3 Easiest Ways to Save When Visiting San Diego

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While San Diegans are shivering as the temperatures start to drop into the 60s, visitors from colder climates flock to San Diego and walk around unbothered by the weather in shorts and t-shirts. The months November through January aren’t peak season for San Diego (we all know everyone comes to San Diego in the summer), however the holidays are upon us. Visitors should still expect fairly high prices for flights and accommodations, especially for travel closer to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

So what do you do if you have your heart set on visiting San Diego this fall, but might not have the necessary budget? You read these tips for the easiest ways to save in San Diego!

  1. Location, location, location. As with many things, it’s all about location, and where you are going to stay in San Diego is no different. You’ll save the most by reserving a hotel in a centrally located downtown district where you can walk or take advantage of the city’s public transportation system. This way, not only will you save by renting a car, you are provided with the added convenience of having all of downtowns attractions at your fingertips. Even though La Jolla and Coronado are beautiful, the price of staying near the beach might not be worth it in the cooler winter months.
  2. Make hotel accommodations in advance. After deciding which part of San Diego you want to visit, it is in your best interest to make a hotel reservation as soon as possible. Prices will only continue to rise as the holidays get closer, leaving those who procrastinate out of luck. Look for websites offering hotel deals such as www.marinainnsd.com. Not only does the Marina Inn offer discounted hotel rates, there are additional savings for those who book early, AAA members, Military and many more.
  3. Plan out (some of) your meals. Dining while on vacation is one of the fastest ways to deplete your vacation budget. Travelers tend to get caught up in wanting to try new restaurants, and not only eating out for main meals such as lunch and dinner, but for snacks as well. Plan out some of your meals and check some menus before to get a good idea of how much you’ll be spending. If there are restaurants that you’ve heard about and are dying to try, make a reservation and plan out which day of your trip you’re going to go. This way, you know you’ll have to be more frugal with your breakfast or lunch plans. Other ways to save include dining during happy hour or staying at a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast.

Also be sure to shop around for flights and if you know you’re going to be traveling, sign up for updates from popular airlines so you’ll be alerted when sales take place. JetBlue and Southwest are national airlines that are recognized for lower priced flights into San Diego so start with those when doing any research.

Top Travel Tips for Halloween in San Diego


With just about a week to go until Halloween, we thought it would be fitting to go over some last minute travel tips for visitors planning on spending Halloween in San Diego. From flight and hotel information to transportation and popular events, we’re covering it all right here!

Flight and Airline Information

If you don’t have a flight already, chances are the price for airline tickets are going to be on the expensive side as the holiday attracts many San Diego travelers. Some popular airlines that consistently have low fares to San Diego include Southwest and JetBlue, so check flights offered from those airlines first. Also, beware of airlines that charge low fares, but tack on additional fees for items like luggage, quickly driving up overall cost. If you are staying near the downtown district, the most affordable way to get to your hotel will be by cab. You can catch a cab across the sky bridge which is located directly outside of the baggage claim area.

Hotel Accommodations

Hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter are going to be charging exceptionally high rates during Halloween weekend as many of the evening festivities are taking place at bars and nightclubs in the area. It is also important to keep in mind that while Halloween is next Thursday, many parties are being held this upcoming weekend so you can plan for increased rates during this time as well. If you have procrastinated making hotel reservations and are in need of affordable rates for downtown San Diego lodging, it’s not too late. Click here for upcoming rates and availability at the Marina Inn hotel near the Gaslamp Quarter and don’t forget to check out our online promotional codes for additional savings.

Halloween Transportation

Transportation on Halloween is difficult to come by, especially at the end of the evening. It is best to make reservations for transportation as early as possible to ensure a ride to your desired destination. Don’t forget to factor in time for traffic, especially if you’re going downtown. There is an annual event which closes down a few of the major streets and is sure to delay your travel by at least 20-30 minutes. For the fastest service, have cash on hand for your driver. Public transportation will also be running, however service hours are the same with no late-night transportation available. If possible, the best option is to stay within the downtown area so you can walk to Halloween activities and events.

Halloween Events

The events in downtown San Diego range from parades and costume contests for kids in San Diego’s Little Italy to late-night dance parties for the 21+ in the Gaslamp Quarter. No matter what event you’re attending, you can expect there to be large crowds, and if the event you have your eye on requires a ticket purchase, consider pre-purchasing tickets. Many events sell out and not being able to purchase tickets at the door is sure to put a damper on your Halloween festivities. As mentioned earlier, the streets will be congested so if you need to arrive at a destination by a particular time, be sure to factor in street traffic.

