San Diego is a sprawling city full of history. While some visit for the beach or the food and microbreweries, others choose to visit San Diego for a chance to explore. Maybe you’re a lover of art or architecture, or relics that have stood the test of time. If that’s the case, there are plenty that you can find throughout San Diego. Some are classic buildings while others are statues hundreds of years old, or even parks. Here are a few of the best landmarks in San Diego to get you started on your sightseeing adventure.
Balboa Park isn’t itself a landmark as much as a 1,200 acre urban cultural park — the largest in America — that houses many landmarks. Here you can find the beautiful Moreton Bay fig, first planted in 1915, with a crown width of 123 feet. There is also a bronze statue of Kate Sessions, the horticulturist and landscape architect who is often called the “mother of Balboa Park” in the Sefton Plaza. The skyscraping California tower and the often photographed Botanical Building are among the other landmarks that can be found here.
Cabrillo National Monument
At the southernmost tip of the Point Loma peninsula, you can find this famous monument commemorating the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay in 1542. In addition to the stately statue depicting the intrepid explorer, the park surrounding has several beautiful tide pools and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse overlooking the edge of the peninsula and the surrounding water.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
While Balboa Park is a great place to appreciate the culture and civilization of San Diego, Torrey Pines is where you’ll want to go to explore the nature. Notably one of the wildest stretches of land in Southern California, this La Jolla park contains 2,000 acres of carefully preserved nature. It’s home to several species of flora and fauna, including the rarest pine in North America, the eponymous Torrey pine. The cliffs overlook the water below to add to the stunning natural scenery.
Chapel of the Immaculate Conception
The Parish of the Immaculate Conception has a history that stretches back to 1769, but the church itself was not built until the 1850s. Still, that makes it the second oldest church in San Diego (the oldest being the San Diego Mission). It’s a draw both for people of faith and lovers of architecture throughout the world. Today, they still hold mass regularly and will even host weddings by appointment. However, the building still retains much of its Spanish influences and mid-nineteenth century charm.
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