Spring Fest in San Marcos Promises a Day of Family Fun

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Spring Fest 2014

Spring to your feet because Spring Fest in San Marcos, CA is coming back this Saturday. For over 30 years San Marcos has dedicated an entire street to provide a place for free family fun every spring. Up to 20,000 people are expected to swarm Via Vera Cruz as booths begin to set up shop between San Marcos Blvd. and Grand Ave. at 9 am. Bring your family to experience over 250 food, art and craft vendors that will be open until 5pm.

Here are some of the other things you can expect at the San Marcos Spring Fest:

  • Fun and games for the kids
  • A beer garden for the 21+ crowd
  • Special Dog Dayz pet event
  • Military Displays
  • Live entertainment
  • Shopping

When you’re planning out your family vacation to San Diego it’s important to find fun all-day events that everyone will enjoy. This action-packed, money-saving street fair should certainly do the trick. With weather expected to be in the low 70s all day you won’t want to waste any time in your family-friendly San Diego hotel room.  If you reserved a room at Marina Inn & Suites in San Diego, you can fill up on your free hotel breakfast before heading out to enjoy the San Diego sunshine in San Marcos.

Marina Inn and Suites is a cheap Little Italy hotel conveniently located near the 5 freeway and the Santa Fe Depot Coaster Station, allowing you quick and easy access to all of the city’s major attractions. Within 6 minutes driving distance from our hotel you can reach the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.

Don’t feel like driving to San Marcos? Head to the Santa Fe Depot and hop on the Coaster towards Oceanside for a scenic ocean view ride.  Get off at the Oceanside Transit Center and then take a Sprinter train towards Escondido, getting off at Palomar College Station. From here you can choose to walk the 1.5 miles to Via Vera Cruz or flag down one of the many taxis that will be waiting at the station.

Call Marina Inn at 1-800-571-2933 to discover how much money we can save you just for booking in advance. Bundle and buy our Park & Flight package if you’re traveling out of the nearby San Diego airport to save even more money.

To stay up to date on San Diego events, news and Marina Inn hotel specials, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Spring Break for Budget San Diego Travelers

 Cheap Spring Break Hotels San Diego

San Diego is one of the most popular Spring Break destinations in the country. The hot Southern California sunshine looks down upon more than 70 miles of sand and shoreline in one of the most picturesque settings in the entire world. San Diego is well known as a laid back surf community with a relaxed atmosphere and lively nightlife. Don’t fret if you’re a college student without a lot of expendable income. Yes, it’s easy to blow all of your money at the many upscale nightclubs, but it’s just as easy to find fabulous budget-friendly options. After all, lying on the beach doesn’t cost a penny. Here are a few tips for the budget conscience traveler in San Diego.

  1. All of the San Diego’s beaches are free to the public for swimming, sunbathing, or just hanging out. Mission Beach is the most famous and the most populated among college-aged adults especially during Spring Break. Mission Beach also has a bustling boardwalk with a variety of shopping, bars, and restaurants. Visit the Lahaina Beach House for a couple of cheap Coronas on their oceanfront patio.
  2. The historic Gaslamp Quarter is the heart of San Diego’s lively nightlife scene. This 16-square block area offers a diverse array of shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, and cultural activities. Many of the local restaurants here offer a happy hour menu, and serve up fabulous food and drink for just a few dollars. Locals love the Broken Yolk for breakfast and you can easily access coupons online and in the local papers. Another cheap option is the Tin Fish Ale House right next to the San Diego Convention Center where you can order fish tacos, clam chowder and crab cakes for under $5! For more information on the San Diego Convention Center, including nearby restaurants and cheap hotels, click here.
  3. San Diego offers a wealth of natural beauty which is inspiring to behold and free for the taking. Watch the sunset over La Jolla Cove, play Frisbee on the grassy shores of Mission Bay Park, or explore the tide pools in Point Loma.
  4. Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the country. This expansive park includes 15 museums, the San Diego Zoo, ample recreational activities and sprawling historic gardens. Stop in the visitor center for discounted tickets, and take advantage of the daily, free concerts. Book a cheap hotel room near the San Diego Zoo at Marina Inn to get 15% off your hotel stay when you purchase discounted Zoo tickets at the front desk!

