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5 Fun Facts About San Diego You'll Never Believe

5 Fun Facts About San Diego You'll Never Believe

Learn more about sunny San Diego or impress at trivia night. Here's five fun facts about San Diego you'll never believe. Team


2 min read

September 15, 2023

San Diego, known as "America's Finest City", boasts endless sunshine, pristine beaches, and a laid-back vibe. Visitors come here for the San Diego Zoo, the Gaslamp Quarter, and some of California’s most beautiful coastal views. But San Diego is also a city filled with hidden treasures and fascinating tidbits that even some locals might not know. Here are five fun facts about San Diego that will surprise and delight you.

1. Home to the Original “Taco Bell” Building

While many associate Taco Bell with its founder, Glen Bell, few know that his first venture was a hot dog stand called Bell's Drive-In in San Bernardino in the 1950s. Before transitioning to what we know as Taco Bell, he started with a place called Taco-Tia in San Diego. The evolution of Bell's business led to the creation of the first Taco Bell in 1962 in Downey, not in San Diego. However, the roots of his taco empire started in America's Finest City.

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2. The Birthplace of California

Before Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Sacramento began creating headlines, San Diego was where it all began. Point Loma, specifically at Cabrillo National Monument, is considered the "Plymouth Rock of the West." In 1542, Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, under the flag of Spain, landed and claimed the region for Spain. This makes San Diego the birthplace of California, and visitors can relive this historic moment by visiting the Cabrillo National Monument and taking in panoramic views of the city.

The statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stands tall in San Diego.

3. A Haven for Avocado Lovers

California is the leading producer of avocados in the United States, and within the state, San Diego County is the undisputed champion. The county has over 18,000 acres dedicated to avocado farming, producing the majority of California's avocado yield. The Fallbrook Avocado Festival held annually is a testament to the region's love and dependence on this creamy fruit, celebrating everything avocado – from guacamole contests to avocado-themed art.

Avocados have taken the world by storm as a great part of many different meals and San Diego is one of the top producers.

4. The Haunted Whaley House

Located in Old Town San Diego, the Whaley House is not just any historic residence. The United States Commerce Department has officially designated it as haunted. Visitors and staff have reported countless paranormal activities, from the sounds of footsteps to sightings of apparitions. The ghostly tales revolve around the Whaley family and a few other spirits, including "Yankee Jim", a criminal who was hanged on the property before the house was constructed. Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, the Whaley House offers a mix of history and mystery.

The Whaley House is an interesting tourist attraction in San Diego that's past is full of interesting tales.

5. San Diego's Giant Pandas Were Only on Loan

The beloved giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo were not permanent residents. They were on loan from China. Beginning in 1987 with the arrival of Basi and Yuan Yuan, and later with the famous Bai Yun and her cubs, these pandas became San Diego icons. The last of these cuddly ambassadors, Xiao Liwu, returned to China in 2019, marking the end of an era. But during their time here, these pandas played a pivotal role in conservation efforts and panda research.

In conclusion, San Diego is a city of not just sunshine and surf but also of rich history, fascinating tidbits, and unexpected twists. From its foundational role in California's inception to its spooky tales of haunted homes, from its pivotal role in the world of tacos to its leadership in avocado farming and panda conservation, San Diego keeps surprising its residents and visitors alike.

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