City in San Diego County, California, United States, eighth largest city in the country by population
Top 10 San Diego related articles
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Government
- 6 Education
- 7 Culture
- 8 Sports
- 9 Media
- 10 Infrastructure
- 11 Notable people
- 12 Sister cities
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
San Diego, California
|City of San Diego|
"America's Finest City"
Semper Vigilans (Latin for '"Ever Vigilant"')
Location within San Diego County
Location within California
Location within the United States
Location within North America
|Established||July 16, 1769|
|Incorporated||March 27, 1850|
|Named for||Saint Didacus of Alcalá|
|• Type||Strong mayor|
|• Body||San Diego City Council|
|• Mayor||Kevin Faulconer (R)|
|• City Attorney||Mara Elliott|
|• City Council|
|• State Assembly Members|
|• State Senators|
|• Total||372.42 sq mi (964.56 km2)|
|• Land||325.88 sq mi (844.02 km2)|
|• Water||46.54 sq mi (120.54 km2) 12.68%|
|Elevation||62 ft (19 m)|
|Highest elevation||1,591 ft (485 m)|
|Lowest elevation||0 ft (0 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||2nd in California|
8th in the United States
|• Density||4,369.26/sq mi (1,686.98/km2)|
|• Urban||2,956,746 (15th)|
|• Metro||3,317,749 (17th)|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
92101–92124, 92126–92132, 92134–92140, 92142, 92143, 92145, 92147, 92149–92155, 92158–92161, 92163, 92165–92179, 92182, 92186, 92187, 92190–92199
|GNIS feature IDs||1661377, 2411782|
San Diego (/ /, Spanish: [san ˈdjeɣo]; Spanish for 'Saint Didacus') is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico. With an estimated population of 1,423,851 as of July 1, 2019, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California. It is part of the San Diego–Tijuana conurbation, the second-largest transborder agglomeration between the U.S. and a bordering country after Detroit–Windsor, with a population of 4,922,723 people. The city is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the United States Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center.
San Diego has been called "the birthplace of California". Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, it was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later. The Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California. In 1821, San Diego became part of the newly declared Mexican Empire, which reformed as the First Mexican Republic two years later. California became part of the United States in 1848 following the Mexican–American War and was admitted to the union as a state in 1850.
The city is the seat of San Diego County and is the economic center of the region as well as the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. San Diego's main economic engines are military and defense-related activities, tourism, international trade, and manufacturing. The presence of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), with the affiliated UCSD Medical Center, has helped make the area a center of research in biotechnology.
San Diego Intro articles: 22
The first European to visit the region was explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, sailing under the flag of Castile but possibly born in Portugal. Sailing his flagship San Salvador from Navidad, New Spain, Cabrillo claimed the bay for the Spanish Empire in 1542, and named the site "San Miguel". In November 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno was sent to map the California coast. Arriving on his flagship San Diego, Vizcaíno surveyed the harbor and what are now Mission Bay and Point Loma and named the area for the Catholic Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego de Alcalá. On November 12, 1602, the first Christian religious service of record in Alta California was conducted by Friar Antonio de la Ascensión, a member of Vizcaíno's expedition, to celebrate the feast day of San Diego.
The permanent colonization of California and of San Diego began in 1769 with the arrival of four contingents of Spaniards from New Spain and the Baja California peninsula. Two seaborne parties reached San Diego Bay: the San Carlos, under Vicente Vila and including as notable members the engineer and cartographer Miguel Costansó and the soldier and future governor Pedro Fages, and the San Antonio, under Juan Pérez. An initial overland expedition to San Diego from the south was led by the soldier Fernando Rivera and included the Franciscan missionary, explorer, and chronicler Juan Crespí, followed by a second party led by the designated governor Gaspar de Portolà and including the mission president (and now saint) Junípero Serra.
In May 1769, Portolà established the Fort Presidio of San Diego on a hill near the San Diego River. It was the first settlement by Europeans in what is now the state of California. In July of the same year, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was founded by Franciscan friars under Serra. By 1797, the mission boasted the largest native population in Alta California, with over 1,400 neophytes living in and around the mission proper. Mission San Diego was the southern anchor in Alta California of the historic mission trail El Camino Real. Both the Presidio and the Mission are National Historic Landmarks.
