San Diego

San Diego

Author Anne Plau

San Diego is located on the Pacific Ocean in the southwestern United States near the border with Mexico. With around 1.4 million inhabitants (2020 census), San Diego is the second largest city in the state of California. The urban area extends to 844 square kilometers. In comparison, Berlin is the largest municipality in Germany with 892 square kilometers.

San Diego Museum Harbor - Bark Star of India

San Diego Museum Harbor - Bark Star of India


The coastline on the Pacific is over 120 kilometers. San Diego stands for cultural diversity, a balanced, mild climate and a high quality of life.

History in a nutshell

A Portuguese discovered the area populated by the Kumeyaay Indians for the Spanish crown. The first mission was established in the 18th century, as was a military post. In 1797, San Diego de Alcala was California's largest mission. With the independence of Mexico in 1822, San Diego also became part of the new nation state. After the Mexican-American War, San Diego fell to the United States in 1848 and has been part of the state of California since 1850.

Economy and Transport

The military is of the greatest economic importance. Military facilities have existed in San Diego since 1917, when the United States entered the First World War. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the headquarters of the US Navy's Pacific Fleet was relocated to San Diego. The San Diego military base is one of the largest military bases in the world today.

San Diego - Museum ship aircraft carrier USS Midway

San Diego - Museum ship aircraft carrier USS Midway


Strong economic factors are tourism and international trade, there is aircraft construction and shipyards. For several years now, San Diego has been a major center for the telecommunications and biotech industries. San Diego is also known as the capital of craft beers. The local offer includes more than 150 craft breweries. California State University San Marcos offers courses for future brewers and brewery founders.

Beer city San Diego - drink local

Beer city San Diego - drink local


San Diego has several airports, including an international and a major deep-water port. The Pacific Surfliner's railway line runs from San Diego via Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to San Louis Obispo, 560 km north. There are good tram and bus connections in the vicinity.


 

Location and climate

San Diego is a sprawling city. Only in Downtown, the center on the long San Diego Bay, there are high-rise buildings.

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego


The kilometer-long coast with dream beaches, bays and cliffs is particularly attractive.

The inland urban area includes nature parks such as Mission Trails Regional Park or Torrey Pines State Reserve and mountains such as Cowles Mountain (486 meters) or Mount Soledad (251 meters). To the east, San Diego is bounded by the Anza Borrego Desert Park.

The climate is mild and balanced. The average annual temperature is 17,5 degrees. There is plenty of sunshine and a gentle breeze from the Pacific creates a pleasant freshness.

Education and culture

San Diego has several colleges, a musical theater, an opera house and a philharmonic hall.

The museum scene is diverse. The Museum of Art is the most important art museum in the city. There are 16 museums in Balboa Park alone, including the Air & Space Museum, the Automotive Museum and the National History Museum.

San Diego Old Town - the Seeley Stable Museum with the Wells Fargo stagecoach

San Diego Old Town - the Seeley Stable Museum with the Wells Fargo stagecoach


A number of museum ships are moored in the spacious San Diego Bay. The USS Midway, which served as an aircraft carrier between 1945 and 1992, and the steel sailboat Star of India are particularly noteworthy. The Mission San Diego de Alcala, the oldest mission in the region, founded by Franciscans in 1769, is well worth a visit.

San Diego for crusaders

Cruise ships dock at the International Cruise Ship Terminal on World Pier.

MS Rotterdam at the International Cruise Ship Terminal in San Diego

MS Rotterdam at the International Cruise Ship Terminal in San Diego


The entrance to San Diego Bay between Point Loma and Coronado is not particularly wide. When the weather is clear, you can see the Cabrillo National Monument. Downtown San Diego is within walking distance of the World Pier. The international airport is only four kilometers from the cruise terminal.

Update February 2024