You don’t need to get on a boat to go “island hopping” in the sunny city of San Diego! While the county’s three islands aren’t really islands at all, they offer some of the same views and luxuries. San Diego’s Shelter Island, Harbor Island and Coronado Island are easy to explore as they are just man-made peninsulas attached by narrow strips of land.
Shelter Island in Point Loma makes the most of its 1.2 mile long stretch of land. The small space features beautiful bay-side spas and hosts the well-known Humphreys Concerts by the Bay series. The outdoor concert location is attracting big-name bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Dianna Krall during the month of September.
Harbor Island, just south of Shelter Island, is another small piece of land just under two miles long, and is known for the myriad of boats docking at its coast, as well as a still-functioning lighthouse. Named Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, the historic landmark doubles as a restaurant and is easily considered one of the top San Diego harbor restaurants.
Coronado Island, also known as “The Enchanted Island”, is the third and most affluent of all the county’s manmade peninsulas. You can head to Silver Strand beach to witness some of the nation’s most beautiful sunsets along with some Navy SEALs training near the water.
All of these “boutique islands” have been designed for resort seekers who don’t typically mind a big price tag. But if you plan your trip in advance and seek out affordable activities in San Diego, you can still island hop on a dime.
A great way to save money is to avoid staying at the pricey island hotels. A cheap downtown San Diego hotel that is just minutes from the city’s “islands” will provide you with ability to easily travel to all of the islands, without breaking the bank. Call the Marina Inn downtown hotel at 1-800-571-2933 for more information about our affordable rates and reservations.
There are many reasons why you may be in search of San Diego souvenirs. Fortunately, whether you are looking for something for yourself or gifts for friends and family, there are plenty of places where you can San Diego treasures that make perfect gifts.
Those staying in one of the hotels in downtown San Diego will likely want to purchase something that reminds them of the bustling and eccentric Gaslamp District. In the Gaslamp Quarter, there are many stores that feature trinkets with San Diego slogans, as well as more upscale boutiques and shops that have items made of local products. There are also a variety of art galleries where you can purchase paintings, sculptures and other works of art from San Diego artists.
There are also many neighborhoods near the downtown district that offer a unique shopping experience and fun souvenirs for all ages. For instance, go shopping in Old Town San Diego and check out the handmade pottery, arts and crafts, toys and clothing, or head over to Seaport Village and browse the district’s many shops selling everything from sunglasses and fine jewelry to toys and t-shirts.
If you are shopping for someone in the military, the Command Museum at the MCRD has a gift shop where you can purchase a variety of items that highlight the influence the military has had on the San Diego area. Other gifts can also be purchased at the popular USS Midway. Once aboard the USS Midway, there is a large gift shop in the back, and there are many kiosks outside that sell similar aeronautic memorabilia.
No matter who you’re shopping for, you’re sure to find something great to take back home with you. Did we miss any other places to go shopping for souvenirs in Old Town? Share them with us!
If you’re looking to kill some time after exploring the mall at Horton Plaza, there are many attractions near Horton Plaza for families and visitors to enjoy. No matter what your interests, there is sure to be something to suit your every need and wish!
To help guide visitors through their downtown San Diego adventure, we’ve listed a few of our favorite attractions near Horton Plaza.
Right across the street of the Horton Plaza Mall is the northeast part of the Gaslamp Quarter. This popular downtown district gets crowded during the evenings with vacationers and locals who come out to enjoy its many restaurants, bars and night clubs. During the day, shoppers looking for specialty, unique, handmade gifts can peruse the many boutiques.
Heading a few blocks west of Horton Plaza, vacationers can visit one of the many San Diego Harbor attractions. At the harbor, visitors can browse the small boutique shops of Seaport Village, take a scenic stroll along the bay on the Embarcadero, visit the USS Midway Museum or hop aboard one of the historical boats of the San Diego Maritime Museum.
Another, and one of the most popular attractions near Horton Plaza is the San Diego Zoo. If you’re looking for something fun to do later in the evening, the Zoo has extended summer hours which last just a few more weeks. Head over and skip the crowds and catch a glimpse of the animals as they become more active as the weather cools in the afternoon.
Guests who stay at the affordable Marina Inn downtown San Diego hotel are close to many of the city’s top attractions and will never run out of options to do to pass some free time.
Don’t know what to do during your vacation? No problem! We invite you to reserve a room at our conveniently located downtown San Diego hotel. Not only are we are located within minutes of the airport, we are in close proximity to 5 of the most popular attractions in downtown San Diego.
- San Diego Zoo – Possibly the most popular downtown attraction is the world famous San Diego Zoo. Situated on over 100 acres in the heart of the downtown district, the Zoo is home to more than 4,000 different species of animals and offers live shows, restaurants and exhibits, fun for the entire family.
- Balboa Park – While the Zoo is located in Balboa Park, it deserves a separate mention. As one of the largest urban parks in the United States, visitors can spend hours, if not the entire day exploring the grounds. Check out one of the museum’s 14 museums, stroll through the botanical gardens and end with a meal at the Prado, one of the most popular Balboa Park restaurants.
