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Best Downtown Restaurants for a Holiday Dinner

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Family, friends and lovers are all going to be swarming San Diego this holiday season looking for a great place to grab a meal. Downtown San Diego has over 100 restaurants so you’re bound to find something that pleases every palate. All of these locations have tables big enough to seat large parties and varying atmospheres from trendy to classy, depending on your desired tastes.

  • Hip and Trendy: Searsucker’s new location downtown has people coming in droves to try out celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s quirky creations like “cowboy caviar” and “farm bird lollipops.” The restaurant, much like Malarkey himself, oozes effortless charm and sex appeal. Tip: For groups over 11 they require a pre-set three course menu at $50 a head.
  • Seaside Sophistication: Harbor House is a great option for those staying near Seaport Village. On the second floor of this bay front restaurant, diners can enjoy a more informal atmosphere while a quiet and intimate dining experience awaits them on the bottom floor. This multifaceted eatery can accommodate groups of visitors that desire a private or semi-private meal with ease. Added bonus: their dinner menu has delicious items at several different price points.
  • Trusty Steak and Syrah: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is a no fail option with private dining rooms available for groups of 14 to 40. Its prime location near Downtown San Diego’s Convention Center makes it a great place for a business dinner. Or perhaps you’re looking to impress the in-laws? With a menu that includes aged USDA prime beef, truffle-poached lobster and king crab stuffed with caviar, we think you’ll be off to a great start. Helpful hint: For a surefire way to impress your guests, talk to the sommelier about appropriate wine pairings for each meal.

If you have family coming in from out of town to celebrate the holidays in San Diego, booking a room at the nearby affordable Downtown San Diego Marina Inn can save them the hassle of trekking across town for dinner. To set them up with a nice room before we book up this season, call a Reservation Specialist at 1-800-571-2933 and be sure to ask about our discounts.

San Diego Beer Week events near Balboa Park


As San Diego Beer Week kicks into full swing this weekend, beer related events are bubbling to the surface all over the county. One event that educates while it intoxicates is BEERologyat the Museum of Man, near the famous San Diego Zoo. BEERology is an interactive display that will run through the summer of 2014 and informs visitors onthe ties that different cultures and countries have to ancient forms of craft brewing.

The museum exhibit dissects the old school brewing methods in regions from North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and China. On-site experts will discuss stories, artifacts and culture pertaining to beer and come January, museum guests can sip on some suds while touring the vicinity.

On November 6, craft beer guzzlers can go right next door to the Natural History Center in Balboa Park for Beer Night at the Museum. The $55 tickets include unlimited samples from Ballast Point, Mike Hess Brewing, Modern Times and Saint Archer along with food pairings and a chance to mingle with the brewers themselves. Guests will be educated on the history of the San Diego brewing scene and will also get admission into the “Bottled & Kegged: San Diego Craft Beer Culture” exhibit. From 6pm to 9pm the four breweries will pair their beer with favorite food items like Aleppo Pepper short ribs, spicy Hamachi, and five flavor sea bass.

If you’re accommodations are near Balboa Park and you are interested in some other nearby SDBW events, these are Marina Inn’s top three:

  1. 5th Annual Green Flash Smokeout at Carnitas Snack Shack on November 3 from noon to 4:30pm.
  2. Happy Hour with Rip Current, Hess and Societe breweries at Hamilton’s Pub on November 7 from 4pm to 11pm.
  3. Mike Hess Brewing’s Ritual Cask Night at Ritual Kitchen and Beer Garden on November 7 from 6pm to 9 pm.

Is all this talk of beer giving you a buzz? Don’t worry about driving, and instead book an affordable hotel room at the Marina Inn. Call 1-800-571-2933 to speak with a reservation specialist today and be sure to ask about our advance booking and weekday discounts.