The Marina Inn is still offering discounted rates for hotel rooms Halloween weekend. Visit our website at www.marinainnsd.com or contact a Reservation Manager directly at 1-800-571-2933 for additional information about our rooms and suites, current discounts and complimentary amenities.

Enjoy Coastal Cuisine without Breaking the Bank


Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, it is no surprise that San Diego is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in town. While you’re sure to have nothing short of an exceptional experience at restaurants such as Oceanaire, Blue Point Coastal and Tom Ham’s Lighthouse just to name a few, you can still enjoy fresh, high-quality seafood at restaurants around town for a fraction of the price. Depending on where you are in San Diego, we’ve listed some of our favorite spots where you can affordably satisfy your seafood cravings ($15 to $20 per person).

If you find yourself in downtown San Diego, these popular restaurants are in the midst of all the action, yet offer reasonable prices for their inspirational seafood dishes:

  • Escape Fish Bar – Located a few blocks from San Diego’s Petco Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, the menu here is simple with about a half dozen types of fish with a handful of preparations to choose from. Aside from the quality product, visitors love their light fish batter which always provides just the right amount of crunch.
  • Downtown Fish Joint – This mom and pop store has been serving San Diego for more than 15 years and has perfected their seafood options. Visitors love the fish taco plates which come highly recommended due to the large size of the fish tacos. A visit to the fish joint and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Long day at the beach? The following restaurants are not far from the various beaches of San Diego, and offer a casual place to relax and dine after a day of sand and surf:

  • Point Loma Seafoods – Not far from Ocean Beach, Point Loma Seafoods is popular for their fresh, wild caught product. Their salads and sandwiches offer some of the best value with most people coming back for their crab sandwich which is loaded with fresh real Dungeness crab meat.
  • PB Fish Shop – Located in Pacific Beach, this is a gathering place for locals and always wins over vacationers. Choose from a variety of fish, preparations and decide if you’d like a taco, salad, plate or sandwich. The prices are affordable and on Thursdays, the restaurant holds $1 oyster night which goes until the oysters are gone!

For travelers who spent the day visiting SeaWorld San Diego and the Mission Valley area, there’s no need to worry; there are still restaurants that still have great seafood offerings:

  • Bay Park Fish Co. – When dining at the Bay Park Fish Co. you can always expect great service and a variety of options for food. Some favorites among locals include the Poke appetizers, lobster tacos and the halibut rolled tacos. For additional savings, head over during their daily happy hour from 3pm to 6pm.
  • Wahoo’s Fish Tacos – Looking for something quick after a long day? This is the place for you. A San Diego based restaurant, Wahoo’s is famous for their fish tacos but also serves plates, bowls and burritos. And if you’re traveling with kids, there’s a great kids menu with meals around $5.

Planning your trip to San Diego for an MCRD Graduation


The Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego is one of the largest training centers in the country. That means almost every weekend new platoons have Marines graduating from boot camp training. That also means that there are a lot of visiting families and happy military men and women that are looking to celebrate all of their hard work.

Where to stay in San Diego

First things first; if you have started to plan your trip to San Diego to watch an MCRD graduation you’re going to need a place to stay. Lodging (or “billeting”) is available on site, but if you’re looking for something that is more immersed in the San Diego social scene you can get a 10% military discount at Marina Inn and Suites, which is located less than 3 miles from the depot.

Head to Old Town San Diego

The closest place to celebrate is Old Town. Lodging near Old Town is a great option as this wonderfully small and vibrant town is full of excellent restaurants, lively bars and best of all, tons of places that offer military discounts. Since Old Town is just a mile away from the MCRD, the establishments have grown to expect and respect celebrating soldiers and their families every weekend.

For dinner we recommend New Orleans Creole Café for authentic gumbo and sweet tea or try out Casa Guadalajara’s homemade tortillas and house margaritas. After you’ve had your fill of food, walk over to Barra Barra Saloon where you can sip cocktails on their welcoming patio while enjoying a warm San Diego night and the satisfaction of knowing your loved one successfully completed their intense military training.

Call 1-800-571-2933 to book a discounted room or suite at Marina Inn today!

Top 5 Views in San Diego Based on Activity


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.

Convention Center Expansion Plans Approved


Today marked a huge milestone for the city of San Diego as the San Diego Coastal Commission officially approved the $520 million dollar expansion plan. The expansion of the waterfront venue is to include additional indoor venue space (a huge draw for large events such as Comic Con), a 5 acre rooftop park, and also includes the opportunity to add an on-site hotel for San Diego conventioneers.

