Best Neighborhood In San Diego For Families
- COOLEST thing to do in Ocean Beach take a dip in the Ocean Beach Tidepools and look out for the crustaceans
- BEST place to visit in Ocean Beach head down to Point Loma to discover some of Americas military history in the area
Located northwest of the city centre, Ocean Beach is the perfect neighborhood for families spending some time in San Diego! This calm and breezy neighborhood is packed with family-friendly activities including one of the longest boardwalks in the country, and of course the nearby SeaWorld theme park.
Whilst relatively far out from the city centre, it is well connected by public transport perfect for taking trips to the main attractions! It is also a very creative neighborhood, with interesting street art and independent galleries dotting the streets. Laid-back and cooler than the humid city centre, Ocean Beach is perfect for those that want a more relaxed experience.
Where To Stay In Mission Beach/mission Bay
The two hotels here definitely have a chain hotel/corporate vibe, but they are family-friendly, 3-4 stars and I have no problem staycationing at either one.
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina
This hotel juts out into Mission Bay, so rooms have views of the Pacific Ocean, Mission Beach, or the downtown San Diego skyline. The lagoon-style pool is popular with families as it has a waterslide and plenty of seating. Its also possible to walk to Mission Beach from here in about 10 minutes or so. The full-service marina offers opportunities for sport fishing in addition to kayaks, jet skis, sailboats and more. Check rates and reviews online.
San Diego Mission Bay Resort
San Diego Mission Bay Resort has convenient freeway access and is located on Mission Bay. Some of the rooms have fire pits, and the onsite store sells smores kits . The pool area is nice as are the tennis courts . An activities center provides SUP, aqua cycle and kayak rentals for bay fun. Its a nice family resort but can be busy.
Downtown San Diego: Best For Foodies And Nightlife Lovers
Given the wide variety of things to do and the proximity to the airport, downtown is one of the best places to stay in San Diego. More specifically, the historic Gaslamp Quarter is one of the best areas to stay in. There are plenty of amazing hotels in this area, and its known as San Diegos nightlife hub. Youll find tons of great restaurants, bars, clubs, and performance venues in this neighborhood.
In addition to the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy is a popular spot that has fun bars and restaurants. Downtown is also the home to many of the major must-see San Diego spots, including Balboa Park, Coronado Island, the USS Midway, and the San Diego Zoo.
Pros of Staying in Downtown San Diego
- Access to Public Transportation: In addition to the buses, Downtown San Diego has a trolley system, which can make getting around the area a bit easier.
- Close Proximity to Sights: Theres a lot of things to do and see in and around Downtown San Diego, so its a great spot for visitors.
- Walkable: Its incredibly easy to explore Downtown San Diego by foot, as its fairly compact.
- Lots of Excellent Eateries, Bars, Clubs, and Cafes: There is no shortage of excellent places to eat and drink downtown! Whether youre looking for something more lowkey or a bit more upscale, you have plenty of options.
Cons of Staying in Downtown San Diego
Downtown San Diego Highlights
Places to Stay in Downtown San Diego
Pendry San Diego
The US Grant
The Westgate Hotel
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Which Beach Hotels Have Pools
All of the beach hotels on my list have pools except for Crystal Pier Hotel, which does not because it is located on a pier, and Tower23. We also have a list of the best hotel pools in San Diego that you can refer to but hotels like Pacific Terrace Inn have beachfront pools that overlook the beach, while the Catamaran Hotel Resort and Spa has a pool next to a game room for kids.
Recommended Activities In San Diego:
- Skip the Ticket Line: San Diego Zoo 1-Day Ticket Save some time by skipping the queue and see some of the rare and endangered animals up close. With your lover, climb aboard an Arctic research helicopter, or crawl into a bear den!
- San Diego: Harbor Cruise Spend a romantic day exploring San Diegos best sights on a harbor tour. Enjoy the beautiful views of Coronado Bridge, Downtown San Diego, and many more.
- San Diego: Drive Your Own Speed Boat 2-Hour Tour Bring your loved one along and drive a speed boat on this thrilling 2-hour tour. Speed around San Diego Harbor while hearing some fun facts from the guide.
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Best Location In San Diego Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best area to stay in San Diego for sightseeing?
Downtown San Diego is the best place to stay in the city for a first visit or sightseeing, in general. In Downtown, youll find attractions like the San Diego Zoo and the gorgeous Balboa Park. This area also has the best transport connections.But, if you want to visit SeaWorld, you should stay in Mission Beach.
What is the best area to stay in San Diego with kids?
