San Diego, California

Local Details

Learn more about San Diego, California using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes San Diego, California so great!

Current Temperature

  • 81.6°F
  • 27.6°C

City Guide

San Diego is a beautiful city on the Southern California seacoast known for its ideal climate, miles of beaches, and its location on the Mexican border. It has a rich heritage built around sailing and is even home to the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy. It is also well known for its part in the wildlife conservation movement, being home to a SeaWorld theme park and of course the legendary San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park.


San Diego is divided (rather arbitrarily) into eight regions, each of which is subdivided into a number of neighborhoods:


  • Bay Park
  • Bay Ho
  • Carmel Valley
  • Clairemont Mesa
  • Del Mar Heights
  • La Jolla is an upscale beach community that, while technically within the city limits of San Diego, is considered by many to be its own city in many ways.
  • Mission Beach covers the area surrounding Mission Bay, but mainly refers to the westernmost beach that sits between the bay and the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded by the the Pacific Ocean to the west, the 8 Freeway to the south, and the 5 Freeway to the east.
  • Pacific Beach, known locally as PB, is another beach town, directly north of Mission Beach. PB is dominated by Garnet Avenue, a large commercial street that runs from the 5 freeway west to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Torrey Pines
  • University City (the area around the University of California at San Diego)


  • Mira Mesa
  • Sorrento Valley


  • Del Cerro
  • Kearny Mesa
  • Mission Valley
  • Tierrasanta


  • Hillcrest
  • Linda Vista
  • Loma Portal
  • Mission Hills
  • Mission Valley
  • North Park
  • Ocean Beach
  • Old Town
  • Point Loma
  • Sunset Cliffs
  • University Heights


  • Balboa Park
  • Banker's Hill
  • Downtown
  • Columbia
  • Core
  • East Village
  • Gaslamp
  • Little Italy
  • Marina
  • Barrio Logan
  • Golden Hill
  • Logan Heights/Barrio Logan
  • Little Italy
  • South Park


  • City Heights
  • College Area (the area around San Diego State University)
  • Kensington
  • Normal Heights
  • Talmadge


  • Otay Mesa
  • San Ysidro


San Diego was established in 1769 as the first Spanish mission in California.

San Diego is an excellent place to escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby Los Angeles. Public transportation, walking, and bicycle are very prevalent here, making it an ideal place to visit without having to deal with the problems of driving.

Notice all the people in uniform? San Diego is home to the Navy's Pacific Fleet, and is a favorite leave location for sailors.


Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 66 66 66 69 69 72 76 77 77 74 70 66
Nightly lows (°F) 50 51 54 56 60 63 66 67 66 61 54 49
Precipitation (in) 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1

The San Diego area can be an incredible place to visit almost any time of the year. With coastal temperatures around 75 degrees (24°C) most of the time, the weather is ideal. The climate of Southern California is rather complex, however, and temperatures change rapidly as one travels from the coast eastward. In the summer during the day, the temperature might increase as much as one degree Fahrenheit for each mile going east. In the winter, especially at night, eastern areas are usually relatively cooler. Some valleys and other areas have significantly different weather due to terrain and other factors; this is often referred to as "microclimates".

Get in

By plane

San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN) is less than 10 minutes from downtown San Diego. The descent into the airport, passing remarkably close to downtown buildings, can be a bit alarming for first-time visitors. It is served by American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and most other major West Coast carriers. Beware that even discounted coach airfares between San Diego and Los Angeles (about 120 miles/190 km) can cost nearly as much a trip to the east coast.

There are a number of airport shuttle companies that handle transportation to and from the airport. They cost around $15 per person. Metro bus #992 The Flyer ($2.25) travels 10 minutes to downtown San Diego, and connects to the Coaster commuter train, the Trolley, and the Amtrak station.

Driving out of the airport can be a little confusing. Unless your headed to Point Loma or Harbor Island, you want to go east towards downtown. The first left turn after the airport is Laurel Street to Balboa Park. The second one is Grape Street, and this has access to all the freeways. For the I-5 north freeway, stay in the left lane of Grape St., or the right lane for I-5 south. The 163 north and 94 east freeways are via I-5 south. Stay in the right freeway lanes as these exits will come very quickly. If going downtown, Petco Park (baseball), Seaport Village, or the Convention Center, just remain on Harbor Drive from the airport. However, for the east side of downtown, it may be easier to use the 10th Ave. exit from I-5 south, which is the furthest right lane of the 163 freeway exit.

