As we celebrate the start of 2012, I’ve put together my list of 12 reasons you should visit San Diego in 2012. In no particular order…
1. The Best: In Travel + Leisure’s recent America’s Favorite Cities Reader Poll, San Diego was voted the #1 Destination for Best Weather and Best Spring Break. We also scored #2 for Best Summer Vacation, Family Vacation, 4th of July Destination and Most Attractive People.
2. Fabulous Food: A slew of restaurants are slated to open or have recently opened to offer visitors amazing culinary choices. Hot on the radar is UnderBelly which recently opened in Little Italy, Saltbox inside the Palomar San Diego hotel, and Brian Malarkey’s latest venture, Gingham.
3. A Whale of a Time: Majestic California gray whales make their annual migration from the Arctic waters to the warm lagoons in the Gulf of California for breeding. These “peaceful giants of the sea” come within miles of San Diego’s coastline.
4. Worth the Money: Budget Travel Magazine came out with it’s Top 10 Budget Travel Destinations for 2012, and named San Diego among them. Be sure to check out our 25 free things to do in San Diego. One of my favorites…Mission Bay Park.
5. Attraction Action: This year, SeaWorld will debut their latest new coaster with sting ray interactive touch pool and observation windows called Manta. Swooping over sea and sky, Manta will not only inspire riders with amazing underwater animal habitats, but then take them on an exhilarating ride on a launch coaster shaped like a giant manta ray!
6. Craft Brew: San Diego is home to the nation’s best brew pubs including Pizza Port which just recently won Small Brewpub of the Year at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.
7. The Beach…enough said: With over 70 miles of beaches, it’s no wonder that in June 2011, The Travel Channel’s famed “Dr. Beach” announced his annual picks for the Best Beaches in America and Coronado Beach was named No. 2.
8. San Diego Nightlife: San Diego’s nightlife scene has never been hotter. San Diego was among the top 10 hottest New Year’s Eve destinations according to a hotwire.com survey. Visitors can celebrate all year long in the Gaslamp Quarter with over 100 restaurants and clubs, it is the place to be any time of year.
9. Get Your Culture On: Be sure to visit Balboa Park and its 85 cultural and recreational organizations. My favorites are the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and The San Diego Museum of Art. Not to be missed this year is the new exhibit at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists.
10. Surf Culture: San Diego is widely known for its laid back vibe with some of the best surfing spots in Southern California. To top it off, we are also home to the world’s first Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University (not a bad way to spend your college years!)
11. Walking with Art: Spend the days outside under the sun browsing local art at numerous sidewalk art shows including San Diego Artwalk, Artwalk on the Bay and the monthly Ray at Night and Kettner Nights.
12. The Great Outdoors: San Diego’s temperate weather allows for outdoor activities all year round. Go hiking along the water in Torrey Pines State Reserve or mountain biking through the natural landscapes of Mission Trails Regional Park. Here are a few more ideas to get outdoors. There is no reason you should stay inside while in San Diego!
What do you have planned for San Diego in 2012?