In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain, and San Diego became part of the Mexican territory of Alta California. In 1822, Mexico began its attempt to extend its authority over the coastal territory of Alta California. The fort on Presidio Hill was gradually abandoned, while the town of San Diego grew up on the level land below Presidio Hill. The Mission was secularized by the Mexican government in 1834, and most of the Mission lands were granted to former soldiers. The 432 residents of the town petitioned the governor to form a pueblo, and Juan María Osuna was elected the first alcalde ("municipal magistrate"), defeating Pío Pico in the vote. (See, List of pre-statehood mayors of San Diego.) However, San Diego had been losing population throughout the 1830s and in 1838 the town lost its pueblo status because its size dropped to an estimated 100 to 150 residents. Beyond town Mexican land grants expanded the number of California ranchos that modestly added to the local economy.
Americans gained an increased awareness of California, and its commercial possibilities, from the writings of two countrymen involved in the often officially forbidden, to foreigners, but economically significant hide and tallow trade, where San Diego was a major port and the only one with an adequate harbor: William Shaler's "Journal of a Voyage Between China and the North-Western Coast of America, Made in 1804" and Richard Henry Dana's more substantial and convincing account, of his 1834–36 voyage, the classic Two Years Before the Mast.
In 1846, the United States went to war against Mexico and sent a naval and land expedition to conquer Alta California. At first they had an easy time of it capturing the major ports including San Diego, but the Californios in southern Alta California struck back. Following the successful revolt in Los Angeles, the American garrison at San Diego was driven out without firing a shot in early October 1846. Mexican partisans held San Diego for three weeks until October 24, 1846, when the Americans recaptured it. For the next several months the Americans were blockaded inside the pueblo. Skirmishes occurred daily and snipers shot into the town every night. The Californios drove cattle away from the pueblo hoping to starve the Americans and their Californio supporters out. On December 1 the Americans garrison learned that the dragoons of General Stephen W. Kearney were at Warner's Ranch. Commodore Robert F. Stockton sent a mounted force of fifty under Captain Archibald Gillespie to march north to meet him. Their joint command of 150 men, returning to San Diego, encountered about 93 Californios under Andrés Pico. In the ensuing Battle of San Pasqual, fought in the San Pasqual Valley which is now part of the city of San Diego, the Americans suffered their worst losses in the campaign. Subsequently, a column led by Lieutenant Gray arrived from San Diego, rescuing Kearny's battered and blockaded command.
Stockton and Kearny went on to recover Los Angeles and force the capitulation of Alta California with the "Treaty of Cahuenga" on January 13, 1847. As a result of the Mexican–American War of 1846–48, the territory of Alta California, including San Diego, was ceded to the United States by Mexico, under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The Mexican negotiators of that treaty tried to retain San Diego as part of Mexico, but the Americans insisted that San Diego was "for every commercial purpose of nearly equal importance to us with that of San Francisco," and the Mexican–American border was eventually established to be one league south of the southernmost point of San Diego Bay, so as to include the entire bay within the United States.
The state of California was admitted to the United States in 1850. That same year San Diego has designated the seat of the newly established San Diego County and was incorporated as a city. Joshua H. Bean, the last alcalde of San Diego, was elected the first mayor. Two years later the city was bankrupt; the California legislature revoked the city's charter and placed it under control of a board of trustees, where it remained until 1889. A city charter was reestablished in 1889, and today's city charter was adopted in 1931.
The original town of San Diego was located at the foot of Presidio Hill, in the area which is now Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The location was not ideal, being several miles away from navigable water at its port at La Playa. In 1850, William Heath Davis promoted a new development by the bay shore called "New San Diego", several miles south of the original settlement; however, for several decades the new development consisted only of a pier, a few houses and an Army depot for the support of Fort Yuma. After 1854, the fort became supplied by sea and by steamboats on the Colorado River and the depot fell into disuse. From 1857 to 1860, San Diego became the western terminus of the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line, the earliest overland stagecoach and mail operation from the Eastern United States to California, coming from Texas through New Mexico Territory in less than 30 days.
In the late 1860s, Alonzo Horton promoted a move to the bayside area, which he called "New Town" and which became Downtown San Diego. Horton promoted the area heavily, and people and businesses began to relocate to New Town because its location on San Diego Bay was convenient to shipping. New Town soon eclipsed the original settlement, known to this day as Old Town, and became the economic and governmental heart of the city. Still, San Diego remained a relative backwater town until the arrival of a railroad connection in 1878.
