27 Reasons to Love SD Now

What’s making us feel warm and fuzzy


San Diego skyline

drone1 Because Chris Anderson left Wired magazine to run a drone company here in San Diego.

That’s right—the editor-in-chief of a big, glossy Condé Nast title gave up his chiefhood to move here and build a business with our very own 26-year-old robotics hobbyist, Jordi Muñoz. Visit 3drobotics.com to learn more about their genius, direct-to-consumer (yes, we said consumer) drones.

Jason Russell and Oprah

2Because one of our local filmmakers (Jason Russell) can go from creating the most viral video in history (KONY 2012) and inspiring a global movement to a public nervous breakdown to turning a new leaf, landing an Oprah interview, and launching his most successful campaign yet.


sail boat3 because we have the best sailors in the world!

Qualifying rounds are this month and three San Diego Yacht Clubbers are already in the new Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, representing the best skippers on the planet.

4 Because our big publically traded companies aren’t run by a bunch of suits. They’re run by people who run.

Last year, 247 Active Network employees in Sorrento Valley raised more than $43,000 (via various runs and triathlons) for local charities like Challenged Athletes Foundation—and they probably burned about ten gazillion calories while doing it.

5 Because every fifth-grader in THIS TOWN is carrying a school-issued iPad.

Well, sort of. The SD Unified School District bought 20,000 iPads last year, and we’re betting we’ll produce an entire future generation of Jordi Muñozes (see #1).


6 Because, thanks to CalPac and Ted Vallas, you no longer have to drive 35 miles south to go 300 miles northeast.

Vallas will launch his new airline with four spiffy planes that fly direct from our own North County airport, McClellan-Palomar, to Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, Sac-town, and soon Cabo.

7 Because we have a Spencer Finch art installation acting as a modern-day lighthouse. According to updates on the Yahoo weather RSS feed, it changes from red to blue, illustrating the ol’ saying, “Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”


8 Because in a zip code where the high school graduation rate is 54 percent, Gompers Academy’s class of 2012 had a 100 percent graduation rate.

And furthermore: 100 percent of those graduates applied and were accepted to two- or four-year colleges.

9 Because we love our beaches enough to upgrade the sand quality.

SANDAG just finished dredging up sand through a huge tube from the bottom of the bay, treating it, and then moving it to area beaches to replenish the sand stash.

10 Because we run like someone’s chasing us, and we like it.

We’ve got 5Ks for fans of zombies, mud, paint, lasers, dogs, cancer survivors, beer, ’80s flashbacks, and turkeys. So what are you waiting for? Lace up those Nikes and giddyup.



11 Because our startups get more coin than startups in other cities.

While the rest of the nation’s cities have declined in venture capital funds year after year, we
just keep raising. (Hey, $958 million in the first three quarters of 2012 can’t be wrong.)

12 Because all of California eats bananas, thanks to us.

San Diego is a loose-cargo port, and unloads 185 million bananas each month. We move more bananas than any other port city on the West Coast. (Dang you, Delaware! Wilmington has us beat in the east, importing 260 million bananas each month.)

shipment of bananas

13 Because we don’t just stand up for the the wrongly incarcerated, we walk 600 miles.

On April 27, 2013, Justin Brooks of the California Innocence Project is staging a march from San Diego to Sacramento to ask the governor for clemency for some of the group’s clients. One such client, Edward Contreras, convicted of first-degree felony murder, has served 15 years so far (sentenced to life without parole), but is stuck behind bars because, even though a witness admitted to lying to police, the judge won’t reverse the decision.

14 Because, like it or not, we are the yoga capital of America.

Whether it’s Vanity Fair citing Encinitas as one of the birthplaces of Ashtanga Yoga in the West, or Encinitas schools making waves for teaching yoga to elementary students, hey, at least we’ve got people breathing.

15 Because our reality stars are not tragic. They’re HOT.

…Andy Baldwin, The Bachelor, Season 10
Kiptyn Locke, The Bachelorette, Season 5
Roberto Martinez, The Bachelorette, Season 8

16 Because it doesn't take a pro sports team to give us champions.

After coming from behind a 21-o lead, the Madison High School football team rallied for 31 points to beat Kentfield’s Marin Catholic and claim the first state championship football title in the history of the entire San Diego Unified School District. Go Warhawks! And after just five years in existence, the Tijuana Xolos (adopted by thousands who watched in San Diego) won Mexico’s national fútbol title.


17 Because on a two-block stretch in North Park, you can get a haircut, learn karate, cash a check, repair your radiator, drink craft brews, party with drag queens, pray with a bishop, pawn some jewelry, attend a children’s musical, and buy flowers for the lead in that musical.

