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Top 10 San Diego attractions

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The southernmost city in California has excellent weather all year, a light rail that services the entire city with buses and trolleys, accommodations to fit every budget, restaurants with cuisine from all parts of the world, lots of shopping areas for the avid shopper, activities for all ages and interests, one of the most beautiful harbors in the USA, and miles and miles of sandy beaches, this is San Diego where one can enjoy a quick weekend get-a-way or stay for a longer more leisurely vacation. Getting these is easy as the city is served by the Amtrak intercity and coastal commuter trains that go to downtown San Diego and a modern centrally located airport.

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  1. The best way to see the city in the least amount of time is the Hop-on-hop-off Old Town Trolley Tour. This two hour tour is filled with colorful anecdotes and stories about the history of San Diego’s birth in Old Town. Operating from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. it makes 11 stops as it circles the city. The starting cost is $39 per person.
  2. Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo have many attractions to keep one busy all day – there is the carousel, miniature railroad, Spanish Village art center, United Nations building, Museums, and of course the Zoo with exotic and rare animals such as giant pandas, swinging orangutans, an elaborate monkey trail habitat, and a children’s zoo with special animal exhibits and activities. Operating hours at the zoo vary visit the website for times.
  3. The Gaslamp District is the heart of San Diego where the streets are lined with original 19th century buildings, restaurants, shops, and clubs that now occupy the former brothels and saloons. The Horton Plaza Center is great for shopping. Visitors who wish to stay near Gaslamp will find many new hotels a few of which are inside historic buildings. During the year many events are held there, find out more by visiting the website.
  4. Old Town San Diego is the site of the first Spanish Settlement on the West Coast of America. It features colorful shops, California-style Restaurants, museums, and the Historical Park where history comes alive in the 19th century homes and business that showcases what colonial life in California was like in those days.
  5. Presidio Park is where the first European settlements in the United States was founded in 1769. At present there are no historical buildings in the park which was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1960. Visits can be made to the Serra Museum which marks the original site of the Presidio.
  6. Little Italy is a hip and historic neighborhood in San Diego which was once an Italian fishing neighborhood but is now filled with all things Italian - restaurants, shops, art galleries and residences. This active downtown area has many events during the year, including a Farmers Market every Saturday.
  7. Belmont Park is a historic oceanfront amusement park located in the Mission Bay area. It has free admission, free parking, and free kids activities every Wednesday and Thursday in the summer. The park has many rides such as the ‘giant dipper roller coaster, the beach blaster, freeway bumper cars, krazy cars, as well as many other activities. All the information can be found here.
  8. Seaport Village is connected by a quarter mile boardwalk to the Marriott Marquis Marina Hotel. It has over 50 unique shops, a lagoon, carousel, marina, a variety of casual eateries and four restaurants, as well as great views of the harbor, and is a featured stop on the Trolley route.
  9. In the Gaslamp Quarter the streets are lined with wrought iron street lamps, trees, and brick sidewalks. The quarter has the largest concentration of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, many of which are housed in the 94 historic buildings still standing.
  10. The Midway Aircraft Museum located along Harbor Drive, houses the USS Midway which was the flagship for ‘Operation Desert Storm’ in 1991. It showcases life at sea in exhibits that range from the crews sleeping quarters, to the massive galley, engine room, jail, and bridge high above the flight deck.
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