San Diego

San Diego is a coastal city right on the Pacific Ocean in Southern California that offers a slower paced vibe, which is a good break from the typical busy cities like Los Angeles or New York. It's also the second-largest city in the state with many universities and good swimming beaches. The city is located north of Tijuana, the Mexican border. The city’s main industry is tourism thanks to its lovely warm weather, beaches, and many tourist attractions like Balboa Park, Belmont amusement park, San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, and SeaWorld. You can still appreciate some of the Mexican and Spanish heritage in many historic sites like Mission San Diego de Alcala and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. San Diego has also earned the title: “America’s Craft Beer Capital” due to its local brewing industry that attracts a growing number of visitors for beer tours and its annual San Diego Beer Week. San Diego is a fun and relaxing tourist destination, and although there is much to see and do in the city, there are also warnings to heed and dangers to avoid to stay safe. Bellow, you will find what you need to know when visiting the city.

SAFETY INDEX

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : LOW

Most crime is drug related and occurs between individuals who know each other or in high crime-ridden areas of the city, in which tourists would have little reason to go to. We recommend you take normal safety precautions and exercise common sense as you would in any other major city. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : LOW

Muggings are the crime for tourists to be concerned with. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any major city, there may be people trying to scam you in San Diego. Homeless people can be aggressive towards you if you don’t hand them money. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage. Credit card scams are also common. Never leave your card out of sight, and withdraw money from reputable banks or hotels.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Transports and taxis are generally very safe in San Diego.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

There can be some occasional natural hazards like wildfires, landslides, and earthquakes.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Terrorist attacks are unlikely in San Diego. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Many women travel safely without any issues.

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WHAT TO DO?

San Diego is considered one of the safest cities in California. This does not mean that you can put your guard down; we recommend that you remain vigilant as petty crime still exists as in any large metropolitan area. Gangs are not as common as they are in Los Angeles, but there are some. Southeast San Diego or Barrio Logan (near the Coronado bridge) is an area you should avoid exploring, especially at night. If you find yourself there, avoid walking down dark alleyways or approaching strangers. When visiting San Diego, one neighborhood that might be unsafe, and it’s best to avoid is National City (located between downtown and Chula Vista). Some other areas that you should try to stay out of are Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Normal Heights, and City Heights, and the areas around them. There are some nice places to visit within these neighborhoods, so if you decide to go, don’t do so after dark.

La Jolla

La Jolla is often called Beverly Hills on the beach due to being one of the most expensive places to live, shop, eat or stay in the USA. The neighborhood is mostly populated by celebrities, professional athletes, CEOs, and wealthy families that live in luxurious and modern multimillion-dollar mansions. The beautiful streets in the Village are filled with designer fashion stores, luxury boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and luxurious hotels.

Gaslamp Quarter - Downtown

Once upon a time, this area was known as San Diego’s red-light district filled with brothels and saloons. Now, the Gaslamp Quarter is the San Diego’s nightlife and dining hub where young professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and social hipsters live and/or gather. You can find many tall condo developments, galleries, theaters, boutiques, lush hotels, outdoor shopping centers, bars, nightclubs and restaurants, and the famous Seaport Village, which is a popular tourist stop for shopping.

Useful Information

The US has one of the harshest entry policy, sometimes asking for an interview even for a tourist visa. Prepare to pay fees up to USD 160 for your application. Some countries like the ones from the EU or Australia have a visa waiver program (ESTA) which can be filled online. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html for more information. Strong custom regulations also apply (see the CPB website for more details), and the Travel Safety Administration can open your luggage without your presence. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city. The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation. A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round. This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.
The main international airports are in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver and San Francisco. If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page