If you fly into San Diego, try to get a window seat on the left side of the plane. That will give you a birds-eye view of downtown San Diego. Some would say a “way-too-close” birds-eye view. If you sit on the right side, you’ll get a view of the grass and trees in Balboa Park, not nearly as exciting.
There are times, though, usually during extreme Santa Ana wind conditions, when neither side of the plane provide a good view for passengers because the planes will circle around and come in to land from the ocean side.
Regardless of wind conditions, there is a place where the viewing is quite spectacular for anyone on the ground. During regular wind conditions, planes take off just a hundred feet above your head, landing just a hundred feet above your head during Santa Ana wind conditions. It’s not an easy place to find or get to, but when you find it, you can spend all day there because there is a nice little park and lots of food and drinking establishments within walking distance. It’s well worth the experience.
On Google maps:
Here’s a picture of a plane taking off in the early morning “marine layer” (called “fog” in other parts of the world):