San Diego is Going Green!

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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!

‘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!

One-of-a-Kind San Diego Souvenirs!

There are many reasons why you may be in search of San Diego souvenirs. Fortunately, whether you are looking for something for yourself or gifts for friends and family, there are plenty of places where you can San Diego treasures that make perfect gifts.

Those staying in one of the hotels in downtown San Diego will likely want to purchase something that reminds them of the bustling and eccentric Gaslamp District. In the Gaslamp Quarter, there are many stores that feature trinkets with San Diego slogans, as well as more upscale boutiques and shops that have items made of local products. There are also a variety of art galleries where you can purchase paintings, sculptures and other works of art from San Diego artists.

There are also many neighborhoods near the downtown district that offer a unique shopping experience and fun souvenirs for all ages. For instance, go shopping in Old Town San Diego and check out the handmade pottery, arts and crafts, toys and clothing, or head over to Seaport Village and browse the district’s many shops selling everything from sunglasses and fine jewelry to toys and t-shirts.

If you are shopping for someone in the military, the Command Museum at the MCRD has a gift shop where you can purchase a variety of items that highlight the influence the military has had on the San Diego area. Other gifts can also be purchased at the popular USS Midway. Once aboard the USS Midway, there is a large gift shop in the back, and there are many kiosks outside that sell similar aeronautic memorabilia.

No matter who you’re shopping for, you’re sure to find something great to take back home with you. Did we miss any other places to go shopping for souvenirs in Old Town? Share them with us!

Things to Do near San Diego’s Horton Plaza

If you’re looking to kill some time after exploring the mall at Horton Plaza, there are many attractions near Horton Plaza for families and visitors to enjoy. No matter what your interests, there is sure to be something to suit your every need and wish!

To help guide visitors through their downtown San Diego adventure, we’ve listed a few of our favorite attractions near Horton Plaza.

Right across the street of the Horton Plaza Mall is the northeast part of the Gaslamp Quarter. This popular downtown district gets crowded during the evenings with vacationers and locals who come out to enjoy its many restaurants, bars and night clubs. During the day, shoppers looking for specialty, unique, handmade gifts can peruse the many boutiques.

Heading a few blocks west of Horton Plaza, vacationers can visit one of the many San Diego Harbor attractions. At the harbor, visitors can browse the small boutique shops of Seaport Village, take a scenic stroll along the bay on the Embarcadero, visit the USS Midway Museum or hop aboard one of the historical boats of the San Diego Maritime Museum.

Another, and one of the most popular attractions near Horton Plaza is the San Diego Zoo. If you’re looking for something fun to do later in the evening, the Zoo has extended summer hours which last just a few more weeks. Head over and skip the crowds and catch a glimpse of the animals as they become more active as the weather cools in the afternoon.

Guests who stay at the affordable Marina Inn downtown San Diego hotel are close to many of the city’s top attractions and will never run out of options to do to pass some free time.

5 Popular Attractions in Downtown San Diego

Don’t know what to do during your vacation? No problem! We invite you to reserve a room at our conveniently located downtown San Diego hotel. Not only are we are located within minutes of the airport, we are in close proximity to 5 of the most popular attractions in downtown San Diego.

  1. San Diego Zoo – Possibly the most popular downtown attraction is the world famous San Diego Zoo. Situated on over 100 acres in the heart of the downtown district, the Zoo is home to more than 4,000 different species of animals and offers live shows, restaurants and exhibits, fun for the entire family.
  2. Balboa Park – While the Zoo is located in Balboa Park, it deserves a separate mention. As one of the largest urban parks in the United States, visitors can spend hours, if not the entire day exploring the grounds. Check out one of the museum’s 14 museums, stroll through the botanical gardens and end with a meal at the Prado, one of the most popular Balboa Park restaurants.
  3. Gaslamp Quarter – Most visitors are aware that the Gaslamp Quarter is the dining, shopping and entertainment hub of the downtown district. Who wouldn’t want to stay at a hotel nearby? Whether you are visiting the area’s museums, first class restaurants or nightclubs, you’re sure to enjoy your time in this historic neighborhood.
  4. Convention Center – While the Convention Center is recognized as the host for the annual Comic-Con event, it is also the meeting place for some of the world’s most renowned conventions from bridal to medical expos. For more information about why you should stay at a hotel near the Convention Center, click here.
  5. Seaport Village – Located along the water, Seaport Village attracts guests with its breathtaking views of the bay. The area is home to a handful of restaurants, quaint shops, and plenty of grassy space to relax and lounge in the sun. Unlike other downtown destinations, parking at Seaport Village is a breeze as they have their own private lot.

