San Diego, California's second largest city, anchors the state's border with Mexico, taking the best from both its northern big-city neighbor Los Angeles, and the culture and foods of Mexico to the south.
With a population of almost 1.3 million city residents and more than 2.8 million across the entire county, San Diego County encompasses a sprawling 4,200 sq. miles and includes 18 incorporated cities. The county's estimated population as of 2008 is over 3.1 million, which would make it the second largest county by population in California.
San Diego includes several distinctive neighborhoods and coastal communities, such as downtown's historic Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, and Coronado scenically located on San Diego's natural harbor, along with the beach communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, and Cardiff by the Sea.
In addition, San Diego is a major player for military and science endeavors, which incorporate 16 military facilities that host the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Marine Corps, as well as several research institutions that support biotechnology research, including the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and its UCSD Medical Center. In fact, San Diego's economy is driven primarily by biotechnology/biosciences, computer sciences, electronics manufacturing, defense-related manufacturing, financial and business services, ship-repair and construction, software development, telecommunications, agriculture, and tourism.
And then…there's that Southern California, balmy, San Diego weather: a mild Mediterranean climate with an average 70.5º (21.4 degrees Celsius) daily temperature. And best of all, this sun shines on 70 miles of white sandy beach.
When visiting San Diego, it's useful to stop by at one of the county's two Visitor Information Centers, located in Downtown San Diego and in La Jolla. These centers are great sources of information on a wide range of activities, attractions, dining, and lodging.