54 Facts About San Diego

California’s birthplace, and the first spot in the Western United States where Europeans stepped ashore, San Diego is a city with universal appeal. It’s the eighth-largest city in the country, and is often referred to as “America’s Finest City”, and for good reason! Known for its grand hotels, beautiful weather, pristine beaches, and a plethora of entertainment venues, San Diego is a favorite travel destination for visitors across the globe. Keep on reading to learn 54 facts about San Diego. 

Fact 1: San Diego is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast just off the Pacific Ocean.

Fact 2: It’s located approximately 120 miles south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.

Fact 3: The city features a varied topography of broad mesas, canyons, and wide valleys. 

Fact 4: The landscape becomes hillier to the north (notably in the La Jolla section) and eastward toward a line of mountains along the edge of the main built-up area. 

Fact 5: The region also has a mild, sunny climate year-round.

Fact 6: San Diego’s Balboa Park is home to over 350 hand-selected plant species.

Fact 7: The 350 hand-picked plant species’ were chosen at the turn of the 20th century by the botanist Kate Sessions, the “Mother of Balboa Park”. 

Fact 8: It’s home to one of the largest lath buildings in the world.

Fact 9: The largest lath building in the world, is the Botanical House.

Fact 10: The Botanical House contains 2,100 individual plants and is fronted by a pond with annual displays of lilies and lotuses.

Fact 11: As of July 1, 2018, San Diego has a population of 1,425,976.

Fact 12: San Diego, as of 2018, is the eighth-largest city in the United States.

Fact 13: San Diego is the second-largest city in California. 

Fact 14: It is part of the San Diego–Tijuana conurbation, the second-largest transborder agglomeration between the U.S. and a bordering country after Detroit–Windsor, with a population of 4,922,723 people. 

Fact 15: The region was first named “San Miguel” in 1542 by Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. 

Fact 16: It was later renamed for the Spanish monk San Diego de Alcalá de Henares in 1602, by Sebastián Vizcaíno.

Fact 17: On July 16, 1796, Gaspar de Portolá founded a presidio (military post) there.

Fact 18: In 1867, the new city of San Diego was laid out 3 miles south of Old Town by businessman Alonzo E. Horton.

Fact 19: Its growth was ensured by the promotion of its salubrious climate and the arrival of the Santa Fe Railway in 1885.

Fact 20: Located at the Navy Pier is the USS Midway Museum.

Fact 21: The longest-serving aircraft carrier in the world has been permanently stored at San Diego’s Embarcadero since 2004. 

Fact 22: Commissioned in 1945, the USS Midway served in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, before becoming the largest museum dedicated to aircraft carriers and naval aviation anywhere.

Fact 23: The west side of San Diego Bay features a long rocky peninsula.

Fact 24: Nearly landlocked San Diego Bay, one of the world’s finest natural deepwater harbours, encompasses 22 square miles.

Fact 25: It was a site of great military presence.

  • Major installations established here include Naval Base Point Loma, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (1911), Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (originally the Army’s Camp Kearney), and Naval Air Station North Island (both 1917), Naval Base San Diego (1919), and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado (1943). In addition, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (1942) was set up a short distance northwest, near Oceanside.

Fact 26: World War II ushered in even more rapid growth in San Diego.

Fact 27: After the second world war, San Diego’s land area and population each nearly quadrupled between 1950 and 2000. 

Fact 28: Industry expanded to include electronics, aerospace technology, and ship building after World War II. 

Fact 29: San Diego’s calm climate, has been a significant factor in attracting manufacturers, the military, retirees, and tourists to the area.

Fact 30: Most of its residents are under the age of 35. 

Fact 31: The city has one of the country’s highest percentages of college graduates. 

Fact 32: They have really good beer!

Fact 33: The craft beer scene in San Diego is something to be reckoned with, and the Toronado craft pub (56 rotating draughts), and the multi-award-winning Societe and Ballast Point production breweries need to be in the plans of any beer aficionado.

Fact 34: La Jolla shores is one of San Diego’s best and most popular beaches.

  • Somewhat protected from the prevailing southwest wind, it’s a safe, gentle spot to learn or enjoy surfing. There are year-round lifeguard services, good facilities and parking.

Fact 35: Located on the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula is the Cabrillo National Monument.  

Fact 36: Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo’s expedition arrived, at the what is now the Cabrillo National Monument, on 28 September 1542, and he named the bay San Miguel. 

Fact 37: The original heroic statue of Cabrillo was donated by the Portuguese government in 1939, while the current replica has stood since 1988. 

Fact 38: The San Diego Zoo houses more than 3,500 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies.

Fact 39: The San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that recreate natural animal habitats. 

Fact 40: The San Diego Zoo is one of the few zoos in the world that houses, and successfully breeds Giant Pandas, although the pandas have recently been sent back to China.

Fact 41: A mini home on Mt. Soledad in La Jolla is rumoured to have been owned by the munchkins from the “Wizard of Oz”.

Fact 42: There is only one remaining home now in La Jolla. 

Fact 43: Each year, San Diego celebrates “Tony Hawk Day” on May 29.

  • Hawk is widely considered to be one of the most successful and influential pioneers of modern vertical skateboarding. As of 2019, Tony Hawk’s net worth is roughly $140 Million dollars.

Fact 44: The Coronado Bridge was first opened to the public in 1969.

Fact 45: The United States’ 40th president, Ronald Reagan was the first driver to cross over the Coronado Bridge.

Fact 46: San Diego has a crime rate that is said to be 15% lower than the US’s national average crime rate.

Fact 47: San Diego has always been an expensive city to live in. In fact its the 12 most expensive city to live in in the U.S.

  • Some say to live comfortably you need a decent salary of about $75,000 a year – but this really depends on your lifestyle.

Fact 48: Mexican food is one of the most popular cuisines in San Diego. 

Fact 49: Ashely Falls, Carmel Canyon, and Rancho Santa Fe are the wealthiest areas to live in in San Diego.

Fact 50: San Diego doesn’t have lots of bike lanes – so be careful cyclists!

Fact 51: San Diego is apparently one of the safest cities in America, according to reports its 34 times safer than any other city in the US. 

Fact 52: Los Angeles is said to be 8.2% more expensive than San Diego. 

Fact 53: Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer is, as of 2017, the richest person in San Diego. 

Fact 54: Bill Gates has a residence in San Diego.


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