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How San Diego Is Becoming a Culture Hub in Southern California

October 4, 2022 By CityPASS

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different shades for each color — red, orange, purple, pink, yellow, and blue. That's why when the day mellows into the sunset, and those on the west coast of the U.S. look out over the ocean, there are endless possibilities to experience. It would not be a wasted trip if all you did on a San Diego vacation was watch the sun paint the horizon over the Pacific Ocean.

However, there are only so many hours in the day and much more to experience in San Diego than its sunsets. After all, it wasn't dubbed "America's Finest City" for nothing. And, like a rare wine, San Diego arts and culture offers a complex variety uniquely curated for connoisseurs of beautiful American cities.

From arts venues to popular restaurants and beer culture to performing art centers, a San Diego culture trip is bound to leave you in awe of its infinite blending of colors.

The Primary Factors Influencing San Diego Culture

You can't talk about San Diego without mentioning its beer culture. The city is where craft beer exploded into mainstream popularity, and with over 200 breweries and tasting rooms, it's America's undisputed craft beer capital.

However, San Diego culture is about far more than fermented beverages.

Population Diversity, Cultural Institutions, and Communities

San Diego's diversity continues to grow year after year. Due to global recruitment for its innovation economy and its proximity to Mexico, it has grown to become one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the United States. This diversity and the city's commitment to representation in cultural institutions have resulted in a wide array of unique experiences for both visitors and San Diegans alike.

Proximity to Mexico as a Border Town and Mexican Culture

Mexican culture has been a part of San Diego arts and culture long before the city became a part of America. Mexican culture's roots run deep here, and you'll feel it everywhere, perhaps no more prominently than in San Diego food culture.

It's not just about the food, though. From Dia de Los Muertos to Mariachi Fest, San Diego is home to a sea of annual events celebrating Mexican heritage and culture.

The Special Events and Attractions at the Heart of San Diego Culture

San Diego cultural events span not only heritage but also hobbies, equality, and various art scenes. San Diego culture makes it easy to find something that suits your interests.

San Diego Pride

Boasting over 300,000 attendees, San Diego Pride is one of the largest Pride events in the U.S. Beginning at the Hillcrest Pride Flag at the intersection of University Avenue and Normal Street, San Diego Pride participants celebrate freedom and love with rainbow-clad floats, costumes, and banners praising open love and freedom of expression for all.

The free annual event stretches 1.5 miles and concludes at Balboa Park with continued celebrations. San Diego culture enthusiasts who visit the city for Pride can join in the event's 5K Pride run, Spirit of Stonewall Rally, She Fest, and many other cultural events that positively impact the city.


The annual San Diego Comic-Con event is perhaps the largest cultural event in San Diego. Taking place over four days in summer, Comic-Con attracts artists and enthusiasts from all over the world who are interested in visual storytelling, animation, and designs of character costumes that rival the originals.

San Diego Comic-Con is so massive that it holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the largest convention of comic book fans. It isn't just comic books, though. Over the years, San Diego Comic-Con has become a star-studded event, with celebrities promoting movies, giving interviews, and releasing anticipated trailers at this world-famous San Diego cultural event.

Museums and Festivals

From the Museum of Contemporary Art to the USS Midway Museum, San Diego boasts a variety of attractions like no other.

It's no secret that San Diego is a city heavily influenced by the Navy, so at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, individuals and families alike can enjoy learning about designing and building historic sea vessels and how they've changed over the years. You'll also enjoy a stroll along the beautiful Waterfront Park while you're there.

There's also an unending series of planned and impromptu arts festivals in San Diego all year long. Artists flock to beautiful places, so it's no wonder San Diego is full of art galleries that appeal to a kaleidoscope of interests and tastes.

In September, the San Diego Festival of the Arts celebrates over 150 juried artists while featuring world-class music, top-notch cuisine, and fine wine and craft beer.

Unique Film Festivals and Music Scene

With the world's entertainment capital only a car ride away, it makes sense that San Diego is a hot spot for independent film festivals that celebrate world culture and entertainment. In fact, the latest San Diego International Film Festival screened over 160 films from across the world.

The music departments at San Diego's universities often rank highly among the world's greatest universities. Perhaps that's why the music scene in San Diego is so vibrant. Whether you prefer musical theater at a performing arts center, jazz in a dimly lit bar, or an all-night rock and dance fest, the San Diego music scene has something for everyone.

Authentic Mexican Restaurants and Local Cuisine

Authentic Mexican cuisine is at the heart of San Diego's food culture. Even Michelin can't help weighing in on some of the best authentic Mexican food restaurants in San Diego. Forget hamburgers and hotdogs; approach any roadside venue or restaurant serving authentic Mexican food in San Diego, and you can't go wrong.

Experience San Diego's Culture at a Fraction of the Cost

San Diego has something for everyone. But, with so many options, it can be expensive and challenging to decide where to begin. That's where CityPASS® tickets excel.

With CityPASS® tickets you can save up to on some of San Diego's top experiences. From theme parks to museums, we've done the planning work for you by finding the best attractions in San Diego and getting you the best deals.

Want to experience San Diego culture today? Start with San Diego CityPASS® tickets.

San Diego Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in San Diego, we recommend finding lodging near San Diego's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

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