Downtown San Diego is located in the city center of San Diego and is sometimes referred to as Centre City. The downtown area is also the central business district for San Diego County. The somewhat large area is actually limited in height, with an FAA-imposed 500-foot limit on all buildings due to the nearby airport. This limitation has actually made the business district more manageable because there are no large towers or skyscrapers to be seen. Although the district fell into difficult economic times late in the 1900s, a 1975 redevelopment plan increased investment in the city and led to the completion of the San Diego Convention Center. The center today hosts a variety of events and functions, bringing in millions of visitors annually.
The San Diego International Airport, known locally as Lindberg Field, is just three miles northwest of downtown San Diego and is named after the historic Charles Lindbergh who tested his airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, at the city’s original airfield. As the busiest single-runway commercial service airport in the nation and the second in the world after London’s Gatwick Airport. The airport offers the people of downtown San Diego about 300 daily departures to destinations around the world, making business in the downtown area especially convenient.
The downtown area is actually composed of a number of neighborhoods, including Columbia, Core District, Cortez Hill, East Village, Gaslamp Village, Little Italy, Marina, Horton District, and Seaport Village. Each smaller community that makes up Downtown San Diego adds its own unique character and flavor to the local culture.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is located between Mission Valley and Downtown San Diego and has preserved a number of facilities and buildings from the old town of the city dating back to the times of the Mexican War of Independence in 1821. Balboa Park, extending from downtown’s 6th Avenue to 28th Street, is an area filled with several museums and other points of interest, most notably the San Diego Zoo. The zoo is one of the largest and most progressive zoos in the world and features over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species.