In the early part of the 20th century, San Diego hosted the World's Fair twice: the Panama-California Exposition (1915) and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935. Both expositions were held in Balboa Park, and many of the Spanish/Baroque-style buildings that were built for those expositions remain to this day as central features of the park. The buildings were intended to be temporary structures, but most remained in continuous use until they progressively fell into disrepair. Most were eventually rebuilt, using castings of the original façades to retain the architectural style. The menagerie of exotic animals featured at the 1915 exposition provided the basis for the San Diego Zoo. During the 1950s there was a citywide festival called Fiesta del Pacifico highlighting the area's Spanish and Mexican past. In the 2010s there was a proposal for a large-scale celebration of the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park, but the plans were abandoned when the organization tasked with putting on the celebration went out of business.
The southern portion of the Point Loma peninsula was set aside for military purposes as early as 1852. Over the next several decades the Army set up a series of coastal artillery batteries and named the area Fort Rosecrans. Significant U.S. Navy presence began in 1901 with the establishment of the Navy Coaling Station in Point Loma, and expanded greatly during the 1920s. By 1930, the city was host to Naval Base San Diego, Naval Training Center San Diego, San Diego Naval Hospital, Camp Matthews, and Camp Kearny (now Marine Corps Air Station Miramar). The city was also an early center for aviation: as early as World War I, San Diego was proclaiming itself "The Air Capital of the West". The city was home to important airplane developers and manufacturers like Ryan Airlines (later Ryan Aeronautical), founded in 1925, and Consolidated Aircraft (later Convair), founded in 1923. Charles A. Lindbergh's plane The Spirit of St. Louis was built in San Diego in 1927 by Ryan Airlines.
During World War II, San Diego became a major hub of military and defense activity, due to the presence of so many military installations and defense manufacturers. The city's population grew rapidly during and after World War II, more than doubling between 1930 (147,995) and 1950 (333,865). During the final months of the war, the Japanese had a plan to target multiple U.S. cities for biological attack, starting with San Diego. The plan was called "Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night" and called for kamikaze planes filled with fleas infected with plague (Yersinia pestis) to crash into civilian population centers in the city, hoping to spread plague in the city and effectively kill tens of thousands of civilians. The plan was scheduled to launch on September 22, 1945, but was not carried out because Japan surrendered five weeks earlier.
After World War II, the military continued to play a major role in the local economy, but post-Cold War cutbacks took a heavy toll on the local defense and aerospace industries. The resulting downturn led San Diego leaders to seek to diversify the city's economy by focusing on research and science, as well as tourism.
From the start of the 20th century through the 1970s, the American tuna fishing fleet and tuna canning industry were based in San Diego, "the tuna capital of the world". San Diego's first tuna cannery was founded in 1911, and by the mid-1930s the canneries employed more than 1,000 people. A large fishing fleet supported the canneries, mostly staffed by immigrant fishermen from Japan, and later from the Portuguese Azores and Italy whose influence is still felt in neighborhoods like Little Italy and Point Loma. Due to rising costs and foreign competition, the last of the canneries closed in the early 1980s.
Downtown San Diego was in decline in the 1960s and 1970s, but experienced some urban renewal since the early 1980s, including the opening of Horton Plaza, the revival of the Gaslamp Quarter, and the construction of the San Diego Convention Center; Petco Park opened in 2004.
San Diego History articles: 98
According to SDSU professor emeritus Monte Marshall, San Diego Bay is "the surface expression of a north-south-trending, nested graben". The Rose Canyon and Point Loma fault zones are part of the San Andreas Fault system. About 40 miles (64 km) east of the bay are the Laguna Mountains in the Peninsular Ranges, which are part of the backbone of the American continents.
The city lies on approximately 200 deep canyons and hills separating its mesas, creating small pockets of natural open space scattered throughout the city and giving it a hilly geography. Traditionally, San Diegans have built their homes and businesses on the mesas, while leaving the urban canyons relatively wild. Thus, the canyons give parts of the city a segmented feel, creating gaps between otherwise proximate neighborhoods and contributing to a low-density, car-centered environment. The San Diego River runs through the middle of San Diego from east to west, creating a river valley that serves to divide the city into northern and southern segments. During the historic period and presumably earlier as well, the river has shifted its flow back and forth between San Diego Bay and Mission Bay, and its fresh water was the focus of the earliest Spanish explorers. Miguel Costansó, a cartographer, wrote in 1769, "When asked by signs where the watering-place was, the Indians pointed to a grove which could be seen at a considerable distance to the northeast, giving to understand that a river or creek flowed through it, and that they would lead our men to it if they would follow." That river was the San Diego River. Several reservoirs and Mission Trails Regional Park also lie between and separate developed areas of the city.
