San Diego County is an area of Southern California that encompasses the southwest corner of the contiguous 48 states. The county is unofficially divided into four regions. The city of San Diego is the second-largest in California and the eighth-largest city in the United States. North County, which contains the cities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido as well as points north (such as Fallbrook), The South Bay, which includes the cities of National City and Chula Vista and various other communities, and the East County, which includes the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Lemon Grove, and various outlying communities. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the county's population at 3,222,466 as of 2010. The city of San Diego is the county seat as well as the economic center of the San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos metropolitan area.
The first European settlement in present-day California was in San Diego and it contains many sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, Hotel del Coronado, Presidio Park, and Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Balboa Park houses many museums, several theaters, and the San Diego Zoo. San Diego Zoo Safari Park is also located in the county. The Columbia district downtown is home to historic ship exhibits belonging to the San Diego Maritime Museum, headlined by the Star of India, as well as the unrelated San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum featuring the USS Midway aircraft carrier.
San Diego County has a varied topography. On its western side is 70 miles (110 km) of coastline. Most of San Diego between the coast and the Laguna Mountains consists of hills, mesas, and canyons. Snow-capped (in winter) mountains rise to the northeast, with the Sonoran Desert to the far east. Cleveland National Forest is spread across the central portion of the county, while Anza-Borrego Desert State Park occupies most of the northeast.
San Diego Comic-Con International
, also known as Comic-Con International: San Diego
, and commonly known as Comic-Con
or the San Diego Comic-Con
, was founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention and later the San Diego Comic Book Convention in 1970 by Shel Dorf
and a group of San Diegans. It is traditionally a four-day event (Thursday through Sunday — though a three-hour preview night on Wednesday is open to professionals, exhibitors, and some guests pre-registered for all four days) held during the summer in San Diego
, at the San Diego Convention Center
. Comic-Con is both the name of the annual event and the common name of the organization.
The convention showcases comic books, science fiction/fantasy, film/television, and related popular arts each year. The convention has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture elements, such as horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. The convention is the largest in the Americas, and fourth largest in the world after the Comiket in Japan, the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France, and the Lucca Comics and Games in Italy, filling to capacity the San Diego Convention Center with over 125,000 attendees in 2010.
Horton Plaza, officially Westfield Horton Plaza, is a 5 level outdoor shopping mall located in downtown San Diego and remarkable for its bright colors, architectural tricks and odd spatial rhythms. It stands on 6 and a half city blocks and is adjacent to the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter. It is currently anchored by Macy's and Nordstrom.
Imperial Beach is a residential beach city in San Diego County, California. The population was 29,992 at the 2006 census. The city is the most southern beach city in Southern California and the West Coast of the United States. Every year the city holds the annual U.S. Open Sand Castle tournament, which draws about 400,000 people over three days. The city also holds the Imperial Beach classic car show every summer.
Birch Aquarium (sometimes referred to as Scripps Aquarium or Birch Aquarium) is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. Birch Aquarium at Scripps has an annual attendance of more than 400,000 and the hilltop site provides spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
Swami's, also known as "Swamis", is an internationally known surfing spot, a point break located in Encinitas, California. Swami's was named after Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, because the grounds and hermitage of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, built in 1937, overlook this reef point.