Are you attending an upcoming MCRD Graduation or Family Day in San Diego? If so, that means you’re the proud parent of a soon-to-be Marine who just passed a grueling 13 week boot camp. Now it’s time to celebrate!
The MCRD’s 2 day graduation day ceremony consists of a Family Day, usually on a Thursday, followed by Graduation Day. There is no limit on the amount of friends and family that are allowed to come participate on both days so the more the merrier! While we all know that themain ceremony will take place on Graduation Day, what can you expect during Family Day Festivities?
It all starts with an optional family breakfast at The Bay View Restaurant at MCRD from 6 to 9 a.m. but keep in mind that your marine won’t be able to join you just yet. If you booked an affordable San Diego hotel near the MCRD with a complimentary hot breakfast you can always sleep in and attend the Drill instructor Brief at the Command Museum at 9:30 a.m. During the brief you will be informed of the day’s proceedings and on-base regulations. Finally, at 10:30 a.m. you get the first glimpse of your son or daughter during the Motivational Run, or “Moto Run”, at the Depot Theater. This run usually allows for some good photos so have the camera ready!
Afterwards you don’t want to miss the Welcome Orientation where parents and friends can meet drill instructors and watch a short film about the MCRD. With much anticipation Marines are finally released to mix and mingle with loved ones from 1 to 6 p.m. while enjoying a Liberty Lunch at the Bay View Restaurant.
Recruits aren’t able to leave the depot but there’s plenty to do on site! Guests can visit the MCRD museum, go shopping, and meet fellow marines and instructors. Come 6 p.m. recruits must return to their barracks to prepare for the next day’s graduation while family and friends need to head back to their budget hotel near the MCRD.
The Marina Inn is proud to be an MCRD hotel, located less than 3 miles from the recruiting base. We also offer military discounts to show our appreciation and gratitude for past and present military personnel. If you’re interested in booking a room for an upcoming MCRD graduation, call us today at 1-800-571-2933 to see how much money we can save you.
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!
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
SeaWorld is one of those must-see places when you’re planning your family vacation to San Diego. SeaWorld has it all: amusement park rides, shows, exhibits, shopping and dining! However, if you don’t plan accordingly, the budget for your family day out could easily double or even triple! Click here for information on affordable family friendly San Diego accommodations, and continue reading for some helpful tips on how to easily save some cash during your SeaWorld trip:
- Don’t pay full price for admission! For the same price as a single day admission ticket you can get the Fun Card which is good for admission throughout the whole year! Also, right now you can get the adults Fun Card at the child’s price if you enter code “SWCWestwaysFC2014” online. Visitors can also ask about available AAA and AARP discounts. However, be sure you always make purchases from reputable websites and dealers and do research before giving anyone your credit card information, especially online.
- Pick your splurges. You know your kids are going to want a souvenir or that overpriced cotton candy, so consider allotting them, and yourselves, a certain “allowance” on unnecessary items. Something as little as $10 will let your kids feel like they’re picking a special treat and will force them to be more selective when they know ahead of time what the spending limit is.
- Pack your own food. Amusement Parks have notoriously overpriced restaurants and snack bars, so come prepared to feed you family. It’s even easier to pack a meal ahead of time if you have a cheap San Diego hotel room close to SeaWorld with a refrigerator and microwave. Leave a large cooler in the car and enjoy a delicious and cheap homemade meal in the picnic area just outside the park. There are also a handful of kid-friendly restaurants nearby where you can easily travel to during breaks from the park.
Another way to save money is by booking a cheap family-friendly San Diego hotel room at Vagabond Inn & Suites. Not only are we located just minutes from San Diego’s major attractions like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, but we also offer a 15% discount on your hotel stay when you purchase your admission tickets through us.
If you have a friend who is looking for a centrally located budget hotel near the San Diego Convention Center, SeaWorld or another popular attraction, be sure to share this article on Facebook and Twitter by clicking on the icons in the upper right-hand corner!
A Tech Vacation is simply a vacation away from technology in a new and active city like San Diego. When was the last time you shared a family dinner without the presence of a smartphone, tablet or gaming device? Is the TV or DVD player constantly on in your home? Can you recall the last long and meaningful conversational you had as a family?
