Ruth & I had not been to San Diego for many years, so when a family trip made it a destination again we signed on. We had an up and down experience there. Some attractions were still OK but others weren’t. Cabrillo National Monument and local Tiki Bars, for example, were fine; but Balboa Park and other attractions were less than splendid.
Things have changed in California. It’s hotter and drier, for example. Many of our newer neighbors lived there until recently but have vacated the state due to encountered problems. Is this a permanent change or a temporary situation? We don’t know for sure. Yet. I was shocked by the absence of homelessness in Los Angeles. Property values seem to be increasing. The general attitude we encountered was upbeat. California must overcome some big problems or will it decline. It’s too soon to tell which will eventuate. San Diego was our first stop. Did we have a good time there? Yes. Did we find it changed. Yes. Will we go back. Yes.
What is less than ideal in San Diego? We found 3 places in decline–Balboa Park, the seacoast, and the religious monuments. But other aspects of this city of 4 million were better than anticipated. We loved Cuyamaca College and the Heritage Museum there, the weekend Italian Market downtown, and the zoo.
San Diego has changed its focus. It has become a city devoted to health care and devices thats affect lives, private education, and is working to improve its Pacific Ocean exposure. We stayed up the coast in Carlsbad and liked the area. Traffic was not the problem we anticipated. Restaurants were full and Californians seemed ready to see changes in their lives. The most interesting conversation we had was with a woman connected to show business who had moved from LA to San Diego and was liking it. She gave no indication of dissatisfaction with California living in general. She seemed committed to staying, in fact.
What has happened to Balboa Park? We loved it during previous trips. This time it suffered from attraction fatigue. It was far too crowded and overused. Parking there was a nightmare even though the world-famous zoo connected to it was still a delight. Shuttle busses were inadequate to handle the crush. I had forgotten Balboa Park’s reason for existence. It was historically the result of 2 expositions involving this city, the Panama Canal opening and the California Pacific International World’s Fair. Both occurred in the 1st half of the 20th century. The newest attraction in Balboa Park is a clear winner, The Comic-Con Museum. Its older attractions are tired like its art museums and other museums and its transportation system is dated. The restored carousel was a treat. The food service left a lot to be desired. Everything had a price tag on it and few of the venues were worth the cost.
We saw evidence of positive upgrading when it comes to San Diego’s Pacific Ocean locale and a general decline in its mission heritage. The Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala is in serious decline and may not survive.