San Diego, California, US

San Diego is draped over the slopes of the coastal range above a deep-water harbor that was the first place Europeans landed on the west coast of what is now the United States. Its Presidio and Mission San Diego Alcalá, founded in 1796, was the first European settlement in what became California. It is still an important US naval base, and the mighty aircraft carrier USS Midway is now a museum, welcoming visitors. The showplace of San Diego is the huge, 1,200-acre Balboa Park, site of two 20th century Pan-Pacific Expositions. Within this mega-park are the world-famous San Diego Zoo, along with 17 museums and 15 different gardens. In town, the Gaslamp district has been developed as a tourist destination based on its historic character, and down the shoreline, the iconic, red-roofed Hotel del Coronado exemplifies the ideal Southern California beach resort.