These are just some of the signs that technology is taking over your home. Breaking away from these devices can be a refreshing way to spend quality family time in a new place. And what better place than San Diego for a technology-free weekend? Year-round sunshine, beaches and cheap hotels near the MCRD, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.
Not sure if you could spend more than an hour away from your electronic devices? Here are some reasons we think your family should try replacing a laptop with laughter and a cellphone with conversation:
- Health benefits. We’ve become reliant on technology to do all the thinking for us and we are starting to forget how to use our brains. Did you know that a weekend without technology is proven to boost brainpower? Cognitive thinking improves when we use a map for directions and figure out a 20% tip without a calculator. And your kids probably won’t argue too hard if you agree not to set an alarm clock.
- Relational benefits. Without a screen in front of your face for hours, more time is opened up for family bonding, meeting new people and engaging in conversation. Ungluing yourself from technology forces families to communicate with each other over games, outdoor activities and meals.
- Simple living off the grid. Too often we complicate our lives by worrying about Facebook “likes” and work emails. Disconnect with technology to re-connect with the simple pleasures available in the real world. Let friends and co-workers know before you go that you’ll be out of touch for a few days and hold true to your promise to power down.
- Adventure. Don’t be afraid to get lost and explore new things. Instead of mapping out a minute-by-minute itinerary, try playing part of your trip by ear. Let your kids have a say in some of the activities to take their mind off of the lack of social media.
Now that you know the benefits, how do you actually do it? Don’t tempt yourself by packing devices; instead leave anything that’s not a necessity at home. If you’re allowing cellphones on the trip for safety purposes be sure to set some ground rules. Perhaps don’t allow phones during family time, disable in-room WiFi and turn off social media notifications. Planning ahead will also allow you to stick to your tech-free trip guidelines. Print out crucial addresses, directions and phone numbers ahead of time and consider purchasing a San Diego Guidebook. Most importantly, act as a role model for your kids. If you don’t adhere to your own rules, and look like you’re having fun doing it, they won’t want to either.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many people also use their phone as a camera, and having these memories to hold on to can be important. If you plan a trip to the San Diego Zoo and want to capture a photo of the famous Giant Pandas go ahead and snap away, just set guidelines about whether uploading photos online is allowed or not. To learn more about the Zoo’s exhibits and why it’s a necessary stop during your tech-free travels click here!
If you’re really craving a little technology during your vacation you can find a way to make it a family bonding experience. Create a music playlist together that you can all listen to during the car trip, go see a movie at a local theatre, or create some friendly competition at an arcade. Also be sure to take advantage of the family-friendly features offered at the top San Diego budget hotels like Marina Inn and Suites. Purchase your Zoo or SeaWorld tickets through us and get 15% off your entire stay! We also have Kids Suites and Park & Fly Packages available for your convenience.
Want to learn more about how Marina Inn can help you plan a Tech Vacation in San Diego? Call us today at 1-800-571-2933 and learn how much you can save!
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!
If you’re planning a trip to San Diego and don’t want to fall into every tourist trap like the millions of other annual visitors, read this local’s guide to San Diego. These tips will help you experience the beautiful sights and must-see hot spots like a true San Diegan. And when it comes to blending in, replace “ya’ll” with “dudes” and lose the fanny pack and we think you’ll do just fine.
Skip the highly populated San Diego Beaches of Del Mar, La Jolla and Torrey Pines and instead head to beautiful Sunset Cliffs, Windansea or Swamis to escape the crowds while still being able to experience unparalleled ocean views. More tips on beachin’ it like a local:
- Keep your clothes on, no nude beaches here
- Leave the booze at home
- If you’re going to surf or body board, you better know what you’re doing. San Diego surfers take their sport seriously
If you’re going to attempt to tour the big name attractions like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, then try to skip the primetime weekend days and instead opt for a Tuesday or Wednesday day during the off-peak winter season.
