Downtown San Diego
Downtown San Diego is a rejuvenated and growing area of the city, especially since the building of the new baseball field, Petco Park, in the East Village. Business has been moving back into the area, as well as young people and families looking to rent downtown apartments. The many restaurants, theaters, clubs, and cultural sites such as the Children’s Museum offer an amazing array of entertainment and experiences that rivals any city in the US.
Though founded in 1769 by Fransiscan missionary Junipero Serra, San Diego didn’t begin to grow as a city until the late nineteenth century when entrepreneurs like Alonzo Horton moved into the area and began developing the downtown area. Many of these early buildings still survive including the Sheraton US Grant Hotel, which has been recently renovated. There is a wide array of architecture in the downtown area, including Spanish Renaissance style, mission style, and modern contemporary buildings. Because of the proximity of the airport, the tallest building in San Diego is limited to a height 500 feet, which is the height of One America Plaza, an office building which dominates the city skyline. The Convention Center also attracts attention as one of the most beautiful buildings on the west coast with its use of a sail design integrating well into the bay front.
Downtown is served by major Interstates 5, 8, as well as large artery connections such as the 163, and is delimited by San Diego Bay to the west, Bankers Hill and Balboa Park to the north, Barrio Logan and Sherman Heights to the south, and Golden Hill to the east. San Diego International Airport is a short distance west of downtown.
The revitalization of the Gas Lamp District, along with the building of Horton Plaza in 1985, and the completion of the San Diego Convention Center attracts people from around the world to attend conferences, shop, and enjoy the main fine restaurants and clubs that Downtown has to offer. Another rejuvenated area is Little Italy, an Italian neighborhood that is coming back from a disruption in the 1970s of the Interstate dividing the neighborhood. It now offers street fairs, great restaurants, and a thriving social scene.
There are a number of festivals and street parties held throughout the year, giving the downtown area a festive atmosphere. Restaurants and a thriving theater scene that includes the Old Globe Theater as well as numerous downtown dinner theaters, offer a fabulous night out on the town that might culminate with a view of the ships in San Diego Bay. Nearby Balboa Park with its fine museums, art galleries, and specialty stores, is also a popular destination and while you’re there you can take in the San Diego Zoo. Old Town offers great dining experiences and the ambience of an earlier San Diego.
As the seat of county government, the downtown area is also home to the municipal government and county governments, as well as the federal courthouse. Because of the renaissance of the downtown area, many businesses as well as individuals and families are moving in to take advantage of the great location that made San Diego the first city in California.