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Greenmotion car rental san diego california travel blog 2 w640

A trip to San Diego - 'America's Finest City'

San Diego calls itself ‘America’s Finest City’ and its breezy confidence and sunny countenance filter down even to folks you encounter every day on the street. It’s the nation’s eighth-largest city, yet we’re hard-pressed to think of a place of any size that’s more laid-back.

What’s not to love? San Diego bursts with world-famous attractions for the entire family, including the zoo, Legoland, the museums of Balboa Park and SeaWorld, plus a bubbling downtown and beaches ranging from ritzy to raucous, and America’s most perfect weather.

With 70-degree days, countless beaches and a scenic spot in Southern California, sun-filled San Diego is the ultimate place for road trips.

San Diego is very spread out so you’ll almost certainly want to rent a car. To pick the best area to stay, think about how you want to spend your time. For laid back beach towns, Solana Beach and Encinitas are perfect. If you’re in town for margaritas and a good time, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are best. Most people will be happy staying in the Gaslamp downtown or on Coronado Island, since there’s a great mix of things to see and do in both places.

Downtown, and specifically in the popular Gaslamp Quarter, there are a handful of fantastic rooftop bars where you can kick back with a cocktail in the open air. J6 Bar, which attracts people who fancy themselves trendsetters, is the sleek fourth-floor lounge and pool area of the Hotel Solamar; Altitude Skybar, 22 floors up atop the Marriott, brings in a mixed crowd of tourists and locals.

For a hike that's both rewarding and easy, make your way to Torrey Pines State Reserve. The Guy Fleming Trail, named for a longtime nature guide and activist, is a six-tenths-of-a-mile loop that skirts along sheer cliffs overlooking the ocean. At the north end of the trail, a bench offers a view that on clear days extends as far as Santa Catalina island. Tip: An hour before sunset, the admission price is cut in half.

For a world-class sunset, go to the place named for it, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. From high atop craggy rocks, the ocean and sky seem endless, and the light is extra dramatic. Don't leave without walking along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and checking out the five-foot-high peace sign, 40 feet above the sea on a rock, near Froude Street. The artwork appeared mysteriously last spring, and while it's illegal, people like it so much that no one has taken it down. "The goal was to make the piece 'organic' to the surroundings, as if it had sprung from the ocean," the anonymous artist says at peacerocks.info. "Mostly, it was intended to reflect whatever peaceful insights and wishes each viewer projected upon it."

Opened in 2004, the Petco Park baseball stadium has brought in record attendance and served as the cornerstone for the revitalization of downtown. The Padres' ballpark is a home run for many reasons, including decorative waterfalls, lots of bougainvillea, and menus with tacos from local favorite Rubio's.