McClellan-Palomar Airport (IATA: CLD) is the other commercial passenger airport in San Diego County. Commercial operations are limited to two commuter airlines, United Express and US Airways Express, which provide service from Los Angeles and Phoenix. The airport is located in the city of Carlsbad, about 35 miles north of downtown San Diego. Exiting the airport by car, turn right onto Palomar Airport Road and proceed onto Interstate 5 southbound to reach San Diego proper. There is an AVIS car rental facility on-site.

Private pilots will prefer the nearby general aviation airports, Montgomery Field (ICAO: KMYF) in Clairemont Mesa, Gillespie Field (ICAO: KSEE) in El Cajon, or Brown Field (ICAO: KSDM) east of San Ysidro. Some air taxi and air charter firms offer specials to the San Diego area from local airports, including from many smaller Los Angeles airports and from the San Luis Obispo area.

By train

San Diego's Amtrak station is the historic Santa Fe Depot located at 1050 Kettner Blvd. The station is the southern terminus of Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner which runs to Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. It is within walking distance of downtown hotels and situated next to San Diego Bay. Shuttles offer service between the train depot and San Diego International Airport. Rail services include 'The Coaster', which is a daily commuter between northern San Diego County and downtown.

Trolley service is limited to certain sections of San Diego, although expansions in recent years have continued to improve service. Major stops include downtown, El Cajon, Santee, SDSU, Mission Valley, Qualcomm Stadium and San Ysidro, the border crossing between the US and Mexico.

By car

San Diego is easily accessible by car using any one of the three major interstate roadways, the 5, 8, and 15 Freeways.

  • The 5 Freeway (Interstate 5) begins in San Ysidro, at the US-Mexico border crossing, and continues northward through Los Angeles and Central California to Oregon and Washington, terminating in Blaine, Washington at the US-Canadian border crossing.
  • The 8 Freeway (Interstate 8) begins near the coast in Ocean Beach and continues eastward through eastern San Diego and Imperial Counties into Arizona, where it connects with Interstate 10.
  • The 15 Freeway (Interstate 15) begins in southern San Diego County and continues northward into the California deserts, through Nevada, Utah, and Idaho, eventually terminating at the US-Canadian border in northern Montana.

Additionally, there are numerous other freeways that crisscross the county, making access to most places in San Diego relatively easy. However, be advised that traffic is frequently congested during daytime hours.

By bus

Greyhound has a station in downtown San Diego, on Broadway St. Private charter lines operate service between other California cities (especially Los Angeles) and Mexico.

By boat

Current cruise services only offer excursions departing from San Diego to Baja Mexico and Los Angeles. These include dinner cruises, three-day gambling cruises and 'party excursions' to the Mexican coastal ports of Baja.

Get around

Generally speaking, San Diego's transportation infrastructure is much more efficient than that of Los Angeles; both automobiles and public transport are almost equally efficient in getting from one place to the next. The weakest points in the transit system are suburb-to-suburb travel and poor links between the individual coastal communities, both of which often require long trips to one of the transit hubs.

By car

The San Diego metropolitan area is large and sprawling. If possible, car travel is the most efficient way of navigating the city and county. However, in the beach communities parking can often be in short supply.

By bus

San Diego does offer bus service to almost all parts of the county. If you will be mainly in the areas around downtown, the bus will will be quite suitable. The fare is normally $2.25 and $2.50 for express busses. All downtown buses intersect with Broadway St. at some point. During the day all kinds of people will be taking the bus. At nights some people might feel a little less comfortable, but generally not unsafe on the main parts of downtown. The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has offices in downtown, on Broadway St.

