Boosting Peak Performance With Neurofeedback


neurofeedback-peak-performanceNeurofeedback is a form of therapy based on more than 40 years of medical research. For many, it means reducing problems related to cerebral causes. It involves measuring brain activity throughout a non-invasive process of observation. Nothing will be inserted into the brain. The result of this therapy is increasing the self-control of the brain activity.

Neurofeedback constitutes a workout for the brain. Practicing this exercise, the brain becomes more effective in the controlling its activities, more stable (which is great in case of patients with epilepsy, migraines, vertigo or panic attacks) and also more flexible. Overall, the brain becomes more efficient.

How does neurofeedback therapy work?

This therapy involves measuring the electrical activity of the brain and display it for the same brain, in real time, using audio and video signals.

Special sensors are placed on the head of the patient and they are the ones that will measure the electrical activity of the brain. The picked signal is processed and presented to the patient with an application in which a certain parameter (for example the speed of a butterfly) varies according to the amplitude of the electrically measured signal. As such, the brain has information about its activity and is able to modify it until reaching better values.

Different brain areas are responsible for different functions, so the placement of the sensors will be made according to the problem that is intended to be solved. The devices which measures neurofeedback does not influence the brain`s activity.

In the US, the system used is registered as a Class II medical device.

What patients should expect

After fixing the sensors on the scalp, the program chosen by the patient will start (graphical games , films or animations) . The only thing that the patient is required to do is maintain eye contact with the monitor, in order to allow visual information to return to the brain.

This therapy is intended for people of all ages. The process is passive and at the end of the therapy process, patients feels calmer, more relaxed, quiet and sometimes sleepy. A neurofeedback session typically lasts 30 minutes and, for the best results, the patient will be required to make at least 2 sessions per week and minimum 20 sessions overall.

Neurofeedback therapy can be used for two distinct purposes. The first is to stabilize brain physiology and allowing a person to react more calmly to destabilizing factors. The second goal is solving deep psychological and subconscious problems that hold us back.


What else can be achieved by Neurofeedback therapy?

According to Dr. Michael Villanueva from Alpha Theta Center Neurofeedback  in San Diego, neurofeedback can improve your life in the following ways.

  • Increased performance for students who want to enhance their learning ability, professionals who want to be quicker, smarter, more creative, better organized and more effective, participants in competitions, to increase their concentration and the intensity of the desire to win.
  • Providing support during some serious health problems which may or may not include pain
  • Having better relationships with others, more flexibility and balance
  • Improving learning disabilities, as well as alcohol and drug addiction.


When It Is Time To Hire A Professional SEO To Rank Your Website?


top ranking with SEOSEO is the most powerful marketing tool available in this day and age. If you are running a business website and haven’t even thought of SEO yet, then you really need to hire a professional to develop a good strategy for you. And, to answer the question, the right time for it is ASAP! The sooner you start working to improve your online visibility, the sooner you will get the desired results from your website.

So what exactly is this “SEO”?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It deals with how your website looks to search engines such as Google and Bing. Your website’s content is indexed by search engine “spiders” depending on keywords, and these are then retrieved by the search engine when someone looks up those keywords in a search. However, since there are thousands upon thousands of webpages targeting the same keywords, search engines need to sort them somehow, displaying the ones they think are most relevant to the search user within the first page of the SERPs (or search engine results pages). Without search engine optimization, your website won’t look “good” to search engines, which is what you actually want if you don’t want to have it buried underneath tens of SERPs.

Aren’t paid advertisements better than SEO?

You might think that those top paid advertisements are an easy way out. The problem is that they cost quite a bit, and only work as long as you pay for them. Stop paying and your website plunges into Google’s obscurity. There are also countless studies that show that people are 16 more likely to click on an organic result (the one that ranks well without paying) than the golden paid advertisements you probably avoid as well. So it is better to rank well on organic search engine results than to pay for better visibility.

Why would you want to have a good rank in SERPs?

Well, visibility is what matters in the cybernetic age. If clients can’t find your website, they won’t purchase your products or services, it’s that simple. With a better rank, you get more visible, and people are more likely to click on the first few search results, few actually getting farther away than the first search engine results page.

