San Diego County

Downtown San Diego shimmers in the evening as sunlight fades on another day in San Diego. This view is from Harbor Island looking southeast in late spring. Photo taken 06/14/09.

San Diego Highway Guides

Aerial San Diego
San Diego Bay, downtown San Diego, and the city of Coronado are visible from this vantage point. Photo taken 12/20/08.
An aerial view of San Diego looks northeast, with Coronado at the bottom of the picture, then downtown San Diego and Balboa Park. Interstate 5 through downtown is clearly visible, as are the connections to California 163 (Cabrillo Freeway), Pershing Drive (planned as part of California 171 / Switzer Freeway), and California 94 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway). Photo taken 12/20/08.
This view looks northeast toward the North Island Naval Air Station in the city of Coronado and also shows San Diego Bay, San Diego International Airport, downtown San Diego, and the eastern section of Mission Bay Park. Photo taken 12/20/08.
Looking down from above Mission Bay Park, this view shows Point Loma, the San Diego River, and the northern part of San Diego Bay. Photo taken 12/20/08.
The Coronado Bay Bridge links downtown San Diego and Barrio Logan with the city of Coronado. The bridge extends for more than a mile and was built tall to allow U.S. Navy ships to pass underneath. Photo taken 12/20/08.
Looking north, this view includes Mission Bay Park, Mount Soledad, La Jolla, and Tecolote Canyon in the city of San Diego. Photo taken 12/20/08.
A bit further to the north, Palomar Mountain (5,000+ feet) basks in a recent snowfall that made the top of the mountain white. These views look north and west at the mountain. Photos taken 12/20/08.
Children' Pool
Also known as Casa Beach, the Children' Pool in La Jolla is an artificially protected cove located at the end of Jenner Street near downtown La Jolla. Built in 1931, the pool is controversial due to conflict between its original role as a place for children to swim and its more recent role serving as a seal rookery. California harbor seals line the sandy beach created behind the concrete sea wall. A walkway extends out over the sea wall, offering views of the seals and the Pacific Ocean. This series of pictures looks down into the pool, which has seen an increase in the amount of sand deposited since it was originally built. Photos taken 12/28/10.
Convention Center
The San Diego Convention Center is located off Harbor Drive near Park Boulevard and extends north along the bay toward Seaport Village. It is designed with a nautical theme, including the signature Sails Pavilion. Opened in November 1989, the convention center expanded in September 2001 to double its size. Plans call for additional expansion to accommodate larger conventions. Public art adorns the grounds of the center, including several pieces near the Park Boulevard intersection. Photos taken 03/22/11 and 03/24/08.
Coronado Ferry Landing and Views of Downtown Skyline
The Coronado Ferry Landing is the terminus of the San Diego-Coronado Ferry that links downtown San Diego's Cruise Ship Terminal with the city of Coronado. Photo taken 12/17/08.
Views of the downtown San Diego skyline are best from the Coronado Ferry Landing. This view looks east at the skyline after a stormy and rainy day. Photo taken 12/17/08.
This view of the San Diego downtown skyline from a boat on San Diego Bay shows the skyscrapers that lined the bay in 2001. Since that time, more skyscrapers have been erected, thus changing the skyline of San Diego. Photo taken 03/01.
Coronado - Hotel Del Coronado
On a blustery evening during the holiday season, the Hotel Del Coronado shines like a beacon from the beach. Photo taken 12/17/08.
During the holiday season, the historic Hotel Del Coronado lights up with festive cheer. Photos taken 12/17/08.
