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!
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Visiting San Diego on a budget, but also want to experience the city’s largest attractions? No problem if you cut out unnecessary spending. For many visitors, eating out is one of the largest vacation expenses and buying food at all of the San Diego attractions doesn’t help. To minimize your spending while visiting local attractions, plan your dining options ahead of time.
The San Diego Zoo is probably the largest attraction in the city and comes along with a hefty price tag. Although parking is free, admission is $44 a person. Add to that any food or beverage purchase and you’ll easily spend over $55. To cut down on food costs, eat a large meal beforehand or eat out afterwards. If you know you’ll get hungry during the day, bring your own lunch or snacks. Aside from food, there are discounts for admission that are available online and some hotels near the San Diego Zoo offer discount tickets.
SeaWorld is another must see San Diego attraction that can easily exhaust a vacation budget. Just like the zoo, discounted admission tickets can be obtained either through online research or at select hotels. SeaWorld, however, has a strict outside food policy where only snack items are permitted into the park. You’ll also need to set aside $15 for parking which makes it worthwhile to take public transportation if you aren’t staying too far away.
Nothing says summer like baseball! If going to a Padre game is in your vacation plans, there are many Petco Park restaurants to enjoy during your stay. However, like all ballpark dining, it can quickly add up so consider grabbing something to eat before going into the park. There are many affordable and convenient places to grab a sandwich or something light to tie you over during the game.
Are you a budget conscious vacationer? Share your money saving vacation tips with us! As a affordable downtown San Diego hotel, we’re always looking for valuable travel information to pass onto our guests.
San Diego is a large place with many things to do and see. If you want a fun way to enjoy San Diego, make your way to its most popular attractions.
- Visit the San Diego Zoo. The zoo is the city’s most popular attraction. Situated on more than 100 acres of land in the heart of downtown San Diego, a great way to see the entire park and all its exhibits is by hopping on a bus tour. Be sure not to miss the giant pandas, the elephants, and the new zoo exhibit Koalafornia.
- Go to SeaWorld. This aquatic theme park has a large selection of marine animals from local and international waters. To get an up close look at the marine life, check out one of the SeaWorld San Diego live shows. Other popular activities include dining with Shamu, dancing with Alex the Lion in the Madagascar musical or going on one of the many water rides.
- Stop By Old Town. This is the oldest neighborhood in San Diego, making it a great place to learn about the city’s beginnings. To make the most of your visit here, take one of the Old Town San Diego tours. Also stop by the many shops in the area that feature handmade crafts, pottery and clothing.
- Visit a beach. San Diego is known for its many scenic beaches and sandy white shores. If you want be like a local San Diegan, try taking some surfing lessons at La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach or Mission Beach. There many schools along the water where you can sign up for lessons but advance reservations are always recommended.
Depending on your interests and who you’re traveling with, you may find additional attractions to visit to make your stay in San Diego enjoyable. Guests who want to get the most out of their San Diego vacation should stay at the Marina Inn. It is a cheap downtown San Diego hotel which offers clean, spacious rooms and is conveniently located near most of San Diego’s top attractions.
San Diego has a proud military history and continues to have a strong military presence as the home of military installations including the MCAS Miramar and NAS North Island. For visitors staying at the Marina Inn in downtown who are interested in the history of San Diego, there are numerous nearby attractions that highlight the influence the military has had on the city.
The Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, located just north of downtown San Diego is largest Marine training facility on the west coast. Each year, hundreds of new Marines graduate from MCRD’s strenuous program. The Marina Inn San Diego is the preferred MCRD lodging option for proud families who come to celebrate their Marine’s achievement.
If you want to experience San Diego’s military past, a visit to the iconic USS Midway Museum is a must. This San Diego naval history museum is on the retired aircraft carrier, the USS Midway. Here, visitors can take a self-guided audio tour throughout 60 areas of the ship. The tour ends on the top of the carrier’s runway on which visitors can climb aboard renovated airplanes, jets and helicopters and view other great USS Midway exhibits.
