What is San Diego Known For? (20 Things It’s Famous For)

San Diego is the country’s eighth-largest city and California’s second-largest, with a population of nearly 1.4 million. It is located in Southern California, near the Mexico border and about 2 hours away south of Los Angeles.

San Diego is known for its mild climate year-round. It has vast beaches, parks, and a natural harbor playing a big part in its economy. Historically home to the first European settlement on the West Coast, it’s considered the birthplace of California. It houses some Fortune 1000 companies and is a center of biotechnology development.

The best climate

The city is always included in the top US cities with the best climate. The most recent one is by The Zebra, naming San Diego as the second-best city in the West for its weather, next to San Francisco. San Diego enjoys dry, warm summers and mild winters. The average temperature ranges from 14.1 °C in January to 22 °C in August. It experiences 146 sunny days and 117 cloudy days each year. The hottest months are August and September, while cooler months with rainfall are December through March. 

The wealthiest county in the continental US in terms of biodiversity

San Diego County has the most number of plant and animal species included on the US endangered list of counties. It shelters 492 different bird species and is considered the “birdiest” area in the US. It always lands a high score in the census of birds called the Christmas Bird Count, which the National Audubon Society administers.

The second busiest single-runway airport in the world, next to Mumbai Airport

San Diego International Airport is famous for its landing approach’s proximity to downtown skyscrapers. It has two terminals and 51 gates, and a runway that measures 9,401-feet long and 200-feet wide. It was the first commercial airport in the US to provide restrictions on early morning and late-night take-offs. 

The most extensive naval fleet in the world

The San Diego port hugely influences the city’s economy. Significant national defense contractors such as Cubic and General Atomics started here, and in 2008, it had 53 ships and more than 120 tenant commands. Military-associated jobs make up about 5 percent of civilian employment, and 15,000 businesses depend on the Department of Defense contracts. Military bases include Marine Corps, US Navy, and Coast Guard bases.  

The historic Balboa Park

The Balboa Park and its exposition buildings are declared historical landmarks that made it to the National Register of Historic Places. Apart from open spaces, walkways, and gardens, the park has museums and recreational facilities such as theaters, gift shops, and restaurants. It is also the site of the San Diego Zoo, the most visited zoo in the country. 

America’s craft beer capital

San Diego has a distinct beer culture being home to over 150 breweries and numerous beer bars. The city even has its own IPA style. Beer lovers should pay a visit to sample the suds at Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, and Stone Brewing Co., named the “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate Magazine. 

The wireless capital of the world

San Diego is the cradle of wireless technology, being the site of Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Nokia, Cricket Communications, and Kyocera International. It has also been named an iHub Innovation Center for partnering wireless and life sciences.

The second-largest biotech cluster in the US

The city has over 400 biotechnology companies, including Illumina and Neurocrine Biosciences, the third-highest number in the world. This has to do with world-class research institutes. For example, the University of California in San Diego has helped develop biotechnology. 

A farm county

San Diego County has more than 5,000 farms because its climate makes it an excellent place to grow crops and livestock. It is the number one producer of nursery crops and avocadoes and has the most part-time farmers.

Site of the most visited zoo

The San Diego Zoo was the first zoo to practice cageless, open-air exhibits to mimic animals’ natural habitats. It used to house giant pandas that are now in China, but it still has an array of endangered animal species. It is the most visited zoo in the US, with over 4 million guests in 2018. Tourists also claim it as one of the best in the world. The zoo also had some memorable escapes, one of which was when an orang-utan named Ken Allen escaped several times and was tagged as the hairy Houdini.  

Home of the stars

The city is the birthplace of Hollywood A-listers such as Cameron Diaz, Adam Driver, Nick Cannon, Robert Duvall, and more. Many other famous people also lived or are still living in San Diego, one of which is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who has properties in Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar Country Club. One of the wealthiest physicians, Deepak Chopra, lives in La Jolla, while Jason Mraz owns a large farm in Bonsall, California.

Location of the second largest wooden structure in the US 

Hotel del Coronado, also called The Del or Hotel Del, is a historicalresort hotel in Coronado. Aside from offering a breathtaking beachfront view, the hotel is renowned for being one of the few surviving American architectural genres. It was the only biggest resort hotel globally when it was founded in 1888. As a result, it has been shown in various films and books. Notable guests include Thomas Edison, Tim, and Kim Murphy, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few.

A place to remember Dr. Seuss

The renowned Dr. Seuss was a popular children’s author and artist who spent most of his days honing his craft in La Jolla. He is most famous for “The Cat in the Hat,” and his works are featured in the Geisel Library at the University of California. The library preserves some 15,000 drawings, manuscripts, and other memorabilia collections. However, it only opens yearly, on the day of Dr Seuss’ birth, March 2.

The oldest settled area

As the location of the first Spanish settlement in California, Old Town has preserved numerous cultural and historic structures and museums. The 230-acre neighborhood is renowned for having two parks listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park. In addition, it has nine hotels, 12 art galleries, 32 restaurants and over a hundred specialty shops. It is also the venue of the city’s Cinco de Mayo every year.

The musical bridge

Locals call the 25th Street a musical bridge because, in 2003, the City of San Diego Arts and Culture granted $39,000 for improvements, including attaching 488 different chimes to the rails to make music.

Homeport of the world’s oldest active sailing ship

The Star of India is found at the San Diego Maritime Museum and is considered the oldest ship that still sails but is now a museum ship and landmark. It appeared in several shows, such as Dirty Jobs and Ghost Hunters.

Place of pristine parks

San Diego takes pride in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, one of the 16 parks in California that earned a reserve status and is a highly rated park in the region. Because of its status, it remains as natural as it was before the city was built. It has hiking trails and splendid beaches and is home to the rare pine tree called Pinus torreyana that only grows on Santa Rosa Island and in this natural park.

Home of the world’s best ballpark, Petco Park

This baseball stadium is the home court of MLB’s San Diego Padres. It is also a top site for holding concerts and soccer games. Baseball fans love watching games because of the amenities. In addition, it is famous for its unique architecture and open-air design.

Premier theater venue

San Diego is a top US city that creates and sends shows to Broadway. The Jersey Boys was a jukebox musical that premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2004 and played on Broadway the following year. It also made it to the West End in 2008. It earned multiple Tony awards, including Best Musical, Best Performance by both the leading and featured actors and Best Lighting Design. On the other hand, Old Globe is an 80-year old regional theatre that sent 20 Tony Award-winning plays to Broadway, eight of which have won Tony Awards.   

Haven for comic and creative nerds

Comic-Con International is a non-profit comic book convention held annually in San Diego. Forbes says it is the biggest convention of its kind. It has become the center of the world of comics conventions. It offers a huge Exhibit Hall and nearly 700 separate events featuring comics and popular arts, such as movie screenings, workshops, awarding and costume competitions.