San Diego


2010: 1,307,402, #8 in U.S., #2 in California

1950: 334,387, #31 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 3,095,313, #17 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 556,808, #28 in U.S.


The Spanish established a fort and mission on San Diego Bay in 1769, and the city was incorporated in 1850. The Coronado and Point Loma peninsulas protect the bay from the Pacific Ocean; they helped make San Diego an important port and a center for the U.S. Navy.


Tallest buildings: One America Plaza (1991), 500 feet, and Symphony Towers (1989), 499 feet.

List of tallest buildings

Downtown San Diego has a building height limit of 500 feet because of its proximity to the airport.

The Gaslamp Quarter is an area of historic buildings with restaurants, shops, and entertainment.


Horton Plaza, a five-story, open-air shopping mall that opened in 1985, has been undergoing major renovations. Its Macy’s department store closed in March 2020.

Seaport Village is an area of shops and restaurants along the waterfront. It opened in 1980.


Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains run frequently from San Diego’s Union Station (1915) to Los Angeles.

The San Diego Trolley is a light-rail system that opened in 1981. It has three lines, one of which serves Union Station.

The Coaster is a commuter line that runs north along the coast from Union Station. It began service in 1995.





San Diego Bay and San Diego


The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Maritime Museum of San Diego are located downtown.


The UA Horton Plaza opened in 1985 and closed in 2019. The eight-screen Theatre Box cinema opened in 2018.

The Fox Theater, a 1929 movie palace, has been restored and is now the Copley Symphony Hall, home of the San Diego Symphony. The Balboa Theater (1924), a movie palace that was restored and reopened in 2008, has a variety of concerts. The Spreckels Theatre (1912), also a former movie theater, hosts concerts.

The Civic Theatre (1965) hosts touring musicals from Broadway San Diego and the San Diego Opera. The San Diego Repertory Theatre is also downtown.


The San Diego Padres of the National League play at Petco Park (2004). The NFL San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017. The Pechanga Arena (former San Diego Sports Arena, 1966), north of downtown, has sporting events and concerts.

Map of Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego Partnership

Convention and Visitors Bureau