San Diego is a major city in California.
As of November 2018, the population of San Diego is about 1.5 million people. It is the eighth most populated city in the United States and the second most populated city in California.
San Diego covers a total area of 964 square kilometers (372 square miles).
The city has average elevation of 19 meters (62 feet) above sea level. The highest point is 485 meters (1,591 feet) above sea level and the lowest point is at sea level.
San Diego has been called “the birthplace of California”.
Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, it was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States.
Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claims to have discovered San Diego Bay in 1542, roughly 200 years before Europeans settled the area.
A fort and mission were established in 1769, which gradually expanded into a settlement under first Spanish and then Mexican rule.
San Diego officially became part of the U.S. in 1848, and the town was named the county seat of San Diego County when California was granted statehood in 1850.
It remained a very small town for several decades, but grew rapidly after 1880 due to development and the establishment of multiple military facilities.
Growth was especially rapid during and immediately after World War II.
San Diego is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the United States Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center.
Balboa Park is a 490 hectare (1,200-acre) urban cultural park in San Diego. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park’s site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use.
The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park housing over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. The San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. It is one of the few zoos in the world that houses, and successfully breeds the giant panda.
SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park, in San Diego, California, United States, inside Mission Bay Park. The park is owned by the City of San Diego and operated by SeaWorld Entertainment.
The USS Midway Museum is a maritime museum located in downtown San Diego at Navy Pier. The museum consists of the aircraft carrier Midway. The ship houses an extensive collection of aircraft, many of which were built in Southern California. USS Midway was the United States’ longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, from 1945 to 1992.
Seaport Village is a waterfront shopping and dining complex adjacent to San Diego Bay in downtown San Diego. It houses more than 70 shops, galleries, and eateries on 90,000 square feet (8,000 m2) of waterfront property. The Village contains several freestanding buildings in an assortment of architectural styles, from Victorian to traditional Mexican. It is designed to be a car-free environment, with 6 kilometers (4 miles) of winding paths rather than streets connecting the various buildings.
The Gaslamp Quarter is a lively downtown neighborhood, known for its nightlife. Clubs, dive bars and cocktail lounges draw a young crowd, while the Spreckels and Balboa theaters have diverse programs of music, comedy and drama. There’s a mix of chain and independent restaurants in the area, with many global options. Horton Plaza Park has grassy lawns, ice cream and coffee vendors, and an interactive fountain.
San Diego has one of the top-ten best climates according to the Farmers’ Almanac and has one of the two best summer climates in America as scored by The Weather Channel.
Snow in the city is so rare that it has been observed only five times in the century-and-a-half that records have been kept.
The steep and varied topography and proximity to the ocean create a number of different habitats within the city limits, including tidal marsh and canyons.
San Diego is one of the safest cities in the United States.
In the mid-20th century the city had mercury vapor street lamps. In 1978, the city decided to replace them with more efficient sodium vapor lamps. This triggered an outcry from astronomers at Palomar Observatory 60 miles (97 km) north of the city, concerned that the new lamps would increase light pollution and hinder astronomical observation. The city altered its lighting regulations to limit light pollution within 48 kilometers (30 miles) of Palomar.
San Diego announced plans to become the first U.S. city to install cyber-controlled street lighting, using an “intelligent” lighting system to control 3,000 LED street lights.