San Diego , the second largest city in California and the ninth largest city in the United States, is situated on the west coast of the United States (along the Pacific Ocean). This coastal city is the economic centre of the San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos Metropolitan Area and also the county seat of San Diego County. It has an estimated population of around 1.5 million.
San Diego was once occupied by the Kumeyaay Indians for more than 10,000 years. However, in 1542, Portuguese-born explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo visited the region and claimed the bay for the Spanish Empire. He named the area, “San Miguel.” Around 1769, the Franciscan friars led by Father Junipero Serra, founded the Mission San Diego de Alcalá. It lost its fortunes after Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821 and the decree of secularization was enacted. When the battle of the Mexican-American War happened and ended in the San Pasqual Valley (it is now a part of the city of San Diego), California became a part of the United States in 1850 and adopted its first city charter in 1889. The first town of San Diego grew up at the base of Presidio Hill which then moved to Downtown San Diego. This transfer proved to be fortuitous for the settlers, as the “New Town” quickly eclipsed the previous “Old Town” and became the center of the city’s economy and government administration.
The major and popular attractions in the city of San Diego include: SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park (enjoy a guided tour of remote Africa and Asia and see exotic animals in their large, expansive habitats), and LEGOLAND California. Those who love to go to the beach can surf, sail, bike, run, swim, and dive in many of San Diego’s fine beaches, such as: San Onofre State Beach, Oceanside City Beach and Environs, Carlsbad State Beach, Leucadia, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Cardiff Beaches, Del Mar Beaches,Torrey Pines State Beach and Park, La Jolla Beaches, La Jolla Reefs, Pacific Beach, and Mission Bay. Another good place to go to is Downtown San Diego, the newest dynamic metropolitan area in the country today. Aside from having spectacular nature harbors, it is also home to over 100 restaurants, 50 nightclubs and bars, entertainment, and retail opportunities. There are also boutiques and trendy cafes (Little Italy) in the area as well as hotels, restaurants, and art projects in its 8 neighborhoods: Horton Plaza, the Core, Cortez Hill, East Village, Columbia, Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, and Marina.
Defense, manufacturing, and tourism are the top three sectors that dominate San Diego’s economy today. Some of the military bases in the area include: Coast Guard stations, Marine Corps bases, and U.S Navy Ports. The Navy has some institutions in the city, such as Naval Base Point Loma, Naval Base San Diego (also known as the 32nd Street Naval Station), Bob Wilson Naval Hospital, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego. In addition, the city contains the biggest bulk of Naval facilities in the world due to the base reductions in Norfolk, Virginia and the Vladivostok retrenchment of the Russian Naval Base. Manufacturing, another dominant sector in the city, is mostly led by wireless cellular technologies companies (Qualcomm Incorporated, Websense Inc.). In addition, San Diego is also the major base of more than 400 biotechnology companies. Tourism, another major industry, is primarily centered on the city’s beaches and golf tournaments, especially the Buick Invitational. San Diego’s Spanish heritage is also an interesting tourist discovery, and many will find the historic sites, such as the Spanish missions and Balboa Park very interesting.
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