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Fashion Valley Mall Food Guide

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If you’re planning your San Diego shopping excursion to Fashion Valley Mall, which we highly recommend, you’re going to need to rest those feet and your wallet during the day, and one of the many restaurants or cafes is the perfect place to do it. This newly renovated mall has tons of options for every preference, taste and budget.

First, some basic information about the mall: it’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. There are five department stores, 200 shops and restaurants and an 18-screen AMC movie theatre. The stores cover big name brands like Burberry and Gucci and budget stores like Forever 21 and H&M.

If you’re making the mall trip a fun family outing, then take a play break with the kids at the Geppetto’s children area on the first floor next to Gap Kids. The mall also has multiple baby changing stations, including one near Guest Services on the lower level.

If you’re coming from another country to vacation in San Diego you might want to utilize the mall’s Foreign Currency online ordering with Travelex option. You can have U.S. currency delivered right to your door or you can have money preloaded onto your Cash Passport. Something else that might make your travel easier is staying at a cheap hotel near the San Diego International Airport.

Now that you have content kids and the right currency, it’s time to eat! Here are our suggestions for Fashion Valley Mall food destinations:


  • 59th& Lex on the third floor in Bloomingdales is a nice quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the busy outdoor mall.
  • The Zodiac is a hidden gourmet gem nestled inside Niemen Marcus that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Nordstrom Café also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner but caters to the busy grab-and-go shopper who’s just looking for a quick bite.


  • California Pizza Kitchen in the top level food court is a great place to bring the kids. Their diverse menu has everything from pizza (of course) to chicken plates, pastas and kids meals.
  • Cheesecake Factory is the place to go for large plates and hot dates. The expansive restaurant has a hot happy hour, large booths and an inviting patio.
  • True Food Kitchen is the one true option for the health conscious eater who wants delicious food options while still sticking to their diet.
  • Stacked is a great burger and pizza joint that lets you decide when you get your bill and when the food arrives. This is a great option for families with sometimes fussy kids.

For a full listing of Fashion Valley stores and restaurants you can visit the Fashion Valley mall website at Its central location makes it a great destination to relax whether you spent the day at SeaWorld San Diego, the zoo or one of the fantastic beaches along the coast.

Now that you’ve got some information about San Diego, start planning your vacation! To see what a nearby family friendly budget hotel in San Diego can offer you, click here. The Marina Inn near downtown San Diego has all the family friendly amenities you’re looking for: free breakfast, affordable rooms, and a Kid’s Suite that has an adjoining room with a bunk bed for the little ones! To book a room at the Marina Inn, please call our Reservations desk at 1-800-571-2933 and be sure to inquire about our available discounted rates.

San Diego Museum Month offers 50% Off


San Diego’s 25th Annual Museum Month has officially begun! For the entire month of February museum lovers can get a free museum pass that grants them 50% off at 44 local museums. That means you have 22 whole days left to enjoy the plethora of participating San Diego museums. The overzealous can even attempt to tackle two museums a day to see them all. If you’re flying into San Diego for your vacation, click here for information about San Diego Airport hotels that are minutes from all the museum action!

The San Diego Museum Council started this event 25 years ago in 1989 as a way to draw tourists and locals to local museums. All you have to do to participate is go to 1 of 14 Macy’s stores in the San Diego Area, Temecula or Imperial Valley to pick up your free Museum Pass. One pass is good for 50% off museum admission for up to four people throughout the entire month.

Here is a list of the 44 participating museums:

  1. Adobe Chapel
  2. Barona Cultural Center & Museum
  3. Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  4. Bonita Museum and Cultural Center
  5. California Surf Museum
  6. Coronado Museum of History & Art
  7. Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
  8. Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House
  9. Heritage of the Americas Museum
  10. Japanese Friendship Garden
  11. Junipero Serra Museum
  12. La Jolla Historical Society
  13. Living Coast Discovery Center
  14. Lux Art Institute
  15. Maritime Museum of San Diego
  16. Marston House & Gardens
  17. Mingei International Museum
  18. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Downtown
  19. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla
  20. Museum of Making Music
  21. Museum of Photographic Arts
  22. Oceanside Museum of Art
  23. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  24. San Diego Air & Space Museum
  25. San Diego Archaeological Center
  26. San Diego Automotive Museum
  27. San Diego Botanic Garden
  28. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
  29. San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
  30. San Diego History Center
  31. San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  32. San Diego Natural History Museum
  33. Santa Ysabel Store
  34. The New Children’s Museum
  35. The San Diego Museum of Art
  36. Tijuana Estuary Visitors Center
  37. Timken Museum of Art
  38. USS Midway Museum
  39. Veterans Museum & Memorial Center
  40. Visions Art Museum
  41. Warner-Carillo Ranch House & Museum
  42. Water Conservation Garden
  43. Whaley House Museum
  44. Women’s Museum of California

As you can see, there is a vast array of museums throughout the county specializing in different subjects, from boats and botanical garden to surfing and song, your interests will surely be appeased.

Of the 44 museums, 13 are located in the beautiful Balboa Park next to the San Diego Zoo. For a day full of cheap family fun, book a budget hotel near the San Diego Zoo to enjoy the local museums like the popular Reuben H. Fleet Science Center at Balboa Park before walking to the Zoo to ogle the new panda cub. Or you could make this an adult only vacation and attend Balboa Park’s Culture and Cocktails event at the San Diego Museum of Art on Feb. 20. This 21+ social event features South Asian art, multiple bars inside the museum, an after party and a live DJ! Who said museums weren’t any fun?