Come to this beautiful city to relax by day and play by night. Check out all San Diego has to offer as a premier Spring Break destination and we promise you won’t be disappointed. To save even more money during your San Diego Spring Break vacation, don’t forget to book a cheap downtown San Diego hotel room at Marina Inn, located near both the beach and the thriving Gaslamp Quarter nightlife scene.

Call 1-800-571-2933 to reserve a room today and be sure to follow us on Facebook & Twitter for exclusive discounts and insider traveling tips.

Top San Diego Bars and Places to be for the 2014 Super Bowl


When it comes to crazed football fans, one of the most important decisions of the entire season is where to watch the game. With the San Diego Chargers no longer up for the 2014 title, you won’t be able to take part in the beer-fueled fun of cheering on Phillip Rivers, however that doesn’t mean you have to skip the Super Bowl while visiting! Hey, you might even be in town from dreary Seattle or one of those fans that is hoping Manning finally gets his second title – we still might be bitter about recent losses. However, whatever your reasons for taking part in the fun, there are plenty of San Diego bars for Super Bowl XLVIII that will cater to any and all of your needs.

  • The Wild Child. If you are looking for the ultimate Super Bowl party, the Hard Rock is the spot for you. In addition to a beer pong tournament which will take place just before the Super Bowl from 12 to 3pm, the party promises aggressive drink specials all day and 50% off bottles. There will be a prize wheel, as well as back yard BBQ style grub for the taking, as well as 3 giant LED screens to project the big game. However, also know that if you’re planning on staying at the hotel after a day of drinks, prices will be expensive. You’re better off with a cheap hotel in downtown San Diego that offers just what you need. Click here for our favorite cheap accommodations.
  • The Sunday Brunch Connoisseur. Just because the Super Bowl is on a Sunday, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your Sunday brunch trip. We know who you are – the traveler that must try Sunday Brunch in every city they visit. Fortunately for you, Quality Social is here to serve up classic brunch favorites alongside your choice of bottomless mimosas or bloody Marys. Get there early (opening is at 11am) to enjoy morning Super Bowl action and stay until game time to catch the big game on their flat screen TVs. Worried about spending your life savings on beverages during the game? Quality Social is offering a six-pack beer bucket starting at $20 so you can sit back and relax with a cold one.
  • The Less than Interested “Fan.” Every group has one, so pick a destination that offers more than just the game like WaveHouse in Mission Beach. Not only is this spot hosting a huge football party with the game on a 20-foot LED screen, there are a handful of cabanas that will be sold for a minimum day rate to soak up some sun. Those that might want to mingle with the Super Bowl crowd without passing up the San Diego sunshine will love this beachfront party. And at half-time, pro-riders will show off their surf skills in a Night Flight wave show right in front of the FlowBarrel!
  • The Sophisticated Statistician. You’re not so much into the rowdy crowds or greasy bar food. Instead, you’re looking to catch every second of the game, without staying at home and viewing it on your not-so-big-screen television. If this sounds like you, Amaya La Jolla is the perfect place for Super Bowl fun. In addition to specialty cocktails and craft brews on tap, upscale versions of game day favorites will be served including ‘touchdown’ fish tacos, bowl burgers made with angus beef, super charged wings and chipotle-braised chicken nachos. Add in large-screen TVs and you couldn’t ask for a better relaxed Super Bowl environment.
  • The Frequent Flier. If you have to jet to the airport during halftime or right after the game, downtown is the place to be since almost all of its bars are only a few minutes away in a cab. However, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and need a bar that is close to your San Diego Airport hotel, Oggis is a local favorite. The large sports bar offers booth style seating throughout most of the restaurant and is located less than 2 miles from the Airport toward the less-busy area of Liberty Station in Point Loma.

