Gaslamp Quarter | San Diego

Whether you are in San Diego for a long weekend, convention or staycation, you can always find something to do in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Gaslamp Quarter covers approximately 16½ blocks in downtown with 94 Victorian-era buildings that feature some of the best restaurants, shops and nightclubs in the city. The next time you are in town, check out a few of our favorites things to do downtown.

Morning on the Waterfront

It’s going to be a busy day! Start your morning off with a sunrise run or walk around the waterfront. If you are staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt or the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Hotel, all you have to do is walk out the back door to start your waterfront run at Seaport Village. If you are staying in the Gaslamp Quarter, the best way to reach Seaport Village is to cross along 1st Avenue and then head south to make your way to the waterfront. From Seaport Village, you can explore the waterfront all the way around to Harbor Island and beyond.

Cafe222

Breakfast at Café 222

After your morning run, we always like to stop at Café 222 for a wholesome, home-cooked breakfast. We recommend the Tamales and Eggs or the 5-Grain Waffle with Granola. Café 222 also makes an assortment of fresh-baked goods daily to go with your soy latte.

Shopping in the Gaslamp

With more 130 stores, Westfield’s Horton Plaza is a must stop for savvy downtown shoppers. Get your shop on and enjoy an upscale, outside shopping experience that will get you in the mood to further explore the other boutiques in the Gaslamp Quarter. As you exit Horton Plaza on the East Side, you can stroll up and down 4th and 5th Avenues to finish up your shopping marathon. You’ll find an assortment of local boutiques offering urban-chic clothing, modern furniture and great home accessories.

Solamarpool

Pool Time Drinks

Not a shopper? No worries. Nothing says relaxation like fresh margaritas by the pool at the Hotel Solamar. Get away for the day, or the weekend, and enjoy the perennial San Diego sunshine. Located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, call ahead and reserve your own poolside cabana. Read a book, swim, or mingle with the poolside crowd. You will have fun in the sun all day long.

Bice

Dinner & Theatre

No day is complete in the Gaslamp Quarter without some great food and memorable entertainment. San Diego has not always been known for its upscale eats and culture… but do we have a surprise for you! Bring your dressy casual threads and take your special someone out on the town for an evening you will remember.

Start at Bice restaurant on 4th Avenue. You will enjoy true Italian hospitality, an outstanding wine list, and an enticing world of complex entrée combinations – true Italian cuisine. And be sure to ask about the gourmet cheese bar. Bice was named Open Table’s Diners Choice Winner for 2015. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Westside

After a relaxing dinner at Bice, you can enjoy a vibrant and intimate production of West Side Story, America’s favorite love story, at the Grand Horton Theatre. Enjoy Bernstein & Sondheim’s musical masterpiece filled with great songs like Tonight, Somewhere, When You’re a Jet, I Want to Be in America, and Maria. This ‘don’t miss’ production is directed by Deborah Gilmour Smith with musical direction by Partick Marion and choreography by Colleen Kollar Smith. Get tickets today.

 

Let’s Go Padres | Giveaway Night Games

You don’t have to be a die-hard baseball fan to enjoy a night watching the world famous San Diego Padres. Located conveniently in the East Village, you and your friends can walk over to Petco Park from the Gaslamp Quarter. Catch a game, grab a beer and pick up your free souvenir at any of these special night games.

  • Saturday, June 27th | Arizona Diamondbacks | Padres Beach Towel
  • Wednesday, July 22nd | San Francisco Giants | Sunglasses
  • Saturday, August 8th | Philadelphia Phillies | Throwback Replica Jersey
  • Saturday, August 22nd | St. Louis Cardinals | Dri Fit T-shirt
  • Saturday, September 5th | Los Angeles Dodgers | Grab Bag Giveaway


See Full Padres Promotion Schedule
 | Buy Tickets

Images courtesy of the San Diego Union Tribune and the San Diego Padres.

Padres1

Padres3

Padres2

Balboa Park | Spanish Architecture Tour

When visitors talk about their lasting impressions of Balboa Park, the topic of Spanish-Renaissance architecture always tops the list of what they remember most.

Balboa Park was the first place in the United States that this architectural style was prominently featured. The El Prado esplanade and Spanish-Renaissance cultural buildings were developed as temporary exhibition halls for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition commemorating the opening of the Panama Canal.

These buildings truly shine at sunrise and sunset any time of year. Take your camera to document your favorite architectural features.

