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San Diego Coronado Bridge

Downtown San Diego, also referred to as “Center City,” is also the eighth largest city of USA.  There has been a fantastic urban renewal, which has helped the local tourism industry. Almost every major freeway will get you to downtown, like Interstate highway number 5, 805, and 163.  Unlike big cities around the world, the traffic in downtown San Diego fades away in the morning but flows in at night, due to the vibrant nightlife the place has to offer. Some of the most popular historical landmarks, which are also a great tourist attraction as follows:

  • The Balboa Theaterat 868 Fourth AvenueThis is a historic Vaudeville Theater located downtown, built by Robert E Hicks and architects William H Wheeler in the year 1924. This grandeur is a perfect blend of Moorish and Spanish Revival Styles of architecture, with a seating capacity of over 1500 people.
  • Pantoja Park on G Street and India Street– This is the oldest park in the city, which was built around 1850. The park is named after the Don Juan Pantoja, who was a Spanish navigator, responsible for drawing the first map of San Diego Bay in 1728.  
  • The Spreckels Theater at 121 BroadwayIt was named “the first modern commercial playhouse west of the Mississippi”, after the inauguration in 1912. This theater was made to mark the beginning of Panama Canal.


It is said that all the main action, or so-called heartbeat of a city, lives in its downtown, and San Diego is no exception. Downtown San Diego is located just minutes from the airport and thronged with activities, cultural attractions and with a number of fine dining, bar & night club experiences.

Some other must-see tourist attractions of Downtown San Diego are as follows:

  • Gaslamp Quarter– This place has great historical significance with Victorian era buildings standing shoulder to shoulder with modern skyscrapers. Tourists have the option of heavy shopping at the trendy boutiques, lining the busy streets. Then you have the multi-level Horton Plaza, which is a state of the art shopping complex. When it comes to food and drinks, Gaslamp Quarter is second to none, with its alfresco dining on the sidewalks and ample cuisine options. There are plenty of rooftop lounges and other ornately designed fine dining restaurants. Tourists can also enjoy the baseball games, craft beer, and more local food at PetcoPark. At night, Downtown transforms itself into playground for adults, with its sophisticated night life activities.
  • The New Children’s Museum – Located near MTS Convention Center Trolley Stop and Seaport Village, this place is known for its inventive and engaging art experience. The mission of the museum is to foster creativity amongst the children and family with the help of participatory art.


  • Petco Park- This magnificence of its architecture attracts tourists all the year round and is rightly known as the “best ballpark”, in the USA. It is situated in the heart of Downtown San Diego, providing stunning view of the bay area and San Diego skyline. The park is littered with dozens of rooftop restaurants and lounges, along with playing fields with clubhouses.


  • The Balboa Park- Located just a minute from the downtown, this 1200-acre park is the largest urban park in North America. It is amongst the top tourist attractions, for its history and legacy of 17 museums and themed gardens. It also has the famous San Diego Zoo, which is a tropical paradise. The park has many attractions like conducted tours, museums, hiking and biking activities, golf, archery, tennis, dog park for your pet, miniature railroad tour, and much more.


  • USS Midway Museum- Located alongside the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, this museum offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to come aboard the longest serving aircraft career of 20th century. It has activities for all age groups and gives you a pleasant multilingual audio guided tour of the entire war machine. Tourists enjoy the spectacular 4-acre flight deck view of the San Diego skyline and also enjoy an educational tour of the engine room to control tower. The flight deck is filled with plenty of fighter aircrafts, which will be a sure shot visual treat even for the grown up and not just your child.


  • Little Italy- This is where the top luminary chefs and local brewers have gravitated to set up restaurants and shops, serving the best Italian cuisines. It also has a true Italian styled market home to a number of exquisite boutiques and art galleries.



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Leo is currently based in Tijuana and writing about cybersecurity, culture, policy and shareable things he finds on the Web. Connect via Twitter (@bryanclark)

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