10 Reasons Every Traveler Should Visit San Diego
When you picture sunny California's brilliant beaches, swaying palms and crashing waves, the image in your head is likely that of San Diego. But it’s not just the incredible landscape that makes this area of Southern California so irresistible. Back in the Gold Rush era, San Diego was actually where the first settlers took up residence, turning it into the thriving community that it is today. Frequently touted as one the top 10 largest cities in the country, there's no shortage of history, culture, or culinary delights here. From the historic Gaslamp Quarter to the dynamic arts scene, a trip to San Diego is one the whole family can get behind. Here are a few other reasons to visit:
1. To Befriend the Locals
Voted the number one zoo in the world, the San Diego Zoo is much more than just an open-air animal habitat. It’s home to more than 3,500 rare and endangered creatures, represents over 650 species, and has a botanical collection of more than 700,000 exotic plants. The zoo pioneered the concept of cageless captivity and has tons of exhibits that you can see via tour bus or from the Skyfari, a unique overhead gondola.
2. To Hit Up the Track
Called the place where the “turf meets the surf,” the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is one of the country’s premier racetracks. The summer race season opens in mid-July and runs until early September. The newly added fall season runs from mid-November through early December. If you happen to be in town during either season, it’s an experience not to be missed. The horses gallantly strut their stuff as the crowd roars and cheers for their favorite jockey. It’s a thrilling and fast-paced sport with true horsepower.
3. To Play a Round
San Diego boasts 93 golf courses in every conceivable setting, where sand traps can be taken as literally as oceanfront property or desert holes. Open only to club members and Fairmont Grand Del Mar guests, the greens at The Grand Golf Club were designed by standout architect Tom Fazio. Thanks to the beautiful weather, the fairway is available to hit 18 holes year-round.
4. For the Ridiculous Weather
If there was a place with nearly perfect weather, it would be San Diego. Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, summer highs are usually in the 80s, and winters are still a comfortable 65 to 70 degrees. Yes, while the rest of the country is getting doused in snow, it’s still beach weather in sunny Southern California. That’s our kind of white Christmas.
5. To Get Cultured
At 1,200 acres, the centuries-old Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the United States. Often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West,” the massive compound is home to 15 museums, numerous art galleries, five theaters including The Old Globe, and 16 beautiful gardens. San Diego is also home to the San Diego Opera, the San Diego Symphony and a kaleidoscope of theater, dance, music, street festivals and other performing arts events throughout the year.
6. To Hike It
One of the best ways to explore San Diego is on foot. In fact, Fairmont Grand Del Mar is surrounded by 37 miles of canyon trails that are perfect for not only hiking and jogging but also biking and even horseback riding. Every Saturday morning, resort guests are invited to join in a complimentary guided hike to discover the babbling creeks, breathtaking flora and curious fauna of the surrounding Los Penasquitos Canyon.
7. To Drink Up
San Diego is a craft beer haven with more than 100 breweries and gastropubs in the region. Some not to miss standouts include: Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, Ballast Point and Green Flash Brewing Co., all of which have won major international awards. If you’re planning a fall getaway, consider coming in November for San Diego Beer Week, an annual 10-day celebration of suds.
8. To Make it a Beach Day
La Jolla is popular with the “see and be seen” crowd, while Coronado is regularly recognized for its family-friendly accommodations. Post up with an umbrella drink and take in the dramatic cliffs, sandy expanses and secluded coves. If you’re not in the mood for getting sandy, Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s poolside cabanas come equipped with complimentary bottled water and fresh fruit to have you feeling like you’re on island time.
9. To Eat Your Heart Out
With more than 6,000 farmers in San Diego County, "local" and "seasonal" are buzzwords in this city. Fresh produce is curated for innovative, new-American cooking techniques that are best described as California cuisine. For a fine dining experience, Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s signature restaurant, Addison, features French-inspired cuisine and is frequently rated as one of the most acclaimed five-star dining experiences in the U.S.
10. To Get Pampered
It’s not truly a vacation unless there’s a spa day, now is it? One of only two dozen five-star spas in the country, The Spa at Fairmont Del Mar features a whole host of treatments using a custom organic product line. Whether you opt for a massage, body wrap or facial treatment, your stress will be replaced with bliss in no time.