Up-Close | Balboa Park Succulent Gardens

As the summer begins in San Diego, locals and visitors are reminded of how valuable our water resources are in California. Explore the wonders of Balboa Park’s water savvy succulent gardens. This photo tour explores the beauty you can only see up close in the Desert and Australia Gardens. Enjoy a leisurely stroll thought these drought-resistant gardens anytime of year. Enter the gardens near the pedestrian bridge by the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. The gardens are free to the public 365 days a year.

Download the tour map with plant reference guide.

Images are courtesy of Gary Waldrop Photography.

Succulent2

Succulent3

Succulent4

Succulent5

 

Balboa Park | An Evening at The Old Globe Theatre

If you are looking for culture in San Diego, plan to take your special someone to see a world-class production at The Old Globe Theatre. Start out your evening at the park with drinks and nibbles at the signature eatery, The Prado Restaurant in Balboa Park. Every Tuesday, The Lounge has a special Date Night menu as well as a monthly Old Globe Dinner & Show night. Either choice will set the stage for a beautiful, engaging evening in the world famous Balboa Park.

The Prado

Tip | Try the Mahi Mahi Tacos if you visit The Lounge for drinks.

Then soak in the culture at The Old Globe Theatre, one of the nation’s top-ranked regional theatres. The Old Globe has been home to the most acclaimed national artists, designers, directors and playwrights in the country. Over 20 productions have gone on to become Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. The Old Globe’s 2005 production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, and the production of The Full Monty garnered 10 Tony Award® nominations in 2000 for its successful Broadway run.

The Old Globe Theatre current production, Buyer & Cellar, is now playing from April 4th – May 3rd at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. Get tickets

Buyer & Cellar is Jonathan Tolins’s Off Broadway hit that will have you rolling in the aisles. What happens when you put a diva and out-of-work actor together with acres of memorabilia at a Malibu estate? You can only find out at The Old Globe Theatre.

“Seriously funny — a remarkably sustained slice of absurdist whimsy” – The New York Times
“This play deserves a hearty ‘Hello, gorgeous!’” – New York Daily News

Visit The Old Globe Theater for more information on show times, purchasing tickets and the upcoming calendar.

Historical Fact | Did you the original Old Globe Theatre was destroyed on March 8, 1978 by an arson fire?

The Rich History of The Old Globe Theatre
Built in 1935 as part of the California Pacific International Exposition, The Old Globe Theatre was originally designed to present abridged versions of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. At the conclusion of the exposition in 1937, The San Diego Community Theatre leased the theatre and adjacent buildings from the City of San Diego. Today, this non-profit organization continues to manage the theatre and has established the Globe as a year-round professional company. The Old Globe theatre is one of San Diego’s largest arts institutions with more than 250,000 people annually attending productions and participating in the theatre’s education programs and outreach services.

San Diego | Culture in Balboa Park

April is the perfect time of year to enjoy cultural experiences in Balboa Park in downtown San Diego. Whether you love art, history, food, music or all of the above, Balboa Park is the destination for a full day adventure this Spring.

We recommend you start your day early to see the Park at its finest. Start on the west side of the park and enter like the original park visitors who came for the 1915 Panama-California World Exposition. Your cultural adventure begins with a leisurely stroll across the historic Cabrillo Bridge. Get directions to the bridge.

As you approach the bridge on Laurel Street, you will see Founder’s Plaza and the lawn bowling club. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and harbor as you continue across the bridge and enter on El Prado, the main street of the Balboa Park.

You can soak up the morning sunshine as you enjoy the walk down the Prado. Be sure to snap a few photos of the great Spanish architecture and formal gardens you see along the way. Continue through the Plaza del Panama and past the lily pond as you make you way down to The San Diego History Museum. Download a map of Balboa Park to help you get around for the day.

Visit The Discovery of King Tut exhibition at The San Diego History Museum to learn about the tomb and treasures of Tutankhamun, one of the most famous discoveries in the history of archaeology. The More than 1,000 replicas of the most important finds have been reconstructed to scale by Egyptian master craftsmen. You’ll see a realistic impression of the overwhelming opulence of the offerings meant to serve the king on his magical journey into the Underworld. The exhibition ends April 26th so be sure to book now. Check out the museum’s website for other cultural exhibitions to see while you are here.

Fun Fact | Did you know The San Diego Natural History Museum was founded by a handful of citizen-naturalists in 1874? The museum is the oldest scientific institution in Southern California.

After the exhibition, enjoy a relaxing lunch al fresco on the back patio at The Prado restaurant. You have to try the grilled fish tacos and a margarita with salt – a San Diego tradition. If you want to try something new, try the Prickly Pear margarita – a local favorite.

