippos, zebras, Przewalski's horses, rhinos, and gorillas. The park is also noted for its California condor breeding program, possibly the most successful program in the country.

Mission Bay Park
Mission Bay Park is a recreational park south of the Pacific Beach community of San Diego, California. Wakeboarding, Jet Skiing, and camping are popular on the bay. With miles of light color sandy beaches and an equally long pedestrian path, it is equally suitable for cycling, jogging or sunbathing.

Old Town
The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park recreates life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. San Diego became California's first Spanish settlement when a mission and fort were established in 1769. Five original adobes are part of the complex, which includes shops, restaurants and a museum. Other historic buildings include a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, San Diego's first newspaper office, and a stable with a carriage collection.

SeaWorld
SeaWorld is a chain of theme parks in the United States, with operations in Orlando, Florida, San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas. The parks feature killer whale, sea lion and dolphin shows and zoological displays featuring various other marine animals. The parks' icon is Shamu the killer whale.
SeaWorld parks also feature a variety of thrill rides, including roller coasters like Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando and The Steel Eel at SeaWorld San Antonio. Journey to Atlantis, a combination roller coaster and splashdown ride, can be found at both SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego. The parks are owned by Busch Entertainment Corp., the family entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch, which is best known for brewing beer but also owns nine theme parks. One of the biggest attractions is the Shark Encounter, in which guests are carried through a submerged acrylic tube into the sharks' tank.

Torrey Pines Golf Course
Torrey Pines Golf Course is a public golf course owned by the city of San Diego, California. It sits on the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the community of La Jolla south of Torrey Pines State Reserve. It has two famous golf courses, the North Course and the South Course. The South Course was designed by William F. Bell and redesigned by Rees Jones in 2001. It is now a par 72 course at 7,607 yards in length from the back tees.

Torrey Pines State Reserve
Torrey Pines State Reserve is located within San Diego, California city limits and yet remains one of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast. Two thousand acres (8 km²) of land are as they were before San Diego was developed—with the chaparral plant community, the rare Torrey Pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches, and a lagoon that is vital to migrating seabirds. There are eight miles of trails, a visitor center, and guided nature walks on weekends and holidays.

Gaslamp Quarter
The Gaslamp Quarter is a historic section of downtown San Diego, California. The area is named for the gas lamps that line the streets and still provide nighttime lighting. The district's aging buildings are Victorian Era-themed, but are still in use. The Quarter is home to many popular attractions, including numerous shops, nightclubs, and PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

Petco Park
PETCO Park is an open-air stadium in downtown San Diego, California. Opened in 2004, it replaced Qualcomm Stadium as the home park of the San Diego Padres. The stadium is named after the pet food retailer PETCO, which paid for the naming rights. The construction cost of over $450 million was partially funded by the San Diego.

Qualcomm Stadium
Qualcomm Stadium, formerly known as San Diego Stadium and Jack Murphy Stadium, is a multiple-use stadium in San Diego, California. It is the current home of the San Diego Chargers of the NFL, the San Diego State University Aztecs college football team and hosts the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl college football game every December. Until 2003, it served as the home of the San Diego Padres in Major League Baseball. The stadium has hosted three Super Bowl games — Super Bowl XXII in 1988, Super Bowl XXXII ten years later, and Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. In the early 1960’s, local sportswriter Jack Murphy, the brother of New York Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy, began to build up support for a multipurpose stadium for San Diego. In November of 1965, a $27 million bond was passed allowing construction to begin on a stadium. Construction on the stadium began one month later. When completed, the facility was named San Diego Stadium.

Balboa Park
Balboa Park is a 1,200 acres (4.9 km²) urban cultural park in San Diego, California. Unlike some city parks, such as New York's Central Park, which is mostly free of buildings in favor of open space and recreational fields, Balboa Park is a cultural complex. Besides open areas and natural vegetation, it contains a variety of cultural attractions including museums, theaters, gardens, shops and restaurants as well as the world-renowned San Diego Zoo.