3 Easiest Ways to Save When Visiting San Diego


While San Diegans are shivering as the temperatures start to drop into the 60s, visitors from colder climates flock to San Diego and walk around unbothered by the weather in shorts and t-shirts. The months November through January aren’t peak season for San Diego (we all know everyone comes to San Diego in the summer), however the holidays are upon us. Visitors should still expect fairly high prices for flights and accommodations, especially for travel closer to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

So what do you do if you have your heart set on visiting San Diego this fall, but might not have the necessary budget? You read these tips for the easiest ways to save in San Diego!

  1. Location, location, location. As with many things, it’s all about location, and where you are going to stay in San Diego is no different. You’ll save the most by reserving a hotel in a centrally located downtown district where you can walk or take advantage of the city’s public transportation system. This way, not only will you save by renting a car, you are provided with the added convenience of having all of downtowns attractions at your fingertips. Even though La Jolla and Coronado are beautiful, the price of staying near the beach might not be worth it in the cooler winter months.
  2. Make hotel accommodations in advance. After deciding which part of San Diego you want to visit, it is in your best interest to make a hotel reservation as soon as possible. Prices will only continue to rise as the holidays get closer, leaving those who procrastinate out of luck. Look for websites offering hotel deals such as Not only does the Marina Inn offer discounted hotel rates, there are additional savings for those who book early, AAA members, Military and many more.
  3. Plan out (some of) your meals. Dining while on vacation is one of the fastest ways to deplete your vacation budget. Travelers tend to get caught up in wanting to try new restaurants, and not only eating out for main meals such as lunch and dinner, but for snacks as well. Plan out some of your meals and check some menus before to get a good idea of how much you’ll be spending. If there are restaurants that you’ve heard about and are dying to try, make a reservation and plan out which day of your trip you’re going to go. This way, you know you’ll have to be more frugal with your breakfast or lunch plans. Other ways to save include dining during happy hour or staying at a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast.

Also be sure to shop around for flights and if you know you’re going to be traveling, sign up for updates from popular airlines so you’ll be alerted when sales take place. JetBlue and Southwest are national airlines that are recognized for lower priced flights into San Diego so start with those when doing any research.

Top Travel Tips for Halloween in San Diego


With just about a week to go until Halloween, we thought it would be fitting to go over some last minute travel tips for visitors planning on spending Halloween in San Diego. From flight and hotel information to transportation and popular events, we’re covering it all right here!

Flight and Airline Information

If you don’t have a flight already, chances are the price for airline tickets are going to be on the expensive side as the holiday attracts many San Diego travelers. Some popular airlines that consistently have low fares to San Diego include Southwest and JetBlue, so check flights offered from those airlines first. Also, beware of airlines that charge low fares, but tack on additional fees for items like luggage, quickly driving up overall cost. If you are staying near the downtown district, the most affordable way to get to your hotel will be by cab. You can catch a cab across the sky bridge which is located directly outside of the baggage claim area.

Hotel Accommodations

Hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter are going to be charging exceptionally high rates during Halloween weekend as many of the evening festivities are taking place at bars and nightclubs in the area. It is also important to keep in mind that while Halloween is next Thursday, many parties are being held this upcoming weekend so you can plan for increased rates during this time as well. If you have procrastinated making hotel reservations and are in need of affordable rates for downtown San Diego lodging, it’s not too late. Click here for upcoming rates and availability at the Marina Inn hotel near the Gaslamp Quarter and don’t forget to check out our online promotional codes for additional savings.

Halloween Transportation

Transportation on Halloween is difficult to come by, especially at the end of the evening. It is best to make reservations for transportation as early as possible to ensure a ride to your desired destination. Don’t forget to factor in time for traffic, especially if you’re going downtown. There is an annual event which closes down a few of the major streets and is sure to delay your travel by at least 20-30 minutes. For the fastest service, have cash on hand for your driver. Public transportation will also be running, however service hours are the same with no late-night transportation available. If possible, the best option is to stay within the downtown area so you can walk to Halloween activities and events.

