San Diego — A Star In The West

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San Diego offers scenic beauty, perhaps the best climate in the world, fine dining, entertainment and great beaches.

Almost everyone in our part of the world has some familiarity with the great city of San Diego. In the 1990s I had the pleasure of living in La Jolla, a suburb, and enjoyed the entire area to the fullest.

It offers scenic beauty, perhaps the best climate in the world, fine dining, entertainment, great beaches and nice people. Almost anything you might desire is available here.

Many refugees from the Valley go to San Diego to escape the hot weather in the summer. I remember when living there almost one tenth of the license plates were from Arizona during July and August.

San Diego is the second largest city in California and the eighth largest in the United States. It claims a population of over 1.3 million and a population of the greater area of some 3 million residents. It offers over 65 miles of beaches and many family oriented attractions.

One of the more interesting locations is Balboa Park, the largest city park in America that has 15 museums, numerous art galleries, beautiful gardens, the Globe Theatre and the famous zoo.

Just outside San Diego you can hike, camp, fish, observe wildlife and more.

Year-round you can surf, go boating, sailing and swimming. It’s all here.

If you are into beaches, consider La Jolla Reefs, Mission Bay and beach, Ocean Beach, Coronado Municipal Beach, Solana Beach, Del Mar Beaches, Pacific Beach, Point Loma Beaches and Silver Strand State Beach. For many in San Diego, beaches are a way of life. They simply live around and spend much of their time on the beach.

There is much for children too. Take a drive north to Carlsbad to LEGO theme park. Here, children from ages 2 through 12 will have more than 50 shows, rides and exhibits and many provide learning opportunities and creative play as well as entertainment. Popular is the ability for kids to dig for “fossils” at Dino Island, pilot their own Lego-built boats at Skipper School, view life-size dinosaurs from the Coastersaurus ride, or attend “driving school”. Then there is Miniland featuring replicas of famous structures throughout the world.

From Legoland, drive south along the coast on Highway 101 past many wonderful beaches and pull into La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium. The children here can enjoy the touch and learn exhibit of starfish and other sea creatures, the outdoor tide pool, the interesting seahorses and impressive collection of sharks. The family can watch divers descend into a forest of kelp in a 70,000 gallon tank, where they point out various species of fish, feed them, and answer audience questions. The aquarium also has an Explorers Gallery with science displays and interactive features, and a simulator ride with surround sound and computer-generated visuals that mimics an underwater adventure.

In the evening, take yourselves and the youngsters on a Hornblower Cruises San Diego Bay cruise, which will include Coronado Bridge, naval aircraft carriers and other ships, the submarine base and Point Loma.

At different times of the year whale watching boat rides are available. Information about these is available at the docks, near the railroad station, or from the San Diego Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Other attractions:

• A-1 Biplane, Air Combat and Warbird Adventures consisting of 1920’s Biplane Rides, which has thrilled more than 100,000 passengers to date.

• Balloon Adventures by California Dreamin’ with daily flights from Del Mar and Temecula wine country.

• If you are into food, take “A Taste of San Diego” food tour and sample specialties from San Diego Local Hometown Restaurants.

• San Diego Tours provides four new sightseeing tours on vintage Double Decker open-air busses. You can enjoy live narrated information about the city and amazing views from the busses. You can hop-on and hop-off at various points. The bus tours operate hourly during the day. For more information drop into the Visitors Bureau.

Downtown San Diego is only 15 miles from the Mexican border and Tijuana. Now, to re-enter the United States, you will need a passport or passport card. No longer can you simply use a driver’s license.

As discussed, restaurants are all over the area and many are very good. When I lived there, we enjoyed going to the San Diego Chicken Pie Shop. It’s not fancy, but the pies sure are good. It is located at 2633 El Cajon Blvd. Another favorite of the locals is Home Town Buffet in National City at 1135 Highland Ave. Some of the more interesting bars are: Canes Bar and Grill, 3195 Front Walk; D Street Bar and Grill, 485 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas which is a sports bar, and then there are the many bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp area. Try Tavern on the Beach at 1200 Garnet Ave. and the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery at 210 Tenth Ave., as well as W San Diego at 421 West B Street.

There are many motels, hotels and resorts in greater San Diego to suite your taste and budget. I suggest searching the Web for ideas and rates.

These are just a few ideas to help you get around one of my favorite cities in America. Have fun.

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