- Take advantage of the free shows offered by both parks for additional family fun
- Pick up a map, it’s the easiest way to plan your day
- Bring snacks and water to save money
- Stay at a cheap downtown hotel near SeaWorld for the most convenience
Experience “off the beaten path” nightlife in North Park or Ocean Beach. San Diego’s Gaslamp District can be a lot of fun, but most locals will tell you that parking downtown on a weekend night is torturous. To avoid the hassle, head to one of the other aforementioned hot spots where you can drink and dance the night away for half the price. Try out these popular favorites among locals:
- North Park- Seven Grand for great whiskey cocktails or Toronado for craft beers galore.
- Ocean Beach- South Beach Bar & Grill for socializing and OB Noodle House for $2 beer.
Don’t leave San Diego without trying In-N-Out because it really is what it’s all about. Cheap burgers with special sauce right off the grill. A little inside tip- there’s a secret menu!
- You can add up to four beef patties by asking for a 3×3 or 4×4.
- You can order the buns “mustard grilled.”
- Ask for an off-the-menu grilled cheese.
- Want pickles or grilled onions? Just ask.
- Their famous Animal Style Burger comes with extra Thousand Island sauce, mustard grilled patties and pickles. Animal Style Fries are topped with Thousand Island, cheese and grilled onions.
Hopefully these tips help you enjoy some of the lesser-known wonders in San Diego during your vacation. If you’re still in need of a place to stay, heed one more tip from a local and stay at Marina Inn hotel near downtown San Diego. This affordable hotel is near all of the city’s main attractions and offers great discounted room rates. To book a cheap San Diego hotel room today click here or call us at 1-800-571-2933.
We know that planning a day trip with children can be a taxing task at times. So to ensure that everyone has a great time at the San Diego Zoo, sit down with your children the day before you head to the park and plan out a possible itinerary of shows and exhibits you would like to see. This allows time for each child to contribute their opinion and helps ensure your family will get to enjoy as many animals and shows as possible. Also, read up on the following tips that will make your day a walk in the park:
- Bring your own stroller or rent one at the park – $12 for a single or $16 for a double – if you have kids that won’t be able to walk around the 100 acre park for an entire day. Additionally, make sure everyone wears comfortable shoes!
- Pack a backpack full of any necessities like sunscreen, snacks and juice boxes. Having snacks and drinks on hand is a great way to avoid spending extra money throughout the day and can keep kids from getting cranky! If you don’t feel like carrying a backpack or diaper bag around the park, you can rent a large locker for $1.50.
- Need somewhere to nurse a newborn in privacy? You can use the Zoo’s First Aid office, the Health Office or the women’s restrooms with designated nursing stations. Most restrooms also have diaper changing stations for your convenience.
- Make your trip a fun, educational experience by introducing your youngsters to new plants and animals online before arriving at the park. The Zoo’s website has a special section just for kids where they can learn all about the animals on display, play games and watch videos. Getting to know more about the Zoo ahead of time will make them more eager to interact when your family visits.
- Don’t forget to take frequent breaks. A long day of walking around the Zoo can be tiring for children and adults alike. Be sure to take a break every few hours to eat, rest and regroup. Break time would also be a good opportunity to catch their sea lion show, hop on the Skyfari aerial tram or watch a film in their 4-D theatre.
If you’re in need of a family-friendly hotel near San Diego Zoo, then look no further than Marina Inn & Suites. We’re located less than three miles away from the Zoo and offer 15% off your hotel stay with the purchase of Zoo admission tickets! We also have a Kids Suite which is great for large families as it has two queen beds and an adjoining room with twin bunk beds.
To learn more about the rooms, rates and discounts offered at our affordable San Diego hotel, click here or call 1-800-571-2933 and speak with a reservations specialist.
What better place than San Diego to welcome the New Year? With the downtown district full of options for dining and entertainment, you can create the perfect New Years itinerary. If you’ve never spent the New Year in downtown San Diego, here is a bit of information on what you can expect and the top events where everyone wants to be seen.
Staying Downtown on New Year’s Eve
It’s always best to make accommodations as far in advance as possible, however with New Years landing in the middle of the week, making plans ahead of time might be a bit tricky. A few select hotels in downtown San Diego are offering NYE Packages, however you can expect to pay upwards of $300 per night the entire week leading up to and following New Years. Opt for cheap accommodations near the Gaslamp Quarter, a few blocks away from the center of the action. This will provide you with additional savings to put toward the event or party you plan on attending!