Other locations along the Embarcadero and in Liberty Station are other great places to enjoy a bit of the city’s military history. What are your favorite military attractions? Share them with us!
When traveling to San Diego for the first time, the best way to explore the sites and attractions is by driving a rental car. Unfortunately for out of town guests, a rental car can be expensive. Even experienced travelers can miss out on rental car deals and end up paying more than they need to. At the Marina Inn San Diego Airport hotel with free parking, we want to help you get the most out of your vacation and offer these tips to help ensure that you don’t overpay for your rental vehicle.
- Do research. Compare current rates on travel sites and on individual car rental websites to find the lowest price. Also be aware that there are no rental car facilities on site at the San Diego Airport, so you will want to choose a rental car company with a location that is near your airport and your hotel for maximum convenience.
- Look for discounts. Many car rental companies offer weekend and weekly discounts, which are indicated on their main websites by a promotional or discount code. If you are a part of a nationally recognized group such as AAA or AARP, you should also inquire about any additional discounts affiliated with such groups.
- Don’t pay for extras. Only pay for extras you’ll need in your rental. This also applies for insurance. Many auto insurance companies provide coverage for rental cars so you don’t have to pay for additional insurance unless it would make you feel more comfortable during your trip.
- Opt for a smaller vehicle. Prices for midsized cars are the highest as they are the most popular. Rates for compact cars are less and they’ll give you better fuel economy. If you don’t have a certain number of passengers with you, opt for a smaller vehicle and enjoy additional savings.
- Check for travel restrictions. Some car rental agencies may impose additional fees on drivers who drive into other states. These travel restrictions are not likely to be covered in the rental’s mileage allowance. Those who stay at the Marina Inn are only a couple miles from downtown attractions such as the Horton Plaza Mall. For directions to the mall, click here.
- Return the car on time and with a full tank. Car rental companies can charge up to a day’s rental if you return your car late. If you don’t return the car with a full tank, you’ll also be required to pay an additional fee.
However, if you don’t want to hassle with the additional costs and headaches that can sometimes accompany renting a car, skip it entirely and stay at a downtown hotel. One of the benefits of a downtown San Diego hotel is that guests are located near enough to the city’s major attractions that they can either walk or take public transportation and must only hassle with an inexpensive taxi fare from the airport to their hotel! For affordable accommodations in downtown San Diego, contact the Marina Inn today.
When visiting San Diego for a convention or event, you may not have time for a lot sightseeing. However, being short on time shouldn’t deter your from enjoying everything this beautiful city has to offer. By staying at an affordable hotel in downtown San Diego, you can easily travel to various downtown attractions during your convention breaks or after your event is over for the day. The following options are some of the most popular downtown sites among guests of the Marina Inn.
If you have some time to spare, head to the Gaslamp Quarter for dining and shopping. The area is packed with hundreds of restaurants, cocktail lounges and shops ideal for spending the afternoon or evening. No matter what you’re looking for, this small sixteen square block district just outside the convention center will be able to provide you with whatever you need.
For a relaxing break, take a leisurely stroll through Balboa Park. The lush landscaping, tropical gardens and many museums are a great way to spend an afternoon. There are also various restaurants at Balboa Park and a few concessions stands where you can get something to eat while enjoying the sunny San Diego weather. Click here to learn more about the outdoor activities at Balboa Park.
A little walk north of the San Diego Convention Center will take you to another great place to explore, Seaport Village. At this quaint bay front attraction, you can grab a quick bite to eat or take a seat along water and watch the boats come and go from the harbor. There are also many specialty shops where convention goers can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Although San Diego conventioneers don’t often have much time to sightsee, these nearby attractions are the perfect places for much needed breaks. For more information about the San Diego Convention Center or for hotel rates and availability, contact the Marina Inn today.