Welcome to San Diego
By Richard D. Coutts, MD, and Richard F. Santore, MD
Nearly 30,000 people expected to fill halls and meeting rooms of the San Diego Convention Center
Warm greetings and welcome to San Diego! As co-chairs of the local host committee, we are delighted to welcome the orthopaedic community and its many guests to the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)—the first Annual Meeting ever held in San Diego.
Nearly 30,000 people are expected to fill the halls and meeting rooms of the San Diego Convention Center this week. As you choose from among the 450 technical exhibits, 20 symposia, and 1,260 papers, posters, and instructional course offerings available to you, we also encourage you to set aside time to relax and soak in some of San Diego’s unique charms.
Bordered by Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, the Anza-Borrego Desert, and the Laguna Mountains, San Diego County is famous for its idyllic climate and wide array of world-class family attractions. This city truly has something for everyone. Our moderate climate and 70 miles of beaches allow for year-round outdoor activities—including waterskiing, surfing, parasailing, swimming, golf, tennis, hiking, camping, and more—but San Diego offers much more than mild temperatures and beautiful scenery. It also boasts a bustling downtown, a booming culinary scene, and abundant cultural offerings.
Natural beauty, culture
A stroll through historic Balboa Park—the largest urban cultural park in the United States—is a great way to take in San Diego’s beauty as well as its cultural offerings. Situated right in the heart of San Diego, the Park is home to 15 major museums, performing arts venues, beautiful gardens, and stunning Spanish Revival architecture. Balboa Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes.
On the northern fringe of the Park you’ll find the world-famous San Diego Zoo, which spans 100 acres and houses nearly 4,000 animals. If time permits, visit the Zoo’s 1,800-acre Wild Animal Park, as well. A tram will transport you through “Africa-like” areas of semi-arid fields and meadows. This wildlife sanctuary is teeming with more than 3,500 animals representing 429 species, and is one of the world’s leading centers for the breeding of endangered species.
Nature lovers are here at the right time of year to witness one of the world’s most extraordinary events—the migration of California gray whales from Alaska to Baja, Calif. Each winter, tens of thousands of whales come within a few miles of the San Diego coast, where they can be spotted on an almost-daily basis. A special way to catch a glimpse of the whales, and to see an unrivaled view of the Pacific Ocean, the San Diego harbor and city skyline, is to take a ride to Cabrillo National Monument, at the scenic tip of Point Loma.
You can continue your aquatic adventures at Sea World—one of the largest marine theme parks in the world. Or, stick to dry land and spend the day with the kids at Legoland amusement park in nearby Carlsbad.
For more adult-oriented fun, head out for an afternoon of wine tasting in San Diego’s North County—one of the finest varietal grape-growing regions in the western United States. San Diego County abounds with 92 golf courses, 1,200 public and private tennis courts, countless bike paths, equestrian paths, jogging trails, and nearly endless miles of ocean and bay beaches. Next year, the U.S. Open Golf Championship will be held here, at the famous Torrey Pines Course, which is open year-round to the public. Hot-air balloon rides over Del Mar afford a spectacular way to take in the coastline and the beautiful homes and communities of North San Diego County.
Rich military history
Visitors of all ages will enjoy a trip to the wildly popular U.S.S. Midway/San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, located downtown at Navy Pier. Board the longest-serving aircraft carrier in U.S. Navy and see more than 40 exhibits and 21 restored aircraft that bring the magic of naval aviation to life.
Stop by the nearby Maritime Museum to learn about old ships, aircraft carriers, and maritime history. The museum is set in a series of historic boats, including the Star of India—the oldest active sailing ship in the world. A cruise on the bay affords a view of the largest naval base in the world, home to three aircraft carrier battle groups, a very busy naval air station, a submarine base, and anti-submarine warfare training center. Coronado Island is the home to the U.S. Navy Seals Special Forces training center.
Old Town, Gaslamp Quarter
Another popular San Diego destination is Old Town—the first European settlement in southern California. Many of the oldest buildings have been preserved in the Old Town State Historic Park, located just three miles north of the city. The park features a collection of 19th century homes and businesses that give visitors a glimpse into colonial life in San Diego.
The San Diego Convention Center, the site of the Annual Meeting, is not only a wonderful facility, it’s ideally located right next to the historic and lively Gaslamp Quarter—the city’s premier dining, shopping and entertainment district. After a busy day at the convention center, you can enjoy fine food and relax just steps away. The Gaslamp Quarter covers 16 blocks in the heart of downtown and is brimming with fine art galleries, boutiques, eclectic cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Come visit us again
With more than 10,000 hotel rooms located within one mile of the convention center, San Diego’s hotel situation is excellent and getting better. More hotels are currently under construction, so availability and selection will be even better if the Academy returns to San Diego in the future.
Although we’ve touched on only a few of San Diego’s numerous attractions, we hope this encourages you to explore the area and seek out your own favorites. The members of the local host committee wish you a rewarding, educational and thoroughly enjoyable stay in San Diego.