The sun sets over Coronado as seen from the Hotel Del Coronado looking out to the Pacific Ocean, with the tip of Point Loma visible to the north. Photos taken 12/22/01.
Ellen Browning Scripps Park
Ellen Browning Scripps Park is located in downtown La Jolla along the Pacific coast. The park is adjacent to La Jolla Cove and down the street from Children' Pool off Coast Boulevard. Photos taken 12/28/10.
The cliffs along Ellen Browning Scripps Park are both scenic and dangerous. Photos taken 12/28/10.
Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge
The Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge is a self-anchored suspension bridge in downtown San Diego that allows pedestrians to cross Harbor Drive (historic U.S. 101), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the San Diego Trolley between Petco Park and San Diego Bay near the San Diego Convention Center. The $26.8 million bridge opened to pedestrian traffic on March 18, 2011, and was dedicated on April 5, 2011, which was the first San Diego Padres game that season. The bridge was designed as a signature span connecting the southern end of Park Boulevard with the bay, creating a bay-to-park link via Park Boulevard. The bridge is 550 feet long.1,2,3 These views show the bridge looking both east toward Petco Park and west toward the Hilton parking garage as well as north and south from the bridge toward the railroad and U.S. 101. Photos taken 03/22/11 and 06/29/11.
Harbor Island and Views of Downtown Skyline
Excellent views of the downtown San Diego skyline are visible by looking southeast from Harbor Island. Photos taken 06/14/09.
The Naval Base Coronado and Point Loma are visible to the west from Harbor Island, while the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge (California 75) spans the bay to the south. Photos taken 06/14/09.
These views look southeast from near the Boathouse along southbound Harbor Island Drive toward the Hilton and Sheraton hotels. Photos taken 06/14/09.
Mission Trails Regional Park
Cowles Mountain is the tallest point in the city of San Diego. Located in Mission Trails Regional Park, hikers may ascend to the peak of Cowles Mountain (el. 1,591 feet) and look down on eastern San Diego, La Mesa, Santee, and El Cajon. On trail to the top of Cowles Mountain, freeway ramps associated with the Interstate 8/California 125 and California 52/California 125 interchanges are visible. Photos taken 06/27/07.
Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach, one of the coastal communities in San Diego, features Crystal Pier, which juts over the ocean. Built in 1927, it features the unique Crystal Pier Hotel with its cottages situated over the beach and water. At the end of the pier are areas for fishing and sightseeing. A boardwalk lines the coast in Pacific Beach, connecting the pier with a variety of waterfront restaurants. Photos taken 02/11/11.
Pacific Milestone (Horton Plaza Park)
The Pacific Milestone is located in Horton Plaza in front of the Sam Goody' store at the intersection of Broadway and 4th Street downtown next to the fountain. This suite of pictures shows the monument and the inscriptions and plaques on the sides as well as the compass on top. Photos taken 03/24/08.
An El Camino Real bell marker is located in Horton Plaza Park near the Pacific Milestone. El Camino Real is generally defined to extend from San Francisco south to San Diego. Photo taken 03/24/08.
Also residing in Horton Plaza Park is the terminal marker for the Jefferson Davis Highway, which was originally placed in 1926 and replaced in 1956. The marker is placed on the ground surrounded by red tiles. Photos taken 05/14/12.
Point Loma
Taken from a boat at the entrance to San Diego Bay, this view looks north toward the southern tip of Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument. Photo taken 03/01.
San Diego Downtown Skyscrapers