Did this article trigger some ideas for where you’ll want to spend Super Bowl Sunday? If it did, share this with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. And remember, be safe and don’t drink and drive on Game Day – take a cab or book a cheap hotel near Gaslamp Quarter!

What to Wear for a Day at the Zoo


San Diego is a city famous for many things, one of the most popular being the San Diego Zoo. While there are many guides that outline single and multi-day zoo itineraries, the best animal exhibits and of course, the most affordable places to eat inside the theme park, we wanted to bring it back to the basics. Whether you are going solo, traveling with friends or checking out the zoo with your kids, here is a list of (often overlooked) things to wear when going to the San Diego Zoo. Click here if you still need affordable accommodations near the zoo – we won’t judge you for getting ahead of yourself and planning your zoo trip before ironing out all your vacation details!

  1. Layers – With sunshine year round, many people think a tank top and shorts are fitting for a trip to the zoo. While this is almost always true during the peak summer months, the weather in San Diego can be a bit unpredictable during the early morning and evenings. If you plan to be at the zoo when it opens, expect a bit of a chill and once the sun sets, temperatures will drop. We’re not saying you’re going to need a heavy jacket, but wearing layers will ensure you’re comfortable all day.
  2. Comfortable Shoes – The zoo is over 100 acres in size, meaning lots of walking. There are also many hilly sections of the zoo which can make getting from one point to another seem even longer than on the zoo’s map. Pick shoes that you’ll be comfortable in; for some it’s flip flops while for others, running shoes offer far more support. And if you get too tired, there is a bus as well as an aerial tram that can transport you from one side of the park to the other and both are included in the general price of admission.
  3. Watch – Time flies when you’re having fun! There are almost no places to check the time at the zoo unless you’re stopping to eat. If you don’t normally wear a watch, make it a point to wear one during your zoo trip so you can keep track of how much time you have left until the park closes. By being aware of how long it takes you to explore each animal attraction, you can better prioritize as the day comes to an end. Plus, you’ll know exactly when to show up to an exhibit for feeding time, and can be sure you’ll catch that live-show you were dying to see.
  4. Sunscreen – As a rule of thumb, always wear sunscreen, whether you’re at the zoo or just walking around San Diego. Protecting your face, shoulders and arms with sunscreen on the blazing days of summer is obvious, however the worst burns are the ones from overcast skies. If you didn’t pack sunscreen, forgot to put it on, or ran out before everyone in your family was fully protected, the gift shop at the zoo’s entrance sells travel size sunscreens and bottles can also be picked up from various kiosks throughout the zoo.
  5. Backpack – A backpack is essential to having a hassle-free day at the zoo, especially if you’re traveling with children. You can pack snacks and water bottles, and can have a place to put that souvenir that you’ll likely end up purchasing. It may seem like a hassle at first, but we can almost guarantee you’ll be glad you decided to wear one. And if you get to the park and regret it, the zoo also has quarter-operated lockers which can be found in the Discovery Outpost. A small locker is $.75 and a large locker is a $1.50.

You’re all set for your trip to the Zoo! For more San Diego travel tips, visit our website at www.marinainnsd.com and check out our blog. We’re also conveniently located in downtown San Diego, a few minutes from the San Diego Zoo, and offer great hotel deals and some of the lowest rates in town. If you would like to know more about our pricing and availability, contact a Reservation Manager directly at 1-800-571-2933.

The Big History of Little Italy, San Diego


Little Italy has sprung into life throughout the last decade and is now a popular place for vacationers and locals. Planning a trip to San Diego? Book a room at an affordable Little Italy hotel and don’t miss out on the cuisine, nightlife and beautiful views offered throughout this small, but lively town near Downtown San Diego. You may not believe it, but the Little Italy you see today hasn’t always been a must-see destination; community members worked hard to get this town on its feet.