If youre traveling to San Diego with kids, it may be in your best interest to stay near SeaWorld. By remaining close to the park, youll enjoy early shows and spend less time and money on public transport.Downtown is also a good place to stay in San Diego for family trips because it is close to the zoo.
Whats the best area to stay in San Diego near the beach?
If you wonder where to stay near the beach in San Diego, look no further than La Jolla. The beach in La Jolla is beautiful, and the area is still close to most of the citys attractions.For a couples getaway, you could try staying in the stunning and romantic Coronado.
Whats the best area to stay in San Diego to visit SeaWorld?
SeaWorld is in Mission Bay, so thats the part of San Diego where you should stay to visit the park. Mission Bay has many accommodation options very close to SeaWorld.
What is the best location in San Diego for nightlife?Where to stay in San Diego without a car?What is the best area in San Diego for LGBT travelers?
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Best Airbnb In Ocean Beach: Island Life Home In The Heart Of Ocean Beach
Within footsteps to the sand, this Instagram worthy home is the best deal around, you cant beat the location for the price point. Its oceanfront and spacious for the whole family. Plus, its walking distance to restaurants, microbreweries, and all the shopping your heart desires. Youll love the bright and clean home in the mornings with the sun shining through to get you up and productive for the day ahead!
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Where To Stay In Carlsbad
As mentioned above, Carlsbad hotels provide excellent value relative to others in town.
Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego
I love this hotel, and its one of my top picks for luxury travelers to San Diego. Its a quiet, residence-style resort located next door to the Park Hyatt and Aviara golf course. The one- and two-bedroom residences are perfect for extended stays and larger families. And, youll get five-star Four Seasons service and food, too. I also have special amenities to add to reservations here. Request a Preferred Partner rate.
Park Hyatt Aviara
This is another hotel that prices well due to location as amenities. Suites here usually price only slightly higher than rooms . Highlights include golf, game room, pools, and the spa. Connecting rooms can be guaranteed. Book a Virtuoso rate .
Omni La Costa
Omni La Costa is popular for staycations as well as vacations. Kids tend to love the splash pad area, kids club and pools while adults enjoy the award-winning spa and golf. Its a four-star property with large villas for larger families and extended stays. Rooms need an upgrade, however. They often have sale rates on Omnis website but check rates and reviews to see what is best.
Where Should I Stay In San Diego With A Baby
The family hotels in San Diego that I work with provide complimentary cribs or Pack n Plays. Babysitting is available. If youre looking for a kids club that takes babies, guests of Omni La Costa can reserve two hours per day of supervised play for ages 6 months to three years through its Kidtopia nursery .
Many of these hotels also can provide microwaves and refrigeration for baby milk in addition to babyproofing and other helpful baby amenities by request.
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Where To Stay In Old Town & Mission Valley
- Hilton San Diego Mission Valley As you might expect from a Hilton, this branch is all about polished rooms and amenities. The rooms boast muted, minimalist color palettes, while elsewhere, theres a swish outdoor pool, a fitness center where you can keep up with your workouts, a lounge to chill out in, and an on-site restaurant serving up Californian cuisine. Located just off Interstate 8, this 4-star hotel is a convenient option for those who find themselves on a road trip. For families, San Diego Zoo is a mere three miles away.
- Kings Inn With its calm but stylish rooms, this 3-star hotel is a blast from the past. Each room at this 1960s-themed hotel features vintage black-and-white photographs depicting the history of the local area. A budget hotel located just off Interstate 8, its suitable for anyone watching their expenses while on a Californian road trip. There are also two restaurants located on-site, one of which is a triple combination of a bar, Mexican cuisine, and live music whats not to like?
San Diego Hotels: The Pendry
The Pendry, located in San Diegos historic Gaslamp Quarter, is a classic urban hotel with a sleek, modern ambiance. The 317 guestrooms include 36 suites with king or two queen beds decorated with an ocean-inspired color palette. Luxury room amenities include posh bedding, a 50-inch TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, fully stocked mini-bar, and upscale bathroom accessories. Hotel amenities include a rooftop pool and six restaurants that range from casual to sophisticated. Spa Pendry includes mens and womens facilities, a full menu of spa treatments, which can be enjoyed indoors or out, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
550 J Street, San Diego, CA, Phone: 619-738-7000
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Things To See And Do In Downtown
Climb to the top of the Hyatt and enjoy spectacular sights as you sip delicious cocktails.
Enjoy great cocktails in an urbane setting at The Noble Experiment.
Choose from a wide selection of local and international beers at Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery.
Sip cocktails at Prohibition San Diego, a super-secret speakeasy.
Down a pint at the Dubliner, an authentic Irish pub at the heart of San Diego.