This series of photos profiles several downtown skyscrapers. The following list of tallest buildings in downtown San Diego is ordered by height starting with the tallest as of Summer 2009. (Source:, retrieved 06/13/09.)

  1. One America Plaza, 500 feet tall, 34 floors, opened 1991
  2. Symphony Towers, 499 feet tall, 34 floors, opened 1989
  3. Manchester Grand Hyatt - 497 feet tall, 40 floors, opened 1992
  4. Electra - 475 feet tall, 43 floors, opened 2008
  5. The Pinnacle Museum Tower - 450 feet tall, 36 floors, opened 2005
  6. Emerald Shapery Center (Emerald Plaza) - 450 feet tall, 30 floors, opened 1990
  7. Manchester Grand Hyatt - 446 feet tall, 34 floors, opened 2003
  8. Harbor Club West - 424 feet tall, 41 floors, opened 1992
  9. Harbor Club East - 424 feet tall, 41 floors, opened 1992
  10. Vantage Pointe Condominium - 420 feet tall, 41 floors, opened 2009
  11. The Grande North at Santa Fe Place - 420 feet tall, 39 floors, opened 2005
  12. The Grande South at Santa Fe Place - 420 feet tall, 39 floors, opened 2004
  13. Advanced Equities Plaza - 412 feet tall, 23 floors, opened 2005
  14. Union Bank of California Building - 388 feet tall, 27 floors, opened 1969
  15. Hilton San Diego Bayfront - 385 feet tall, 32 floors, opened 2008
  16. The Mark - 381 feet tall, 33 floors, opened 2007
  17. Sapphire Tower - 380 feet tall, 32 floors, opened 2008
  18. First National Bank Center - 379 feet tall, 27 floors, opened 1982
  19. Omni San Diego Hotel and The Metropolitan - 375 feet tall, 34 floors, opened 2004
  20. Meridian Condominiums - 371 feet tall, 28 floors, opened 1985
  21. Marriott Marina South - 361 feet tall, 25 floors, opened 1987
  22. Marriott Marina North - 361 feet tall, 25 floors, opened 1984
  23. Imperial Bank Tower - 355 feet tall, 24 floors, opened 1982
  24. Executive Complex - 350 feet tall, 25 floors, opened 1963
  25. AT&T Building - 348 feet tall, 20 floors, opened 1982
  26. Bridgepoint Education (formerly Comerica Bank) Building (600 B Street) - 339 feet tall, 24 floors, opened 1974
  27. Wells Fargo Plaza - 331 feet tall, 23 floors, opened 1984
  28. El Cortez Hotel - 310 feet tall, 16 floors, opened 1927
  29. 225 Broadway - 306 feet tall, 22 floors, opened 1975
  30. Golden Eagle Plaza - 293 feet tall, 22 floors, opened 1969
The Bank of America building is located on B Street between Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue. Photo taken 03/24/08.
Civic Center Plaza is located at 1200 Third Avenue at the north end of the Charles C. Dail Concourse; at the southern end of concourse are the Civic Theatre and the City Administration Building. The concourse was dedicated on September 16, 1964; Civic Center Plaza was constructed thereafter. A fountain operates at the base of the Civic Center Plaza building. A plaque nearby states: "Conceived by citizens of vision, this community concourse is dedicated to the people of San Diego as a tribute to culture, industry, and good government." Photos taken 03/24/08.
A twelve-story parking garage (the Evan V. Jones Parkade) is connected to the Charles Dail Concourse and the Civic Center. This view looks south on First Avenue (which is one-way northbound), with an arch bridge connecting the garage to First Avenue. Photo taken 03/24/08.
This view looks west on Cedar Street toward the County Administration Building, which was dedicated on July 16, 1938, and opened for public use on December 23, 1938. Originally it was known as the Civic Center, until city offices were relocated to 202 C Street in the Financial District. County offices remain at the County Administration Building. Photo taken 03/24/08.
The Emerald Shapery Center (opened 1990), which consists of eight separate towers, consists of 750,000 square feet. The building is located on West Broadway between State Street and Columbia Street. This last picture shows both the Emerald Shapery Center and the Hall of Justice. Photos taken 02/19/05 and 03/24/08.
The Harbor Club towers, which rise off Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade near the San Diego Convention Center, are distinctive for their unusual cylindrical shape and distance from the majority of the other downtown high-rise buildings. The building is located near J Street and First Avenue. Photos taken 02/19/05 and 03/24/08.
The Manchester Grand Hyatt consists of two towers. The first tower, built in 1992, is 497 feet and is the taller of the two. It has an observation area in the "Top of the Hyatt" bar on the 40th floor, which offers unparalleled views up and down the bayfront and toward Coronado. The second tower opened in 2003 and is 446 feet tall. Photo taken 02/19/05.
One America Plaza (opened 1991) is the tallest building in San Diego, topping out at 500 feet in height and consisting of 570,000 square feet. This is the tallest permissible skyscaper in San Diego due to height limits imposed due to the limitations imposed by nearby San Diego International Airport. The building is located near Santa Fe Depot off West Broadway and Kettner Boulevard. Photo taken 02/19/05.
Looking east on Broadway, the Pickwick Hotel is dwarfed by the towering Executive Complex. Built in 1963, the Executive Complex is 350 feet tall, has 25 floors, and was built in 1963. The Executive Complex is located on Broadway at Second Avenue. Photo taken 02/19/05.