By trolley (tram)

San Diego offers a trolley service, mainly for tourists and people living in the southern and eastern parts of the city that need to get to downtown areas. There are three trolley lines: blue, green, and orange. The Blue Line operates from the US-Mexico border through Downtown to Old Town. The Green Line travels from Old Town to shopping destinations in the Mission Valley area, Qualcomm Stadium, SDSU, and east to Santee. The Orange Line connects the eastern cities of El Cajon and La Mesa with Downtown (generally not as usable for tourists except for getting around parts of downtown). Bus and trolley transfers are interchangeable. There's no formal system to check if you've purchased a ticket, but there are trolley guards that may come around and ask to see your ticket. The fine is normally around $120 for not having a ticket, although sometimes (not recommended) you can talk them into simply letting you get off at the next stop and purchase a ticket. A $5 all day pass is available, as are 2 and 3 day passes, valid on both bus and trolley.


  • Del Mar Plaza, 15th Street, Three level mall with shops, spas, and services.
  • San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive (Take the Park Blvd. exit from the 5 Freeway), +1 619 234-3153. Open 9AM to 4PM every day. Possibly the premier zoo in North America, the San Diego Zoo encompasses over 100 acres of displays and habitats. Animal shows run constantly, and there are creatures here that aren't visible in any other zoo on the planet. Definitely worth a visit, but you need a full day to really do it justice. Located in Balboa Park. $22.75 for general admission (Some shows and attractions are charged extra).
  • Wild Animal Park, The sister park to the San Diego Zoo. The park is located about 30 miles north of San Diego in Escondido, and covers 1800 acres.
  • Sea World, Meet Shamu and almost get drowned in the Soak Zone Around $55 for one entry..
  • Mission San Diego. In Old Town.
  • Balboa Park, is a large urban park that is home to many museums, including the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of a Man, etc. This park is also home to world's largest pipe organ.
  • Harbor seals, Children's Cove, La Jolla. A small beach built for children, now filled each day with furry lumps of blubber.
  • Birch Aquarium, La Jolla.
  • Belmont Park.
  • Hotel Del Coronado, Gorgeous hotel constructed in the late 1800's. Offers high class shops and service on one of San Diego's most beautiful and clean beaches.
  • Mt. Soledad.


  • San Diego State University Aztecs, college baseketball enthusiasts will recognize a familiar face coaching this team, National Champion Steve Fisher. They play their home games at Cox Arena, outside of the downtown area and in the SDSU campus.


  • San Diego Chargers, San Diego's Professional football team who can wow the fans by being bad one year and then great the next.


  • San Diego Padres, see the Padres play at their brand new stadium, Petco Park, in downtown San Diego.


  • San Diego Sockers, sadly as of right now the Sockers are on hiatus due to lack of funding and fan support.
  • San Diego Spirit, this was a team for the ladies. This all girl soccer team rocked every year and were worth seeing. This team and league has also folded.


  • The San Diego Gulls, while a favorite attraction for San Diegans for numerous years, folded before the 2006-2007 season. At this point, the closest professional hockey is in Anaheim, CA, roughly an hour north of San Diego.


