San Diego is considered the birthplace of California—it’s the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in the state, dating back to 1769. Two hundred fifty years later, San Diego is still attracting people who can’t resist the beauty of this city by the sea. For tourists, San Diego is a mecca of sights and delights with few parallels anywhere else in the nation. Have a taste of what’s in store for those lucky enough to visit.

• Belmont Park: The thrilling centerpiece of this vintage amusement park in popular Mission Beach is called the “Giant Dipper”—and it’s a national historic landmark in its own right. Why? Because the construction of this incredible wooden roller coaster dates back to 1925, the so-called Golden Age of wooden coasters, but it can still be ridden today thanks to a $2 million restoration. With speeds of up to 48 mph and beautiful views of both neighboring Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean to enjoy (for those who keep their eyes open, that is).

Sunny late afternoon at the popular scenic seaside town of La Jolla Cove beach in San Diego, California.

• La Jolla: Dubbed the “jewel of Southern California,” La Jolla is a curiously quaint Mediterranean-style village just a few minutes drive from downtown—but visitors will feels as if they’ve accidentally taken the exit for Greece or Italy. There’s plenty to keep tourists entertained here, including some of the city’s finest restaurants like Nine-Ten in the Grande Colonial Hotel. Don’t miss the nearby Legends Gallery, which boasts a nice collection of artwork by former La Jolla resident Dr. Seuss, or the Instagram-friendly La Jolla Cove, where groups of seals and sea lions can almost always be found.

• U.S.S. Midway Museum: The monumental U.S.S. Midway was the longest-serving aircraft carrier in U.S. Navy history when it was decommissioned in 1992. Now the celebrated ship—the size of a floating city—is a floating maritime museum, berthed alongside San Diego Bay in downtown. Climb aboard for a fascinating insight into what naval life is really like, courtesy of a self-guided audio tour narrated by some former Midway sailors.

• Hotel del Coronado: Famous for its peaked red roof, classic Victorian architecture and serene ocean vistas, this hotel is an iconic San Diego landmark that puts on an iconic Sunday brunch. Visitors can enjoy the renowned egg soufflé while they soak up a little of the resort’s glamorous history. This was once the playground of Hollywood’s biggest stars, onscreen and off: The hotel was the backdrop for the gender-swapping hijinks of Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.

San Diego, California, USA: People walk along the pathways in Balboa Park. It contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

• Balboa Park: No visit to San Diego is complete without taking in Balboa Park. The sprawling 1,200-acre public park is home to the Old Globe theater, a gargantuan outdoor pipe organ and no less than 15 major museums. Visitors could easily spend an entire day strolling through the lush gardens and peeping historic architecture. Since they have an awful lot of ground to cover, it’s worth signing up for a segway or walking tour to see it all.

• Whaley House Museum: The Whaley House in San Diego’s Old Town is one of only two officially designated haunted houses in California (yes, official!). Built in 1857 on the town’s former gallows’ site, the house was once home to the wealthy but troubled Whaley family—and rumor has it that various members of the clan never left. Other ghosts said to haunt the house include a grand larcenist who fought ferociously to keep himself alive at the gallows.

• San Diego Zoo: Tucked away within the vast, verdant Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is home to an astonishing number of wild animals, from big cats to komodo dragons. Visitors can also partake in one of the animal experiences and fulfill their dreams of becoming a keeper for the day or enjoy a sunrise stroll, where they’ll see everything that happens before the park officially opens to the public. This zoo pioneered the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits to recreate more natural animal habitats, and remains one of the few zoos outside of China to house giant pandas.

As a tourist destination with few rivals in the U.S., San Diego can scarcely be beat on nearly any level.

© 2019 Silver Disobedience Inc.