San Diego is a city that most people know a few things about - beautiful, postcard worthy beaches, truly world class surfing, delicious but calorie filled Mexican food, and Shamu. San Diegans do indeed enjoy bikini babes, riding the long board and a good fish taco, but San Diego is a long way from being just a place to have a fun day at the beach.

San Diego is a continual surprise, and will challenge every first time visitors pre conceived expectations. On the surface it sometimes seems very conservative, but then there is Ocean Beach, a place with herds of llamas and a large vegan co-op. Tons of ads for the hundreds of plastic surgeons who practice in San Diego may have you convinced that San Diego is all about vanity and the superficial. But it is also home to the Deepak Chopra Center, the Self Realization Fellowship Ashram, and the rather spiritual and unusual practice of soul-surfing.

The last few decades has seen San Diego's previously quiet downtown area transformed into a giant entertainment mecca, home to oversized dance clubs, low key lounges and trendy bars. The city's baseball team, The San Diego Padres got themselves a brand new ballpark, PETCO Park located right in heart of downtown San Diego just a few years ago.  

The weather in San Diego is great year round, so it is a great place for those seeking outdoor recreation. Some of the highlights include the clothing optional surfing at Black Beach and the excitement of kayaking around the caves of La Jolla Cove.

Recent decades have seen San Diego's downtown transformed into a highly-trafficked entertainment mecca, with giant dance clubs, low-key lounges, and see-and-be-seen bars, plus restaurant after restaurant serving every cuisine imaginable, not to mention a brand-new park for the city's baseball team, the San Diego Padres. San Diego also boasts the largest cultural park in the US, Balboa Park.

There is a vital arts scene in San Diego with dozens of great theaters and museums, as well as quieter pursuits such as opera and classical music. You can swim with the dolphins at SeaWorld San Diego, mingle with the blockheads to Legoland and fascinating tide pools are a great place for kids to explore the delights of some of the sea's smallest creatures.

The long history of San Diego is evident in its great architecture. The native residents left little mark on the town, but the structures that were built by Spanish missionaries still remain intact, mostly located in the Old Town area and at Mission San Diego de Alcala.

The Gaslamp Quarter dates back to the days of the Wyatt Earp, and the old Western Saloons, as it still has much of its 19th century architecture intact.

Uptown San Diego represents the development eras of the city. Breathtaking Victorian houses still occupy a great deal of the Golden Hill Area, while woodsy craftsman homes are lined along the streets of North Park. Some gentrified areas are filled with new condo developments, which some residents consider "architorture" while others find them great examples of cutting edge modern architecture.