The afternoon part of your cultural adventure starts with a walk across the Plaza de Panama to The San Diego Museum of Art.  We recommend the Romantic Views exhibition. Explore the romantic adventures of artists Carl Nebel, William Henry Jackson, Charles B. Waite, Abel Briquet, and Hugo Brehme, who traveled to Mexico over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These diverse traveler artists left behind an extraordinary body of work illustrating the romantic nature and geography of Latin America. You won’t want to miss this exhibition!

End your day where you started with a sunset walk over the Cabrillo Bridge. You can people watch, relax, and enjoy the sun as it sets over America’s Finest City.

Fun Fact | If you are a dog lover, be sure to stop by the dog park (near the Cabrillo Bridge entrance) to see San Diego’s furry friends enjoying the Spring weather with their owners.

For those of you looking for a great place to have dinner, Cucina Urbana is an excellent choice and it’s within walking distance. The dressy, casual atmosphere provides the perfect end to a day of culture. Popular favorites include the polenta board, burnt Brussels sprouts and the roasted Atlantic salmon. This is an extremely popular restaurant so reservations are recommended for table service. Cucina Urbana features a community table and martini bar so you can also enjoy happy hour with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Southern California | Classic Getaways

 As the dog days of summer count down, don’t miss what may be your Best Summer Vacation Getaway yet! From Los Angeles to San Diego, here are some of the most popular, and quintessential Southern California experiences that should be on your “Fun Bucket List.”

Los Angeles – Do you know of anyone that visits Los Angeles who doesn’t get a picture of either the iconic Hollywood sign, or of themselves by one of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Check.  Universal Studios and Citywalk are so much fun and a great way to experience the essence of the movie scene in LA.  Madame Toussauds Wax Los Angeles, Hollywood, Jennifer LopezMuseum serves as home to many celebrity figures that bear an eery likeness to the real thing. Instagram op? Check.  LA also is a great option for sports fans wanting to take in an exciting game while traveling – whether it is an NBA basketball game or a professional baseball game, you can watch the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center, or the Dodgers at the world famous Dodger Stadium.  The Santa Monica Pier is also a great diversion,whether traveling with your family, or just friends. Venice Beach offers a world of people watching.  Whether you are into celebrity sightings, thrill rides, NBA or pro baseball, LA has it all, and then some.

Orange County – This region includes Anaheim, home of the famous home of Mickey Mouse…Disneyland Resort, and Disney’s California Adventure which remain to be twoDisneyland, Southern California, Anaheim, Mickey Mouse of the most popular SoCal attractions.  Newport Beach serves as home to the amazing Fashion Island Mall, and beautiful Balboa Island which is a gem, and a special place you can either drive, walk, bike, or take the Balboa Island Ferry to get to.  And then there is Laguna Beach, which is gorgeous seaside town that has evolved into a destination for art lovers that hosts world class artists, festivals and shops.  It is well known for the popular Pageant of the Masters, a one-of-a-kind theatrical “living art” performance every summer.

Then finally, San Diego, America’s Finest City, where one can plan a week’s vacation, and still not fit in all the amazing attractions and fun things to do.  From Legoland, to SeaWorld San Diego, to the world famous San Diego Zoo, San Diego is thriving withSan Diego Zoo, Pandas world renown attractions. In addition to these well known attractions, there are awesome things to experience at the USS Midway Museum and Balboa Park, aka “the Smithsonian of the West”.  And if you need to just relax or take in a round of golf, there are 70 miles of beautiful beaches for you to enjoy, and more than 90 golf courses to work on your golf game.  San Diego is truly a recreational paradise for all!

Southern California, no matter where you go, offers you sunny and moderate temperatures year round and a host of activities and attractions that will please every traveler to the region.

When you are considering your next trip for two, a family vacation consider making a trip to Southern California, and go to our California Getaway page to check out each of these cities to see all the amazing hotel getaway packages that will make for the perfect getaway. Classic Southern California Getaways are always in style. no matter what the occasion for your trip!

Shelter Island | Family Vacations

What could be better than you and your family spending your summer vacation surrounded by the sparkling blue waters of San Diego’s Big Bay, on Shelter Island, San Shelter Island SummerDiego’s Marina Resort Oasis?  Shelter Island is a place where you and your family can become sailors for a day, on an exciting boat excursion.  Or you can experience the fun of a family bike ride along the harbor and maybe catch some seals sunning themselves, or feed the ducks and seagulls who love to reside in such a beautiful coastal environment.  For some added thrills, enjoy a sportfishing excursion and catch a host of Pacific fish like Yellowtail, Albacore, Halibut, Dorado and Calico Bass.  Or, plan your Big Bay Vacation around a fantastic summer concert at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay, which attracts nationally known comedians and musicians.  There are so many things to do on Shelter Island, you may not want to leave your hotel or the Island!

