Many people are proud of where they were raised. During my time at UC Merced, I've heard many common hometowns: Fresno, Berkeley, and Los Angeles. However, very few people are lucky to say that their hometown is San Diego! I was born in San Diego and have lived here my entire life. Now that I'm back home, I have had the opportunity to reflect on what a great city this is and what it has to offer. So, I will be listing 11 reasons on why San Diego is the greatest hometown ever!

1. Mexican food!

Southern California has predominately been known for having the best Mexican food ever made. However, San Diego is one of the best SoCal cities to offer an amazing variety of Mexican food! From chilaquiles to carne asada tacos, San Diego has so much to offer! There are taco shops on practically every corner and many San Diego residents will tell you their favorite go to place for top quality Mexican food! I think what makes our Mexican food so good is the fact that there are many Mexicans here in San Diego who bring their traditional recipes and share them with the rest of us! So, if you're ever in San Diego, be sure to try some of the best Mexican food you've ever had!

2. Weather!

San Diego has some of the most favorable weather in all of California. In San Diego, we're blessed with cool winters that rarely dip below 50 degrees and warm summers that rarely hit 105 degrees. Because we are so spoiled here, SoCal people are often unprepared to deal with how unbearably hot and cold it can get in the Central Valley! I can't recall how many times I've wanted to cry at how awful the weather can be in Merced! I would feel like a Popsicle melting on my way to class when it hit 110 degrees while everyone else seems to walk without breaking a sweat. My teeth would sometimes hurt from the constant shivering due to the 33 degree weather while I see others wearing only jeans and a light cardigan! We are fortunate to have sunny and cool days for most of the year with only the occasional rainstorm in the winter/spring and scorching heat in July/August. So, if you're ever looking for a vacation destination with prime weather, be sure to visit San Diego!

3. Diversity!

Here in San Diego, there is an incredibly amount of diversity. Whether you're a Republican or Democrat, White or Latino, or a member of the LGBTQ community, San Diego is an incredibly welcoming city! Hillcrest, for example, is a very popular neighborhood in San Diego that is known for its acceptance and tolerance and hosts an annual Pride Festival to celebrate members of the LGBTQ community. Though I have personally never gone, I often hear how fun and exciting it is!

Another popular neighborhood in San Diego is often known as "Little Italy," which is located in downtown San Diego. There is a weekly farmers market here, as well as many Italian restaurants and shops. Lastly, there is a very popular park called Chicano Park. This park is located in Barrio Logan, a predominantly Mexican-American community. Here, you will find a variety of murals that keep the cultural history alive. Overall, San Diego is the place to be if you're looking for an enjoyable trip filled with trying new things and exploring different cultures!

4. Beaches!

This is the ultimate reason why San Diego is as great as it is! Here in San Diego, there are a variety of beaches to choose from -- Mission Beach, Coronado Beach, Ocean Beach, and so many more! Each one has something different to offer and most San Diegans have a personal preference on which beach is their favorite! One beach even has its own amusement park, which I'll talk about later. Regardless of which beach you visit, you're sure to have a fun time!

5. Schools

San Diego offers quality education to its many residents, as well as out-of-state and foreign students! The University of California San Diego is one of the leading universities in the United States. This school is host to six different colleges, each with their own philosophy and set of requirements. My older brother will be graduating from UCSD in a couple weeks with a degree in physiology and neuroscience and I have heard firsthand what an amazing school it is. Another quality school would be San Diego State University. SDSU is known for their quality basketball team, as well as their amazing programs offered, including nursing. San Diego is one of the few major cities that offers its students the chance to get a degree while being only minutes away from the beach!

6. Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a public park filled with an array of gardens and museums for the public to enjoy. These different museums provide guests with a chance to learn more about a variety of topics, from history/culture, to art and anthropology. Regardless of what you're there for, Balboa Park offers an array of entertainment for San Diego natives and visitors.