Marvel at the incredible views from the Nolan, a stunning rooftop bar and lounge.
Have a drink and enjoy the atmosphere at Cuban Cigar Factory.
Dance the night away at the Onyx Room.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar
The Grand Del Mar has been named TripAdvisors #1 Luxury Hotel in the United States, so you cant go wrong here!
This place is as beautiful as a resort can get, designed with inspiration from the palaces of Spain and the sun-washed coastal retreats of France.
You will truly feel like you escaped. The only problem may be that you wont want to leave!
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Point Loma One Of The Most Popular Places To Stay In San Diego
The Point Loma neighborhood is one of the most popular places to stay in San Diego. Its a hilly peninsula that is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean.
Its not unusual to hear this area described as the place where California began as it is the landing site of the first European expedition.
Today, that history is celebrated at the Cabrillo National Monument, which marks the location where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped onto the soil in 1542.
A visit to the park helps tourists understand exploration in the 16th century thanks to a visitors center and an impressive statue of Cabrillo.
Within the monument, its possible to explore tide pools, hike and see the beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Point Loma boasts many trails for hiking or cycling, making this a popular destination for active travelers.
Additionally, the neighborhood attracts people who appreciate culture with attractions such as Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater, the New Americans Museum and the Womens Museum of California.
Point Loma also is a destination for foodies thanks to the Seafoods Fish Market and notable restaurants like Brigantine, Old Venice and Mitchs.
The Liberty Public Market is yet another place to pick up excellent fresh produce and other delectable foods, such as those found at the irresistible Venissimo cheese stand.
As with most of San Diego, there is little crime to worry about.
La Jolla: Best Luxury Coastal Spot
If youre trying to decide where to stay for your first time in San Diego, La Jolla is one of your best options. This popular coastal town is great for visitors, because you have easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the county. La Jolla is also centrally located, so you can easily explore both downtown and the northern coastal towns.
In addition to the gorgeous coastline, La Jolla is known for having a ton of excellent eateries, bars, cafes, and shops, particularly in the Village of La Jolla. While it does skew more upscale, there are still some great casual options, too.
Pros of Staying in La Jolla
- Centrally Located: La Jolla is one of the best neighborhoods in San Diego for visitors, because its right in the middle of the coastal towns to the north and downtown to the south. This makes it easy to access all areas of coastal San Diego.
- Beach Access: There are a lot of great beaches that you can access in La Jolla, each of which offer their own unique benefits.
- Lots of Excellent Eateries, Bars, and Cafes: Youll have no problem finding a place to eat or grab a drink when staying in La Jolla.
- Walkable: La Jolla is incredibly easy to walk around. Explore neighborhoods, the central shopping and dining area, or walk along the paths that line the coast.
Cons of Staying in La Jolla
La Jolla Highlights
Places to Stay in La Jolla
La Valencia Hotel
Estancia La Jolla
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Where To Stay In Pacific Beach
- Tower 23 Hotel Tower 23 Hotel boasts stylish, minimalist rooms with wooden beds and plenty of whitewashed walls and white linen for a calm, relaxing experience. Situated adjacent to the beach itself, as well as near all the shopping, eating and drinking options in the surrounding streets, this 4-star hotel is an excellent place to base yourself if you want to be close to the sand but also handy to civilization. Theres also an on-site steakhouse, perfect for filling up after a day of exploration.
- Surfer Beach Hotel A low-key hotel that features clean, modern rooms, Surfer Beach Hotel is fittingly located on the beachfront. Those who love the sun, sea, and sand or most importantly, the surf should definitely think about staying here. Good for those on a budget, the affordable rooms are bolstered by the free hot drinks in the lobby, as well as that fantastic location. You can stroll a few minutes from here to find a number of restaurants and bars.
San Diego Geography Overview
San Diego covers a lot of land, with county lines stretching all the way through Anza-Borrego State Park on the east. That said, for visitors, the best neighborhoods in San Diego to visit and stay in are generally along the coast. In addition to the beaches which is why most people choose to visit San Diego! most of the main sights are located closer to the coast.
A section of the southern coastal area is where most of the sights people associate with San Diego are located. Here, you have Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway, the Coronado Bridge, Hotel del Coronado, Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, and more . With all of this in mind, if youre visiting San Diego for the first time, youll likely want to stay closer to this area if hitting up these iconic spots is important to you.
The northern coastal area of the county has fewer must-see sights compared to south county, but there are still lots of great beach towns that are fun to visit. Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, and Del Mar each have lively town centers with lots of excellent restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops. Since they have a lot to offer on their own and since theyre just steps away from the beach these areas are still popular for tourists.
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