Profile: San Diego, California

There's a lot to love about this West Coast urban beach town.

By: Aaron Heier

Population: 1.34 million (city), 3.15 million (county)

USDA Hardiness Zone: 10

Major Airports: San Diego International Airport aka Lindbergh Field (the busiest single-runway airport in the United States)

Companies with a Major Presence: Qualcom, Websense, Sony Electronics, Nokia, Kyocera, Salk Institute, Pfizer, Scripps Health, Petco, WD-40, Mail Boxes Etc., ProFlowers, Jenny Craig, Lockheed Martin, Callaway Golf, Taylor Guitars, Upper Deck Co.

When the Mamas & the Papas wrote the iconic hit “California Dreamin’,” it had to have been San Diego, not Los Angeles, on their minds. People far and wide flock to the city for a multitude of reasons, be they tourists, beach goers, sun seekers, students or entrepreneurs. But, ask any local why San Diego is the best place to live and he’ll sum it up in one word -- sun! A truly idyllic year-round climate is what makes San Diego America’s paradise.

Home to the first European settlement on the West Coast and named for a saint who never stepped foot on its land, San Diego is a city with a history rich in Spanish, Eastern European, Native American and Central American cultural influences. For years, its perception was that of a sleepier, slower, less sophisticated surfer suburb of Los Angeles, but the city has since morphed into a thriving urban mecca that, despite the fledgling economy and housing market slump, continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

San Diego is a true amalgam, from its laid-back, unaffected beach city vibe to its cosmopolitan Riviera-esque lifestyle ripe with internationally renowned dining, nightlife, attractions and, of course, weather. All these things keep it top on the list of destinations for travelers and denizens seeking a more progressive (or permanent) change of pace.

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