Book your cheap San Diego hotel now and start planning your SoCal vacation so you don’t miss out on these great affordable events. For more information about discounted hotel rates, contact the Marina Inn today at 1-800-571-2933!

One Day Itinerary:
Walking around the San Diego Zoo

Photo Credit:

If planning a day trip to the San Diego Zoo with your kids seems like an intimidating task, fear not because we have a free walking guide that will make your trip easy, fun and best of all, you won’t have to pay for an overpriced tour once you get to the Zoo. Simply throw on some walking shoes, print out this blog post before you go and purchase your discounted tickets in advance at the Marina Inn, an affordable family friendly hotel near the San Diego Zoo.

Free San Diego Zoo Walking Guide

This 100 acre park has over 3,700 endangered animals on site representing more than 650 species. If you don’t have your Zoo itinerary planned out it could lead to miles of unnecessary walking and very cranky kids. Fortunately, with this guide you’ll learn a handful of facts to help get you through the day! In fact, San Diego’s sparse winter season brings the best time of the year to visit the San Diego Zoo. There are fewer tourists during the fall and winter and animals tend to come outside more often when there’s no need to seek shade from the sun. After you enjoy your free hot breakfast at our cheap hotel near the Gaslamp Quarter, round up the kids and be the first through the Zoo gates at 9 a.m.

  1. After entering the Zoo most people continue on the path straight ahead called Easy Street because, well, it’s easy. To see the best and biggest Zoo exhibits, we recommend taking a left on Front Street and starting at the Discovery Outpost. This is where kids can play in the petting Zoo, check out some colorful insects and even see a 4-D movie.
  2. Go back down Front Street and make a left before the Flamingo exhibit. Admire their balancing skills and continue on down this path to see the monkeys and the Zoo’s large Gorilla enclosure.
  3. Stop at Benchley Plaza for a lunch break. You can pre-pack your own meals to enjoy at various picnic benches or splurge and eat at the famous Albert’s Restaurant. This is a great idea if you’re traveling with little kids who may need a break, Albert’s is the only full-service restaurant on-site.
  4. Next you’re going to walk down the Monkey Trail and through the Scripps Aviary filled with beautiful birds before you begin your trek through the Lost Forest. Get an up close and personal look at some roaring tigers before you hit the Hippo Trail.
  5. Once you get to Park Way make a right to take a detour to the World Famous Panda Canyon to see the new baby Panda cub and her parents. There may be a short line, but don’t be discouraged, it goes by fairly quickly and it’s definitely worth the wait!
  6. Head back up Park Way and through Eagle Trail to see some cool feathered friends as you make your way to Polar Rim to see the Zoo’s playful polar bears splash around in their arctic pool. If possible, try to align your trip with feeding time to see the polar bears in their most active state. You can get a list of feeding times from the information desk at the front of the park.
  7. After exiting Polar Rim continue your adventure on Park Way, taking time to ogle over the lion and jaguar exhibits before landing at Elephant Odyssey. Take your time walking through this area and stop at the tables available at Sabertooth Grill for a snack break.
  8. Once you’re ready to embark on the tail end of your journey, continue down the path going right on Park Way past African Rocks. Make a left to stroll down Big Cat Trail and Kiwi Trail which takes you to the Urban Jungle. This is where you’ll catch a glimpse of towering giraffes, rampaging rhinos and more.
  9. Head out of the Urban Jungle and go right up Center Street to see various endangered bear species like the Brown Grizzly Bear.
  10. Take a left at Treehouse Trader to finish off your day at the Zoo by either strolling through the Owen’s and Parker Aviaries and down the Orangutan Trail which shoots you out at Easy Street right near the exit or you can walk across the tropical Fern Canyon Trail also leading you to Easy Street.

We hope that this One Day Zoo Itinerary makes your day fun, affordable and timely. Be sure to check out the Zoo’s map and see if there are any other exhibits that you want to squeeze in to your schedule.

Remember that if you purchase discounted Zoo tickets in advance at Marina Inn we’ll also give you 15% off your already cheap San Diego hotel stay! Click here to learn more about the available rooms at the downtown San Diego Marina Inn along with our special discounts and hotel packages so that you can plan your San Diego vacation today! To book a room please click on the “reservations” tab on our website or call our Reservation Hotline at 1-800-571-2933.

Family Day Details for MCRD San Diego Ceremony


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.

Top San Diego Bars and Places to be for the 2014 Super Bowl


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!

What to Wear for a Day at the Zoo


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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 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 San Diego Savings


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Why your Family Should take a Tech Vacation


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!

The Big History of Little Italy, San Diego


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!

A Local’s Guide to San Diego


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.

Advance Booking

14 Days - 12% Off

7 Days - 10% Off

3 Days - 8% Off

Zoo & Seaworld Discount

15% OFF

With any purchase of
Zoo or Seaworld tickets

Weekday Discount

10% OFF

Stay any day
Sunday - Thursday

Other Discounts

10% OFF

AAA, Military, AARP
Other Package

Marina Inn San Diego Pet Friendly Hotel Marina Inn San Diego Hotel Accepts AAA Members

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