This is the Sempra Building, located in the Financial District on the block bounded by A Street, First Avenue, Ash Street, and Second Avenue. It is home to San Diego Gas & Electric, the local utility. Photo taken 03/24/08.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University was founded in 1897; this monument sign is located at the southwest corner of the intersection between College Avenue, Canyon Crest Drive, and Alvarado Road. Photo taken 01/24/09.
San Diego State University is located on Montezuma Mesa south of Interstate 8 and north of Montezuma Road roughly bounded by College Avenue to the east and 55th Street to the west (although portions of the campus extend on either side of those roads). The original structures on campus surround the Campanile, which is the most recgonizable building on campus. While most of the campus sits on the mesa, portions extend into canyons as demonstrated by some of the tall pedestrian bridges connecting the western parking structure with west commons. Photos taken 01/24/09.
This view looks east toward the Aztec Center (scheduled for major renovation starting in 2011) and the Student Services Building (with its clock tower). Photo taken 01/24/09.
While most of the campus sits on the mesa, portions extend into canyons as demonstrated by some of the tall pedestrian bridges connecting the western parking structure with west commons. Photo taken 01/24/09.
The use of arches is a common design theme for a variety of buildings on campus. We see in this set the Don Powell Theatre and Aztec Center. Photos taken 01/24/09.
The San Diego State University (Malcolm A. Love) Library Infodome is another signature structure on campus. The main entrance to the library is through the dome. Photo taken 01/24/09.
A tied arch (suspension-style) pedestrian bridge connects the east dormitories and parking structures with the main San Diego State University campus; it was built in conjunction with the San Diego Trolley extension onto the university campus. The bridges spans College Avenue and offers a signature span for northbound travelers. This bridge measures 230 feet long and 45 feet tall; it opened to foot traffic on October 9, 2003.4 The Green Line trolley opened for fare-paying passengers in July 2005. Photos taken 01/24/09.
On the west end of the San Diego State University campus is the Aztec Arena at Aztec Bowl. Known as Cox Arena, it is known as Viejas Arena as of 2011. The arena was built into the original Aztec Bowl, which originally was a football-style stadium. Terraces from the original bowl were kept in the walls of the canyon. Photos taken 01/24/09.
This series of pictures shows the entrance to the San Diego State University trolley station (Green Line), which is located below ground. Photos taken 01/24/09.
A San Diego Trolley red car curves toward San Diego State University near College Avenue and Alvarado Road. Photo taken 01/24/09.
San Diego Trolley
The San Diego Trolley parallels Harbor Drive from National City north to Seaport Village, then turns north to parallel Pacific Highway between Seaport Village and Old Town. These views are taken at the County Center/Little Italy station. Photos taken 03/24/08.
Soledad Mountain
California 52 and its interchange with Interstate 5 are visible from on top of Mount Soledad. A small park, located off La Jolla Scenic Drive, allows visitors to look east and down on Rose Canyon and San Clemente Canyon. Interstate 5 passes through Rose Canyon, while California 52 travels east through San Clemente Canyon (part of Marian Bear Park). In the distance, the snow-capped Laguna Mountains frame a beautiful vista. Photos taken 02/27/11.
At the top of Mount Soledad is a cross and war memorial is located at a scenic vista point surrounded by a public park. The cross is visible from California 52 as it travels west through San Clemente Canyon. The park can be accessed off of La Jolla Scenic Drive. Photos taken 02/27/11.
This suite of photos provides views looking from Soledad Mountain down to Interstate 5, downtown San Diego, and the Pacific Ocean. Palms line the coastline at La Jolla Shores, which is also visible from Soledad Mountain. In most of these pictures, you can see Interstate 5 winding its way through Rose Canyon, which is generally between Exits 23 and 27 (Balboa Avenue/Mission Bay Drive north to La Jolla Colony Drive/Gilman Drive). Soledad Mountain sits above Exit 26 (interchange between Interstate 5 and California 52). Photos taken 02/27/11.


  1. Rising Price of Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge Has City Officials All Crossed, San Diego Business Journal, Monday, September 10, 2007
  2. Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge Officially Open: Bridge Next To PETCO Park Built For Pedestrian Safety 10News, March 18, 2011
  3. Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge - San Diego Centre City Development Corporation official project page
  4. TransNet Update: TransNet Bridges the Gap at SDSU, SANDAG' electronic newsletter, October 2003 edition

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