The Best Views of San Diego


When I started planning my California vacation, San Diego was my number one goal.  I had never been to this beautiful city before, but I had heard plenty of people talk about it — and no one ever said anything bad about their visit.  But as my plan took shape, San Diego kept getting pushed back.  When I finally got there, it was Day 9, the final day of my trip, the day I was scheduled to fly out (of Los Angeles).  If I could have spent more time here, I would have.  But all I had was one morning, so I made the best of it.

San Diego has one of the most beautiful skylines of any American city.  Best of all, there are countless great places to appreciate it.  I drove around downtown, and eventually found a nice spot, at Seaport Village Park.

Seaport Village Park is located at the southern end of Kettner Boulevard, behind the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel, and just north of the San Diego Convention Center (as well as numerous other downtown hotels).

On one side of this tiny peninsula, you have a great view of downtown San Diego…

… and from the other side, San Diego Bay.  There’s a very good chance you’ll see some bananas arriving, or some other kind of cargo onboard an enormous ship.

Take the time to walk out to the end of the peninsula, and you’ll pass some sculptures, which nicely complement the city skyline.

This isn’t the best place to view the city, though.  That honor (arguably) goes to Coronado — the community at the end of a long peninsula that separates San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean.

Before driving over to Coronado, I tried to visit Border Field State Park, the southwestern-most point in California, and the continental U.S.  After driving all the way down to the park (about 16 miles south of downtown), I found the gate to the park closed, so I turned around.  On the return trip, I drove up CA Rte. 75, which travels up the “Silver Strand” — the narrow strip of land that separates San Diego Bay from the Pacific.  You can see it all in the Drivelapse video below.


Click here to see a larger version of this picture.

If you follow Route 75 all the way north into Coronado, you’ll end up in a pleasant little town filled with shops and restaurants and homes you probably can’t afford.  Coronado is a great part of the San Diego experience, but if you’re in a hurry (like I was), you’ll probably want to head to the end of Orange Avenue (just a few blocks after Route 75 turns left, for the drive over the Coronado Bridge).  Here, you’ll find Centennial Park, a tiny plot of land with a million dollar view.

The picture above shows a 180-degree panorama, but the city itself is straight ahead…

… and it looks like the city planners intentionally lined up all of San Diego’s buildings, just so you could appreciate them from this spot.  By the way, Seaport Village Park is directly across the water from here.

In addition to the view, be sure to appreciate the tiny six-sided building that stands beside the path.  It’s the ticket booth for the old Coronado Ferry, which operated between this spot and downtown San Diego from 1886 to 1969.  The ferry wasn’t needed anymore…

… when the enormous Coronado Bridge opened.  The elegant, 2.1 mile long bridge carries Highway 75 200 feet above San Diego Bay — an altitude high enough to allow those banana-filled cargo boats to pass, as well as the big Navy ships that call San Diego home.

Of course, I have just scratched the surface of what San Diego has to offer for visitors.  As you do your research and plan your trip, consider these possibilities: Balboa Park, home to 14 museums and the famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World San Diego, LEGOLAND (in Carlsbad, north of San Diego), Cabrillo National Monument (with another good view of the city), and the big ships at the San Diego Naval Station.

Once your time is up in downtown San Diego, head north on Interstate 5 to Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from downtown San Diego, south to Border Field State Park, then north to Coronado via Hwy. 75:

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