San Diego’s Little Italy has a history that most aren’t aware of. People flock from all over the country to visit this vibrant and thriving town because it offers family-style service, top-notch food and wine and not to mention the vast array of Big Bay views! If you flash back to Little Italy nearly a century ago when it originated in the 1920s, you would see a different scene before your eyes.

In the early 1920s Little Italy became a refuge and community for Italians that wanted to call California’s golden coast home. Some say San Diego’s Little Italy was different than other predominantly Italian towns across the country because the community tried to maintain their homeland’s traditions and culture. Looking at Little Italy today, we see true Italian heritage in the art, corner cafes, cuisine and décor scattered throughout the town.

Contributing to the growth of Little Italy was the San Francisco Earthquake of 1903. Much of San Francisco’s Italian population flocked to San Diego after their homes and business were damaged or destroyed. Once in San Diego and settled into what used to be known as the “Italian Colony,” many were able to quickly get work as tuna fishermen. However, in 1970 their bustling community almost came crashing down as San Diego began building the 5 freeway directly through their town. For the next 30 years Little Italy and its residents would struggle to keep their small, but proud community afloat.

Once the Little Italy Association was created in 1996, urban redevelopment projects began. The Little Italy Association has focused on bringing the community together to clean, restore and revamp the 48 blocks within their jurisdiction. The result for visitors today is a mecca of art, dining and culture; you will see the heart of Italian hospitality in almost everyone you meet.

To learn more about affordable accommodations near downtown San Diego and Little Italy contact the Marina Inn at 7-800-571-2933. We’re offering deals in the heart of this cultural city that can’t be beat!

Fun Christmas Activities for Kids


Did you know that there are only about two weeks left until Christmas? With so little time, let’s pack in as much holiday fun as possible, especially if you have children. Here are some good kid-friendly holiday ideas that you can do as a family:

  • Play “Elf on the Shelf.” Each night you place a small elf in a different area of the home because each night he has gone to talk to Santa about whether your child’s been naughty or nice. Children wake up in the morning racing around the house to find where Santa’s elf has been hiding.
  • Jungle Bells! The San Diego Zoo is hosting wild and adventurous Christmas activities for kids starting on December 14. The park will be transformed into a winter wonderland where kids and adults alike can enjoy a Christmas trolley, festive shows, entertainment, holiday treats and appearances from Santa. Parking is limited so try to get a discounted hotel near the San Diego Zoo so you can take an inexpensive MTS Bus or taxi.
  • Write a letter to Santa online. Let’s admit it, nobody sends snail mail anymore. If kids visit aletter4santa.com they can send a message to Santa and receive a message right back! A personalized message from Santa will remind kids to be good while showing  them whether or not they’re on his “nice list” (hint: everyone is).
  • Donate used items to teach kids about giving. With so many families in need this Christmas, what better time is there to teach kids about the gift of giving to someone less fortunate. Tell your kids that if they want new toys from Santa that they need to give one or two of their old ones to someone who would enjoy them. You can take lightly used clothes, toys and food to any local homeless shelter, orphanage or Goodwill.
  • Head to Seaport Village for some shots with Santa. Every weekend until Christmas, Santa will be stopping by this seaside town to chat with kiddos about their Christmas list and to take a precious keepsake photo. On December 14 and 15 you can even make reservations to have breakfast with Santa at Harbor House Restaurant.  The $25 cost includes breakfast, a child’s gift bag, face painting, balloon animals, carolers and a photo.

In need of a family-friendly budget hotel near Seaport Village? Marina Inn is located less than a mile from Seaport Village, three miles from the San Diego Zoo and two miles from the San Diego International Airport.