North Park

18 Because at BFD (Big Front Door), you can get an open-faced sandwich so stacked and loaded, they serve it with a fork and knife.

Big Front Door open-face turkey sandwich

The standard preparation for making the O.F.T. (open-face turkey) includes roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy on a slice of sourdough, but adding green beans, stuffing, and cranberries takes it to another dimension of deliciousness.

21 Because we have goals.

While we may have our issues, we keep trying to overcome them. On our to-do list:

  • Spay or neuter 5,000 animals by June! —Dr. Gary Weitzman, prez and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society
  • End homelessness. —Mayor Bob Filner
  • Make SD a world-class bike city. —Samantha Ollinger, executive director and board president of BikeSD
  • Become known for great American theater. —Barry Edelstein, Old Globe artistic director
  • Develop the first mixed-use block, anchored by a major technology and design company, of a 93-acre cluster known as the I.D.E.A. District (Innovation-Design-Education-Arts) in East Village. —David Malmuth and Peter Garcia
  • Get Balboa Park in shape by 2015. —Todd Gloria, San Diego City Council President (District 3)
  • Find and fix six major water quality problems in San Diego. —San Diego Coastkeeper’s Waterkeeper Jill Witkowski
  • Make 201 affordable housing units a reality in National City. —Environmental Health Coalition policy advocate Carolina Martinez
  • Ensure the city approves the Community Plan Update for Barrio Logan so that children can breathe clean air. —Environmental Health Coalition Campaign director Georgette Gomez
  • Break another Bike to Work Day record by getting 12,000 people cycling to work on May 17. —San Diego County Bicycle Coalition executive director Andy Hanshaw
  • Become the healthiest state by 2022. —“Let’s Get Healthy California” Task Force

19 Because we’re inventive.

In 2010, our city logged 231 patent applications per 100,000 residents!

20 Because we throw our Zoo animals flippin' birthday parties.

If we were lions, we would want to live in San Diego. The folks at the Zoo threw 9-year-old Izu a birthday bash fit for the king of the jungle. Cake. Decorations. A press release. Maybe it was that $9 million anonymous donation? Whatever it is, we’re happy to report that with lavish parties like this, the world-famous San Diego Zoo is living up to its rep and making us more than just a dog-friendly city. We’re lion-friendly, too.

zoo animals

22 Because we really are the “hoppiest place on earth.”

Beer bottlingThere are more craft breweries in the United States now than ever in our history; the craft brewing industry is growing at a rate of more than 10 percent per year, while traditional beer sales are falling. Everyone from Time magazine to The New York Times has named San Diego as the cultural heart of craft beer.  Not to mention, San Diego brewers won six Gold medals at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival and another 16 medals, including six Gold, at the 2012 World Beer Cup.


24 because we have a lot of badass murals.

San Diego muras

23 Because our beaches are world-famous, and not in the Baywatch way.

Tom Wolfe immortalized Windansea in The Pump House Gang (1968) and Andy Warhol made a movie about La Jolla, also in 1968. (San Diego Surf will debut here next month at MCASD La Jolla. The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh held onto it for 40 years before screening it for the first time this past fall at MoMA in NYC. One of Andy’s last projects, the film features actors like Taylor Mead and Louis Waldon.)

25 Because we’re helping to make space tourism a reality.

Physician-scientists Ravi Komatireddy and Paddy Barrett at the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla are working with NASA to prepare future tourists for space. Since the 500 travelers who’ve signed up for Virgin Galactic suborbital flights probably won’t be quite as fit as real astronauts, Komatireddy and Barrett are making sure that the Average Joe’s meds and pacemakers will work in zero gravity. And because of these tests, they’ll pave the way for the space tourism industry to hit $1 billion in 2021.

26 Because Interstate 8 now looks like a video game, with its huge multicolor decals on the westbound lanes headed for the Interstate 5 interchange.

Tourists, if you’re going to the beach, stay left, for Pete’s sake! The rest of us are trying to get to work downtown.

27 Because we attract some of the most creative talent in the country.

Click the map to view a larger image!

...And 8 things we wish we could love!

  • †Ferry service to Liberty Station
  • †More live music during the weekends.
  • †People using cross streets in conversation (“1100 Fifth Avenue between B and C streets” or “On Via de la Valle at El Camino Real” would help, big time).
  • †Better, cheaper taxi service.
  • A return of the Barneys Co-Op at Fashion Valley, plus a Zara at Westfield UTC. And a Miu Miu store (anywhere!).
  • †Re-legalizing alcoholic beverages at the beach.
  • More mom-friendly public places, like the women’s lounges at Nordstrom.

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