  • Seaport Village, Visit this beautiful 14-acre waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex recreating a harbor side setting of a century ago. It includes 54 one-of-a-kind shops, 13 casual dining eateries, and 4 fine-dining waterfront restaurants. Enjoy four miles of meandering cobblestone pathways bordered by ponds, lakes, fountains and colorful, lush landscaping and a quarter-mile slate boardwalk along the San Diego Bay. Located downtown on West Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway.
  • Whale-watching, California gray whales migrate south along the coast each February.
  • Scuba diving, San Diego has some great dives including the Yukon, Ruby E and others in Wreck Alley, kelp beds and much more. In addition several dive boat operators have regular runs to the Coronados Islands off the Mexican coast where you can dive with sea lions. Please be aware that diving here is usually considered cold water diving and the visibility is not always the greatest.
  • Visit La Jolla, A coastal community of San Diego which includes secluded coves, beaches and ocean cliffs to explore. There are dozens of coffee shops, restaurants and high-end shopping outlets to be had in La Jolla.
  • Hangliding, At the edge of cliffs towering above the Pacific Ocean, the Torrey Pines Glider Port in La Jolla allows anyone to soar over one of the most pristine sections of coastline in southern California. Training and tandem glides with an expert are offered.
  • Rock Climbing, Front Range Climbing San Diego. Offering rock climbing adventures to places like Mission Gorge and Mount Woodson. Classes availble for the beginner or the seasoned climber.
  • San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, The World Famous San Diego Zoo, located in Balboa Park, and the Wild Animal Park, located in north County, have some of the worlds finest collections of animals. Patrons can see animals from every continent as well as witness the breeding programs and conservation efforts that have made the Zoo and Wild Animal park famous.
  • Sea World, San Diego allows visitors a chance to interact with aquatic animals in an exciting way. Through shows, displays and enclosures people can learn about the worlds oceans and the creatures that inhabit them.
  • San Diego Maritime Museum, San Diego is steeped in nautical history and the Maritime Museum chronicles that history. Located across from the US Navy's North Island Naval Air Station (offering panoramic views of navy air craft carriers) the museum is home to a collection of 19th century sailing ships and the B-39, a former Soviet Union attack submarine.
  • USS Midway Museum, Located just a short walk from the San Diego Maritime Museum is the USS Midway (CV-41), a former aircraft carrier of the US Navy. The Midway is home to a collection of former naval aircraft housed on her expansive flight deck. Guided tours and displays offer the public a unique look into the life aboard and of a powerful old warhorse.
  • Balboa Park, An expansive campus of museums, parks, gardens and arboretums gives visitors a chance to expand their thinking. Museums include the Museum of Art, the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Man and the Reuben H. Fleet Center (an Imax theater is located here.) Neo-classical Spanish architecture, flowering gardens and a beautiful clock tower make visiting Balboa Park a must.
  • Old Town San Diego, Stepping into Old Town is taking a trip into the past. Preserved buildings and icons of the Spanish heritage of San Diego and the Old West will amaze visitors. From 19th century cannons to the haunted Whaley house there is much to explore and see in Old Town. Shopping and restaurants dot this historic district and living history performances help to make the past come alive.
  • Point Loma Lighthouse, Cabrillo National Monument, From the sky high vantage point of Point Loma visitors can get the picture of a lifetime. The Naval Air Station, downtown San Diego, the Coronado Bridge and the distant mountains make for a panoramic picture you will never forget. The lighthouse is a short walk and allows stunning sunset views of the Pacific Ocean and off-shore islands. Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's expedition for Spain of California in 1542.
  • Fort Rosecrans, Also located on Point Loma, Fort Rosecrans is a former WWII military outpost which contains bunkers, weapons emplacements and the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (Arlington of the West). A visit to Fort Rosecrans is a somber reminder of the price of freedom.
  • Off Road Excursion, Based in San Diego, California Motorsport Adventours will take you for an ATV or dirt bike adventure into Baja California Norte, specifically into the area of Puerto Nuevo. Your experienced guide will pick you up in San Diego and drive you down to the riding location. Gear up and receive riding instructions. Begin in the sand dunes, break for lunch at a local taco stand, then explore the rural trails of the Cantamar mountains for the rest of the day. Your day will begin around 9am and will end around 7pm, so it is a full day event. Contact the office for reservations.
  • San Diego Wineries, There are wineries with wine tasting rooms located in two different areas of San Diego County: North County (near Escondido and Fallbrook) and Julian (an historic gold rush town known for its apple pies and bed and breakfast inns).


Universities in the area:

  • University of California, San Diego (State public university)
  • San Diego State University (State public university)
  • University of San Diego (private, Catholic university)
  • Point Loma Nazarene (private, Protestant Christian university)
  • California Western School of Law (Private university)
  • The Salk Institute for Biological Research (Prestigious nonprofit research institute)
  • The Scripps Research Institute (Private research institute)
  • The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Famous marine biology institute)
  • The Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Private research institute)
  • La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology (Nonprofit research institute)


San Diego is a major technology and defense hub of California and the United States. Major industries include defense, telecommunications, biotechnology, computers and scientific research. With five major military bases located within fifty miles of San Diego, defense related services and support are a key part of San Diego's prosperity.