Increasing targeted traffic and conversion rates with keywords

SEO is not only about being visible, but about attracting the right crowd. You need to use the keywords that best define your products and services and that are most likely to be used by customers. By targeting the right keywords and ranking high for them, you get more targeted traffic, i.e. people who are actually looking to buy whatever you are selling, and not just strolling by. You need to convert those clicks, otherwise being penniless with 10,000 clicks a month probably won’t help you much.

Benefits summary and why hiring a SEO company matters (a lot)

So, with SEO, you become good-looking for search engines as well as attract the customers that are most likely to convert into sales. SEO is also incredibly cheap compared to conventional marketing methods such as paid advertisements and it’s also global, meaning you can target even people from other parts of the world. Hiring a professional SEO company like 1st Rank – San Diego SEO is the definite way to success and to turning your business into a powerful brand that’s selling big.

Should You Hire a Professional Or Do Property Management?


Professional Property ManagementAnyone who invests in real estate has, at some point, asked this question, and whether you think so or not, it definitely isn’t a simple matter to consider.

Property management can be quite difficult, and the profits, or even the continual thriving of your business may depend on how well you are able to get this important job done. So which one will it be in your case – DIY or hiring a professional property management expert or service?

Considering Both Options

Before deciding on whether you should do property management yourself or hire an expert for it, it’s important to take a look at the advantages of each, and how each of them might be able to help you achieve better results over time. Here is a short overview to consider:

Hiring an expert will help you get everything done more quickly. Getting the property cleaned, renovated and up to code, as well as making sure your tenants pay their rent on time may depend on this.
• On the other hand, you might be interested in managing the property in question your own way and putting in more or less effort, depending on the type of property you are taking care of. While you can always communicate what you want to the expert, you won’t always get the same uniquely targeted results in both cases.
• Especially in big cities like San Diego, managing property yourself takes more time, effort and can, in some cases, limit your profits due to the fact that you simply cannot be in enough places yourself. When the number of your properties grows, hiring an SD property management service may be your only option.
• Finally, it’s also important to consider the money you invest. A property management service is an additional investment that you have to take into consideration when looking at your total expenses and the profit amounts you can expect to get out of the homes or buildings you are looking to rent.

As you can see, there are many potential considerations that are in favor of both options. However, even more important than to try to make the “right” choice is to determine exactly why that particular decision might be more suitable in your own case.

What You’re Really Looking for

Property management is a dynamic and diverse business, and the issues presented above are not the same in all cases. In fact, your success with both the option of hiring a professional service and doing the whole work yourself will often depend on the results you are seeking to reach with your business and the actual properties you want to promote and/or manage.

A smaller investment where you target mainly regular individuals, and you basically just act as their landlord, might not always require the added investment of hiring a property management service.

However, depending on how fast you want to grow your business, how much time you have at your disposal (and how much of your precious time you are willing to assign to tasks like property management), or on the difficulty of the actual work required and your ability to deal with coordinating it yourself, a property management service may be essential to the continuing success of your real estate efforts.

Finding A San Diego EMDR Specialist

EMDR in San DiegoIf you often find yourself having rushing thoughts related to a past traumatic event, you are plagued by bad memories and feelings, you have trouble sleeping at night due to recurring nightmares or you are experiencing great anxiety, then you should definitely read about the ways in which a San Diego EMDR specialist can help you overcome the trauma and regain control over your life.

The problem

Many people who have been in traumatic events in their lives are now plagued by bad memories, negative thoughts of helplessness, of regret, of anger or even suicidal thoughts. All these can prevent one to live a normal life. The thoughts may either come and go unexpectedly or persist for longer periods of time, many times incapacitating the person experiencing them. Whether you have been diagnosed with PTSD or you suspect you have similar symptoms, you should search for an EMDR specialist who can help you reorganize your thoughts and not only cope with the trauma, but find mechanisms to reprocess associated feelings and thoughts.

So what is EMDR?

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It is a psychotherapy which was initially developed by the famous psychologist Francine Shapiro. This therapy was accidentally discovered while she was walking in the woods. She was experiencing bad thoughts and realized that her eyes were moving chaotically from side to side. More so, she discovered that when she gained control of the movements and started to focus on different side to side stimuli, the anxiety and negative thoughts slowly disappeared. Thus she developed the technique she named EMDR, a technique meant to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, today, this therapy can also help people experiencing severe depression or anxiety, with many studies reporting promising results.

