Top 5 Views in San Diego Based on Activity

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At the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego, we understand the concept of “different strokes for different folks.” Everyone wants a great view of San Diego, but not everyone wants to get there the same way. Depending upon your desired activity, we have put together a list of the best views in the county to help you plan a successful San Diego vacation.

Day Trip: If you’re vacationing near San Diego’s Balboa Park, it would be a shame if you missed out on the beautiful Botanical Building, which was built in 1915. The giant wooden dome is one of the largest lath structures in the world and houses more than 2,000 wondrous plants. Another famed site is the adjacent lily pond in which you can see turtle, koi, and flowers galore! After enjoying the views and beautiful outdoors, spend the rest of the day checking out the Balboa Park museums.

Hike: Cowles Mountain has a summit reaching nearly 1,600 feet, making it the highest peak in the city of San Diego. The hiking trail to the top is a challenging 3 mile uphill trek, but the uncontested panoramic view of San Diego is well worth the sweat.

Night Out: Bertrand Mister A’s has long been touted as having the best view of the San Diego skyline. Located on the 12th floor of the 5th Avenue Financial Center building, this restaurant offers fine dining with friendly service and an outdoor balcony that can’t be beat.

Shopping: If you’re staying at one of the hotels near Seaport Village in downtown San Diego, be sure to stop by the quaint bayside shopping area. Not only are you up close to San Diego’s Big Bay but you can also bask in the beautiful views of the downtown cityscape and the Coronado Bridge.

Beach Bum: Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach didn’t get its name by accident. There is a constant flow of photographers and artists setting up shop along its rocky cliffs come sunset just to get that perfect shot of a seagull, surfer or swimsuit clad model. If you wander around you’re sure to find some caves to explore or tiny patches of secluded beach space.

If you’re looking to experience some of California’s best views, there’s no better place than America’s Finest City. Start planning your vacation today and contact a Marina Inn Reservation Manager at 1-800-571-2933.

Top San Diego Shopping Districts

When it comes to shopping in San Diego the options are seemingly endless. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to look through bayside boutiques, stroll through an open air mall among the biggest brand names, or even scour through secondhand antiques, San Diego has it all. If you don’t have time to enjoy all of the shopping this city has to offer, hopefully this list of the top malls and shopping districts will help you narrow it down.

  1. Fashion Valley Mall is an open air mall in Mission Valley and is the place to go to get brand names like Gucci, Hugo Boss and Prada. The two story mall features a movie theatre and food court on the top floor but if you’re looking for more formal dining you can make reservations at The Cheesecake Factory or True Food Kitchen. We also recommend signing up to become a “Mall Insider” on their website before vising so you can get the scoop all new trends, store specials and mall events.
  2. Horton Plaza in the heart of Downtown San Diego is another great option but with its prime location comes difficulty parking. The good news is that the first three hours of Horton Plaza parking are free if you get your parking ticket validated when you make a $10 mall purchase. This five level mall can easily become a maze so we recommend downloading the Westfield Mall app on your phone to make navigating a little easier. This eclectic shopping plaza offers a multitude of shops and you can even catch a live comedy show on the top floor at Madhouse Comedy Club! For the month of October you can also purchase a $5 Bright Pink Book of savings with the proceeds going to the support and prevention of breast and ovarian cancer.
  3. For a special and unique experience many flock to the Seaport Village shopping area next to the bay to peruse the 50+ small shops. This beautiful and quaint outdoor shopping village is a great place to window shop, eat at a bayside restaurant and listen to live music in the food court. They also host weekly events that are great for the family or for a date, including their free Sunday concert series from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For an affordable place to drop after you shop, check out the Downtown San Diego hotel Marina Inn & Suites. To ask about our weekly specials or to make a reservation, please call 1-800-571-2933.

Where to Break a Sweat without Breaking the Bank

Expensive “boutique” San Diego fitness classes are on the rise, including laugh yoga and aerial silks. When did it all get so complicated and so pricey? The downtown San Diego hotel, Marina Inn, wants to bring it back to the basics and show visiting and local San Diegans how to work out while having fun and saving their hard earned cash.

