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40 Things You Probably Didn't Know About San Diego

Facts about America's Finest City

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    According to anchorman Ron Burgundy, San Diego was discovered by the Germans in 1904... and they named it San Diago, which, of course, in German means a whale's vagina.

    NEWSFLASH: That story is completely false. Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered America's Finest City in 1542, and Europeans settled 200 years later. The native Kumeyaay people lived in the area for nearly 12,000 years. And for the record, San Diego is named after the feast day of San Diego de Alcala on November 12 by explorer Sebastian Vizcaino, who followed up on Cabrillo's discovery and declared the land for Spain. San Diego is also the name of the ship Vizcaino sailed on his voyage.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    San Diego was originally centered in the Old Town district, but by the late 1860s the center of focus relocated to the bayfront, believing that the new location would increase trade.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    There's a reason why San Diego hasn't won a Super Bowl or World Series: We're cursed! According to a legend, the curse that has plagued our city's sports teams began in 1963 when the Chargers traded Lance Alwoth to the Cowboys.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    San Diego County produces more avocados than any region in the U.S.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    On a clear day you can see from Tijuana to Los Angeles at the Palomar Mountain Observatory's Mosher Hill lookout.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Next year Balboa Park celebrates 100 years! Among some of the big names who appeared at Balboa Park when it hosted the 1915 Panama-California Exposition were Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The US-Mexican border is only 22 miles from downtown San Diego. Once a year, the Border Field State Park hosts an event called "Circle of Friendship," where they allow 25 people (via a lottery) to enter the plaza from both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border to see each other.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Dr. Seuss scribe Ted Geisel was a resident of La Jolla, and UCSD's Geisel Library owns the world's largest collection of original Dr. Seuss manuscripts.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    For more than 20 years, Java Joe's has been a big part of San Diego's acoustic music scene. Among the alums who launched their careers on the coffeehouse's stage are: Jewel, Jason Mraz and Steve Poltz.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    In 1904, the Hotel del Coronado debuted the world's first electric-lighted outdoor Christmas tree.

    Photo: Handout/Hotel del Coronado

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    On average, San Diegans spend 246 hours a year in traffic.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    San Diego is ranked no. 3 on the Forbes Best Beer Cities list, after Portland and San Francisco.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Before Julian became known for its apple pies, it was a gold mining town. Today you can still visit the Julian gold mine, which was established during the first gold rush in 1869. Most people who flocked to Julian for the gold rush failed to make riches, so they stayed and grew apples. When temperatures rise to the 80s in the summer, it's a cool 54 degrees nearly 1000 feet below the mine, where tours take place. During the winter season, Julian receives nearly 22 inches of snow.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    San Diego International Airport is the busiest one-runway airport in the U.S. and the second busiest in the world, behind London Gatwick.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Snigdha Nandipati, 14, won the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee by properly spelling "guetapens," which means an ambush snare or trap. She took home $30,000 and other prizes.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Comic-Con began in San Diego in 1970 as a convention for comic book fans and has since grown into a all-encompassing pop culture phenomenon. It generates an estimated $165 million each year in revenue for San Diego. The first convention had only 300 people, and last year's gathering had more than 130,000 attendees.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The La Jolla Playhouse and Old Globe Theatre forwarded hit musicals to Broadway like "Memphis," "Jersey Boys," "The Full Monty" and "Into the Woods."

    Photo: Getty Images

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    San Diegan Meb Keflezighi is the first American man to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Some homegrown famous faces from San Diego include Mario Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Nick Cannon, Annette Bening, RuPaul, Blink 182, Adam Lambert, Tony Hawk and Rey Mysterio.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    In 2014, 91-year-old marathoner Harriette Thompson finished the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon in 7:07:42, the fastest time on record by a woman age 90 or older.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The Whaley House, located in Old Town and built in 1857, is the oldest brick structure in Southern California -- and it's reportedly haunted. Tourists have claimed to have seen the ghosts of Whaley family members Violet, who committed suicide in the home by shooting herself in the chest, Thomas Jr., Anna, Francis, George and Corinne Lillian Whaley.

    Photo: YouTube

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    And speaking of popular haunts, the famed Hotel del Coronado offers two rooms that have been reported by guests as "very active" in paranormal activity. The rooms are thought to be haunted by the ghost of Kate Morgan, who died under mysterious circumstances at the hotel in 1892.

    Photo: Handout/Hotel del Coronado

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    The Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster at Belmont Park is one of the few attractions to remain from when the park originally opened in 1925 and a ride only cost 15 cents. Today Belmont Park attracts more than 1.2 million visitors annually.

    Photo: David S. Roberts/Wikipedia

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    The Hotel del Coronado opened in 1888 and has been visited by 10 presidents and hosted the first state dinner outside the White House.

    Photo: Handout/Hotel del Coronado

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    The first person to drive across the Coronado bridge was Ronald Reagan in 1969.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    With more than 200 days a year above 70 °F, it's no wonder that San Diego is one of the top 10 best climates in the Farmer's Almanac and is ranked by The Weather Channel as one of the two best summer climates in America.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman, known as "Dr. Beach," ranked Coronado Beach as the nation's number one beach in 2012 after testing bacteria levels, sand texture and other assessments.

    Photo: Handout/Hotel del Coronado

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    Batiquitos Lagoon has archaeological digs that date back 9,000 years.

    Photo: YouTube

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    Balboa Park's December Nights is the largest event in San Diego after Comic-Con.

    Photo: YouTube

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    NerdWallet.com named San Diego the 9th most LGBT-friendly city in the U.S. in 2013. San Diego has the seventh-highest percentage of gay residents in the country. The 2014 San Diego pride takes place July 18-20.

    Photo: CCME

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    According to Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill founder Ralph Rubio, he introduced fish tacos to California after trying them for the first time in San Felipe, Mexico while on spring break. That inspired him to open his first restaurant in San Diego in 1983.

    Photo: YouTube

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    San Diego is the epicenter of celebrity flings. In 2011 Ashton Kutcher cheated on his then-wife of six years Demi Moore after meeting a 22-year-old while partying in the Gaslamp. One of Tiger Woods' many affairs included San Diego cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs. While stationed in San Diego with the British Army, Prince Harry was caught canoodling with a cocktail waitress he met partying downtown at the Andaz Hotel.

    Photo:Us Weekly

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    San Diego's historic St. James Hotel (Ramada Gaslamp) is the city's first skyscraper, built in 1885.

    Photo: YouTube

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    Over-the-line originated in Mission Beach in 1954.

    Photo: CCME

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    Seaport Village is built on a landfill over Punta de los Muertos -- where the Spanish Expedition of 1782 buried those who died of scurvy.

    Photo: YouTube

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    Maverick, er, Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis filmed several "Top Gun" scenes at San Diego's Kansas City Barbeque. According to their website, the story goes: "The location director for Paramount Studios was driving through downtown San Diego in search of locations during the filming of 'Top Gun.' After stopping in for a beer, he liked the joint, and brought back the director, Tony Scott, who approached us about the possibility of closing down for a day to do some shooting. In retrospect, it was one of our better business decisions."

    Photo: YouTube

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    The population of San Diego County in 1850 was 798. Now it's at more than 3 million.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    San Diego was ranked as the 20th safest city in America in 2013 by Business Insider.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The Naval Air Facility El Centro is where Prince Harry received training for the British Army.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    San Diego's average daily temperature is 70.5 °F.

    Photo: Getty Images

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