- Gaslamp Quarter – Most visitors are aware that the Gaslamp Quarter is the dining, shopping and entertainment hub of the downtown district. Who wouldn’t want to stay at a hotel nearby? Whether you are visiting the area’s museums, first class restaurants or nightclubs, you’re sure to enjoy your time in this historic neighborhood.
- Convention Center – While the Convention Center is recognized as the host for the annual Comic-Con event, it is also the meeting place for some of the world’s most renowned conventions from bridal to medical expos. For more information about why you should stay at a hotel near the Convention Center, click here.
- Seaport Village – Located along the water, Seaport Village attracts guests with its breathtaking views of the bay. The area is home to a handful of restaurants, quaint shops, and plenty of grassy space to relax and lounge in the sun. Unlike other downtown destinations, parking at Seaport Village is a breeze as they have their own private lot.
Did we miss any must-see downtown attractions? Share them with us!
Sometimes when we plan a vacation, we forget the sole purpose of it, to relax. Although relaxing while on vacation seems like a no-brainer for some, when visiting a new city, a laid back vacation can quickly turn into a stressful trip packed with one attraction after the other. At the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego, we want to remind you how beautiful America’s finest city is! Skip some of the major tourist attractions and keep it simple.
- Hit up a downtown dive bar. There are plenty of things to do in the Gaslamp Quarter, but try something new and head to one of the dive bars in downtown San Diego. Order a beer, enjoy the laid back atmosphere, and catch up with your vacation mates. And because dive bars aren’t for everyone, ordering cocktails at one of the popular rooftop bars in San Diego is always an option. Either way, enjoying a drink during sunset is a great way to experience life as a local San Diegan.
- Go for a walk. Seems simple enough, right? Going for a walk in San Diego isn’t just a regular activity. With winding paths along the water and in some of the city’s top parks and recreational centers, taking a stroll through San Diego allows you to embrace its beauty. If you’re interested in checking out a few tourist attractions as you go, walk from along the harbor from the Embarcadero to Seaport Village.
- Lounge at the beach. There’s no shame in spending the entire day sunbathing or taking it easy at the beach. With 70 miles of pristine coastline to enjoy, San Diego warmly welcomes you to spend a lazy afternoon on its sandy shores. However, if must do something, try scuba diving at a San Diego beach. Not only will it erase your feelings of guilt, the activity is sure to make your vacation a memorable one.
Even though the above suggestions might seem simple, sometimes going with an uncomplicated itinerary is the best way to enjoy a vacation. What are some of your favorite ways to spend the lazy days of summer in San Diego?
San Diego has a proud military history and continues to have a strong military presence as the home of military installations including the MCAS Miramar and NAS North Island. For visitors staying at the Marina Inn in downtown who are interested in the history of San Diego, there are numerous nearby attractions that highlight the influence the military has had on the city.
The Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, located just north of downtown San Diego is largest Marine training facility on the west coast. Each year, hundreds of new Marines graduate from MCRD’s strenuous program. The Marina Inn San Diego is the preferred MCRD lodging option for proud families who come to celebrate their Marine’s achievement.
If you want to experience San Diego’s military past, a visit to the iconic USS Midway Museum is a must. This San Diego naval history museum is on the retired aircraft carrier, the USS Midway. Here, visitors can take a self-guided audio tour throughout 60 areas of the ship. The tour ends on the top of the carrier’s runway on which visitors can climb aboard renovated airplanes, jets and helicopters and view other great USS Midway exhibits.
Other locations along the Embarcadero and in Liberty Station are other great places to enjoy a bit of the city’s military history. What are your favorite military attractions? Share them with us!
Downtown San Diego is an exciting, vibrant area which encompasses a variety of interesting and distinct neighborhoods. If you’re unfamiliar with San Diego’s downtown district and want to know which communities are worth exploring, the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego offers a list of the top three neighborhoods in the area.
- The Gaslamp Quarter. The most energizing, busiest neighborhood in downtown San Diego is the Gaslamp Quarter. It is this community that is at the heart of San Diego’s nightlife scene, being home to hundreds of bars and a variety of nightclubs. The Gaslamp neighborhood, which is two blocks wide and eight blocks long, is also packed with some of San Diego’s finest restaurants.
- Little Italy. As the Gaslamp is home to San Diego’s nightlife, the Little Italy neighborhood is home to San Diego’s most authentic Italian restaurants. Little Italy is not only a place to savor great food, but it is a peek into genuine Italian traditions. In Little Italy, you can explore museums and beautiful church grounds as well as peruse the neighborhood’s many fine art galleries. Many cultural and community celebrations take place in the Little Italy neighborhood, including the popular Little Italy Mercado farmer’s market that occurs every Saturday.
- Seaport Village. Why visit Seaport Village? This quiet, waterfront community features a collection of quaint shops and dessert vendors, something for individuals of all ages to enjoy. Located on the San Diego Bay, Seaport Village gives visitors scenic views of the bay and Coronado Bridge while they relax and enjoy a light meal or their favorite sweets. The shops and restaurants of Seaport Village are connected by narrow, cobblestone paths and feature a central, open dining area where visitors can catch live musical performances.