  • “Play out.” Instead of looking at fitness as work, consider bringing the kids to one of the many Balboa Park playgrounds for a play-inspired sweat sesh. With five beautiful playgrounds to choose from there is sure to be plenty of wide open space, Morley Field even has a 2-mile fitness track. Join your kids on the playground to get in a great workout while having a good time. Here’s an idea for a fun “play out” circuit: swing across the monkey bars two times, 10 incline push-ups against a park bench, knees-to-chest on a an unmoving swing.
  • Convention Center. The San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) is an adult’s fitness wonderland. Running the 100-step staircase will surely get your heart rate soaring and if you continue to the observation deck you will be well rewarded with spectacular San Diego Bay views.  The SDCC is also close to breezy bayside jogging trails that take you through the South Embarcadero Park or Seaport Village. Since all of these workouts are free of charge, we consider this one of the Convention Center discounts you can’t pass up.
  • Free yoga. San Diego is home to a plethora of free fitness classes, one of the most common being yoga. Lululemon offers free yoga classes every Saturday morning in San Diego, Carlsbad and La Jolla but they’re first come first serve and fill up fast. Corepower Yoga also offers free beginner classes Saturday through Monday at their Hillcrest, Mission Valley, La Jolla and Point Loma locations (check studio for specific times).

Like what you read? Share our favorite San Diego fitness activities with your friends and family!

San Diego is Going Green!

San Diego has been making a lot of changes throughout the years to ensure that this city is as eco-friendly as possible. Solana Beach has banned plastic bags, rebates are being granted for adding solar panels to your home or for driving an electric car, and large construction projects around the city are trying to leave a smaller carbon footprint.

The recent renovations taking place at the airport is one of those eco-friendly projects. The San Diego International Airport began major renovations earlier this year in an attempt to not only modernize their facilities but to also create a “greener” and more efficient airport. The San Diego Airport Green Build Project aims to utilize alternate sources of energy, reduce emissions and increase water efficiency. The upcoming San Diego Convention Center expansion is also going to follow suit by maintaining their LEED certification, the international rating system for green building. The expansion design features a plethora of sustainable features including a solar chimney and a water filtration system.

Another area of San Diego that is focused on caring for our natural resources is Little Italy. Every Saturday from 8am to 2pm they host one of the city’s most popular farmer’s markets. This large market showcases only local produce and encourages residents and tourists alike to support organic local farmers.

Little Italy is also a main hub for Car2Go, which is a low-emission car sharing service. These smart cars are fuel efficient and when in electric drive mode do not emit any CO2, carbon monoxide, soot, particulate matter or pollutants. The cars can be picked up or dropped off at tons of places around San Diego with no commitment and are extremely safe. This is a great option for small families considering the plethora of affordable kids’ activities in Little Italy.

If you want to reduce your own carbon footprint, here are some suggestions that the Downtown San Diego Marina Inn came up with: start your own garden, consider composting your trash for soil, recycle, and install solar panels and energy efficient light bulbs.

From Beaches to Bargains

What are two things that San Diego has a lot of? Coastline and shopping.

San Diego has 70 miles of coastline and with temperatures averaging in the 70s, there’s not a bad time to hit the beach. The stretch of coastline is diverse as the type of beaches it offers as well as the type of people.

Both Coronado and La Jolla offer up some of the most beautiful views and if you cruise the coast you’re bound to find some secluded nooks and crannies. For example, the beach spots at Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach are part of the 68-acre Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. The cliffs and shoreline here are some of the most breathtaking and one of the reasons this beach is among the most photographed in the world.

If you looking for family-friendly San Diego beaches then be sure to skip Mission Beach and Black’s Beach. Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are famously touted as San Diego’s party on the Pacific Ocean. While drinking alcohol on San Diego beaches is no longer allowed, that doesn’t stop the PB party crowd from coming out in droves dressed in next to nothing.

At Black’s Beach sometimes they are dressed in nothing. This Torrey Pines beach is the unofficial nude beach of San Diego. Nudity isn’t legal in public anymore but that doesn’t stop some nudists, or naturalists, from putting on their birthday suit and catching some rays.

If you’re looking to purchase some new clothes instead of watching people take of their old ones, check out some of the top notch shopping San Diego has to offer. For boutique and designer labels the best place to go is downtown La Jolla or Fashion Valley Mall. For diversity and the potential to snag a good deal, try the Carlsbad Outlets or give the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter shopping options a chance. The Gaslamp District has everything a shopper desires: a mall, boutiques, bargains and specialty shops.

Like our suggestions? Share what the downtown San Diego hotel, the Marina Inn had to say!

Top 3 Places to See in San Diego

San Diego has mid-70’s sunshine all year round which makes it a great place to visit come fall and winter when the masses of summer tourists leave and you want to escape the frost bite. Not only did we put together a list of the three must-see places in San Diego, but we also let you know when is best to go.

