The San Diego skyline epitomizes the crisp, clean feel of the sunny west coast of California with its blend of modern skyscrapers looking out over San Diego Bay towards the Pacific Ocean. The skyline here is more compact that what’s found in other metropolitan cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, but it’s equally impressive, with a sleek style and many attractions near the downtown district, including the waterfront and marina, nearby parks, and the city’s historic Gaslamp Quarter.
The tallest building in the San Diego skyline is One America Plaza, at an even 500 feet tall. The unusual style of the building stands out against the backdrop of the waterfront district—due to its obelisk shape and pointed tip, it’s said that the building resembles a Phillips-head screwdriver. A trolley transfer station is located within the building and nearby, you can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art.
During the day, the green- and blue-glass buildings beautifully mirror the Pacific Ocean, but the San Diego skyline at night is no less impressive, as you can see the commercial and residential skyscrapers lit up along the waterfront. Several of these skyscrapers include convenient hotel accommodations for travelers, such as the Manchester Grand Hyatt, Omni San Diego, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, and the landmark El Cortez Apartment Hotel, built in 1927 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
Along the boardwalk and marina district, tourists can charter a sailing adventure for the day along the waterfront taking skyline photos along the way. A cruise along the waterfront late in the day provides more photo opportunities of majestic sunsets and up-close views of the San Diego skyline at night. If you prefer to stay on land, the marina area offers a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shopping venues all within walking distance of each other, as well as good views of the city.
The Gaslamp Quarter is one of the biggest attractions in downtown San Diego. The sixteen-square-block quarter features turn-of-the-century buildings with intricate Victorian facades. Many of these quaint structures house restaurants, shops, nightclubs, and art galleries adding to the atmosphere of the venue. This is one of the liveliest areas for nightlife in San Diego, with many great restaurants, including the Stingaree Restaurant & Nightclub, Side Bar Nightclub, Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar, and the Gaslamp Tavern.
To see the many areas of the city, and to get great views of the San Diego skyline at night, take one of the available tours. One of the most entertaining for the entire family is touring the Gaslamp Quarter riding a two-wheeled transporter known as a Segway. Lessons are provided on riding safety before leaving on your adventure with stops at various restaurants throughout the tour.
For those interested in green shopping and fashion, a tour through the downtown shopping district highlights major stores along with independent specialty shops and fashion stores that are eco-friendly, utilizing innovative techniques and materials for clothing. The walking tours of the historic district provide more San Diego skyline photos of the vintage Victorian architecture in the Gaslamp Quarter. Hosted by the Historical Foundation, tour guides provide in-depth detail about the districts history. As part of the tour, you will visit the William Heath Davis House, the oldest standing wooden structure in the city.
In addition, sports enthusiasts can take a guided tour of PETCO Park for a behind-the-scenes look at where the Padres play. The park provides regular daily tours and early bird specials that allow a sneak peek at batting practice an hour prior to the start of the game. Best of all, getting to the park—or anywhere else in the city—is easily done by using the San Diego Trolley, a light-rail system operating three color-coded lines that serves the metropolitan area.