Halloween Events

The events in downtown San Diego range from parades and costume contests for kids in San Diego’s Little Italy to late-night dance parties for the 21+ in the Gaslamp Quarter. No matter what event you’re attending, you can expect there to be large crowds, and if the event you have your eye on requires a ticket purchase, consider pre-purchasing tickets. Many events sell out and not being able to purchase tickets at the door is sure to put a damper on your Halloween festivities. As mentioned earlier, the streets will be congested so if you need to arrive at a destination by a particular time, be sure to factor in street traffic.

The Marina Inn is still offering discounted rates for hotel rooms Halloween weekend. Visit our website at or contact a Reservation Manager directly at 1-800-571-2933 for additional information about our rooms and suites, current discounts and complimentary amenities.

Enjoy Coastal Cuisine without Breaking the Bank


Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, it is no surprise that San Diego is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in town. While you’re sure to have nothing short of an exceptional experience at restaurants such as Oceanaire, Blue Point Coastal and Tom Ham’s Lighthouse just to name a few, you can still enjoy fresh, high-quality seafood at restaurants around town for a fraction of the price. Depending on where you are in San Diego, we’ve listed some of our favorite spots where you can affordably satisfy your seafood cravings ($15 to $20 per person).

If you find yourself in downtown San Diego, these popular restaurants are in the midst of all the action, yet offer reasonable prices for their inspirational seafood dishes:

  • Escape Fish Bar – Located a few blocks from San Diego’s Petco Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, the menu here is simple with about a half dozen types of fish with a handful of preparations to choose from. Aside from the quality product, visitors love their light fish batter which always provides just the right amount of crunch.
  • Downtown Fish Joint – This mom and pop store has been serving San Diego for more than 15 years and has perfected their seafood options. Visitors love the fish taco plates which come highly recommended due to the large size of the fish tacos. A visit to the fish joint and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Long day at the beach? The following restaurants are not far from the various beaches of San Diego, and offer a casual place to relax and dine after a day of sand and surf:

  • Point Loma Seafoods – Not far from Ocean Beach, Point Loma Seafoods is popular for their fresh, wild caught product. Their salads and sandwiches offer some of the best value with most people coming back for their crab sandwich which is loaded with fresh real Dungeness crab meat.
  • PB Fish Shop – Located in Pacific Beach, this is a gathering place for locals and always wins over vacationers. Choose from a variety of fish, preparations and decide if you’d like a taco, salad, plate or sandwich. The prices are affordable and on Thursdays, the restaurant holds $1 oyster night which goes until the oysters are gone!

For travelers who spent the day visiting SeaWorld San Diego and the Mission Valley area, there’s no need to worry; there are still restaurants that still have great seafood offerings:

  • Bay Park Fish Co. – When dining at the Bay Park Fish Co. you can always expect great service and a variety of options for food. Some favorites among locals include the Poke appetizers, lobster tacos and the halibut rolled tacos. For additional savings, head over during their daily happy hour from 3pm to 6pm.
  • Wahoo’s Fish Tacos – Looking for something quick after a long day? This is the place for you. A San Diego based restaurant, Wahoo’s is famous for their fish tacos but also serves plates, bowls and burritos. And if you’re traveling with kids, there’s a great kids menu with meals around $5.

Planning your trip to San Diego for an MCRD Graduation


The Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego is one of the largest training centers in the country. That means almost every weekend new platoons have Marines graduating from boot camp training. That also means that there are a lot of visiting families and happy military men and women that are looking to celebrate all of their hard work.

Where to stay in San Diego

First things first; if you have started to plan your trip to San Diego to watch an MCRD graduation you’re going to need a place to stay. Lodging (or “billeting”) is available on site, but if you’re looking for something that is more immersed in the San Diego social scene you can get a 10% military discount at Marina Inn and Suites, which is located less than 3 miles from the depot.

Head to Old Town San Diego

The closest place to celebrate is Old Town. Lodging near Old Town is a great option as this wonderfully small and vibrant town is full of excellent restaurants, lively bars and best of all, tons of places that offer military discounts. Since Old Town is just a mile away from the MCRD, the establishments have grown to expect and respect celebrating soldiers and their families every weekend.