  1. San Diego Zoo- This internationally recognized zoo is home to over 3,000 animals including endangered species like the Panda.  During the colder winter months the animals tend to be a little more active and are especially animated earlier in the morning. October is going to be the best time to visit the San Diego Zoo because not only do kids get in free with an accompanying adult, but they are also celebrating the birth of new giraffe, Okapi and flamingo.
  2. Balboa Park- This 1,200-acre park houses the San Diego Zoo along with 15 major museums, beautiful gardens and The Prado Restaurant. The Prado is one of many eateries participating in San Diego’s restaurant week making now through September 20 a great time to dine on a dime.Balboa Park also offers free admission to all San Diego County residentsand all active military and their family’s free admission to rotating museums the first four Tuesdays of every month.
  3. Petco Park- The Padres are wrapping up their season this month with some great promotions during their last five games. On September 20 guests receive a Padres BBQ set made by Phil’s BBQ and can view a fireworks display after the game. Bring the family to the September 22nd day game against the Dodgers for Kidfest at the Park, a salute to the military and team photograph signings. The first 25,000 fans at the last game of the year on September 26th will get a free Padres t-shirt. If you want to be near the action without being directly in it, you can watch the game at a Petco Park bar.

If you’re looking for a cheap San Diego hotel, Marina Inn and Suites is less than two miles away from Balboa Park and other major San Diego attractions. Call 1-800-571-2933 to speak to a staff member about reservations or to ask about the discounts we offer at local destinations like the San Diego Zoo and Sea World.

Explore San Diego by Visiting the City’s Top Attractions


San Diego is a large place with many things to do and see. If you want a fun way to enjoy San Diego, make your way to its most popular attractions.

  • Visit the San Diego Zoo. The zoo is the city’s most popular attraction. Situated on more than 100 acres of land in the heart of downtown San Diego, a great way to see the entire park and all its exhibits is by hopping on a bus tour. Be sure not to miss the giant pandas, the elephants, and the new zoo exhibit Koalafornia.
  • Go to SeaWorld.  This aquatic theme park has a large selection of marine animals from local and international waters.  To get an up close look at the marine life, check out one of the SeaWorld San Diego live shows. Other popular activities include dining with Shamu, dancing with Alex the Lion in the Madagascar musical or going on one of the many water rides.
  • Stop By Old Town. This is the oldest neighborhood in San Diego, making it a great place to learn about the city’s beginnings. To make the most of your visit here, take one of the Old Town San Diego tours. Also stop by the many shops in the area that feature handmade crafts, pottery and clothing.
  • Visit a beach. San Diego is known for its many scenic beaches and sandy white shores. If you want be like a local San Diegan, try taking some surfing lessons at La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach or Mission Beach. There many schools along the water where you can sign up for lessons but advance reservations are always recommended.

Depending on your interests and who you’re traveling with, you may find additional attractions to visit to make your stay in San Diego enjoyable. Guests who want to get the most out of their San Diego vacation should stay at the Marina Inn. It is a cheap downtown San Diego hotel which offers clean, spacious rooms and is conveniently located near most of San Diego’s top attractions.

How to Find The Best Deal for San Diego Rental Cars

When traveling to San Diego for the first time, the best way to explore the sites and attractions is by driving a rental car. Unfortunately for out of town guests, a rental car can be expensive. Even experienced travelers can miss out on rental car deals and end up paying more than they need to. At the Marina Inn San Diego Airport hotel with free parking, we want to help you get the most out of your vacation and offer these tips to help ensure that you don’t overpay for your rental vehicle.

  • Do research. Compare current rates on travel sites and on individual car rental websites to find the lowest price. Also be aware that there are no rental car facilities on site at the San Diego Airport, so you will want to choose a rental car company with a location that is near your airport and your hotel for maximum convenience.
  • Look for discounts. Many car rental companies offer weekend and weekly discounts, which are indicated on their main websites by a promotional or discount code. If you are a part of a nationally recognized group such as AAA or AARP, you should also inquire about any additional discounts affiliated with such groups.
  • Don’t pay for extras. Only pay for extras you’ll need in your rental. This also applies for insurance. Many auto insurance companies provide coverage for rental cars so you don’t have to pay for additional insurance unless it would make you feel more comfortable during your trip.
  • Opt for a smaller vehicle. Prices for midsized cars are the highest as they are the most popular. Rates for compact cars are less and they’ll give you better fuel economy. If you don’t have a certain number of passengers with you, opt for a smaller vehicle and enjoy additional savings.
  • Check for travel restrictions. Some car rental agencies may impose additional fees on drivers who drive into other states. These travel restrictions are not likely to be covered in the rental’s mileage allowance. Those who stay at the Marina Inn are only a couple miles from downtown attractions such as the Horton Plaza Mall. For directions to the mall, click here.
  • Return the car on time and with a full tank. Car rental companies can charge up to a day’s rental if you return your car late. If you don’t return the car with a full tank, you’ll also be required to pay an additional fee.

