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Get to know San Diego

It’s hardly a surprise that, when they ceded California to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexican negotiators attempted to hold onto San Diego. Few places afford a more enviable lifestyle. Located 120 miles below Los Angeles, it’s the state’s southernmost city — hop off the Blue Line trolley and you can literally walk to Tijuana. Like any dynamic community, it’s composed of dozens of distinct neighborhoods, each with its own cultural microclimate. Beyond beautiful white-sand beaches dotting its 70 miles of coastline, you’ll find world-class attractions like Balboa Park, Sea World and the San Diego Zoo, which help make San Diego an ideal place to live, work and play. Did we mention the absolutely perfect climate?
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History & Culture

San Diego is considered “the birthplace of California” and home to Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first in a chain of 21 up the El Camino Real. Claimed for Spain by Cabrillo in 1542, it was first put on the map by Sebastian Vizcaíno, who in 1609 charted the Pacific Coast seeking safe midway harbors for the galleons that traveled between Manila and Acapulco — a critical trade link for the Spanish crown. The Presidio of San Diego was founded in 1769, marking the first permanent European settlement in present-day California. Growing away from its historic city center after the Civil War, a new downtown flourished on the waterfront. San Diego became a principal port for the U.S. Navy and remains home base for the Pacific fleet. Across the harbor sits the landmark Hotel del Coronado—“The Del,” to locals—a Victorian head-turner that’s entertained celebrities, royals and dignitaries alike.

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Dine & Shop

Come hungry and leave a taco snob — once you’ve been here, it’s hard to have them anywhere else. The culinary scene in San Diego follows the cultural convergence you’d expect in a border city. If you’re jonesing for battered mahi snuggled up in a masa tortilla, you’re in the right place. But the options here are hardly singular, ranging from flamboyantly-designed farm-to-table establishments to hole-in-the-wall taquerias so coveted by locals we wouldn’t dare blow up their spots (pro tip: ask your agent). San Diego is also Southern California’s unofficial craft beer capital, home to such coveted breweries as Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Co. and Modern Times. Down by the water sits Seaport Village, a delightfully kitschy collection of 70-odd shops, galleries and restaurants. Couture vultures flock to Fashion Valley, an open-air mall in the city’s Mission Valley neighborhood. And if you’re of the proto-trendsetter ilk, head for the indie boutiques of North Park, called the “3rd-hottest hipster neighborhood in America."