San Diego: America’s Finest City

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The Gaslamp District in San Diego's downtown area.

San Diego: America’s Finest City

by Jessica DeFino

The light was blindingly bright as I inched closer and closer to San Diego on the 1-5, as if I were driving directly into the sun.

Traffic from Los Angeles to San Diego- normally just a two and a half hour drive- was slow-moving; not so much because the roads were crowded, but because the light had whited out the highway lanes, making the curves of the road ahead anyone’s guess.  I trailed the sunrise, my yellow Ford Mustang caught in a warm yellow sunbeam that made my eyes blink with sleep.

I slipped my favorite Bruce Springsteen album into the CD player and, desperate to avoid sun-induced drowsiness, cranked the volume up to the proverbial 11.  Windows down and speakers rattling, I sang along with Bruce: “I know a pretty little place in Southern California, down San Diego way…

That fact that San Diego inspired one of my favorite Springsteen songs of all time (“Rosalita”) was reason enough to take a mini-vacation and explore the city, though that’s far from the only reason.  My roommate in LA, Melissa, a San Diego native, has been hyping up the city for as long as I’ve known her, waxing poetic about its famously laid-back vibe and contagiously happy residents- and interestingly enough, there’s research to back up her claims.

San Diego has consistently ranked among the top 5 happiest cities in the United States in the past handful of years, making it an ideal vacation spot for someone who, like myself, is used to fast-paced city life where working hard and networking harder generally take precedence over happiness.  For me, a trip to San Diego represented a break from that “go, go, go” mentality; a chance to slow down and unwind in a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

(5-7 pages)