However, if you don’t want to hassle with the additional costs and headaches that can sometimes accompany renting a car, skip it entirely and stay at a downtown hotel. One of the benefits of a downtown San Diego hotel is that guests are located near enough to the city’s major attractions that they can either walk or take public transportation and must only hassle with an inexpensive taxi fare from the airport to their hotel! For affordable accommodations in downtown San Diego, contact the Marina Inn today.

Convenience for San Diego Conventioneers

When visiting San Diego for a convention or event, you may not have time for a lot sightseeing. However, being short on time shouldn’t deter your from enjoying everything this beautiful city has to offer. By staying at an affordable hotel in downtown San Diego, you can easily travel to various downtown attractions during your convention breaks or after your event is over for the day. The following options are some of the most popular downtown sites among guests of the Marina Inn.

If you have some time to spare, head to the Gaslamp Quarter for dining and shopping. The area is packed with hundreds of restaurants, cocktail lounges and shops ideal for spending the afternoon or evening. No matter what you’re looking for, this small sixteen square block district just outside the convention center will be able to provide you with whatever you need.

For a relaxing break, take a leisurely stroll through Balboa Park. The lush landscaping, tropical gardens and many museums are a great way to spend an afternoon. There are also various restaurants at Balboa Park and a few concessions stands where you can get something to eat while enjoying the sunny San Diego weather. Click here to learn more about the outdoor activities at Balboa Park.

A little walk north of the San Diego Convention Center will take you to another great place to explore, Seaport Village. At this quaint bay front attraction, you can grab a quick bite to eat or take a seat along water and watch the boats come and go from the harbor. There are also many specialty shops where convention goers can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Although San Diego conventioneers don’t often have much time to sightsee, these nearby attractions are the perfect places for much needed breaks. For more information about the San Diego Convention Center or for hotel rates and availability, contact the Marina Inn today.

Visitor’s Guide to Downtown San Diego

The downtown district is one of the most popular and frequented tourist destinations in San Diego. With countless activities to enjoy, a variety of world-class restaurants and one of a kind shops and boutiques, it is a hotspot for vacationing couples and families. If you are unfamiliar with the downtown area, the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego offers some tips for your trip.

Upon your arrival at the San Diego Airport, you have many options for how to get downtown. You can either take the bus which will be less than $3.00 and should take you no more than 20 minutes. There is also a taxi kiosk over the sky bridge just outside the airport. Taxis are lined up no matter what time of day, and fare will be $10-$15 depending on what part of downtown you are going to. If you are planning on renting a car, it is important that you know there are no rental facilities on site at the airport. For more information about rental cars at the San Diego Airport, click here.

In downtown San Diego, you have many options for hotels. The most expensive hotels will be located in the Gaslamp Quarter and in the few blocks just outside the Gaslamp Quarter. These hotels are often luxury hotels and also charge additional daily rates for parking in their private lots as downtown parking is often difficult to find. Other more affordable options include the East Village, Core-Columbia and the popular Little Italy district.

If you are looking for things to do, there is no shortage of activities and attractions in downtown San Diego. Some fun downtown places for families include the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, the USS Midway Museum and the Children’s museum. There are also many boat, ferry and whale watching tours that leave from the bay if your family enjoys the water. For nightlife, Little Italy has a wide selection of authentic Italian restaurants and bakeries, and the Gaslamp Quarter is overflowing with dining options, as well as bars and nightclubs. If you plan on going to the downtown district on a Friday or Saturday night, you may want to consider a hotel near the Gaslamp Quarter bars to avoid the need to drive and park.

For more information about the Gaslamp Quarter, contact the Marina Inn today. We offer some of the lowest rates for hotels in downtown San Diego and have a selection of spacious rooms and suites for our guests to choose from.

Advance Booking

14 Days - 12% Off

7 Days - 10% Off

3 Days - 8% Off

Zoo & Seaworld Discount

15% OFF

With any purchase of
Zoo or Seaworld tickets

Weekday Discount

10% OFF

Stay any day
Sunday - Thursday

Other Discounts

10% OFF

AAA, Military, AARP
Other Package

Marina Inn San Diego Pet Friendly Hotel Marina Inn San Diego Hotel Accepts AAA Members

Call: 1-800-571-2933
For Rates and Reservations