Little Italy
Little Italy is a a San Diego neighborhood just north of downtown. There has recently been a great deal of loft and condo construction in that area, and it is close to the San Diego downtown Santa Fe Train Depot. In the earlier part of the 20th century, Little Italy was a home to many of the Italian and Portuguese fishermen that sailed from San Diego bay in search of tuna and other deep-sea sport- and commercial catches. With the construction of Interstate 5 through the middle of the area in the early 1970's, the neighborhood was disrupted, but has seen a recent renaissance as a restaurant district specializing (obviously) in Italian food and memorabilia. Close to many businesses and new residences, Little Italy is an increasingly popular destination for those in town on vacation, or business people out for lunch. The restaurants stay busy around noon and after 5 on most weekdays, but the neighborhood is otherwise quiet, and well maintained by a neighborhood organization that looks after trash collection, decorations, and special events. The Little Italy board also maintains esthetic standards on new construction, mandating at least pseudo-mediterranean architecture.

Mission Beach Roller Coaster
The Mission Beach Roller Coaster, known as the Giant Dipper, is a wooden roller coaster, built in 1925. The Giant Dipper is in Belmont Park, right on Mission Beach in San Diego.

Mission San Diego de Alcala
Mission San Diego de Alcalá was founded on July 16, 1769 in what is now the city of San Diego, California. It was founded by Father Junípero Serra. It was the first mission in the 21-mission chain in Alta California, and today known as the "Mother of the Alta California Missions" and "California's First Church." It was named for Saint Didacus of Alcalá. Due to the mistreatment of the local Kumeyaay (Diegueños), the locals rebelled against Spanish rule, and attacked the mission on November 5, 1775. Father Luis Jayme, who had been left behind to run the mission while Father Serra moved on to found other missions, was killed. Peace eventually settled over the area, and by 1797, there were approximately 1,400 Kumeyaay living in the vicinity of the mission. Wheat, corn, wine grapes, barley, beans, cattle, horses, and sheep were the major crops of the Spanish mission. In 1795 a system of aqueducts was begun to bring water to the fields and the mission. After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, it decided that it was not profitable to maintain the missions. The missions were offered for sale to the natives, who were unable to come up with the price, so the mission's property was broken up into ranchos and sold to Mexican citizens. In 1846 the Mission San Diego de Alcalá was given to Santiago Arguello. When the United States took over California, the mission was used by the military from 1846 to 1862. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act declaring that all of the missions would become the property of the Catholic Church and have remained so since that time.
When the Mission San Diego de Alcalá was granted back to the Church, it was in ruins. In the 1880s Father Anthony Ubach began to restore the old mission buildings. He died in 1907, however, and the restoration stopped until 1931. In 1941 the mission once again became a parish church. In 1976, Pope Paul VI designated the mission church as a Minor Basilica. The mission is still an active parish serving San Diego.

Star of India
Star of India was built in 1863 as Euterpe, a full-rigged iron ship in Ramsey, Isle of Man. After a full career, Euterpe was purchased in 1901 by the Alaska Packers Association, who rerigged her as a barque. In 1902, she began sailing from Oakland, California to the Bering Sea each spring, returning each fall with holds full of canned salmon. In 1906, the Association changed her name to be consistent with the rest of their fleet, and Euterpe became Star of India.

USS Midway

USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41) was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of World War II. Active in the Vietnam War, as of 2004 she is a museum ship in San Diego, California.

Mount Soledad
Mount Soledad is a prominent landmark in the city of San Diego, California. The 822-foot-tall hill lies between Interstate 5 to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is mostly within the community of La Jolla where the northern and eastern slopes form a sharp escarpment along the Rose Canyon Fault. The community of Pacific Beach is on the gentler southern slope. There are several radio and television transmitters located on the summit including television channels 8 and 10, the CBS and ABC affiliates respectively. Commercial aircraft approaching San Diego from the direction of Los Angeles often use Mt. Soledad as their point to start the downwind leg of their approach to San Diego International Airport.
Just east of the summit of Mt. Soledad is a Korean War Memorial with a 43-foot-tall cross as its centerpiece. The City of San Diego was the target of a lawsuit in 1989 charging that the presence of the cross violated the California Constitution.

Point Loma
Point Loma is a scenic hill that sits atop San Diego Bay. Point Loma's well known landmark is the Cabrillo National Monument, named after Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo of Spain, the first European explorer to discover San Diego Bay. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is part of the monument, where visitors tour the historic lighthouse that guided ships through the San Diego Bay from 1855 to 1891.

Sports Venues
Jack Murphy Field at Qualcomm Stadium (Football & Soccer)
Petco Park (Baseball)
iPayOne Center (Formerly the San Diego Sports Arena) (Hockey, Arena Football, & Basketball)
Cox Arena at Aztec Bowl (Basketball)
Tony Gwynn Stadium (Baseball)

 

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