Notable peaks within the city limits include Cowles Mountain, the highest point in the city at 1,591 feet (485 m); Black Mountain at 1,558 feet (475 m); and Mount Soledad at 824 feet (251 m). The Cuyamaca Mountains and Laguna Mountains rise to the east of the city, and beyond the mountains are desert areas. The Cleveland National Forest is a half-hour drive from downtown San Diego. Numerous farms are found in the valleys northeast and southeast of the city.
In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land reported that San Diego had the 9th-best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. ParkScore ranks city park systems by a formula that analyzes acreage, access, and service and investment.
Communities and neighborhoods
The City of San Diego recognizes 52 individual areas as Community Planning Areas. Within a given planning area there may be several distinct neighborhoods. Altogether the city contains more than 100 identified neighborhoods.
Downtown San Diego is located on San Diego Bay. Balboa Park encompasses several mesas and canyons to the northeast, surrounded by older, dense urban communities including Hillcrest and North Park. To the east and southeast lie City Heights, the College Area, and Southeast San Diego. To the north lies Mission Valley and Interstate 8. The communities north of the valley and freeway, and south of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, include Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Tierrasanta, and Navajo. Stretching north from Miramar are the northern suburbs of Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, and Rancho Bernardo. The far northeast portion of the city encompasses Lake Hodges and the San Pasqual Valley, which holds an agricultural preserve. Carmel Valley and Del Mar Heights occupy the northwest corner of the city. To their south are Torrey Pines State Reserve and the business center of the Golden Triangle. Further south are the beach and coastal communities of La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and Ocean Beach. Point Loma occupies the peninsula across San Diego Bay from downtown. The communities of South San Diego, such as San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, are located next to the Mexico–United States border, and are physically separated from the rest of the city by the cities of National City and Chula Vista. A narrow strip of land at the bottom of San Diego Bay connects these southern neighborhoods with the rest of the city.
For the most part, San Diego neighborhood boundaries tend to be understood by its residents based on geographical boundaries like canyons and street patterns. The city recognized the importance of its neighborhoods when it organized its 2008 General Plan around the concept of a "City of Villages".
San Diego was originally centered on the Old Town district, but by the late 1860s the focus had shifted to the bayfront, in the belief that this new location would increase trade. As the "New Town" – present-day Downtown – waterfront location quickly developed, it eclipsed Old Town as the center of San Diego.
The development of skyscrapers over 300 feet (91 m) in San Diego is attributed to the construction of the El Cortez Hotel in 1927, the tallest building in the city from 1927 to 1963. As time went on, multiple buildings claimed the title of San Diego's tallest skyscraper, including the Union Bank of California Building and Symphony Towers. Currently the tallest building in San Diego is One America Plaza, standing 500 feet (150 m) tall, which was completed in 1991. The downtown skyline contains no super-talls, as a regulation put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1970s set a 500 feet (152 m) limit on the height of buildings within a one-mile (1.6 km) radius of the San Diego International Airport. An iconic description of the skyline includes its skyscrapers being compared to the tools of a toolbox.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
San Diego has one of the top-ten best climates in the United States, according to the Farmers' Almanac and has one of the two best summer climates in the country as scored by The Weather Channel. Under the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system, the San Diego area has been variously categorized as having either a semi-arid climate (BSh in the original classification and BSkn in modified Köppen classification with the n denoting summer fog) or a Mediterranean climate (Csa). San Diego's climate is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters, with most of the annual precipitation falling between December and March. The city has a mild climate year-round, with an average of 201 days above 70 °F (21 °C) and low rainfall (9–13 inches [230–330 mm] annually).
The climate in San Diego, like most of Southern California, often varies significantly over short geographical distances, resulting in microclimates. In San Diego, this is mostly because of the city's topography (the Bay, and the numerous hills, mountains, and canyons). Frequently, particularly during the "May gray/June gloom" period, a thick "marine layer" cloud cover keeps the air cool and damp within a few miles of the coast, but yields to bright cloudless sunshine approximately 5–10 miles (8.0–16.1 km) inland. Sometimes the June gloom lasts into July, causing cloudy skies over most of San Diego for the entire day. Even in the absence of June gloom, inland areas experience much more significant temperature variations than coastal areas, where the ocean serves as a moderating influence. Thus, for example, downtown San Diego averages January lows of 50 °F (10 °C) and August highs of 78 °F (26 °C). The city of El Cajon just 10 miles (16 km) inland from downtown San Diego, averages January lows of 42 °F (6 °C) and August highs of 88 °F (31 °C).