There are four very distinctive and unique hotels on Shelter Island for your family getaway.  The Bay Club Hotel and Marina which features unforgettable waterfront views; Kona Kai Resort, Spa and Marina, which is beautifully located at the very tip of Shelter Island; Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites, a tropical-island style hotel; and Island Palms Hotel & Marina, which features stunning views of San Diego Bay and their very own private mega Humphreys Outdoor Concertsyacht marina.
If you do want to experience some of San Diego’s finest attractions during your stay, Shelter Island is only minutes away from San Diego’s most popular attractions like SeaWorld, Old Town State Park, Seaport Village, the Downtown Gaslamp Quarter and the world famous San Diego Zoo.  There are so many iconic and popular attractions in San Diego to experience that the only problem you may have, is deciding what to do during your vacation.
The 4 premier hotels on Shelter Island are ready to welcome you and your family for your own Big Bay Vacation. Book your San Diego trip today at the Kona Kai Resort, Spa & MarinaIsland Palms Hotel & MarinaThe Bay Club Hotel & Marina or Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites.

Top 5 Cinco de Mayo Getaways

Cinco de Mayo celebrations commemorate the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. This celebration includes eating, drinking and dancing all things Mexican and is right around the corner.  Widely celebrated in the USA due to the large hispanic population, this Fifth Day of the month of May has caught on throughout the United States and many of us mistakenly believe this day to be Mexican Independence Day (actually the 16th of September.) The North American “Fiesta” includes sombrero-clad Mariachi (men and women) playing guitars, trumpets and other instruments to accompany Baile Folkloric dancers. These beautiful “Damas” or ladies play their castañets dressed in colorful regional dresses native to the region they represented in Mexico. Red, white and green are the highlighted festival colors which commemorate the National Flag of Mexico. Some of the culinary delights include tamales, empañadas, tacos, savory and sweet candies. Of course no fiesta is complete without tequila,  ice-cold cervezas and Margaritas. ¡Vamanos! Let’s Go!

We thought we would highlight five of the best places for a Cinco de Mayo Getaway in the USA!  Here are a few great getaway packages for each city.

San Diego, California

Old Town San Diego, known as the “Birthplace of California” will host the 30th Annual Old Town Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in Old Town State Historic Park along San Diego Avenue. This vibrant and free festival features multiple stages featuring live music, Mexican dancers, musicians, entertainment and family-friendly activities. The Bazaar del Mundo Shops in Old Town will showcase authentic and handcrafted specialty goods, Mexican food, folklore and fun. So many great places to stay and choose from in our  San Diego Getaway Packages for a fiesta weekend in San Diego!

Los Angeles, California

Fiesta Broadway 2013 kicks off the Cinco de Mayo celebration on Sunday, April 28th at Grand Park in Los Angeles. The festival is touted to be the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration amongst the latino population in the United States. Over 500,000 festival-goers enjoy a huge exhibit of Latino-inspired entertainment, food stalls, craft exhibits and more. Pick your favorite Los Angeles Getaway package and come join the fun in LA!

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago celebrates Cinco de Mayo by hosting a community celebration in the Little Village neighborhood which features traditional mexican food, live music, arts & crafts and activities for kids and families. Bring your family to this fun Little Village Cinco de Mayo Celebration. In addition to this festival, many of Chicago’s well known and popular restaurants will also celebrate the holiday and offer their own celebrations, specials and fun for the occasion. The Windy City options are fantastic – check out our Chicago Getaway Packages.

Portland, Oregon

Voted 2012’s Ovation Award for Best Cultural and Heritage Festival in the State of Oregon, Portland’s Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is presented by the Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association. This event attracts over 300,000 visitors and a significant part of the celebration lies around the city’s connection as a sister city to Guadalajara, Mexico. The festival’s agenda includes a traditional Mariachi Mass, Fire Dancers, a carnival, live butterfly exhibit, flash mob as well as an artisan’s village where unique art and handcrafted specialty goods will be displayed. The acclaimed Heathman Hotel has some incredible Portland Getaway Packages to choose from!

Denver, Colorado

Denver serves as home to a significant Hispanic population and with it, comes one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States. Musicians, dancers, mariachi bands and a family-friendly carnival are the highlights of this vibrant and exciting festival. Tantalizing culinary delights will be served throughout the festival, along with an annual green chili cook-off that will take place between local restaurants. Over 450,000 attendees are expected at this music-centric event. Great Denver Getaway Packages are offered at the Oxford Hotel right in downtown Denver!