San Diego is the perfect year-round destination and its high season includes most of the year. Accommodation and flights to San Diego and will be most expensive between May and August, November to January and during all public holidays. If taking a flight to San Diego over the festive period be sure to be there on the 7th day of Christmas when over 1,200 individuals from all over San Diego take part in the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival every year which attracts around 20,000 spectators. People line the sidewalks to watch the parade of marching bands, drill teams, scout troops, dancers, floats and much more.
If you are taking a flight to San Diego to enjoy the beach, beware the May Gray and June Gloom – or fog as it is more often referred to.
October, February and March are low-season months. During this time cheap flights to San Diego are available and February sees San Diego’s most adored nightlife street party, Gaslamp Diego Mardi Gras, bless the streets with spectacular performances, parades, live music and streets of delicious food. The event is held on Shrove Tuesday and thousands of merrymakers flock towards the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter every year.
September and April are months of good weather, fewer crowds and it is also possible to find a cheap flight to San Diego in these months.
San Diego, the beautiful city by the Pacific Ocean about two hours south of Los Angeles, has arguably the best climate in the US and a healthy, laid-back attitude too. It has a great ethnic and cultural mix, and its close proximity to Mexico – Tijuana is less than 20 miles away – makes for great Mexican cafes and restaurants.
Food lovers that fly to San Diego will find excellent Latin, Central and East Asian, Middle Eastern, Italian, Greek, and Pacific Islander food throughout the city. Pick up the scent in the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, La Jolla and Old Town.
The beaches, climate and deserts are not the only things on offer. San Diego has several world-class attractions including Balboa Park, America’s largest urban cultural park, which has more than a dozen museums as well as the world-famous San Diego Zoo. And for those travellers taking a flight to San Diego to get away from it all, Torrey Pines State Reserve is one of the wildest landscapes along the coast, with unspoilt beaches, chaparral, pine trees and a lagoon vital to many migrating birds.
Balboa Park has several museums in some wonderful Spanish-Mexican buildings, as well as many performing arts, cultural institutions and art galleries. Some of the museums include the world famous San Diego Zoo, the Reuben H Fleet Science Centre and the Spanish Village Art Centre. The park also has golf courses, hiking and biking trails, promenades, a Japanese Friendship Garden, fountains, restaurants and a pavilion holding concerts on Sunday afternoons.
One of San Diego’s biggest attractions is the world-famous San Diego Zoo, known for its conservation efforts, natural animal environments and successful breeding of endangered species. You can visit more than 4,000 animals, many of them wandering in simulated natural habitats spread out over 100 acres. One of the best sections is the Tiger River Asian rainforest, which features tigers, pythons, tapirs and crocodiles visible from misty trails winding through waterfalls and exotic plants. You can also visit exhibits like the Gorilla Tropics, Sun Bear Forest, polar bears and the Ituri Forest Exhibit. The zoo’s smallest visitors might enjoy the Children’s Zoo, where they can pet bunnies, goats and sheep. Sea lions and other animals perform at an outdoor amphitheatre.
San Diego’s city centre area includes the business district, the historic Gaslamp Quarter and the waterfront Embarcadero is small enough to walk around. The Gaslamp District is a trendy 16-block shopping and dining area filled with historic buildings and the wrought-iron street lamps that give it its name. There are also many performing and visual art centres and several blues and jazz festivals. In the summer there are crowds of people sitting at outdoor tables, but you should watch your surroundings at night.
San Diego’s beaches are the heart of the city, stretching across 70 miles. There are plenty of shops and cafes to stop at or you can spend your time tanning, swimming or snorkelling. Rollerbladers, joggers and bikers flock to the boardwalk running from Mission beach to Pacific Beach, and there’s plenty of waterskiing, sailing and windsurfing in Mission Bay. Just north of the city is La Jolla, an oceanfront suburb with classy restaurants and expensive real estate along a beautiful stretch of coastline. The ocean is clear and the beaches have coves, cliffs and great surfing.
Coronado Island is home to the famous historic Hotel del Coronado, a National Historic Landmark from 1888. The building is a San Diego institution with distinctive Victorian turrets and conical towers. Many films have been shot here over the years and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra were once guests. You can stay at the hotel or just take a tour, wandering through the grounds and the award-winning Silver Strand State Beach. Across the bay, at Point Loma, is the site of the first European landing in 1542.
The average daily temperature in San Diego is 21 degrees Celsius. During the summer months and into October temperatures of 29 degrees are not unusual. The city averages a mere 10 inches (25 cm) of rain and even during the coldest months of December and January, temperatures still average a mild 20 C.
Like much of Southern California, the easiest way to get around San Diego is by car. You can find several rental car companies at the airport. Bus tickets are cheap and the trolley system is a great way to get around the city or to nearby Tijuana. The Blue Line can take you through Old Town before crossing the border into Mexico. Tickets cost a few dollars and last around two hours.
The main airport for travellers on flights to San Diego is San Diego International Airport (SAN) (website: www.san.org ). Public transportation options from the airport include buses, light rail and trains. Car rental and taxis are also available.