Major employers located in San Diego are:


  • Department of the Navy
  • General Atomics
  • Raytheon
  • National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO)
  • Dynacorp
  • Lockheed Martin

Telecommunications and Technology:

  • Qualcomm
  • Sony
  • Samsung
  • LG Electronics
  • Nokia
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Time Warner


  • StressGen Biotechnology Corp.
  • TriLink BioTechnologies, Inc.
  • Aurora Biosciences Corp.
  • Pfizer, Inc.
  • Invitrogen Corporation
  • BD Biosciences, Inc.
  • Biogen IDEC, Inc.


  • Jack in the Box, Inc.
  • Souplantation
  • Island's
  • Coco's Bakery
  • Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill


  • Jenny Craig, Inc
  • Taylor Guitars
  • Callaway Golf
  • DC Shoes
  • Reef Sandals
  • Airwalk


San Diego is dotted with major shopping centers and upscale boutiques catering to nearly every style of dress and expression. The following is a list of a few of the major shopping centers in the San Diego area:

  • Seaport Village
  • University Town Centre
  • Horton Plaza
  • North County Fair
  • Plaza Bonita
  • Mission Valley Center
  • Fashion Valley
  • Carlsbad Premium Outlets
  • Parkway
  • Grossmont Center
  • Del Mar Plaza
  • Pacific Beach
  • Otay Ranch Town Center

A lot of stores also exist around the Gaslamp Quarter. The Gaslamp Quarter is a wonderful area to walk around.


The district sections of San Diego offer more details on local places to eat. Food representing almost every world cuisine can be found somewhere in the city, including Mexican, Moroccan, Thai, Vietnamese, Afghan, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, British, Italian and Cuban cuisine.
Like other large metropolitan areas, San Diego carries a wide variety of national and international food. Major restaurant chains are found almost in every district.


Most of the top beer brands like Heiniken, Budwiser, Fosters etc. are available in supermarkets, smaller minimarts, restaurants, and popular tourist spots. Valid identification ( Driving License, Passport i.e. Issued by government ) with your Birthdate on it will usually be required to purchase any alcoholic beverage.

···Note··· Some places (Bars, Clubs and Grocery Stores) do not accept a passport as a valid form of identification due to the lack of physical description. If you remain calm and talk to the person often they will let you purchase the beverage anyways, however sometimes they stand by policy

Bars and clubs can stay open past 2:00am but are not permitted to sell alcohol after this time.

A medium-sized beer generally costs 4-5 USD in a restaurant.



  • Hawthorn San Diego Hotel, 1335 Hotel Circle South, Free Wifi, breakfast and other amenities.
  • Padre Trail Inn, 4200 Taylor Street, San Diego, CA 92110, (619) 297-3291, 100-room hotel near Old Town San Diego, close to attractions such as Sea World, Balboa Park, Beaches, Gaslamp, Sea Port Village and San Diego's famous Trolley.


  • Courtyard Old Town, 2435 Jefferson Street, Convenient to Sea World, San Diego Zoo and Downtown San Diego.

  • Handlery Hotel, 950 Hotel Circle North, (619) 298-0511, A warm, friendly welcome and some big, lush rooms. Also has a hotel mini-bus to take you to SeaWorld. Located in Mission Valley.

  • Hawthorn Suites, 1335 Hotel Circle South, (619) 299-3501, Daily complimentary hot breakfast buffet each morning and in the evening and social hour Monday through Thursday.

  • Holiday Inn Express - Old Town, 3900 Old Town Avenue, (619)299-7400, Nestled in the heart of Old Town San Diego, California. Just four blocks to the San Diego Trolley. Four-and-a-half miles from San Diego Airport (SAN). Five miles from downtown and the Gaslamp District. 10 minutes from Mission Beach and Belmont Park.

  • Holiday Inn - Bayside, 4875 N. Harbor Drive, (619) 224-3621, (800) 662-8899, Located in Point Loma, near San Diego International Airport.

  • Holiday Inn - Downtown, 1617 First Avenue, (619) 239-9600, Situated in the heart of downtown San Diego, California. Just a short walk to Seaport Village and the Gaslamp District. Located minutes from the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. Free airport shuttle service - 2 miles from Lindbergh Field Airport (SAN). Five miles from Mission Beach and Belmont Park

  • Holiday Inn - On The Bay, 1355 N Harbor Drive, (619) 232-3861, Between the bustling downtown Gaslamp District and Lindberg Field, San Diego's airport. 600 newly renovated guestrooms and 17 suites, all with furnished balconies.

