Relatively free from smog and overbuilt freeways, SAN DIEGO is the second most populous city in California – affluent and libertarian, but also easy-going and friendly. In 1769 it was the site of the first Spanish mission in California, but the city only really took off with the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad in the 1880s. During World War II the US Navy made San Diego its Pacific Command Center, but since the end of the Cold War the military sector had reduced dramatically; San Diego has since become a biotech industry hub and is home to telecommunications giant Qualcomm, founded here in 1985. However, it is San Diego’s reputation as an ocean-oriented “resort city” that provides much of its current appeal, its long white beaches, sunny weather and bronzed bodies giving rise to the city’s well-deserved nickname, “Sandy Ego”.

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