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

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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

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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

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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!

Convention Center Expansion Plans Approved

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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

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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!

‘Island Hopping’ in San Diego

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.

How to Go Straight from Plane to Play

The Marina Inn and Suites in Downtown San Diego offers a convenient and cheap place to stay in San Diego that is close to the airport and all the local action. Less than 5 minutes away, you can hop in a shuttle at the airport, arrive at our hotel, quickly unpack and start enjoying everything America’s Finest City has to offer.

If you want to grab a bite fresh off your flight, there are a lot of restaurants near the San Diego airport that are walking distance from our hotel. From classic American fare and authentic Italian Cuisine to premier steakhouses and seafood shacks, there is something sure to satisfy your cravings. And of course, you’ll want to fuel up before you hit the town.

The easiest and most scenic way to the heart of the hip and historic Gaslamp Quarter is the short 1.5 mile, 30-minute walk along the harbor. But if you have your dancing shoes on and prefer not to walk, the San Diego trolley has a stop just one block from our front door. Simply jump on the green line and for $2.50 you’ll find yourself in the midst of restaurants and nightclubs, as well as a variety of family activities in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

The last option we recommend is calling Yellow Cab of San Diego. While this is convenient, as they’ll pick you up right outside the hotel, it’s going to be the most expensive option at $10 for a ride downtown.

No matter what you choose, the Marina Inn is happy to help. To book a room, or to ask about our “Park and Fly” package, please call 1-800-571-2933.

The Marina Inn Welcomes College Freshman

It’s September already! What does that mean? The back to school season is just beginning. With San Diego being home to three major universities, there’s no city as active during this time of year. At the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego, we wanted to take the time to welcome incoming freshman to San Diego State (SDSU), University of California San Diego (UCSD) and University of San Diego (USD).

San Diego is a great place for you to spend the next four years of your life. While you may not be interested in visiting Legoland California or hopping on the rides at SeaWorld San Diego, there are plenty of non-tourist attractions to enjoy. Plus, with year round sunshine and more than 70 miles of pristine coastline, you really can’t go wrong.

Some of the top attractions for young adults include Pacific and Ocean Beach, La Jolla Cove and the downtown district of San Diego. While some of you may not be old enough for drinks at the bars in the Gaslamp Quarter, there are plenty of other activities including bay cruises, kayaking and surfing lessons, trips to Balboa Park and baseball games at the historic Petco Park.

For those who are coming down to San Diego without a car, the public transportation provides you with the opportunity to travel to various destinations throughout the county. Be sure to make use of the bus system, as well as the trolley system. If you are going to live off campus, living near a trolley station could benefit you greatly.

Interested in learning more about college life in San Diego? Come visit yourself and stay at the Marina Inn. Conveniently located in downtown San Diego, we are minutes from the airport and the three major universities in San Diego. As a preferred affordable hotel in San Diego, you are able to save your money for exploring, without sacrificing the quality or comfort of your room or suite. Start planning your San Diego adventure today!

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