San Diego is known across the US for having some of the best weather in the country. With a perfect location on the coast and at the base of the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, the city has mild winters and sunny summers due to the microclimate created by its geography. There's so much to do and see in San Diego and it's easy to get caught up in just the tourist activities. Knowing some insider information about the city will help you avoid some overrated sites while enjoying the best San Diego has to offer.
Most people who visit San Diego often travel by car since public transit is not always simple or available to the average tourist. But if you are looking for areas of the city that you can visit on foot or use public transit, it's best to stay in downtown or the surrounding areas including neighborhoods like Park West, Normal Heights or Hillcrest. These districts are very walkable and have good connections to trams and buses.
Prices of goods and services are almost always more expensive in popular tourist areas. One classic example of this in San Diego is purchasing gas to refuel your tank. Gas in California is usually among the most expensive in the US but buying gas in the Mission Bay area near Sea World can easily cost you an extra $1 to $2 per gallon. The same goes for shopping or eating out in restaurants especially in areas like Mission Beach or Pacific Beach, which draw big crowds of tourists.
San Diego has nice beaches and the weather is usually sunny and warm during the summer months. It's common for clouds to develop in the mornings but the sky tends to clear up by early afternoon every day. Many tourists go to Mission Beach or Pacific Beach due to the proximity and distance from downtown. But if you want a more local beach experience, travel up north to Del Mar beach. Most tourists don't make it this far north so you get a nicer and calmer atmosphere.
San Diego is full of hills and cliffs that cut through the city. In fact, there are more than 200 deep canyons that exist within the city limits. These urban canyons segment the neighborhoods and give San Diego a unique and hilly setting. The natural landscapes make great hiking especially with the year round mild weather. Some of the best seafront landscapes can be found near La Jolla, an area just 20 minutes north of downtown. From here you can see steep cliffs jutting from the ocean for miles, making for picture perfect ocean views.
What local activities have you done when visiting a new city?
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Auston grew up in Phoenix before escaping to Chicago in 2008. After 4 years working as an engineer, he sold his belongings and embarked on a round-the-world trip. After traveling non-stop for a year, he finally settled in Spain with his husband where he now calls home. When he's not traveling or writing guides about events, festivals or the best LGBT destinations, he enjoys the long sunny days and nightlife of Madrid. Read Auston's blog at Two Bad Tourists, or follow him on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
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