7. Entertainment!

San Diego definitely does not disappoint when it comes to entertainment! There are always different events going on all throughout San Diego- it's nearly impossible to choose from! One common favorite place would be Belmont Park, which is a small amusement park located in Mission Beach. Filled with different attractions, such as the Giant Dipper roller-coaster and laser tag, Belmont Park is one San Diego's most popular places to visit.

Another awesome place to have fun is the San Diego County Fair, which happens once a year during the summer. Opening day is actually tomorrow, so there's lots of excitement here in San Diego! Every year, the fair has a different theme, and this year's theme is "Alice in Wonderland," which is fitting since the latest "Alice in Wonderland" movie just came out! Along with a new theme each year, the fair also carries a new range of exotic food! From chocolate-covered bacon to fried Oreos, the San Diego County Fair offers an incredible variety of food and snacks. One common treat last year at the fair was the doughnut burger.

Last year, I took the plunge and decided to buy one and try it out. Surprisingly, it wasn't awful, but I definitely won't be eating it again! The San Diego County Fair offers not only amazing food, but crazy rides as well! From standard roller-coasters to bumper cars, you're guaranteed to have a good time! Also, there are many different shows and exhibits throughout the fair. Last year, I saw different shows from magicians and hypnotists! There are also animal exhibits, including turkey racing and piglet racing! The San Diego County Fair is just a jumble of different fun activities and because it only comes by once a year, I highly recommend going and checking out all the crazy fun that occurs!

Lastly, San Diego is home to many concerts by many celebrities, including: Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, and Bruno Mars! Valley View Casino Center is the main place where many celebrities hold their concerts. There are always different artists here in San Diego at different times, so there's bound to be a concert playing if you come visit!

Basically, it's next to impossible to not have fun in San Diego!

8. Animal Parks!

San Diego is home to two amazing animal parks that strive to help endangered species. The San Diego Zoo is ranked as one of the best zoo's in the world and it's not hard to imagine why! The San Diego Zoo is home to the famous giant pandas, which are the zoo's most popular animals! The zoo also holds elephants, polar bears, and gorillas. If you're ever in San Diego, be sure to visit this amazing place and learn for yourself why it's named one of the best zoos in the world!

A sister park of the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park houses many endangered species and is also one of San Diego's popular attractions. The Africa Tram offers guests the chance to view many different animals, including giraffes, rhinoceros, and antelope! The Safari Park is also known for its Condor breeding program -- this program helps take care of Condors and eventually release them into the wild.

The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are two animal parks that truly care about their animals and I would definitely recommend visiting both parks!

9. Location!

San Diego is only a few minutes away from the border of Mexico! Though I've personally never gone to Mexico, I know a lot of people who constantly travel South to visit Mexico! Because Mexico is so close, it offers San Diegans the chance to cross the border and explore a whole other country! Many people go to Mexico for a variety of reasons, from purchasing goods to medical appointments. Many people have doctors and dentists in Mexico that they prefer to see due to cheaper prices. A downside to visiting Mexico can be the lengthy waiting time to enter/exit Mexico, but it's usually worth the wait!

10. Comic-Con!

Unless you've been living under a rock, most people know what Comic-Con is! Comic-Con is an annual event held at the San Diego Convention Center. This event is so popular that early tickets sell out in mere seconds! It's next to impossible to get tickets, but if you're lucky enough to get a pass in, you'll see all that they have to offer! This event focuses not only on comics, but also on different TV shows and movies! Casts from different productions usually come by and hold talks with members of the audience and also show previews for their latest work.

Because it's basically impossible to get in, you can enjoy it from afar like I do!

11. Pet- Friendly!

If you're a pet lover like me, then you know how important it is to make sure your furry friend is welcome! San Diego offers many pet parks and beaches for owners to go and take their dogs out for a fun time! There are also many restaurants that offer special seating so that you can dine with your pup! San Diego also offers many beautiful trails and parks that accept dogs as well so your dog can never be bored!

I hope this list was enough to convince you why San Diego is the best place ever! Whether you're looking for a vacation getaway or a place to settle down, San Diego is the place! With optimum weather, good food, and amazing beaches, what's not to love?