If you recently arrived or have long been stationed in San Diego, you hit the proverbial jackpot. Replete with breathtakingly beautiful beaches (approximately 24 in all), historically significant landmarks and daily doses of wall-to-wall sunshine, “America’s Finest City” lives up to its nickname. It is little wonder why so many military bases are located in this jewel of Southern California, not to mention communities of veterans who’ve retired after years of honorable service.
However, because you undoubtedly spent a good portion of your time on base taking care of business, you may have been unable to get out and enjoy yourself as often as you should. Rest, relaxation and general enjoyment is a critical component to your overall health and well-being and a great way to build relationships with your fellow service members or strengthen family connectedness.
If you ever wondered why San Diego is called “The Jewel City,” look no further than La Jolla. Spanish for “jewel,” La Jolla is as fun and enjoyable to visit as it is to say.
The next time you have time to yourself, consider visiting one of the following locations and see why sunny San Diego is one of the greatest cities in the world:
Spread out over more than 2,000 acres of rocky cliffs and grassy knolls, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is about as close to paradise as you can get from a purely visual standpoint. The panoramic views are postcard material. You may even see a blue whale or two crest the ocean’s surface if you have a pair of binoculars and are in the right spot. But Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; there are also eight miles of trails you can use for bike riding, jogging or walking. And if you’re a golfing enthusiast, the reserve is flanked by the Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course, which is slated to host the U.S. Open in 2021. 2008 was the last time Torrey Pines served as host.
2020 was the sesquicentennial celebration of California becoming a state. But prior to becoming an official state, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to step foot on what would eventually become San Diego. Cabrillo’s arrival is honored at the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma. Donated by the Portuguese government back in 1939, the statue itself is an incredible work of art, encircled by inscribed stone tablets detailing the explorer’s mission and how long he was at sea before arriving. If you stop into the nearby visitors center, you’ll get a more thorough understanding of Cabrillo’s voyage and why he’s a household name for many locals. To cap off your journey back in time, be sure to check out the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The lighthouse hasn’t operated in several years, but it now serves as a museum.
In short, if you’re an American history buff, Cabrillo National Monument is a can’t-miss take-in you’ll be glad you took the time to visit.
3. La Jolla
If you ever wondered why San Diego is also called “The Jewel City,” look no further than La Jolla. Spanish for “jewel,” La Jolla is as fun and enjoyable to visit as it is to say. For one thing, the houses are incredibly beautiful, as many of them qualify as mansions, costing in the millions of dollars. Secondly, there are tons of things to do while you’re in this ritzy section of San Diego, including fine outdoor dining, window shopping and parks just to kick back and enjoy the view. You may also want to stop by La Jolla Cove, where you may see seals and sea lions sunbathing.
Were you — or are you still — a Dr. Seuss fan? Then you’ll definitely want to stop by the Legends Gallery on Prospect Street. As The Crazy Tourist pointed out, you can see Dr. Seuss’ original artwork here. The children’s book author — whose actual name was Theodor Seuss Geisel — was a native of Massachusetts but spent a good portion of his life in La Jolla. It’s also where he passed away back in 1991.
4. Little Italy
From New York City to Los Angeles and a few places in between, several metropolitan areas around the country have their own versions of Little Italy. San Diego is no exception. Appropriately, this portion of the city was primarily made up of individuals who originated from Italy and Sicily and served as a port for tuna fishing throughout much of the 20th century. Today, however, Little Italy is a major tourist attraction, with plenty of places to walk, shop, eat and drink.
As an active duty service member, at least one visit to a military-related location should be on your to-do list. You have several options to choose from, one of which is the USS Midway Museum. As the Crazy Tourist points out, the USS Midway is one of the country’s largest historic vessels, with nearly a dozen heritage boats and submarines. (One of these, called the Start of India, dates all the way back to the Civil War era.) Built in 1863, this iron-hulled sailing ship spent much of its life coursing the seas between India, Great Britain and New Zealand, and later served as a vessel for salmon fishing. Remarkably, despite being 157 years old, the ship still sails and may be the oldest vessel in the world to do so.
Also, if you enjoy movies, you may recognize an 18th-century British Navy replica that is docked here. It made cameo appearances in “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” and was also featured in one of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.
6. Restaurants galore
No day trip is complete without trying some of the food around town. You have a litany of places to pick from in San Diego. Considered one of the best food cities in America by Thrillist as well as Travel & Leisure magazine, San Diego has eateries that will satisfy the largest of appetites. From delicious pizza to hot and spicy Mexican cuisine, you can’t go wrong with any place you pick. (In light of the lockdown restrictions stemming from COVID-19, you may want to check their website first before you visit to see if they’re open and what services are available.)
Oh, the places you’ll go in picturesque San Diego. And if you’re looking for a personal loan, swing by Omni Financial’s satellite office at 2850 Main Street. We look forward to seeing you. Alternatively, contact us online.
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