2014 New Years Events
The typical cost of a New Years event in the downtown district is about $125. Some of the most highly anticipated events include:
- Black and White Party at the W – If you’re looking for a fabulous party to ring in the New Year in style, the W will be hosting the event of all events. As its name suggests, guests are only allowed to wear black and white and ties are preferred. Those attending will be able to indulge in a 4 hour premium open bar from 9:30pm to 1:30am and can dance the night away in one of two music rooms with live DJs. The heated outdoor patio will also be open for those looking for a bit of fresh air.
- New Year’s Eve at the Hard Rock Hotel – This event will take place on 3 different floor and include 5 different venues where attendees can enjoy sets from Tony Arzadon and Chris Garcia, DJ Loczi, Scooter and Lavelle, Starry Eyed Music and DJ Fingaz. Promising a balloon drop to remember and some of the hottest crowds in San Diego, those ready for a full night of lavish partying should consider the Hard Rock event.
- More Affordable Options – The Andaz in San Diego will also be hosting a fantasy themed NYE party with 4 levels of live music and entertainment for a mere $40. The popular nightclub Fluxx will also be hosting their yearly New Years bash ranging from $20-$60 per person. General admission includes entry and a midnight Champagne toast, and if you’re looking for the VIP treatment, they have a special reception which includes d’oeuvres from 8pm to 9pm and champagne from 8pm to 10pm.
Transportation on the Eve
If you are staying at a cheap hotel close to San Diego Convention Center, your best options will be to walk or catch a cab. Fortunately, with the high demand for transportation on New Years, hailing a cab shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Uber and Lyft, popular ridesharing companies will also be offering service on New Years to accommodate late-night partiers. Leaving the downtown district? The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will be extending service on all three trolley lines and four major bus routes to help visitors get back to their hotel or home safely after the midnight countdown.
If you haven’t booked a hotel yet, it isn’t too late! Click here to make an online reservation at the affordable Marina Inn in downtown San Diego or call 1-800-571-2933 to speak with a reservation manager who will be able to provide you with the best possible prices and additional discounts.
How time flies! Christmas is just over a week away so it’s time to finish up all of that last minute holiday shopping. The question is- where should you go to get fun and affordable gifts in San Diego? There is certainly not a lack of shopping destinations in America’s Finest City, it’s just a matter of choosing the right mall or shopping center that’s right for you.
Seaport Village is a great place to go if you’re looking for handmade gifts or San Diego memorabilia. This quaint shopping village is less than a mile from the Marina Inn, an affordable San Diego hotel, and its bayside outdoor setting makes for a great day trip. If you have time, check out the village’s Christmas decorations. Those who are lucky might even get to chat and take a picture with Santa.
San Diego’s Gaslamp District is just a few miles up the road and offers a vast array of boutiques and stores around every corner. Whether you are looking for antiques and art or clothing and shoes, you’re sure to find it here in the Gaslamp. Horton Plaza mall is also located downtown and they offer three-hours of parking free with validation.
Fashion ValleyMall is the place to go for upscale gifts at designer stores like Coach, Prada and Hugo Boss. You can also pick up gifts for your techy friends and family at Microsoft, Apple and Brookstone. The mall is also home to a movie theater, an outdoor food court, as well as a variety of sit-down restaurants, perfect for relaxing after getting a gift for everyone on your list.
For classic one-of-a-kind gifts, hop on the trolley and head to Old Town San Diego. Here is where you’ll find their Bazaar Del Mundo and the Old Town Market where you can buy authentic Mexican handmade items like well décor and purses. If you’re in town visiting a marine for the holidays or are staying at a cheap hotel near the MCRD for graduation, Old Town is just minutes away and will offer some of the most convenient shopping in the area.
As an affordable hotel next to SeaWorld, major shopping districts and public transportation we believe we’re the best spot for people who are looking to get their holiday shopping done while on vacation. And you can fuel up on our complimentary breakfast before you hit the stores! If you’re interested in booking a room, call a reservations specialist at 1-800-571-2933.