For dinner we recommend New Orleans Creole Café for authentic gumbo and sweet tea or try out Casa Guadalajara’s homemade tortillas and house margaritas. After you’ve had your fill of food, walk over to Barra Barra Saloon where you can sip cocktails on their welcoming patio while enjoying a warm San Diego night and the satisfaction of knowing your loved one successfully completed their intense military training.

Call 1-800-571-2933 to book a discounted room or suite at Marina Inn today!

Top 5 Views in San Diego Based on Activity


At the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego, we understand the concept of “different strokes for different folks.” Everyone wants a great view of San Diego, but not everyone wants to get there the same way. Depending upon your desired activity, we have put together a list of the best views in the county to help you plan a successful San Diego vacation.

Day Trip: If you’re vacationing near San Diego’s Balboa Park, it would be a shame if you missed out on the beautiful Botanical Building, which was built in 1915. The giant wooden dome is one of the largest lath structures in the world and houses more than 2,000 wondrous plants. Another famed site is the adjacent lily pond in which you can see turtle, koi, and flowers galore! After enjoying the views and beautiful outdoors, spend the rest of the day checking out the Balboa Park museums.

Hike: Cowles Mountain has a summit reaching nearly 1,600 feet, making it the highest peak in the city of San Diego. The hiking trail to the top is a challenging 3 mile uphill trek, but the uncontested panoramic view of San Diego is well worth the sweat.

Night Out: Bertrand Mister A’s has long been touted as having the best view of the San Diego skyline. Located on the 12th floor of the 5th Avenue Financial Center building, this restaurant offers fine dining with friendly service and an outdoor balcony that can’t be beat.

Shopping: If you’re staying at one of the hotels near Seaport Village in downtown San Diego, be sure to stop by the quaint bayside shopping area. Not only are you up close to San Diego’s Big Bay but you can also bask in the beautiful views of the downtown cityscape and the Coronado Bridge.

Beach Bum: Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach didn’t get its name by accident. There is a constant flow of photographers and artists setting up shop along its rocky cliffs come sunset just to get that perfect shot of a seagull, surfer or swimsuit clad model. If you wander around you’re sure to find some caves to explore or tiny patches of secluded beach space.

If you’re looking to experience some of California’s best views, there’s no better place than America’s Finest City. Start planning your vacation today and contact a Marina Inn Reservation Manager at 1-800-571-2933.

Morning Fun in Sunny San Diego


The downtown district of San Diego is recognized as the hub of the entertainment and nightlife, offering endless options for clubs, bars and more once the sun sets. However, what if you’re traveling with young children? Maybe you’re looking to enjoy San Diego in the morning? What are your options? As one of the cheap hotels in downtown San Diego, we know a thing or two about savings, and have created a short list of fun things you can do in the morning that won’t cost your entire vacation budget.

  1. Catch a movie. We’ve all watched the prices for movie screenings skyrocket in the past years, making going to the movies a less desirable activity. Fortunately, the United Artist Cinema at the Horton Plaza Mall in downtown San Diego is currently offering a discounted ticket price of $6.50 for all screenings before noon. Check out the latest flicks and enjoy deep discount and a modern theater with all of the amenities for the total movie-going experience.
  2. Tour Balboa Park. At 1pm on Tuesday and Sunday, Balboa Park offers a free walking tour. While the tour doesn’t take place too early the morning, the grounds are open 24 hours so you can enjoy the park before it gets too crowded. Plus, a majority of the museums open at 10am so grab a coffee, head over early and enjoy the park!
  3. Stroll along the embarcadero. If you’re an early riser and are not sure what to do in the morning, stroll along the San Diego Harbor and enjoy the views. Those staying at nearby San Diego Harbor hotels also have a variety of options for breakfast on the bay. Stick to local mom-and-pop restaurants to keep dining costs low!
  4. Grab breakfast in Little Italy. Little Italy is overflowing with authentic Italian cafes which serve coffees, pastries and more. You’ll be able to watch as the shops begin to open and can enjoy them morning relaxing on the patio.