Whether you’re looking for a night on the town or a lazy afternoon lunch by the water, there’s a community in downtown San Diego for you. Click here for more information about neighborhoods near San Diego’s Little Italy, Seaport Village and the Gaslamp Quarter.
With so many attractions located in or near downtown San Diego, visitors who stay at a downtown hotel like the Marina Inn, have easy access to the city’s most unique and exciting sites.
If you’ve booked a room at a downtown hotel, you can walk to exciting attractions including the Embarcadero, Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter. Downtown San Diego is compact, meaning you can enjoy a variety of activities in one day, just by walking along the harbor. For instance, after watching boats at the San Diego Bay, you can easily tour the USS Midway Museum, check out the shops at Seaport Village and end the day a restaurant with live music in the Gaslamp Quarter! Even an attraction located across the downtown district, such as the San Diego Zoo, is a five minute taxi, trolley, bus or car ride away.
You’ll also have easy access to other San Diego attractions that aren’t in the downtown area. Within 15 minutes, you can visit Old Town, the malls in Mission Valley, Pacific Beach, SeaWorld and Del Mar. Within 30 minutes you can enjoy the fine gaming at an east county casino or go hiking in the scenic mountains. Everything is so close to downtown that you can even take a bus or a trolley from downtown San Diego and still easily and quickly get to your tourist destination.
Besides being a few minutes from popular sites, guests of the Marina Inn are conveniently located within 2 minutes of the San Diego International Airport. This is great for international travelers arriving at the San Diego Airport who are unfamiliar with the area or those who are not planning on renting a car during their stay.
Interested in staying at the Marina Inn San Diego? Contact a Reservation Manager today and learn how much you can save by staying at our hotel!
A couple weeks ago, we celebrated the traditions of America with the Fourth of July. On Independence Day, we remembered our nation’s founding and the sacrifice paid for our freedoms. While the Fourth of July is a single day where we observe the nation’s past, the city of San Diego is also home to many traditions that can be celebrated any day of the year.
There is no greater place to observe San Diego’s Spanish and Old Western heritage than in Old Town. The area which was first discovered by Spanish explorers later become a home to settlers and now is a historic piece of San Diego. From museums chronicling San Diego’s early beginnings to Mexican restaurants offering the best tortillas, visitors can get a firsthand look into this city’s colorful past.
San Diego is also a military town and is proud to be home to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. The history of MCRD is a large part of what the military installation stands for today. Most families visit for Marine graduation as the MCRD is responsible for the recruitment and training of thousands of new Marines each year. In addition to the MCRD, other San Diego military sights to see include the USS Midway Museum, the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, and the Cabrillo National Monument.
Another great way to explore a bit of San Diego’s history is by staying at the Marina Inn hotel in downtown San Diego. Guests of the Marina Inn are in close proximity to the historic Gaslamp Quarter. While the Gaslamp has undergone revitalization efforts and is home to newly constructed high rises and condos, much of the downtown district has been preserved to pay tribute to its past. The streets are lined with buildings from the Victorian era and the infamous archway still marks the entrance of downtown, signifying the continued efforts toward redeveloping the area.
Do you know of any other historic sites in San Diego? Share them with us!
The downtown district is overflowing with options for dining out. Whether you are craving a classic American meal or are interested in Asian or Indian inspired cuisine, you can be sure to find it in Gaslamp Quarter. However, if you’re feeling adventurous or are just looking to try something new, there are a variety of dining options outside of the Gaslamp that are still conveniently located in Downtown San Diego.
One of our favorite dining destinations is Balboa Park. After spending a day exploring the many museums, art galleries and tropical gardens, visit one of the dozen restaurants and cafes that can be found on the park’s grounds. Whether you are looking for a snack for the kids, a casual lunch, or are interested in a first-class dining experience, Balboa Park has everything you need, all conveniently in one place. For help planning your day, click here for our recommended 1-day Balboa Park itinerary for families.
Another great dining destination is Seaport Village. Situated along the water, the area is home to many restaurants that offer fantastic views of the San Diego Bay. On most evenings, Seaport Village is less crowded than the Gaslamp and dining options are just as plentiful. Stop by one of the four full-service restaurants which serve everything from specialty seafood to premier steaks. There are also inexpensive Seaport Village dining options where you can order your meal and eat outside as the sun sets.
Just up the coast from Seaport Village is Little Italy which is a favorite among travelers and vacationers. A meal in Little Italy is sure to transport you to Europe as many restaurants are family owned and serve authentic Italian appetizers, main courses and desserts. Guests who stay at a hotel in Downtown San Diego near Little Italy are able to take advantage of the delectable restaurants of the area, as well as the culture that exudes from the shops, museums and art galleries.
No matter where you decide to dine in San Diego, you are sure to enjoy your meal. Remember, the summer seasons are peak tourist seasons so if you know where you want to dine ahead of time, call and make reservations to ensure you are seated at your preferred time!