A sign of global warming, the average surface temperature of the water at Scripps Pier in the California Current has increased by almost 3 degrees since 1950, according to scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Annual rainfall along the coast averages 10.65 inches (271 mm) and the median is 9.6 inches (240 mm). The months of December through March supply most of the rain, with February the only month averaging 2 inches (51 mm) or more. The months of May through September tend to be almost completely dry. Although there are few wet days per month during the rainy period, rainfall can be heavy when it does fall. Rainfall is usually greater in the higher elevations of San Diego; some of the higher areas can receive 11–15 inches (280–380 mm) per year. Variability from year to year can be dramatic: in the wettest years of 1883/1884 and 1940/1941 more than 24 inches (610 mm) fell, whilst in the driest years there was as little as 3.2 inches (80 mm). The wettest month on record is December 1921 with 9.21 inches (234 mm).
Snow in the city is so rare that it has been observed only six times in the century-and-a-half that records have been kept. In 1949 and 1967, snow stayed on the ground for a few hours in higher locations like Point Loma and La Jolla. The other three occasions, in 1882, 1946, and 1987, involved flurries but no accumulation. On February 21, 2019, snow fell and accumulated in residential areas of the city, but none fell in the downtown area.
|Climate data for San Diego Int'l Airport (1981–2010 normals,[a] extremes 1874–present)[b]|
|Record high °F (°C)||88
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||78.4
|Average high °F (°C)||65.1
|Daily mean °F (°C)||57.1
|Average low °F (°C)||49.0
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||41.9
|Record low °F (°C)||25
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||1.98
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||6.7||7.1||6.5||4.0||1.4||0.8||0.7||0.4||1.2||2.8||4.1||5.8||41.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||63.1||65.7||67.3||67.0||70.6||74.0||74.6||74.1||72.7||69.4||66.3||63.7||69.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||239.3||227.4||261.0||276.2||250.5||242.4||304.7||295.0||253.3||243.4||230.1||231.3||3,054.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||75||74||70||71||58||57||70||71||68||69||73||74||69|
|Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990)|
Like much of southern California, the majority of San Diego's current area was originally occupied on the west by coastal sage scrub and on the east by chaparral, plant communities made up mostly of drought-resistant shrubs. The steep and varied topography and proximity to the ocean create a number of different habitats within the city limits, including tidal marsh and canyons. The chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitats in low elevations along the coast are prone to wildfire, and the rates of fire increased in the 20th century, due primarily to fires starting near the borders of urban and wild areas.
San Diego's broad city limits encompass a number of large nature preserves, including Torrey Pines State Reserve, Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, and Mission Trails Regional Park. Torrey Pines State Reserve and a coastal strip continuing to the north constitute one of only two locations where the rare species of Torrey Pine, Pinus torreyana, is found.
Due to the steep topography that prevents or discourages building, along with some efforts for preservation, there are also a large number of canyons within the city limits that serve as nature preserves, including Switzer Canyon, Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, and Marian Bear Memorial Park in San Clemente Canyon, as well as a number of small parks and preserves.
San Diego County has one of the highest counts of animal and plant species that appear on the endangered list of counties in the United States. Because of its diversity of habitat and its position on the Pacific Flyway, San Diego County has recorded 492 different bird species, more than any other region in the country. San Diego always scores high in the number of bird species observed in the annual Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the Audubon Society, and it is known as one of the "birdiest" areas in the United States.
San Diego and its backcountry suffer from periodic wildfires. In October 2003, San Diego was the site of the Cedar Fire, at that time the largest wildfire in California over the past century. The fire burned 280,000 acres (1,100 km2), killed 15 people, and destroyed more than 2,200 homes. In addition to damage caused by the fire, smoke resulted in a significant increase in emergency room visits due to asthma, respiratory problems, eye irritation, and smoke inhalation; the poor air quality caused San Diego County schools to close for a week. Wildfires four years later destroyed some areas, particularly within Rancho Bernardo, as well as the nearby communities of Rancho Santa Fe and Ramona.