  • The Inn at Mission Bay Sea World, 4545 Mission Bay Drive, (858) 483-4222, Offers high-speed Internet and a free breakfast buffet.

  • Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, (619) 232-1234, Located on Harbor Drive in the Marina district of downtown San Diego. The hotel consists of two towers that are connected on the bottom four floors that were upgraded in 2003. The hotel has over 1600 rooms, making it the largest hotel in San Diego.

  • Sommerset Suites, 606 Washington Street, (800) 962-9665, Suites just minutes from the harbor and downtown, easy access to the major avenues and freeways, located in San Diego's "Uptown" district, shares the neighborhood with great restaurants and entertainment spots as well as two of San Diego's major medical centers.

  • Town and Country, 500 Hotel Circle North, (619) 291-7131, (800) 772-8527, Resort with swimming pools, restaurants, spa facilities, golf, and beautiful gardens. Located in Mission Valley, adjacent to San Diego Trolley Station, and Fashion Valley shopping center.

  • Wyndham, 400 West Broadway, (619) 239-4500, Located downtown next to the Santa Fe transit center.

  • Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, 401 K St, 619-231-4040, Located in the heart of the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter hotel in San Diego, California is surrounded by shopping, theater, art galleries and more than 100 restaurants and night clubs.


  • Hotel Parisi, 1111 Prospect Street, (858) 454-1511, A Zen-elegant luxury boutique retreat in La Jolla.
  • La Valencia, 1132 Prospect Street, (858) 454-0771, A Luxury Spanish-style hotel, famed for its views of La Jolla Cove.
  • The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 N Torrey Pines Road, (858) 453-4420, Rustic alpine-style hotel adjacent to the PGA Championship Torrey Pines Golf Corse in La Jolla.
  • Hotel del Coronado, Luxury hotel and national historic landmark with a slightly dated art deco interior located in the city of Coronado, about 15 minutes south of downtown San Diego
  • W Hotel, Trendy and modern hotel located in the Colombia District.
  • Dave Stubbs vacation rentals, Budget to Luxury beach rentals along the coast of San Diego.
  • Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, 9700 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, +1 (858) 550-1000. A rancho style conference and vacation resort located adjacent to the University of California at San Diego, within an easy drive of San Diego’s Golden Triangle, the village of La Jolla, beaches, shopping and a mile from the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Stay safe

San Diego is considered to be one of the safest cities in California. Though, crime is present, violent crime is on an overall decrease, but property crime still exists. But one should use the same precautions as you would in any large metropolitan area. Avoid walking in Southeast San Diego at night. If you do or must, avoid walking down dark alleyways or approaching unknown people. Most people do not encounter any problems if they avoid buying illegal drugs or prostitution. In addition, gangs are not as present as they are in Los Angeles, but they still exist.

In an emergency (immediate danger to loss of life or limb), call 911. Be aware that if you call from a cell phone, 911 calls are currently directed to the California Highway Patrol, which can result in delays in contacting city police. (911 calls made from land-line telephones are directed to the appropriate local agency.)

In many cases when within the city limits it may be more appropriate to directly dial the San Diego non-emergency number, (619) 531-2000. For example, to report a crime in progress when you are not in direct danger, it is probably best to call the San Diego Police (or other local municipality) directly.


San Diego is served by a professional police force as well as a county sheriff department; additional protection is offered on the major highways by the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Fire Department

The city of San Diego fire department is a top-rated service offering fire protection, emergency medical care, hazardous waste cleanup, and search and rescue functions. If you dial 911 for an emergency it is guaranteed that the first responders will be the San Diego Fire Department. Urban brush fires are always a risk during the summer and fall, but rarely affect tourists.


There are numerous public and private hospitals in San Diego. These range from state funded institutions such as UCSD-Hillcrest and Thorton to private, world-renowned hospitals of Scripps La Jolla and the Children's Hospital. Non-profit Sharp Health Care also owns several hospitals, and has many "Urgent Care" centers for non-so-serious injuries such as a broken leg (daytime and early evening only). First-rate, world-class medical care can be found at any of these hospitals, as well as interpreters for more than a dozen languages.