Planning a trip to San Diego? These are only a few of the many affordable things you can do in America’s Finest City. And of course, to save on your hotel reservations, don’t forget to contact the Marina Inn in downtown San Diego and take advantage of our year round hotel deals.

Convention Center Expansion Plans Approved


Today marked a huge milestone for the city of San Diego as the San Diego Coastal Commission officially approved the $520 million dollar expansion plan. The expansion of the waterfront venue is to include additional indoor venue space (a huge draw for large events such as Comic Con), a 5 acre rooftop park, and also includes the opportunity to add an on-site hotel for San Diego conventioneers.

The proposal was in limbo until today; the Coastal Commission had previously recommended denying the project because it would block views of the San Diego bay, while also making it more difficult to access the water on the other side of the building. However, after two days of debate, the project is finally set in motion and supporters hope the expansion will bring jobs and encourage San Diego’s tourism.

With news of the approval, we only saw it fit to post about some of the great things San Diego conventioneers can do nearby! So whether you’re going to be in town in the near future for a convention or have plans to attend one of the first events held at the revamped meeting facility, here is a list of must-see attractions near the San Diego Convention Center:

  • Check out the historic USS Midway Museum and continue along the coast to Seaport Village where you can stop for casual dining and views of the bay.
  • For a fun and memorable evening on the town, there’s no better place than the Gaslamp Quarter as its overflowing with bars and nightclubs. Not a night owl? Go during the day and go on a walking tour or shop at Horton Plaza Mall.
  • Lodging near San Diego’s Little Italy will provide you with the best options for dining. Grab an authentic Italian meal in the cozy district or stop by for dessert and a coffee.
  • The San Diego Zoo is a must if there’s time in your itinerary and with its location in Balboa Park, you can also check out the urban park’s many museums and lush gardens

Don’t worry, you don’t have to attend a convention just to enjoy the sites of San Diego! Head down for a fall getaway with friends and family. For information about affordable hotel accommodations in downtown San Diego, click here or contact the Marina Inn at 1-800-571-2933.

Spotlight on Legoland’s Brick-or-Treat Event


How is your family going to celebrate Halloween this year? Carving pumpkins and trick or treating? Heading downtown to Seaport Village for the annual Halloween Bash on the Bay? If you don’t want to stay near San Diego Gaslamp Quarter for Halloween this year, no problem! Celebrate this year’s spookiest holiday, the annual Brick-or-Treat Nights, at the Legoland California Resort. One of the top family-friendly events in San Diego, you can count on a ton of fun, fright and festivities.

The spooky and fun nights take place every Saturday and Sunday in October, meaning plenty of time to check out the park’s thrilling rides, haunted mansions, Halloween themed shows and Lego creations. The highlight of the event is the Brick-or-Treat trail which is comprised of 10-stations where younger visitors can find tasty (and healthy) treats, win prizes and encounter a variety of surprises!

On Saturdays, Brick-or-Treat also hosts costume contests for children 12 and under. The lucky winners will receive a 4 Resort Membership Passes and a gift basket! And don’t forget to bring your camera, as there will be plenty of opportunities to capture your memories with Legoland’s crew of skeletons, ghosts, scarecrows and more. With live shows, dancing, Halloween displays and fireworks, you can’t deny the fun of Legoland’s Brick-or-Treat Nights.

If you are traveling to San Diego for the holiday and have accommodations near the San Diego International Airport, you can make the most out of your theme park adventure by taking advantage of Legoland’s extended Halloween hours. Certain portions of the theme park will be open for late night revelers including the Land of Adventure, Immigration Zone and Safari Trek. Activities here will include a dance party and pumpkin patch building contest with special glowing nighttime treats.

Now you’re left with one thing! How to buy tickets for Brick-or-Treat Nights! The answer is simple. Click here to visit the official Legoland website and purchase tickets online. Evening admission from 5pm to 9pm is only $30 and full day admission to Legoland and SeaLife is a discounted $59. Hope to see you there!

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

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Other Package

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