Top San Diego Wineries


Most people with affordable accommodations in San Diego don’t know that the city has 39 wineries in our county alone, which is more than the 35 in Temecula Wine Country, located an hour north of San Diego. San Diego Wine Country isn’t concentrated in one area, instead we have an eclectic array of wineries scattered throughout so that no matter where you are chances are there’s a world-class wine maker right around the corner.

A full list of local wineries can be viewed at sandiegowinecountry.com, but here are our top 5 picks:

  • Vinavanti Urban Winery: This top-rated wine bar is San Diego’s only certified organic winery. Their minimalistic take on wine making has garnered attention from wine enthusiasts across the country. Stop by this Saturday for their first ever Farm-to-Wine Party where a ticket will get you access to a five-course five-to-table dinner paired with some of their most popular wines. (9550 Waples Street, Suite 115A, 92121)
  • Bernardo Winery: This winery has the feeling of a small quaint village, complete with a restaurant, beautiful outdoor patio and a “shops & artists village.” They were voted #1 local winery by the San Diego’s Best U-T Poll this year due to their phenomenal wine, impeccable service and winery events. (13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, 92128)
  • San Pasqual Winery: This micro winery produces small lots of wines using local grapes in a warehouse that they’ve retrofitted to serve as a winery and wine tasting room. They take a simple yet elegant approach to making their wines, which you can taste for just $7.50. (8140 Center St, 91942)

If you are trying to avoid driving yourself then sign up for a local wine tour! San Diego Beer & Wine Tours can chauffer you around San Diego Wine Country and pick you up from your affordable hotel near the Convention Center or wherever you and your group may be.

So don’t take a trek all the way to Temecula or run from your SAN airport hotel to take a flight to Napa when San Diego has all the best wines within driving distance! If you need a place to crash after all the wine goes to your head, have a room already booked at downtown San Diego’s Marina Inn. Call 1-800-571-2933 and be sure to ask about our discounted rates.

Enjoy the San Diego Waters


Even though we are in the month of November, the infamously warm climate of San Diego is making way for blue skies and temperatures in the low to mid 70s. The ocean might too cold for a refreshing swim; however there are many other ways to enjoy the water, with one of our favorites being San Diego Bay cruises.

Hornblower Cruises is a popular touring outfit that offers tours of San Diego, as well as brunch and dinner cruises throughout the year. Tours start as little as $23 and reach up to $105 for a full night of wining and dining. Hornblower caters to those staying in downtown San Diego, with a port at the Grape Street Pier on Harbor Drive.

For couples and families looking for a more affordable and laid back experience, the Bahia Belle is one of the preferred ways to spend a day on the water. Those staying in downtown San Diego can take a short drive to Pacific or Mission Beaches and hop aboard the Bahia Belle for a nominal fee of $10 per adult and $3 per child aged 12 or under. The boat cruises around the bay and stops at each dock every hour, allowing passengers to board and depart as they please. Family hour runs from 6:30pm to 9pm where cocktail hour then begins until the ships last stop at 1am.

The Bahia Belle is a Mississippi-style sternwheeler that transports San Diego vacationers back in time. Once aboard, you can enjoy a live band that plays swinging blues tunes and in the evening a DJ takes over prompting riders to put on their dancing shoes. As one of San Diego’s most treasured landmarks, you’ll be able to enjoy a bit of the city’s history while taking in the beautiful views of the bay.

Another great way to enjoy views of the water in November is to dine at one of the affordable restaurants along the bay or ocean. For a family outing, head to Seaport Village where there are a number of sit-down restaurants as well as casual eateries, with a popular kids’ favorite being Asaggio Pizza Pasta Plus. For a romantic evening or happy hour and dinner with friends, check out the The Boathouse on Harbor Island Drive and Fish Market Sushi near the USS Midway Museum.

If you’re looking for affordable accommodations in San Diego, contact the Marina Inn & Suites. Our location in downtown San Diego along the Harbor is great for visitors who are interested in checking out the pier and we are within minutes of popular attractions including the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, SeaWorld and the Gaslamp Quarter.

