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Welcome Home to San Diego

Although San Diego is the nation�s 7th largest city, it still has a small town feel. It has a downtown skyline of high-rise condominiums and villages full of bungalows. San Diego offers urban excitement while fields of flowers beckon to the north and snow-capped mountains tower in the east. Every year tourist comes to visit for a few days and end up staying a lifetime.

Why do people stay?

Business

For the past 20 years, San Diego has been booming � from a town dependent on military and tourism, to a diverse and thriving cluster or high-tech industry. Driven by the research conducted at UCSD and labs located on the Torrey Pines Mesa, San Diego�s biotechnology industry is now 3rd in the nation. The military continues to be an important presence and part of San Diego culture, Pendleton in Oceanside is a major U.S. Marine base.

Weather

With picturesque weather that is the envy of many, it�s easy to call San Diego home. San Diego�s Mediterranean climate is near to perfection as you can get. Close to the Pacific Ocean, summer days are cool and winter nights are comfortable. But lest you think San Diego offers nothing in the way of climactic change, keep in mind the region boasts deserts and mountains as well as beaches. In one day it�s possible to jog in cool ocean mist, feel the scorching heat of the Anza-Borrego dunes and hike mountain passes where the chill makes you reach for a sweater. San Diego offers a little bit of everything, no matter where you live.

Education

Several major universities call San Diego home: San Diego State, University of San Diego, and University of California San Diego. San Diego State accommodates nearly 30,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. University of San Diego is rich with architecture that reflects San Diego�s history and a law school renowned for its faculty. University of California San Diego, with its proximity to the biotech firms in Torrey Pines, has produced scientists and entrepreneurs who have contributed to the area and the world.

The institutions of higher education are not the only aspects of San Diego�s education that gets an �A� for excellence. San Diego educators are committed to providing the best education possible for students at every level. Charter schools, such as High tech high, offer students a chance to learn in non-traditional environments and to meet challenges that will prepare them for college and beyond.

The Neighborhoods

Coming home to San Diego means coming home to a place that offers you everything you want, no matter your mood.

History

September 28, 1542, Juan Cabrillo landed in what he called �a very enclosed port� and named the site �San Miguel�. The settlement was given its final name when Sebastian Vizcaino landed on November 10, 1602 and renamed the spot �San Diego,� in honor of his flagship and the fact that his expedition made landfall two days before the feast day of San Diego de Alcala.

Although San Diego officially began as a small village at the base of a hill, it really didn�t get started as a city until Alonzo Horton purchased 160 acres of a failed development to the south. Those acres, called �Rabbitville� because of its primary residents, had been an attempt by William Heath Davis to establish a commercial center.

In 1867 Horton, fresh from San Francisco, saw opportunity in this �prettiest site for a city,� as he called his new purchase. Horton returned to San Francisco and went on a marketing frenzy as he published pamphlets and opened up an office, all with the express purpose of telling people about the wonderful life awaiting them in the south. Horton�s dedication paid off. New San Diego began growing as a commercial center. Today, downtown San Diego has a number of distinct neighborhoods that offer exciting opportunities for living, working, and playing.

Little Italy

Little Italy began as the core settlement for San Diego�s Italian immigrants. Unfortunately, deterioration and general decay ate away at the area until a group of civil leaders saw the possibilities of revitalizing the neighborhood. Today, Little Italy is the new hot spot fir restaurants, cafes, galleries, and boutiques. The Old World feeling is still palpable as residents and visitors walk past stands filled with Italian-language newspapers and neighbors gather over sups of espressos in the afternoons.

Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is where Horton�s San Diego was born. As business in the area gradually moved north, the original development turned into the red-light district of the city and became known as Stingaree. It kept this name � and reputation � up through the 1960s. Then, beginning in the 1970s, a movement to reclaim the city began and Stingaree returned to its roots as a bustling, thriving commercial center. The 16 � block district is known as the Gaslamp Quarter, an area that is a perfect combination of incomparable historic charm with its renovated buildings / structures and hip / modern restaurants, galleries and boutiques. The Gaslamp Quarter �s charm is reminiscent of old New Orleans.

Hillcrest

Hillcrest sits on the hills to the north of downtown San Diego. Once an enclave of middle-class families, Hillcrest is now home to hip neighborhood restaurants and funky galleries as well as being the gay and lesbian center of San Diego. The neighborhood restaurants offer a wide range of international cuisines, from Afghan to Thai.

San Diego is filled with cultural attractions that delight both residents and visitors alike.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is the nation�s largest urban cultural park, covering 1,200 acres and hosting more than 85 cultural and recreational organizations. First called City Park, Balboa Park was redesigned to host the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. El Prado is the main walkway through the park, lined with beautiful ornate Spanish Colonial buildings, the first buildings to construct in that particular style in the United States. The Botanical Building houses more than 2,000 tropical plants from around the world while celebrated Old Globe Theatre produces plays throughout the year. Balboa Park also hosts many of San Diego�s museums, including the Aerospace Museum with its International Aerospace Hall of Fame, the only one in the world, and the San Diego Museum of Art, the region�s oldest and largest art museum.

San Diego Zoo

Beginning with just a dream by Dr. Harry Wegeforth, the world-famous San Diego Zoo is a central attraction of the park. Stretching out over 100 acres of mesas and canyons, the Zoo is famous for its preservation and breeding programs that strive to protect endangered species.

Petco Park

Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres, the region�s major league baseball team. Petco Park opened in 2004, drawing more than 300,000 visitors in its inaugural season. With beautiful views of the harbor and downtown, the park is considered one of the finest of the new baseball venues in the county.

Embarcadero

Along the Embarcadero, you�ll find cruise ships, commercial fishing boats and historic ships. San Diego�s harbor has offered protection for ships ever since Cabrillo first ventured into these quiet waters, and today the working waterfront handles tons of produce and products every day from around the world.

Coronado

The harbor separates downtown San Diego from the island of Coronado, but at times it feels as if a century comes between the two. In a mere 7.4 square miles, Coronado offers a downtown filled with unique ships, beautiful houses, an award-winning beach and the historic Hotel del Coronado. The San Diego-Coronado Bridge arches over the harbor, connecting the two cities, but for a nostalgic trip, take one of the ferries that carry passengers between Broadway Pier and The Ferry Landing Marketplace.