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Events

Air Group One Air Show San Diego Air Show San Diego 6/7/14 - 6/8/14
Festival of the Bells, Mission San Diego de Alcala Festival of the Bells 7/18/14 - 7/20/14

From its Native American roots and Spanish Missionary heritage, to cultural milestones and military influence, San Diego’s role and contribution in shaping the region, the country and the world can be found when diving deep into its complex and vibrant history.

In the Beginning

For an overview of San Diego’s beginning, start at Old Town State Park. Known as the birthplace of California, Old Town features 17 museums and historical site where visitors can learn about the first settlements in California and explore original structures built in the 1800’s.

For a comprehensive look at San Diego’s history, head over to Balboa Park and the San Diego History Center located along the Prado. And history buffs will not want to miss a trip to the Cabrillo National Monument, where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot in California in 1542. From this vantage point you’ll also enjoy sweeping views of Pacific Ocean and San Diego’s dramatic skyline.

And no trip to San Diego would be complete without a walk through the historic Gaslamp Quarter, where San Diego’s colorful past mixes with the hustle and bustle of the modern city and walking tours are designed for both adults and children. 

For a true step back in time, a day trip to Coronado and the Hotel del Coronado is certainly worth your while.  Built in 1888, and boasting signature red turret roofs, this San Diego landmark has a fascinating and colorful history complete with celebrities, royalty, a resident ghost and oodles of intrigue. 

California's Missions in San Diego

To kick off a tour of San Diego’s missions, head a few miles inland to the Presidio Park to visit the  Junipero Serra Museum, which showcases California’s first mission, the Presidio (fort), and a narrative on the area’s original inhabitants, the Kumeyaay Indians.  Further North is the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, considered the mother of the 21 missions that line the California coast.  At the tip of San Diego’s North County, in the community of Oceanside, you’ll find the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia established in 1798.

Military Pride

For an exhilarating lesson in San Diego’s military history, head over the U.S.S. Midway Museum, aboard one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers. Roam through the ship and 25 restored aircraft. Feel the surge of patriotism and pride for America’s military service members as you experience what 225,000 Midway sailors felt aboard this “city on the sea.”

Old West Out East

A great day trip for families is San Diego’s East County community of Julian.  Founded as a gold town and stage coach stop, several real mines are available for touring and panning for gold.  The town is also well known for its sweet apples and home-made apple pie.

Surf History

Or if you want to experience golden age of California’s surf and car culture, take a nostalgic car ride with the top down along the coast on Historic Highway 101, otherwise known as Coast Highway. The landscape around the roads may have changed, but the Pacific blue surf still remains, with surfers, kayakers, paddle boarders and boaters enjoying the cool Southern California waves every day of the year. Be sure to stop by the California Surf Museum in Oceanside to learn about how the special interest sport transformed the Southern California lifestyle, and continues to shape and influence the region’s culture today.     

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San Diego Museum of Man
1350 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
619.239.2001
Region: Downtown

Inspiring human connections by exploring the human experience. The San Diego Museum of Man is your museum! Discover the truth behind the Mayan...

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The AjA Project
4089 Fairmont Avenue
San Diego, CA 92105
619.223.7001
Region: Downtown

The AjA project provides photography-based educational programming to youth affected by war and displacement. AjA gives students an outlet to think...

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The Warner-Carrillo Ranch House
29181 San Felipe Road
Warner Springs, CA 92086
619.297.9327
Region: East County

Built in 1857, the Warner-Carrillo Ranch House served as the Butterfield Stage Stop and was California's first regular overland stage connection with...

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Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum and Foundation
PO BOX 45316 MCAS Miramar
San Diego, CA 92145
858.693.1723
Region: North County Inland

The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation supports a one-of-a-kind Aviation Museum developed by a dedicated staff, with the help of many...

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San Diego Natural History Museum
1788 El Prado Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92101
619.232.3821
Region: Downtown

The San Diego Natural History Museum features fascinating exhibitions and a giant-screen Dolby digital 3D theater. Spend some quality time with...

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San Diego Hall of Champions
2131 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101
619.234.4542
Region: Downtown

The San Diego Hall of Champions is an undisputed national leader in recognition of amateur, collegiate and professional sports excellence; youth...

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Whaley House Museum
2476 San Diego Ave
San Diego, CA 92110
619.297.7511
Region: Mission Valley and Old Town

Whaley House Museum -  California State Historic Landmark #65 Over 100,000 people visit the Whaley House annually, with guests traveling...

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Maritime Museum of San Diego
1492 N Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101
619.234.9153
Region: Downtown

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is housed in one of the finest collection of historic ships in the world. The iconic and majestic Star of India is...

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San Diego Center for Jewish Culture
4126 Executive Dr
La Jolla, CA 92037
858.362.1344
Region: La Jolla

The San Diego Center for Jewish Culture (CJC) is housed at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus. The CJC provides a wide...

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Air Group One - CAF
1905 North Marshall Avenue
El Cajon, CA 92020
619.259.5541
Region: East County

Air Group One formed as the "San Diego Squadron" of the CAF in 1981. Two years later it was reformed as a CAF Wing and renamed "Air Group One." Its...

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WorldBeat Center
2100 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
619.230.1190
Region: Downtown

WorldBeat Center's own history is wrought with struggle. Self-determination has been our motto. WorldBeat Center has made raising awareness of...

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Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House
410 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
619.233.4692
Region: Downtown

The William Heath Davis House, built in 1850, is the oldest house in San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter. There are house tours available every day...

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Veterans Museum and Memorial Center
2115 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
619.239.2300
Region: Downtown

The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center honors the men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces, Coast Guard and Wartime Merchant...

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Save our Heritage Organisation - SOHO
2476 San Diego Avenue
San Diego, CA 92110
619.297.9327
Region: Mission Valley and Old Town

Save Our Heritage Organisation & Historic Preservation Resources If a historic resource in San Diego is threatened with destruction, who do...

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Convivio
2157 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
888.862.4825
Region: Downtown

Welcome to Convivio Center, a sparkling new space for arts, culture, and heritage in the heart of San Diego's Little Italy! San Diegans and...

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