Contact a Reservation Manager at 1-800-571-2933 to reserve information about our  discounted rooms and suites or visit our website at www.marinainnsd.com.

Best Downtown Restaurants for a Holiday Dinner


Family, friends and lovers are all going to be swarming San Diego this holiday season looking for a great place to grab a meal. Downtown San Diego has over 100 restaurants so you’re bound to find something that pleases every palate. All of these locations have tables big enough to seat large parties and varying atmospheres from trendy to classy, depending on your desired tastes.

  • Hip and Trendy: Searsucker’s new location downtown has people coming in droves to try out celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s quirky creations like “cowboy caviar” and “farm bird lollipops.” The restaurant, much like Malarkey himself, oozes effortless charm and sex appeal. Tip: For groups over 11 they require a pre-set three course menu at $50 a head.
  • Seaside Sophistication: Harbor House is a great option for those staying near Seaport Village. On the second floor of this bay front restaurant, diners can enjoy a more informal atmosphere while a quiet and intimate dining experience awaits them on the bottom floor. This multifaceted eatery can accommodate groups of visitors that desire a private or semi-private meal with ease. Added bonus: their dinner menu has delicious items at several different price points.
  • Trusty Steak and Syrah: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is a no fail option with private dining rooms available for groups of 14 to 40. Its prime location near Downtown San Diego’s Convention Center makes it a great place for a business dinner. Or perhaps you’re looking to impress the in-laws? With a menu that includes aged USDA prime beef, truffle-poached lobster and king crab stuffed with caviar, we think you’ll be off to a great start. Helpful hint: For a surefire way to impress your guests, talk to the sommelier about appropriate wine pairings for each meal.

If you have family coming in from out of town to celebrate the holidays in San Diego, booking a room at the nearby affordable Downtown San Diego Marina Inn can save them the hassle of trekking across town for dinner. To set them up with a nice room before we book up this season, call a Reservation Specialist at 1-800-571-2933 and be sure to ask about our discounts.

San Diego Beer Week events near Balboa Park


As San Diego Beer Week kicks into full swing this weekend, beer related events are bubbling to the surface all over the county. One event that educates while it intoxicates is BEERologyat the Museum of Man, near the famous San Diego Zoo. BEERology is an interactive display that will run through the summer of 2014 and informs visitors onthe ties that different cultures and countries have to ancient forms of craft brewing.

The museum exhibit dissects the old school brewing methods in regions from North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and China. On-site experts will discuss stories, artifacts and culture pertaining to beer and come January, museum guests can sip on some suds while touring the vicinity.

On November 6, craft beer guzzlers can go right next door to the Natural History Center in Balboa Park for Beer Night at the Museum. The $55 tickets include unlimited samples from Ballast Point, Mike Hess Brewing, Modern Times and Saint Archer along with food pairings and a chance to mingle with the brewers themselves. Guests will be educated on the history of the San Diego brewing scene and will also get admission into the “Bottled & Kegged: San Diego Craft Beer Culture” exhibit. From 6pm to 9pm the four breweries will pair their beer with favorite food items like Aleppo Pepper short ribs, spicy Hamachi, and five flavor sea bass.

If you’re accommodations are near Balboa Park and you are interested in some other nearby SDBW events, these are Marina Inn’s top three:

  1. 5th Annual Green Flash Smokeout at Carnitas Snack Shack on November 3 from noon to 4:30pm.
  2. Happy Hour with Rip Current, Hess and Societe breweries at Hamilton’s Pub on November 7 from 4pm to 11pm.
  3. Mike Hess Brewing’s Ritual Cask Night at Ritual Kitchen and Beer Garden on November 7 from 6pm to 9 pm.

Is all this talk of beer giving you a buzz? Don’t worry about driving, and instead book an affordable hotel room at the Marina Inn. Call 1-800-571-2933 to speak with a reservation specialist today and be sure to ask about our advance booking and weekday discounts.

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