The proposal was in limbo until today; the Coastal Commission had previously recommended denying the project because it would block views of the San Diego bay, while also making it more difficult to access the water on the other side of the building. However, after two days of debate, the project is finally set in motion and supporters hope the expansion will bring jobs and encourage San Diego’s tourism.

With news of the approval, we only saw it fit to post about some of the great things San Diego conventioneers can do nearby! So whether you’re going to be in town in the near future for a convention or have plans to attend one of the first events held at the revamped meeting facility, here is a list of must-see attractions near the San Diego Convention Center:

  • Check out the historic USS Midway Museum and continue along the coast to Seaport Village where you can stop for casual dining and views of the bay.
  • For a fun and memorable evening on the town, there’s no better place than the Gaslamp Quarter as its overflowing with bars and nightclubs. Not a night owl? Go during the day and go on a walking tour or shop at Horton Plaza Mall.
  • Lodging near San Diego’s Little Italy will provide you with the best options for dining. Grab an authentic Italian meal in the cozy district or stop by for dessert and a coffee.
  • The San Diego Zoo is a must if there’s time in your itinerary and with its location in Balboa Park, you can also check out the urban park’s many museums and lush gardens

Don’t worry, you don’t have to attend a convention just to enjoy the sites of San Diego! Head down for a fall getaway with friends and family. For information about affordable hotel accommodations in downtown San Diego, click here or contact the Marina Inn at 1-800-571-2933.

San Diego Fall Travel Tips


Although we are a preferred San Diego Zoo hotel, and suggest that all of our out of town guests check out the animal kingdom at least once, the attractions in San Diego go far beyond those for young children. If you are visiting San Diego with a group of friends or your significant other, there are plenty of options for first class dining, shopping and entertainment.

If you’re coming to San Diego in October, or anytime during the 2013 fall season, do your research on local events before planning your trip. For instance, if you want to be in the midst of all the action, consider a night out in the Gaslamp Quarter during Halloween weekend. With plenty of nightclubs and an outdoor street event, there will surely be no shortage of evening entertainment. And for those who are looking for savings during their trip, try to travel around the upcoming fall holidays. Hotel rates often go up during this time and you won’t be able to get as much bang for your buck!

While you might not be able to sunbathe or surf in October, staying at one of the hotels near San Diego beaches can provide you with countless options for entertainment. Beach communities are often near a variety of restaurants, which during the fall will still offer stunning views of the Pacific and the coast. Want to check out all the San Diego restaurants but don’t want to spend a fortune? Go during happy hour! With the sheer amount of restaurants competing for your business, almost all offer an unbelievable happy hour menu which can satisfy your vacation food and beverage cravings.

Finally, it’s all about the timing of your reservations. If you have set travel dates, it’s always best to book as far in advance as possible. This will help lock in the lowest rates and will most likely provide you with your preferred flight, hotel and room accommodations. However, some hotels also offer last minute deals as they’re trying to reach capacity during San Diego’s “off season.” If you have a flexible schedule, consider waiting until the last minute to book your hotel reservations, you might be able to enjoy even lower savings.

For visitors who are in search of a hotel that offers great value, the Marina Inn is the ideal option. As an affordable downtown San Diego hotel, we offer discounted accommodations year round and have clean and spacious rooms and suites, providing you with plenty of room to spread out and relax. Don’t let this deal pass you up and contact a Reservation Manager today.

Celebrating the Rich Military History of San Diego

San Diego is a city that is rich in military history and there’s no better way to recognize those who have and are serving our country than by checking out the area’s many military attractions and landmarks. While some visitors may be in town for MCRD graduation (click here for more MCRD graduation information), others are here simply to enjoy the San Diego sunshine. However, no matter what you’re in town for, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Friday, October 4th kicks off the MCAS Miramar AirShow. One of the most popular events in San Diego, you’ll be able to witness everything from aerial shows to drag races. The event goes through Saturday October 5th and has a schedule that includes live music, vendors selling great bites and beers, as well as car exhibitions and firework shows. There’s still time for advance ticket purchase so check out the official website of the AirShow and take advantage of the online discount.

Open daily, the USS Midway is a great stop for visitors. The history of the San Diego Harbor’s USS Midway dates back to WWII. The size of the aircraft carrier is unbelievable and many are surprised at how many different sections there actually are. Tour the carrier and check out the many aircrafts on the Midway’s top deck, most of which you can climb aboard and sit in!

Finally, visitors staying at the Marina Inn hotel in Downtown San Diego should head over to the San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park. Check out military aircrafts from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. There is also an Aerospace Hall of Fame that honors the pilots, as well as the inventors and engineers who created and built the planes.

Know someone who would love to check out these military attractions or landmarks in San Diego? Share this with them!

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!

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