By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
San Diego has a bit of a second-city complex.
A beautiful setting, a great year-round climate, a natural deepwater harbor, great beaches, and an economy based to a great extent on the U.S. Navy and tourism.
Sailing into San Diego
It is, in fact, the second most populous city in California after Los Angeles.
In my opinion, L.A. gets all the attention but San Diego—and San Francisco—deserve all the praise.
San Diego encompasses about 200 deep canyons and hills separating its mesas, creating small pockets of natural parkland scattered throughout the city lots of hills.
Most of the homes and businesses are on the flat mesas, with the canyons left relatively wild.
We arrived on May 2, but in San Diego’s Old Town, it was Cinco de Mayo for the weekend, a celebration of the Mexican heritage of many San Diegans and the city itself. Here is some of what we saw today:
CINCO DE MAYO FESTIVAL
DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO
Our cruise from Florida through the Panama Canal to California followed the path of some of the celebrants who came to San Diego for the Panama–California Exposition in March, 1915 as part of the celebrations of the opening of the Panama Canal.
The exposition was held in San Diego’s large urban Balboa Park.
At a time when many architects were celebrating the over-the-top Beaux-Arts style, in San Diego they chose Spanish Baroque, which includes some Moorish Revival elements, and a bit of Spanish Colonial design.
The fair was decorated with more than two million plants of 1,200 different types. Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell made a three-day appearance in November 1915.
Some of the Exposition’s permanent buildings are still standing, including the Botanical Building, originally home to a collection of rare tropical and semi-tropical plants, the 200-foot-tall California Bell Tower, in the form of a Spanish ship, the Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Fine Arts Building , now part of the Museum of Man.
As impressive as Balboa Park is, for many the most important and most lasting remnant of the fairs is The San Diego Zoo, home to more than 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies, including the Giant Panda.
The second half of our long day in San Diego was a night game at Petco Park, which is not a place to walk your dog but rather the home of the San Diego Padres baseball team. The modern stadium is nestled within downtown San Diego near the Gaslamp District, a great way to keep a city lively. Petco is not quite Fenway Park in Boston, but it is of a similar atmosphere.
A NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK
ALONG THE WATERFRONT
All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.
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