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South Bay

Gateway to Baja California

Surfing, biking and birding in the South Bay

Located south of downtown San Diego and just north of the Mexico border is the area known as San Diego's South Bay, the gateway to Baja California. South Bay is home to a number of exciting attractions and also offers great surfing, sportfishing, beach volleyball and horseback riding along the coast, as well as some of the best Mexican food this side of the border.  

Connecting the South Bay to Coronado is the Bayshore Bikeway, one of the most beautiful bike paths in California. This 10-mile portion features a flat, palm-lined path with stunning views of the San Diego Bay and Silver Strand State Beach, a great spot for families to camp, swim, surf, kayak and fish.  It also borders the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, a 3,940-acre wetland sanctuary for endangered and migrating birds, often seen from the bike path.

On the south end is Imperial Beach and the Tijuana Estuary, the largest salt-water marsh in Southern California and another great spot to see migratory birds and local wildlife. North of the Estuary, located on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, is the Living Coast Discovery Center, a family-friendly aquarium and nature center with walking trails. The Living Coast is home to more than 350 animal and plant species native to the San Diego Bay habitat.

Chula Vista is home to the San Diego region's newest theme park, Sesame Place San Diego, a 17-acre attraction that boasts 18 rides, including 11 aquatic rides. Visitors can meet their favorite furry TV characters, watch a parade and sit on the famous 123 Stoop at Sesame Place, which is the only “Sesame Street”-themed park on the West Coast and is also a Certified Autism Center.

Other attractions in the area include the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (formerly the US Olympic Training Center), with free tours of the center available on Saturdays at 11 a.m.; and the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, where big-name bands perform under the stars. Nearby, there's golf as well as a scenic harbor and waterfront park.

An easy drive from Downtown San Diego, and just off the 805 freeway at the last U.S. exit before the border, is the area's largest outlet center, Las Americas Premium Outlets, which features more than 125 stores including many top name brands. With daily savings up to 65% off, it's worth the visit, and shopping here is accented by beautiful courtyards, fountains, statues and elegant architecture.

South Bay is home to the CBX Cross Border Xpress, the bi-national connection between San Diego and Tijuana. The enclosed pedestrian bridge connects directly to Tijuana International Airport, allowing for easier, hassle-free international travel in and out of San Diego.

The neighborhood of Barrio Logan brings a unique culture and spirit to San Diego. The area is home to Chicano Park, the geographic and emotional heart of Barrio Logan. Now a national landmark, Chicano Park is home to the largest concentration of Chicano murals in the world, with more than 80 paintings on seven acres. 

The National City neighborhood of the South Bay has a strong military presence; its three-mile port area along the San Diego Bay is part of Naval Base San Diego, the largest U.S. Navy base on the West Coast.

> Check out The Big Bay for information on South Bay's waterfronts

 

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Getting to the South Bay

South Bay sits in a unique location bordering Mexico and just minutes from downtown San Diego. By car, you'll be here in no time as both major interstate freeways (I-5 and I-805) end at the US Border. For those who are energy-conscious, take the Blue Trolley line into the main artery of South Bay. Catch the trolley from Old Town Station and enjoy the scenery as you end at the San Ysidro Transit Center near the border with Mexico. From Coronado, drive the picturesque Silver Strand south through Imperial Beach to arrive at South Bay. 

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San Diego 24-mile Bike Route

The Bayshore Bikeway, one of the most beautiful bike paths in America, runs through San Diego's South Bay. 

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Discover Art in the South Bay

Experience dramatic sculptures, beautiful art, murals and more that capture the passion of the local artistic residents and the spirit of neighborhoods like Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, San Ysidro, and Port of San Diego Bayfront. San Diego's South Bay has some notable compelling art worth seeing.

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Living Coast Discovery Center

The Living Coast Discovery Center is a nonprofit zoo and aquarium uniquely set on San Diego Bay. Visitors enjoy up-close animal encounters with endangered green sea turtles, shorebirds, hawks, owls, sharks, stingrays, jellies and more. Uniquely located on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, The Living Coast is home to more than 350 animal and plant species native to the San Diego Bay habitat.

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Port of San Diego Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2022

The Port of San Diego Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show is back, promising another spectacular display over San Diego Bay. Fireworks will be discharged simultaneously from barges placed strategically around the Bay off Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Seaport Village, Embarcadero South Marina Park and Coronado Ferry Landing. The impeccably choreographed display will last approximately 17 minutes.

Come down to the bay and enjoy the biggest fireworks show in San Diego!

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Summer Movies in the Park

May 28 - ongoing

Looking for a fun, free and fabulous family activity throughout San Diego?

Summer Movies in the Park is a perfect chance to relax and enjoy a safe and special night under the stars. Come early and get a good seat!

All movies start at dusk (approx. 15 minutes after sunset). Movies are subject to change.

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JFEST

May 23 - Jul 19, 2022

JFest 2022 is back! Celebrate Jewish heritage, culture, art and ideas this summer at the 29th Annual Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival, presented by San Diego Rep.

 

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San Diego Beer Weekend

Jun 10 - Jun 12, 2022

Small and independent craft breweries across San Diego County are inviting you to get back out there to shop–and sip–local!

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San Diego 24-mile Bike Route

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Discover Art in the South Bay

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Living Coast Discovery Center

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Port of San Diego Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2022
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Summer Movies in the Park

May 28 - ongoing
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JFEST

May 23 - Jul 19, 2022
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San Diego Beer Weekend

Jun 10 - Jun 12, 2022
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South Bay on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Accommodation

All You Need is Love

Hotel Solamar
Valid: Dec 21, 2021 - ongoing

Receive 10% off spa rooms  Enjoy a 375 ml bottle of champagne plus chocolate covered strawberries Late check out time of 1 pm Valid for travel dates from now through May 31, 2022

Activity

Save $3.00 off Admission to the Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum of San Diego
Valid: Apr 4 - ongoing

Come and explore our connection with the sea at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! Spanning 500 years of seafaring history, your visit to the Museum will give you a chance to step aboard an historic...

Public Transportation

Save 50% on Companion Fares

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
Valid: Feb 16 - ongoing

Through June 29, 2022, buy one regular (full) adult rail fare and book up to three companions at a 50% discount (Monday-Thursday trips). Plan a midweek getaway with family and friends and...

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