One of the oldest recreational public areas in the United States and a National Historic Landmark, The Balboa Park is a cultural hub containing museums (such as The Museum of Man and the San Diego Museum of Art), several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. This is why the 1,200 – acre park is such a favorite location of ours! The Botanical Building (above), is also found here. Built in 1916, the Botanical Building is one of the largest structures in the world constructed of lath.
SAN DIEGO MUSEUM OF MAN
Established in 1915, the San Diego Museum of Man is housed within the California Building and Tower. It is amongst one of the most recognizable landmarks in San Diego, combining Gothic, Baroque, Plateresque, Rococo, and Churrigueresque styles to resemble a Spanish Colonial Church. The museum focuses on anthropology, with current exhibitions about the Maya, the history of beer, Egyptian mummification (a spectacular collection of artifacts, sarcophagi, and mummies open to the whole family), cannibalism, and more.
EL PRADO COMPLEX
El Prado Complex is comprised of several buildings that were reconstructed from those initially built in 1915. Though the reconstruction of the buildings was controversial, as it did not give El Prado the Spanish-Colonial appearance it once possessed, the set of buildings remains a beautiful place to visit. Casa del Prado, in particular, is home to multiple arts organizations, and other adjacent buildings house museums such as the Museum of Photographic Arts.
CASA DEL PRADO THEATER
Across from the San Diego Natural History Museum, The Casa del Prado Theater is housed in a historic building, which is part of those reconstructed for El Prado Complex. The theater hosts a wide range of cultural events, and it is the home of the San Diego Junior Theater and the San Diego Youth Ballet.
HOTEL DEL CORONADO
The historic Hotel del Coronado is a beachfront hotel across the San Diego Bay. As the second-largest wooden structure in the United States, this National Historic Landmark, which first opened in 1888, is one of the few remaining examples of the American architectural style Victorian beach resort.
At the time of its opening, Hotel del Coronado was the largest resort hotel in the world and has been awarded multiple accolades since. It has been featured in a dozen films and hosted notable guests such as Thomas Edison, presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, members of royal families from across the world, and numerous celebrities.
If, like us, you have an interest in the spooky, the hotel is also said to be haunted, with rooms 3327 and 3519 being reported as the most active with paranormal activity. This has earned the Hotel del Coronado a place on multiple lists as one of the most haunted hotels in the USA, and if not, the world.
Known as ‘San Diego’s Jewel,’ the seaside community of La Jolla is a picturesque village boasting many attractions, hotels, resorts, award-winning restaurants, and trendy boutiques. It also has some of California’s best beaches. One of its most notable attractions – and controversial – is its large number of sea lions and wild seals, which can often be found along the coastline. Though a beautiful sight to see, make sure not to disturb them and to keep your distance, not only for their safety but also for your own.
SAN DIEGO ZOO
The San Diego Zoo houses more than 3,500 animals, from over 600 species. The zoo is recognized as a pioneer in recreating natural animal habitats for exhibits, and the conservation of species drives its mission. The main attractions include the Australian Outback Exhibit, Africa Rocks, giant pandas, and polar bears. The zoo is also a favorite for photographers who might not have other opportunities to photograph animals or birds at such proximity.
MARITIME MUSEUM OF SAN DIEGO
Established in 1948, the Maritime Museum of San Diego preserves one of the largest world-class collections of historic vessels. The collection is formed of sailing ships, submarines, and steam-powered boats. The crown jewel of the museum’s collection is the Star of India ( built in 1863 and a National Historic Landmark), which is the oldest ship in the world that still sails.
Other extraordinary vessels include the 555 USS Dolphin, which set a depth record in 1969 after launching a torpedo from the deepest depths of the ocean, and the B-39 submarine, an actual Soviet-era submarine which played a part during the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
LITTLE ITALY MERCATO FARMERS' MARKET
Held every Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm, the Mercato boasts 200 tents, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce, to beauty products, and art. The farmers’ market, visited by people from all over the world, is a great way to meet local entrepreneurs and artists such as Mark and Paul, owners of Someofmecards.com, specializing in artfully-created, handmade greeting cards. Click the link above for our interview with this creative duo!
GUILD MAGAZINE - THE TRAVEL ISSUE