Each Thursday evening downtown Palm Springs is transformed into a modern flea market, featuring a variety of genres of music by several local musicians, dozens of food vendors, and a hundred or more artisans selling their handcrafted items. Local farmers bring fresh home-grown produce. One of my favorites is a local beekeeper who offers uniquely flavored honey harvested from a wide variety of flowering plants. Honey bees working orange blossoms, for example, produce a honey that actually has a citrus flavor. My favorite honey has a distinctive mint flavor, not because of any additive, but rather due to the fact that the bees were harvesting nectar from flowering mint plants.
San Diego, “America’s Finest City,” is located in Southern California, about 15 miles north of the Mexican border. With a population of 1.3 million people, San Diego is the 2nd largest city in California, approximately 1/3rd the size of Los Angeles. It is the 8th largest city in the United States, about 1/6th the size of the largest city in the US, New York City.
Money Magazine rated San Diego in the top 5 best places to live in 2006. Forbes Magazine rated it the 5th wealthiest city in the US.
San Diego’s climate may be the responsible for much of its popularity, as it is not affected by temperature extremes at either end of the thermometer. While the Northeast and northern reaches of the Midwest are commonly faced with sub-zero temperatures, and the Desert Southwest face triple digit highs much of the year, San Diego’s daily average temperatures range between the upper 40s in January to the upper 70s during the summer months. Sunshine is the norm, with only about 43 rainy days per year, as recorded by NOAA at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field Airport.
Located less than 20 miles from the Mexican border, San Diego enjoys a rich Spanish cultural influence, and certainly some of the best Mexican restaurants on either side of the border. But San Diego is a multi-cultural city with many cultures generously represented.
San Diego is home to many major tourism attractions, perhaps most famous of all, the San Diego Zoo at Balboa Park, and the San Diego Wild Animal Park. San Diego also hosts one of three Sea World amusement parks in the US. Other notable attractions include:
Other points of interest include:
- Balboa Park
- Casa de Balboa Building
- Marston House Museum
- The Museum of San Diego History & Research Library
- Blacks Beach
- San Diego’s “clothing optional” beach.
- Cabrillo National Monument:
- Located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, this statue commemorates the landing on September 28, 1542 of the Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo expedition, the first time European explorers set foot on the west coast of what later became the United States.
- Old Town San Diego
- Casa de Estudillo: This adobe structure is a fine example of Spanish Colonial architecture. It was constructed in 1827 by settlers Jose Maria Estudillo and Jose Antonio Estudillo, his son.
- The Whaley House Museum: This former home of Thomas Whaley is considered to be haunted by the spirits of several deceased persons who met untimely deaths on the property. No historic tour of San Diego would be complete without a ghost tour of The Whaley House and Old Town San Diego.
- Mormon Battalion Historic Site
- Presidio Park
- Junipero Serra Museum
- Villa Montezuma (currently not open to the public)
Higher Education in San Diego
Education is a major factor in San Diego’s economy. Based on census data, CNN ranked San Diego as the 9th most educated city in the US, just below Boston, with over 40% of the over-25 population holding a bachelor’s degree. San Diego is home to numerous institutions of higher learning.
There are several large universities in San Diego, including UC San Diego (UCSD), San Diego State University (SDSU), National University, Alliant International University (AIU), Southern States University (SSU), Woodbury University‘s School of Architecture, Coleman University, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, the Art Institute of California – San Diego, Design Institute of San Diego (DISD), and the Newschool of Architecture + Design. The University of California, San Diego, also features a School of Medicine and a Medical Center.
Other Church affiliated institutions of higher education in and around San Diego include Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) – Church of the Nazarene, San Diego Christian College (SDCC) – Southern Baptist Convention, Chapman University – Disciples of Christ.
San Diego is also home to several famous research facilities, including the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, (founded by Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of a vaccine for the dreaded polio disease), and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The San Diego Public Library maintains 35 branch locations throughout San Diego. San Diego’s progressive thinking City Council recently announced plans to build a 9 story New Central Library featuring nearly half a million square feet of space, at a cost of $185 million to be completed in 2013.