"Sister Cities Sharing The Same Horizon"



To foster educational, cultural, governmental and business relationships between the City of San Diego, California, and the municipality of Yantai, Shandong Province, Peoples’ Republic of China.


About Us


Sister City Agreement

San Diego – Yantai Friendship Society (SDYFS) was formalized in July 15, 1985 when a delegation from San Diego visited Yantai and signed the Sister City agreement. Below are highlights of a few activities that SDYFS has engaged in since 1985.


San Diego – Yantai Friendship Rose Garden

In April 1989, SDYFS worked with the San Diego Rose Garden to transport 2,000 American rose bushes to Yantai as a symbol of friendship between the people of San Diego and Yantai. The Mayor of Yantai designated 3.2 acres of land in Nan Shan Park, Yantai’s largest municipal park for the planting of these rose bushes.  The planting ceremony in the San Diego – Yantai Friendship Rose Garden was conducted by Yantai city officials and attended by delegation from San Diego.  The rose garden continues to grow in Yantai where it is visited by thousands of people every year and strengthens the relationship between the two cities.


Business Information and Opportunities Conference

On the 10th anniversary of SDYFS, in June 1994 with a Business Information and Opportunities Conference held at Hyatt Regency San Diego on San Diego Bay. At the conference, a panel of speakers led by Yantai city’s former Vice Mayor Wang Dehe and a 10-member Yantai delegation of high-level government officials informed and discussed insightful opportunities of investing in the rapidly changing city of Yantai and the growth of various industries in China. San Diego was represented with former Mayor Susan Golding’s attendance as well as over 300 businessmen and entrepreneurs.


Yantai Children’s Palace

In 1996, a delegation of 10 students and 5 teachers from the Yantai Children’s Palace toured San Diego. The children (8-14 years) performed at over 10 San Diego venues over two weeks. These venues included the San Diego Zoo as well as local schools and theatres. The audiences were treated to the children’s rendition of American songs as well as traditional Chinese instruments and dance.  In 2012, an original cast member of the Yantai Children’s Palace, now an accomplished musician of Chinese instruments, visited San Diego again and graciously performed at several private events.


Pacific Rim Parks

SDYFS collaborated in the Pacific Rim Parks project (2001) in creating the Pearl of Pacific Park in Yantai.  The Pacific Rim Parks project, overseen by world renowned artist, Jim Hubbell was artistically designed and developed by architectural students from San Diego and students from San Diego’s sister cities in China, Mexico, Russia, Philippines, Korea and Taiwan. The Pearl of the Pacific in San Diego, California was completed in 1998. The parks symbolize the friendship and solidarity of citizens of these sister cities. Each park overlooks the Pacific Ocean and celebrates not only the country’s culture but also global understanding and goodwill.


China Friendship Tour

In 2011, SDYFS, initiated and facilitated the San Diego Symphony with the “China Friendship Tour”. San Diego Symphony began their tour in November, 2013 with sold-out performances to an enthusiastic audience in the Yantai Poly Grand Theatre.

This was followed by performances in Shanghai and Beijing.  A delegation of board members toured with the San Diego Symphony and was given a warm reception by their counterparts and government officials in Yantai.  SDYFS board and Symphony members toured many of Yantai’s cultural, tourist and commercial sites, including the Yantai Planning Exhibition Hall.  The historic San Diego Symphony tour in Yantai has elevated the sister city relationship to a whole new level.


Yantai Summer Camp

During the spring of 2014, the Overseas Commission office of the Yantai City government presented SDYFS with the opportunity to participate in recruiting American teens (13 years and up) with a Chinese background or ancestry for a 2014 Yantai Summer Camp. Participants were introduced to Chinese culture, language and the city of Yantai.


San Diego Youth Symphony China Tour

San Diego – Yantai Friendship Society (SDYFS) was instrumental in assisting the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) in celebrating its 70th anniversary with a successful concert tour in China. 108 musicians (accompanied by 17 staff and video crew) performed in four concerts in Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall (June 27, 2015), San Diego’s sister city, Yantai’s Polygrand Theatre (June 29, 2015 and June 30, 2015) and the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai (July 4, 2015).

In addition, the musicians toured China’s cultural attractions including Yantai’s beautiful beaches at Yangma Island, Yantai’s Children’s Palace, the Yantai Cultural Center, and the Yantai museum.  Pre-college musicians studying at the Beijing Music Conservatory also treated the SDYS musicians to a concert of Chinese traditional instruments.


2015 Delegation Visits

SDYFS has been instrumental in organizing and facilitating delegation visits between the two sister cities. These visits foster closer ties and help lay the framework for future collaboration and exchange in education, government, business and culture.

2015 was highlighted by a senior delegation of Yantai government officials visiting San Diego where they met with Mayor Kevin Faulkoner, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, San Diego State University, Qualcomm, and Illumina.