We really liked Old Town a...
We really liked Old Town a lot. Lots of restaurants and shops. It had been recommend to me to go to the Gaslight district, which I found to very busy and crowded. At Old Town, we parked in a huge parking lot down by where the train stops and walked the 2 blocks back to the area. We had 2 wonderful Mexican meals there - one had 2 guys strumming their guitars and singing mexican serenades. I was happiest when they were on the opposite side of the restaurant !! Also Old town is the starting point of the 'hop on - hop off' San Diego tour which we did our first day to get an idea of the lay of the land. I liked the habor cruise and watching the many sailboats in the bay. We also saw a few sea lions on the buoys sunning themselves!!!
If you travel with kids...
SAN DIEGO FOR KIDS:
ZOO packages: San Diego ZOO + San Diego ZOO's Wild Animal Park + San Diego SeaWorld
Southern California City Pass: like above + Knott's Theme Park + Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure
Details in my Must See Activity Tips.
Downtown SD Map
This is a map showing the downtown area, Coronado Island, the SD Zoo, Hillcrest and Old Town. Just to give an idea of the distance, from the Gaslamp (Streets colored in orange) Quarter to Old Town, it is about 3 1/2 miles. From the Harbor to the SD Zoo it is also about 3 1/2 miles.
North of Interstate 8 is Fashion Valley Mall, Mission Valley Shopping Center and Hotel Circle. West of Interstate 5 is the airport. North of downtown and West of Old Town is Hillcrest.
Click on map for a clearer view.
What is outside a downtown?
OK, the world looks quite different outside a downtown - there are huge residential areas mixed with many business areas.
In San Diego they take a lot of area - you can just drive and drive and look at never ending houses along loooong streets.
Most houses are 1-floor and have usually medium size (in European sense) or big size yards (frontyard and backyard, what about "sideyard"? :-)... as I know they don't have gardens, gardens are at palaces hehe.
So maybe it would be better to LIVE in San Diego and to VISIT European old cities hehe.
Cities within a city - Linda's reply
Most of the cities are like independent islands.
San Diego City is an exception because it took land south of Chula Vista and made that land part of it.
This southwestern part of California is called San Diego County and the City of San Diego is in San Diego County.
South of San Diego is NATIONAL CITY and then CHULA VISTA. There is a city, southwest of Chula Vista called IMPERIAL BEACH. Chula Vista and the City of SD did annex the area which must have been County - unircorporated land. Imperial Beach has been an incorporated city all along, without interruption. Thus, Chula Vista's city border extended farther south then "L" Street-which was the old end of CV--to Main Street and it's population grew from 75,0000 to 125,000 almost over night. Past Main Street is the San Diego City portion, including where I live now.
The easiest way to know if a place is in the City or County is to look at the address. If the address is San Diego, that means that it is part of the City of San Diego, any other address is either another city or an area of SD County, such as LA JOLLA which is not an incorporated city.
Confusing isn't it?
We have Federal, State, County, City and Private land.
A milititary base is on Federal land, so are the National Parks--such as
Cabrillo National Monument.
All State buildings and State Parks--such as Silver Strand State park are on
State owned land.
All County buildings and lands not owned by a person, the state, the cities or
the Federal government are county land.
All land not owned by a private citizen / business owner, the Federal
government, State or the County is owned by the city.
Any law biding citizen or business can own land, but that land is still subject
to the laws of the city it is in, the county it is in, the state it is in, and
all Federal laws.
Thank you very much Linda :-))).