SAN DIEGO (SANA)
San Diego is the second largest city in the state of California, in the United States (US). The birthplace of California, San Diego is well known for its scenic beaches, mild and pleasant year-round climate, and cultural diversity. It is also one of the economic centers of the West Coast, and was claimed by Forbes in 2014 to be the best city in the US to launch a start-up company or a small business. Besides business, San Diego economy’s core sectors are military, tourism, international trade, and research and development. Like many cities in the West Coast, San Diego is famous for its relaxed and laidback environment, creativity and innovation, and its great outdoors.
San Diego is served by San Diego International Airport, popularly known as Lindbergh Field, which is located only a 10-minute drive from the downtown area. There are no direct flights from Hong Kong to San Diego, however, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, and EVA Air are just a few of the many carriers that offer connecting flights from Hong Kong. The journey will take approximately 15.5 hours. Hong Kong passport holders will need to apply for a tourist visa to the US at least 3 months before your trip. There are several options to get from the airport to the city center. A taxi from the airport will cost approximately US$15 (not including tip). The Airport Flyer Bus 992 will cost US$2.25 for a single and US$5 for a day pass, and will take approximately 20 minutes depending on traffic. The Airport Flyer departs from bus stops in front of Terminal 1 and 2, and the last bus is at 11.25 pm from Monday to Friday, and 10.59 pm on weekends. Given the urban sprawl, it is recommended that tourists rent a car to be able to see as much of the city as conveniently as possible. Alternatively, you can take the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)’s bus services, which can be infrequent in certain areas, or the trolley, which is a light rail system that runs from 5 am to 12 midnight every day. Another alternative is to ride a bicycle, which, given the beautiful weather, is ideal for exploring smaller beach neighborhoods.
With the mild and beautiful weather comes a smorgasbord of outdoor activities! For tourists, there are several discounts that you should take advantage of to get the best prices to the most famous attractions in San Diego. The GO San Diego Card, for instance, is a purchasable pass that gives you access and express entry to up to 42 attractions, which include the USS Midway Museum, San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, Sea World, LEGOLAND, San Diego Zoo, and all Balboa Park Museums. The attractions also include exciting tours and activities, such as the Harbor Tour, Whale Watch, kayaking or snorkeling in La Jolla, tour of Petco Park, or the Hollywood Behind the Scenes tour, just to name a few. Prices start at US$84 for an adult 1-day pass (US$71 for children aged 3-12), and go up to US$265 for an adult 7-day pass (US$229 for children aged 3-12). You can also choose to build your own pass based on the activities you plan on doing and pay 20% less than the door ticket price. Another good option is the Southern California CityPASS which gives access to the theme parks and either the zoo or safari park. Besides these popular tourist attractions, one of the best things to do in San Diego is to simply spend the day at one of their many picturesque beaches. Whether you’re having a picnic, surfing, playing some water sports, or simply lying on the sand getting a tan, going to a beach is the best way to unwind and engage in a quintessential Californian pastime!
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