Did we miss any must-see downtown attractions? Share them with us!

Restaurant Week Returns to San Diego

Love to eat and try new things? You’re in luck! Whether you are a local or a visitor, participate in San Diego’s Restaurant Week between September 15th and 20th. In six days, select from lunch and dinner prix fixe menus from over 160 San Diego restaurants. For some, this is paradise, while for others the selection of options may be a bit overwhelming.

If you are staying at the Marina Inn hotel in downtown San Diego there are many options for affordable lunch during restaurant week. Stop by popular Boathouse Restaurant and enjoy a first class lunch for only $10. Order a blackened tilapia sandwich, albacore melt or Asian chicken salad and end the meal with either a classic New York cheesecake or scoop of ice cream. If you’d prefer Italian, another $10 menu is being offered by the Old Venice Restaurant in downtown San Diego. As your first course, pick from pesto baked feta, insalta venicia, magic mushrooms or walnut gorgonzola and enjoy a torpedo sandwich, chicken artichoke, Cajun shrimp, linguine de Kathleen or lasagna as a main course.

For dinner, head over to the nearby Wine Vault and Bistro. For $20, diners are able to select an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Appetizer options include homemade seafood sausage, smoked tomato soup and pickled peach salad. For dinner, select from pan roasted sea bass, beef bourguignon or Moroccan spiced eggplant. Finally, for dessert, pick your favorite from bucheron goats milk cheese, Tahitian vanilla ice cream and vairhona chocolate pot de crème.

For other options, check out the official San Diego restaurant week website. If you don’t see anything you like, other convenient restaurants located near the Marina Inn can be found in the popular Little Italy district. Fillippi’s Pizza Grotto, Buon Appetito and Bencotto offer some of the most authentic entrees and desserts in Little Italy.

Restaurant week gives vacationers a great opportunity to try some of the area’s top restaurants at a fraction of the price. There are many options downtown; however those who opt to reserve a cheap San Diego Airport rental car during their visit will have a larger selection of restaurants to choose from. What restaurants are you most excited for this Restaurant Week?

Kick Back and Relax, You’re on Vacation!

Sometimes when we plan a vacation, we forget the sole purpose of it, to relax. Although relaxing while on vacation seems like a no-brainer for some, when visiting a new city, a laid back vacation can quickly turn into a stressful trip packed with one attraction after the other. At the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego, we want to remind you how beautiful America’s finest city is! Skip some of the major tourist attractions and keep it simple.

  1. Hit up a downtown dive bar. There are plenty of things to do in the Gaslamp Quarter, but try something new and head to one of the dive bars in downtown San Diego. Order a beer, enjoy the laid back atmosphere, and catch up with your vacation mates. And because dive bars aren’t for everyone, ordering cocktails at one of the popular rooftop bars in San Diego is always an option. Either way, enjoying a drink during sunset is a great way to experience life as a local San Diegan.
  2. Go for a walk. Seems simple enough, right? Going for a walk in San Diego isn’t just a regular activity. With winding paths along the water and in some of the city’s top parks and recreational centers, taking a stroll through San Diego allows you to embrace its beauty. If you’re interested in checking out a few tourist attractions as you go, walk from along the harbor from the Embarcadero to Seaport Village.
  3. Lounge at the beach. There’s no shame in spending the entire day sunbathing or taking it easy at the beach. With 70 miles of pristine coastline to enjoy, San Diego warmly welcomes you to spend a lazy afternoon on its sandy shores. However, if must do something, try scuba diving at a San Diego beach. Not only will it erase your feelings of guilt, the activity is sure to make your vacation a memorable one.

Even though the above suggestions might seem simple, sometimes going with an uncomplicated itinerary is the best way to enjoy a vacation. What are some of your favorite ways to spend the lazy days of summer in San Diego?

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