Separated from downtown by the impressive Coronado Bay Bridge, Coronado is an upscale "island" which has a small-town feel with an uptown price tag. For over a hundred years, Coronado has been the area's premier resort destination, home to Le Meridian Resort and the legendary Hotel Del Coronado. The town itself is peaceful and idyllic, complete with sidewalk cafes, theaters and tree-lined streets of Victorian homes and California bungalows. Much of Coronado is occupied by the North Island Naval Air Station and the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base. The Old Ferry Landing serves up bayside shopping and dining, as well as a magnificent view of Downtown San Diego.
San Diego's Downtown has become a model of what downtown redevelopment should be for many cities across the country. Seedy and dilapidated buildings and neighborhoods gave way to upscale hotels, condominiums, restaurants, shopping centers and night spots. The Gaslamp Quarter's restaurants and clubs feature a taste of history, its Horton Plaza mall shops, theaters and eateries offer a bit of the avant garde, and its bay-side Seaport Village shopping center is a twist on the Cape Cod tradition. The city's largest theater, Civic Theater, its circa 1929 Symphony Hall, the San Diego Children's Theater, the circa 1911 Spreckles Theater, the Central Library, Star of India and its Maritime Museum are just a few of Downtown's important residents. It's also the city's transportation center with the Santa Fe Depot train station, Lindbergh Field, the area's major airport, and the San Diego Trolley's main station. Many of the county's best hotels,make their home here, including the Marriott Hotel & Marina, Pan Pacific, Embassy Suites, U.S. Grant, Horton Grand and Hyatt Regency.
The two faces of the Point Loma peninsula offer ocean views from one side and downtown views from the other, but a select group of upscale homes have views of both. The point is dominated by Fort Rosecrans Military Reservation and its cemetary, which must be traversed to get to the Cabrillo National Monument. The historic Point Loma lighthouse (circa 1855), whalewatching stations, and the Point Loma Tide Pools make Cabrillo National Monument a popular tourist attraction. The point's secluded coves, surrounded by high cliffs of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, are small and usually uncrowded as the area's kelp beds make swimming an experience not everyone appreciates. Newport Avenue is the main attraction is this ocean side community of over 28,000. The surf community is represented here, as well as a large neo-hippie contingent, as evidenced by the hostels that house young travelers with backpacks. Inland and to the south near Sunset Cliffs the situation becomes a bit more conservative and family-oriented. There is great fishing off the Ocean Beach pier, and Dog Beach in north Ocean Beach is a great place to walk, run or swim your pet.