San Diego is home to some of the most cutting edge health research in the country. The University of California, San Diego Medical Center is known for it's world class research. Some residents head to Mexico for cheaper health care, but this can be risky, and it would be more wise to use San Diego hospitals and clinics. Many of the institutions have doctors of all nationalities so language may not be a problem for some whose English skills may not be as well.

Beach Safety

Rip currents are notorious in San Diego for their strength and sudden appearance. Do not go out in the water without lifeguard supervision or at night. At La Jolla Shores, rip currents can be so strong that people standing (not swimming) in waist-deep water have been pulled out over their heads -- sometimes with deadly results (especially for non-swimmers). Except for sunbathing, avoid low tide like the plague at this beach. (This means the largest of the two daily tide cycles. Check newspaper weather page for Scripps Pier, or view the Weather Channel.) All of the major beaches have lifeguards on duty in the summertime, with only the more popular beaches having lifeguards year round.

Many of the ocean cliffs are made of a compressed sandstone and are prone to collapse, especially in rainy weather. Follow all signs. Access to the beaches is safely made by using any of the public stairways provided; they are well maintained (except at Black's Beach) and free. Always supervise children very closely at places such as Sunset Cliffs and the Torrey Pines Glider Port above Black's Beach. It may be necessary to hold their hand at all times. If you have unruly kids, don't go there.

Heavy rain may cause rising bacteria and chemical levels in the ocean waters. Care should be taken to read the newspapers or call the county health office to see if the water is safe for swimming. Generally most people keep away from the beaches for 24 to 72 hours after rain.

Thefts do occur at the beach, do not leave any purses or other personal items of value alone on the beach or in an open car. Vehicle burglaries are more prevalent in most beach communities.

In addition, take caution when around certain beach areas, as you may wonder (inadvertently) on to a military instillation, where security is tight and beaches are either reserved for military patrons and their families or training centers.


Smoking is banned in all restaurants, bars, public offices, and other places by order of California law. There is a county wide ban on smoking in all state parks and there is city wide bans in San Diego, Del Mar, and Solana Beach that forbids smoking on public parks and beaches. A new law enacted in January of 2007 prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any MTS transit station or bus stop. Throughout the month of June 2007, signs are being posted and verbal warnings issued. Beginning July 1, 2007 those caught smoking near transit facilities will face a fine of $75.


In the area of the Westin Hotel, there is free WiFi. The SSID is "turbonet".

In the Little Italy area, there is free WiFi.

Get out

San Diego is probably the best city in America for making a quick trip to Mexico. Tijuana, San Diego's twin city across the border, is only a short trip by car. Trolley service is also available from downtown San Diego to the US-Mexican border. Avoid driving hassles and long waits when returning by parking in pay lots near the border and walking across.

For a delightful, low-key alternative, drive 60 minutes on the American side to the small border crossing of Tecate (home of the Tecate brewery). It's a short walk to the town square. Coming back, there are typically only a couple of people in line at the pedestrian crossing. You can easily combine a trip to the train museum in nearby Campo with a quick trip across the border for lunch!

Julian is the largest and most popular mountain community in San Diego County. Also, nearby is Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Palomar Mountain which has a large observatory.

The greater San Diego County has a lot of smaller, more private beaches, and some great small towns to stay in and explore. Further east, the Imperial Valley and the California Desert give a change of scenery.

It's also relatively easy to get up to Los Angeles and other points in Southern California. The 5 freeway extends through Oregon and Washington the Canadian border. Although slower, Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway in most of Southern California) and the 101 Freeway, through the Central Coast, Monterey Bay, and the San Francisco Bay Area, make for more of a pleasant and fruitful trip.

Temecula Wine Country. Located about 60 minutes northeast of San Diego, there are about 20 vineyards (with tasting rooms) located fairly close to each other. This trip makes a good day trip from San Diego. One hour further is the mountain resort of Idyllwild which features shopping and outdoor activities in an alpine forest.

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Goods & Services in San Diego, California.

Find out the little necessities in life like, Grocery Stores, Department Stores, Gas Stations, Dry Cleaners, Nail Salons, Fast Food, Auto Repair, Plumbers, Shopping Centers and Post Offices.