What can you expect?

The treatment will consist of eight phases during which the specialist will try to make you think about the negative thoughts and their causes as well as find a coping mechanism to deal with them. During the first phase the specialist will try to evaluate your condition and your history in order to develop a proper plan. The following steps would include preparing the patient for the treatment while also helping him find alternative ways of coping with negative or distressing thoughts.

The next steps comprise of exercises meant to desensitize the patient towards the distressing thoughts. These are usually performed in sets of 15 to 30 seconds where the patient focuses on the negative thoughts or memories while also being subjected to visual stimuli which force the eyes to move from one side to another. These are repeated until the patient is no longer feeling distressed when thinking about the thoughts. The patient will also scan his body for other traumatic events or thoughts, with the treatment finishing once he can control these thoughts as well as find coping mechanisms to make them harmless.

So if you feel like you’re stuck in an ugly moment and you can’t seem to be able to get out of it no matter what you do, you should get in touch with a San Diego EMDR specialist and gain the skills to overcome the distressing thoughts and be born again.

How To Find The Top Financial Advisor In San Diego

Financial AdvisorWhether you are looking to buy a new home soon, invest in real estate or have quite a few assets and want to be able to manage them efficiently, you could definitely benefit from hiring a financial planner. You could accomplish even difficult financial plans and grow your money while also saving up a lot of your time to spend in more pleasurable activities other than wrapping your head around complex calculations. But the question is, how do you find the top financial advisor in San Diego? Here are a few steps recommended to take as well as some sane advice regarding hiring a financial expert to help you out.

What is a financial planner?

A financial planner is an expert who has a strong knowledge of economics, specific markets such as real estate or retirement funds and a complete mastery over financial matters. However, don’t confuse them with stock brokers as the latter are only good when you’re planning to exchange stocks. They also aren’t bookkeepers who can save you pennies on your annual taxes and neither are they insurance agents who would try to lure you into buying one of those expensive life insurance policies.

Do you need one?

While it is perfectly plausible to manage your own assets, accounts or investments, you might not want to do so. You might also play the car mechanic and fix your car, but depending on how skilled you are, it might be a good idea or the worst-ever. Mastering finances or car repairs can take a lot of time and commitment, and you would be much better off paying an expert who already knows the ins and outs of the trade rather than start as a rookie and fail miserably. Just as in other trades, most financial planners only specialize in a narrow field, such as real estate, retirement and other matters.

Things to look for and things to avoid

While anyone can just hang a sign with the financial planner attribute followed by a string of meaningless letters that does not make them experts. Also look for signs with the CPF initialswhich stand for Certified financial planners. These have undertaken a rigorous examination by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. You would want to avoid planners who get paid from a commission since they might be biased into steering you towards deals that make them more money. Also be wary of brags promising better results than the average, as no one can guarantee that, plus they might take risks you would never take.

Check the background and look for credentials

Just as you would normally do with any other expert or worker you’d hire to take care of your home or car, you want to check the background and history of the financial planner you want to hire. You can check one from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, or check a planner through the BBB (Better Business Bureau). With Google at your disposal, it is also easy to check for credentials or reviews about the planner.

So how do you find the top financial advisor in San Diego? Take your time, do some research and speak to more financial planners and you will eventually find the right planner for your needs.

How To Find Good Dog Training In San Diego

well trained dogWhether you have a small puppy and you are looking to teach him some social skills or basic commands, or you are dealing with a stubborn dog that you can’t seem to educate on your own, a good idea would be to find a reliable dog training program near you and get the help of a specialist. However, with dog trainers abound, there is no way to differentiate the good from the bad. So here are a few tips on how to find good dog training in San Diego as well as things to watch out for.

Should you train your dog yourself?

While there are a few people who can properly their dogs on their own, they are talented and they probably also have past experiences with other dogs. Educating your dog is also something not to be taken lightly and learning the skills can be time consuming. By the time you learn how to be a good trainer you would have already made plenty of mistakes, mistakes which could have left the dog traumatized or damaged the relationship between you and your canine friend.

That is not to say that you can’t start with a bit of education yourself. Potty training, taking your puppy on walks and getting it to interact with other dogs or teaching basic commands can be done if you are perseverant and willing to learn. However, it is better to get a good start with the help of a specialist in order to ensure that your beloved puppy gets proper training from the start.

What to look for and things to be wary of

The first thing you need to know is that there is not a single Dog training association that can guarantee that your dog trainer will be right for your dog. Follow your nose and do your research before getting your dog into a training program.

A good idea is to ask for permission to assist in one of the training classes. If the trainer doesn’t allow you to attend a class, then you should steer away immediately. In class, observe the trainer as well as the dogs. If he is using physical punishment, using choke collars or yelling, then these are signs that you want to look elsewhere. The dogs shouldn’t be loud and barking as that might either be a sign that the trainer doesn’t have authority over them or that they are stressed or intimidated. You can also have a conversation with the trainer where you would want to hear that he is trying to constantly improve his skills, taking additional training certifications or is interested in the latest discoveries in canine behavior and communication.

Look for references

Word of mouth can be a powerful tool in finding a good trainer, so you can start by asking a friend who has trained his dog, your veterinary or your local canine association. Also perform a thorough background check and ask for credentials. Doing so would improve the odds of finding a reliable trainer.

So follow these tips on how to find good dog training in San Diego and make sure your dog is handled and educated by one of the best trainers in the city.

Finding Happiness Through CBT In San Diego

CBT Thought FlowIf you are suffering from depression, anxiety or are struggling with addiction, then you should learn about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and how it could help you overcome these problems. Here are the reasons why CBT may work best for you as well as why you should hire a therapist to help you get back on track.

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that puts emphasis on treating problems that are often not controllable by rational thought. Through CBT, San Diego therapists use a combined behavioral and cognitive approach to helping people acknowledge their emotional problems as well as relate them to the behavior. It is the core principle of cognitive behavioral therapy that our behavior influences our feelings, and our feelings then start to affect how we react – or our behavior. It is this triangle of behavior, feelings and thoughts that therapist are trying to help you understand and control in order to regain your bearings and start living a normal life again.

Getting rid of irrational thoughts

With CBT, therapists will help you gain the skills you need to overcome depression, anxiety or substance abuse. While most people suffer from mild depression from time to time due to unfortunate events and problems in life, experiencing these all the time can point to a problem that has a cognitive underling problem. Therapists are to help you understand that it is irrational thoughts that are causing you to fall into this downward spiral, and it is their goal to teach you to help yourself in getting better and not just feeling better. You can learn to control your emotions and your negative thoughts and improve them. With positive attitude and fewer negative thoughts, you get to correct the behavioral problems that keep resulting in you experiencing bad thoughts and feeling bad again.

Preventing the chance of relapse

It is precisely because CBT aims to help you help yourself that this form of therapy is so effective. Just like the ancient Chinese proverb says, it is better to teach a hungry man to fish rather than just offering him the fish. The same goes with CBT – you learn the skills necessary to improve and you keep on practicing them even long after you have finished treatment. This way, the chances of suffering a relapse are minimized since you are less likely to have reoccurring depression and anxiety episodes with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Benefiting from an effective treatment

The best part about CBT is that you don’t have to get stuffed with medication that only works short-term. It has been proven that CBT is as effective as medication, only it works in the long term, since you retain the ability to control your thoughts and behavioral patterns. This, coupled with the fact that CBT usually takes 16 sessions on average, makes it one of the most effective treatment options. Get the best CBT San Diego therapists have to offer and get better so that you can rebuild your life!

How To Choose A San Diego Mortgage Broker


San Diego EstateBuying a home might be the most important financial step you take in your life. When making such a considerable investment, you cannot rush, you cannot be superficial, and you cannot trust amateurs to help you. That is why choosing the right San Diego mortgage broker is one of the most important choices you will have to make during the whole process.

You might think everything is over once you have found the perfect house. But, actually, that is only the beginning, because it really does not matter that you have found the perfect home if you cannot find a way to pay for it, does it? So, you need a professional to help you find the perfect financing option for buying that home.

Working with a good mortgage broker has only advantages, and here is why:

  • They will save you a lot of time, as you will not have to go from lender to lender in search for the best option;
  • They have experience and connections, and, therefore, more chances to find the most convenient loan program for you;
  • They will make the process less stressful for you, as they will assist you with the documentation.

Now that you understand why working with a broker is the easiest way to buy your dream house, let us see how you can find someone who will match your needs perfectly. There are 3 major steps to follow in finding the professional who will get you the home you deserve:

  • Research – every great finding starts with a thorough research. Seek referrals from friends and family members that have recently purchased property with the help of brokers. Ask all kinds of questions to determine their level of satisfaction and see if it is worth adding the name to your list of potential brokers. Real estate agents often work with mortgage brokers, so, if you have an agent that you trust, you can ask them for recommendations as well.
  • Inquire – once you have a few names on your list, you can start examining each name. A good indication of a broker’s prowess is the quality of their ad campaign. Check flyers, billboards, newspaper ads to see if they are professionally made. Then, check their websites and look for online reviews written by past clients. If you find any complaints about the candidates, you can cross them out and not waste any more time on them.
  • Test – before the last step, you should be left with 3-4 names on the list. Now it is time to meet them in person and evaluate them. They will all be polite and welcome you, maybe even offer you a drink. But the real test is answering your questions. Ask about their experience, their portfolio of lenders, about your eligibility, about your options, about the particularities of your case. Pay attention to the way they answer, if they are patient, if they focus on your special case or give general answers.

Has anyone passed the test? That is your mortgage broker!




San Diego’s Early History

San Diego Native AmericansThere has been human inhabitation in the area which is now San Diego for at least several thousand years and for likely over ten thousand years. The native Kumeyaay, or Tipai-Ipai, resided here before western colonisation and the descendants of this native American people still live in the area today. Around ten villages were established in the San Diego area by the native Americans although they remained separate from each other.

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was a Portuguese explorer, on a Spanish expedition, and he was the first European to discover what is now known as San Diego Bay in 1542. He initially called the area San Miguel because of the corresponding saint’s feast day and he initially found the locals welcoming. This didn’t though last and shortly afterwards the locals attacked Cabrillo’s men although the Spanish didn’t initially retaliate and tried to make peace. The visit from the Europeans was though short-lived as Cabrillo died through illness later on during his journey and the area that the locals called Guacamal didn’t receive any more European visitors for another sixty years.

In May 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino sailed under the Spanish flag in an attempt to map the Californian coast. Vizcaino and his men sailed in three ships with the flagship being the San Diego and they arrived in the area on 10 November 1602. The bay in which they sailed was named San Diego Bay both after the name of the ship they sailed in as well as it being close to the feast day of Didacus of Alcalá, or Diego in Spanish, on 12 November. This was the first time that the settlement had been called San Diego and there was no link made to the previous name of San Miguel.

Vizcaino didn’t further explore the area and he returned back to Spain and reported favourably about the area and how friendly he had found the locals. The Spaniards estimated that the native population was around 25,000 during this time but despite the potential trade advantages the Europeans decided to instead focus their attentions on other more pressing local conflicts and also exploration into Asian countries. The Spaniards didn’t return to the area again until 1769 in what was to become known as the ‘Sacred Expedition’.

The settlement of San Diego was formally created in 1769 when it was established as a mission by Father Junipero Serra. The mission was the first in California and which was known as Mission San Diego de Alcala. Due to problems with access to water a new mission was built a few miles to the east a couple of years later and although there was a general friendliness some tensions remained with the locals. These issues soon became apparent when the mission building was destroyed by native Indians in 1775 when they also killed the Spanish guards and Christian religious settlers including Father Luis Jayme who became the state’s first Catholic martyr.

The guiding principles of the Californian missions were important both to the church and to the Spanish state but the soldiers frequently made it difficult for the priests and unsettled the latter’s relations with the natives. There were severe punishments and floggings for the men involved in the destruction of the first mission although another was constructed in 1777 and relations continued to improve. Many of the natives regretted their previous behaviour with an estimated 20% of the wider population also converting to Christianity.

After a troubled start the mission was very successful and grew in size and by 1797 was the wealthiest in California and it also owned most of the land in the area. The capital of California remained Monterey as the non-Indian population was still just over 150 in 1800 and the San Diego area remained relatively isolated. Both natives and converts struggled to deal with the diseases which the settlers had brought over and for which the locals had no immunity to. This lack of resistance led to the death of many native Americans and made it hard for the mission to support itself.

An earthquake hit the area in 1803 which damaged the mission church that had already started to slowly diminish in power. The end of the mission’s power came in 1821 when Mexico became independent from Spain following an eleven year war, with San Diego becoming part of Alta California. The mission had its substantial amount of land taken away from it by the new Mexican Government and it finally closed in 1835. The building was lost but it was reconstructed in 1931 and rebuilt to what it looked like in 1813 and visitors are very welcome today.

Much of the former mission land was given to rich and loyal citizens of the new nation despite the rules which were meant to prohibit this. Pio de Jesus Pico, who later became a Governor of Mexico, was very questionably given 35 miles of coastline as well as substantial tracts of inland areas.

Following independence the Mexican Governor of California was Jose Maria Echeandia and he named San Diego as his base in 1825. Echeandia remained as the governor until 1833, other than for a short period in 1831, and he supported the redistribution of lands from the missions. These ranch years proved though to be lawless, there was a large increase in the amount of smuggling and the economy struggled given the lack of certainty. The population of the city fell from around 500 in 1821 to just 150 nearly twenty years later and little of the former wealth remained.

On 11 May 1846 the United States declared war on Mexico and although San Diego was at first easily captured in October 1846 there was a local rebellion and the Americans were forced back out of the city. These local skirmishes continued for several months but the Mexican-American War eventually ended leading to the February 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ceded the territory of California to the United States.

Introduction to San Diego

San DiegoNot only is San Diego one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, it can also compete with any other city in the world. Famous for its pristine coastlines, constant sunshine and electric nightlife, this city offers no shortage of sights and attractions. Situated in the state of California, the “City by the Bay” has something for everyone because San Diego truly has it all.

Arguably the most colorful of San Diego’s attractions, Old Town dates back to the time of the arrival of the early Spaniards in California. Old Town San Diego has been designed to reflect the history of early California via daily shows, monthly festivities, artisan works, dining opportunities and a host of beautiful stores that give the area a festive air that you shouldn’t miss out on.

Meanwhile, visitors to San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter can expect to be dazzled by 21 blocks of sidewalk cafes, open air restaurants, microbreweries, resident artists, jazz clubs and late night dancing. Regarded as the historic heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is worth a visit while in San Diego.

Lined with picturesque buildings, flowing fountains, plush lawns and over 25 museums, Balboa Park is regarded as the largest urban cultural park in the United States. The park is also home to theaters, carousels, shops and many more attractions worth a visit. Spend a day at Balboa Park, the definitive cultural hub of San Diego, and soak up the stunning setting as you explore the attractions it houses.

While it may be tempting to spend your entire vacation exploring, don’t forget to leave some time for a history lesson in America’s finest city. Head over to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, a well-regarded and highly interactive museum that shows off the maritime heritage of the city.

Your trip to San Diego will not be complete without spending some time at one of its numerous picturesque beaches. While the immaculate beaches to enjoy are many, the absolute must-see stretch of beach is found at Coronado Silver Strand.

Beach lovers will also delight at the wonderful natural offerings of Shell Beach in La Jolla; although there’s much more to La Jolla than its spectacular beaches. Go here to admire the beautiful town that’s ringed with blue waters, and which just happens to be one of the prettiest Oceanside towns in California.

San Diego’s coastal seat makes for an ideal destination for the adventurous at heart. Whether you are hiking along sandstone cliffs, or strolling through the frothy surf of dazzling beaches, you’ll find little reason to stray far from the natural wonders of this amazing American city. San Diego’s numerous and varied activities are designed to ensure that you don’t have the time to get bored during your visit.

1. Balboa Park

Situated in El Prado, Balboa Park is the largest cultural complex west of the Mississippi. Boasting a high concentration of cultural institutions within its boundaries, Balboa Park was originally built in 1915. Full of architectural grandeur, cultural treasures, stunning gardens, lush landscapes and award-winning performing arts, it will take you more than a day to see it all.

While the buildings at Balboa Park are beautiful enough to be regarded as attractions in themselves, the real draw here is the culture, science, history and arts that are enclosed within their walls. Among the attractions found in this magnificent cultural complex are 15 museums, 8 major gardens, a botanical building, outdoor gardens and a Tony Award-winning theater.

Balboa Park’s many museums cover every interest, from the Museum of Man to the Museum of Art. With over 15 museums, the park is one of the richest cultural areas in the western United States.

