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”.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
American beauty: the southwest USA in pictures

American beauty: the southwest USA in pictures

After two months road tripping through the southwest USA, Rough Guides photographer Tim Draper captured the region's stunning natural beauty through his lens. H…

16 Oct 2017 • Tim Draper insert_drive_file Article
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook