Trevor’s Travels: San Diego, CA
Years ago, if someone mentioned San Diego, your first thought would be the San Diego Chicken. Ok, maybe the marina, too. Now, as California’s second-largest city, San Diego’s reputation has expanded (not that the San Diego Chicken isn’t awesome).
When I visited San Diego, I went to experience the city’s living history. San Diego is a waterfront community that’s bustled since the mid-1700s. It’s got a lengthy (occasionally checkered) past, which influences the existing culture.
Some of the most beautiful parks featuring century-old buildings are those like the San Diego State Historic Park and Mission San Diego de Alcala. My favorite was Balboa Park, home to the famous San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park is also where the Japanese Friendship Botanical Building and the Memorial Rose Garden are located. Additionally, the San Diego Museum of Art, which features contemporary and Latin American Art, is part of Balboa Park. Needless to say, it’s easy to spend an entire day (week?) in Balboa Park.
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Another cool place in San Diego I visited for both fun and local history was the Gaslamp Quarter named for the gas lamps that kept it well-lit centuries ago. On the darker side of things, in the late 1800s, the Gaslamp Quarter became overrun by saloons and bordellos; following World War II, it was a sailor’s haven for a good debauch, but like any feel-good story, the place turned itself around.
Today, the Gaslamp Quarter is a popular section of town to walk around, eat, drink, and shop. At night, it’s the place to see and be seen.
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Speaking of eating and drinking, the Gaslamp Quarter is a fantastic place to get a meal with local flavor. Searsucker, Jsix Restaurant, Neighborhood Ale House, Café Chloe, and Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop are local favorites. Neighborhood was my favorite, not just because there are nights where I dream about a killer hamburger served alongside a craft beer, but there was a hidden speakeasy in the back called The Noble Experiment (people dress in period attire to attend). Prohibition Era America fascinates me, so this was right up my street.
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That living history was one of my favorite things about San Diego, but I know there’s so much more to appreciate about this quietly fascinating city. What excites you most about San Diego? Where are your favorite places to experience local history and culture?
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