Highlights of the Balboa Park major gardens included the Botanical Building. This was the largest wood lath structure in the world when it was built in 1915. Today it is home to 2,100 permanent specimens of tropical plants. Also visit the Japanese Friendship Garden, and the Zoro Garden which is a sunken butterfly garden.

Palm Canyon is an oasis that contains 450 palms. The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden was voted as one of the world’s top rose gardens. Desert Garden features 2.5 acres of drought-resistant plants and succulents from all around the world.

Visitors can also enjoy performance arts at Balboa Park. The Old Globe Theatre was the winner of the 1984 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, and currently produces 14 works on 3 stages annually. Also visit the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre where you will find performers with lots of strings attached.

At the Starlight Bowl, you can enjoy performances by the Starlight Musical Theater during July and August. Also worth a peek is the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, one of the largest outdoor pipe organs in the world. It hosts year-round Sunday organ concerts, in addition to the annual Summer International Organ Festival.

If you plan on visiting more than two of the numerous attractions found here, consider getting the Balboa Park Passport which is available at any of the 13 attractions it can get you into. For an even better deal, plan your visit on the days that offer free admission into 2-5 locations each week.

2. Old Town

Most visitors to Old Town San Diego go for shopping at the numerous stores that stock nice handicrafts. Others go to enjoy a large platter of enchiladas and tacos, washed down with a margarita. But history buffs can also get their fix by poking around inside the historic buildings of Old Town, as they imagine life in early California.

As the first European settlement in what is now California, Old Town San Diego’s roots were founded when a Spanish mission was built there in 1769. But by the 1820s, the settlers had moved into Gaslamp Quarter, closer to the water, leaving their “old town” behind.

Nestled in the heart of San Diego, Old Town San Diego is centered on the oldest area of the first European settlement, and includes a state historic park and related historic sites situated outside the park.

The State Historic Park takes up 9 square blocks and preserves numerous historic structures, five of which were built of adobe bricks. These include the first schoolhouse in California, the first newspaper office in the state, a stable and a blacksmith shop.

The preserved buildings are each a small museum in themselves which provide a glimpse into San Diego life between the years 1821 and 1872. The historic buildings offer a good way of learning about the early history of California.

Old Town is where you get to learn about life during the Mexican and early American periods, as the cultures converged to transform San Diego from a Mexican pueblo into a European settlement. The historic plaza is a gathering ground for community events, fiesta, historical activities, living history programs, as well as numerous restaurants, museums and retail shops that surround the plaza.

A pleasant cultural experience awaits every visitor to Old Town San Diego, the birthplace of California. Here you can get a glimpse into early California through the 20 museums, art galleries, artisans and shops.

Visitors can also enjoy live entertainment from folkloric dancers, mariachis and artists. Fine or casual dining opportunities abound in the multiple regional and international cuisines available at this site that has the highest concentration of Mexican restaurants in the entire San Diego area.

Old Town offers a romantic and charming mix of whitewashed mud brick buildings with Spanish tile roofs; while the wooden storefronts resemble something straight out of an Old West town.

The shops found here today mostly sell Mexican-style pottery, tinwork and more. Go on a pleasant stroll here, while window shopping. You can also extend your route to outside the park and head down San Diego Avenue.

Another fun way of connecting with California’s past is via the Living History demonstrations of life during the 19th century. Fans of the paranormal can join in the Old Town ghost tours that begin from in front of Casa de Reyes during the evenings.

The park also hosts many celebrations of holidays and historic events. In December, visitors can attend Holiday in the Park, which features performance tours and recreations of the holidays in the 1860s. In addition to the specialty festivals which are held year-round at Old Town, the largest celebrations of Dia de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo in the city of San Diego take place here.

At the edge of the State Historic Park is the Old Town Market which offers more shopping opportunities. Here you can enjoy a tour of a reconstructed 1853 adobe house, a restored convent dating from 1908, and a new theatre. There is also a museum full of archaeological finds. Another Old Town historic site in the area but situated outside the confines of the state park include the “haunted” Whaley House.

3. Gaslamp Quarter

With origins dating from the mid-19th century, Gaslamp Quarter is situated in downtown San Diego, near the Convention Center.

The attraction rises from blocks of Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers that stand side by side, and houses over 100 of the finest restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and retail shops in San Diego. The District is a veritable playground rich in cultural offering that includes art galleries, concert venues, symphony halls, museums and theaters.

An area of great architectural charm, the Gaslamp Quarter has streets lined with original nineteenth-century buildings, along with others moved in from different parts of San Diego, all restored to their original exuberance. Restaurants, clubs and shops now occupy the former salons and brothels. Walk the streets and admire the historic buildings.

A random walk in Gaslamp Quarter will give you a sense of the place, allowing you to enjoy pleasant buildings, do some shopping, and enjoy a bite to eat. Visit the restaurants, night clubs and shops. Boutique shops offer interesting wares alongside souvenir vendors, with Horton Plaza comprising the local shopping center.

Visitors can easily spend an entire day in Gaslamp Quarter, shopping at one of the numerous retail stores at Horton Plaza. Lovers of the paranormal will enjoy the night-time ghost tour of the Gaslamp Quarter, which makes for a good alternative for those who wish to be out at night but don’t want to go clubbing. Also visit some of the museums and be thrilled by their interactive exhibits.

Dining options also abound with plenty of opportunities for al fresco dining on the sidewalks of this cosmopolitan and dynamic district. You can have your meal sky high on a rooftop lounge, or inside an intimate restaurant featuring ornate designs.

On a cool California evening, the Gaslamp Quarter transforms into a sophisticated playground under a sparkling night sky. This is when thousands of residents and tourists come out in style for a night of fine dining, live theater, craft cocktails, music and dancing. Enjoy a signature cocktail made by a creative mixologist at a rooftop bar or groove the night away at a happening night club.

There’s nothing like sipping a cold drink at an outdoor patio on a warm day. And you can do this from one of Gaslamp Quarter’s rooftop bars as you enjoy panoramic views of the downtown, Coronado Bridge and San Diego Bay.

4. Coronado Beach

There’s a quiet, laid-back simplicity to Coronado that visitors enjoy, in addition to its beautiful views of the downtown San Diego skyline. But it’s the white sandy beaches of Coronado that have consistently earned it many ratings as one of the top ten beaches in America.

Situated on the Coronado peninsula just across the Big Bay, across the bay from downtown San Diego, Coronado Beach is a great beach for every type of beach lover. With Downtown Coronado nearby, the beach offers gentle waves and lots of fine, clean sand. Its surroundings are also pretty with the interesting architecture of Hotel Del Coronado displayed beautifully on the oceanfront.

Coronado Beach is a lovely place to take a stroll. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot at the surf’s edge, or stay on the paved pathway close by, stopping to watch the sun set from one of the benches. To avoid the crowds, head over to north Coronado Beach which is less busy. The beach is ideal for simply roaming around and playing in the sand. You can also attend the fun evening bonfire on the beach.

The most popular section of Coronado Beach is situated around the Hotel Del Coronado. This must-see hotel is said to be the inspiration behind Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. The sprawling rusty red and white, Victorian-style seaside hotel was opened in 1888. Today a national historic landmark, the hotel has hosted many famous and infamous of the 20th century, and is also said to house a resident ghost!

The legendary hotel is an American treasure with more than 125 years of stories to tell. It is said that the founders of the hotel dreamed of creating a seaside resort that would be “the talk of the Western world” – and they did. Since then, the resort has become a living legend visited by dignitaries, celebrities and presidents.

Rated by USA Today as one of the top 10 hotels in the world, the Del Coronado continues to maintain its rich history while offering contemporary conveniences such as unique beachfront dining experiences, shopping, an award-winning spa, and various recreational activities. The spectacular setting of the hotel, its award-winning service and impeccable cuisine also deserve mention.

Consistently named one of the best in the world, the hotel features a number of amazing ocean view bars and restaurants and breathtaking Victorian architecture with its signature red turrets. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy it. Visitors can browse the historic photographs and exhibits or enjoy a nice meal on the terrace.

The Coronado Peninsula is also famous for the distinctive San Diego-Coronado Bridge that is worth a peek during your visit here.

But beyond its architectural marvels, Coronado’s island community offers visitors an experience that is worlds apart, with a charming quaintness typical of small towns, old-world mansions, elegant gardens, unique shopping experiences and dining options with spectacular ocean views. It’s no wonder that the region has been dubbed “The Crown City” after Coronado which is Spanish for “the crowned one”.