Where To Stay In San Diego Neighborhoods & Area Guide
A huge, picturesque coastal city perched along the Pacific Coast in Southern California, San Diego is characterized by its many universities, well-manicured green spaces, a warm climate, and of course, gorgeous beaches. Though it is the second-largest city in the state, San Diego has a rather laid-back pace which enables its visitors to enjoy a pleasant break from the hustle and bustle that is usually expected out of a metropolitan of this size.
With its favorable warm climate year round, San Diego is home to over one million inhabitants from all around the world, making it one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the United States. Once known as the birthplace of California, the city welcomes over 35 million visitors each year.
Finding accommodation at the Craft Beer Capital of America could be daunting not because it lacks options but because there are too many. To select where to stay in San Diego, you must take a look at the below-mentioned neighborhoods to get an idea of what to expect from each.
What Is There To Do In San Diego
San Diego has a little bit of everything with a robust city center, military base, rich history, and beautiful beaches.
Watch surfers, take a dip in the ocean, take advantage of the nightlife in Gaslamp, stroll around Coronado Island, or check out the seals in La Jolla. There is also a major sports stadium, the San Diego Zoo, and beautiful parks such as Torrey Pines.
Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa
The perfect place for your romantic getaway in San Diego! I love the laid-back atmosphere at this hotel where you can chill under the palm trees, have a late-night drink while enjoying the views of the ocean, and swim in the pools! The city looks amazing from here!
Other accommodation options in Coronado
Such a cool house that offers the best beach vibes and has two rooms, a balcony, and a kitchen
Things to do in Coronado
- Take romantic walks by the Coronado Beach
- Explore the Silver Strand and admire the views of the San Diego Bay
- Have a romantic picnic in the Glorietta Bay Park
- See the famous Hotel del Coronado, which looks like a small village
- Learn new things about the city at the Coronado Historical Association
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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.
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Hola amigos, and welcome to one of the most picturesque cities in Southern California! An oasis of amazing beaches, tide pools, and unique pine forests! This laid-back town is located along the Pacific Coast and certainly knows how to show its tourists a good time.
Combining both urban areas and beach towns, San Diego has something for anyone, thats why Im sure youll come back from this trip more relaxed and happy that youve crossed every box on your travel agenda. I hope Im not the only one who takes the time to write those things! And one important thing to add to that list is to book in advance, this area is a top tourist destination, and you dont want to miss out on getting the best deals!
Enough with all the chit-chat, you guys know the drill by now! We have to find where to stay in San Diego! And its tough this time, but dont worry, Ive broken down the areas by interests and budgets. That way you can easily decide whether youre more into that beach atmosphere that Coronado Island has, or you have to be in the urban heart of the city!
Vamonos, the Pacific Beach is waiting for us!
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Best Hotel In Gaslamp Quarter: Ramada Gaslamp/convention Center
Classic and comfortable, the Ramada Gaslamp/Convention Centre is a great base for your time in the city. It is close to iconic landmarks and tourist attractions as well as shopping, restaurants and bars. This hotel has 99 unique rooms, each outfitted with cable/satellite TVs and private bathrooms. There is also an on-site lounge and restaurant.
Best For Romance: Pier South Resort
Courtesy of Pier South Resort
Lovebird travelers will adore the Pier South Resort, a coastal enclave set in Imperial Beach, just a short walk away from the buzzing pier and a pristine strip of beach. This opulent, eco-friendly resort features a variety of amenities for couples to take advantage of, including a full-scale spa, a small yet well-furnished gym, and a beachfront pool area complete with a sizable hot tub and plush chaise longues.
Plus, the Cohn Restaurant Group own and operate the on-site restaurant, SEA180, which has one of the best views in town and delicious local seafood to boot . Accommodations at the Pier South Resort are lovely and laid-back if youre in the mood to splurge, book an oceanfront king suite to enjoy panoramic Pacific views right outside your window. In-room amenities include a coffee and tea maker, iron and ironing board, premium TV channels, free Wi-Fi, clock radio, bathrobes, and more.
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Where To Stay In San Diego As A Family: Mission Bay And Beach Towns
The beach will be a key feature of a family trip, and Mission Bay has sandy shores, ocean waves, calm bay, water sports, sailing, and harbor cruises. SeaWorld will naturally be on the agenda, and getting there is convenient. Bike paths, picnic areas, swimming areas, and hotel pools fill the day, and a family beachside bonfire will end it in San Diego style.
Where To Stay In San Diego: 10 Best Areas
Are you wondering where to stay in San Diego? If so, then it makes sense to get familiar with some of the citys most popular neighborhoods.
Once you have identified some of the best areas to stay in San Diego, youll also want to know what to see and do in each of those communities.
No matter which neighborhood you choose for accommodations, be sure to get out and explore the others. San Diego is an accessible city with plenty of transportation options.
San Diego sits on the Pacific Coast, approximately 120 miles south of L.A. Sometimes called the birthplace of California, the city is home to more than 1.5 million people and hosts millions more tourists every year.
Some of the most famous attractions in the city include Balboa Park, which is home to the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Fleet Science Center and many other sites, as well as Old Town and the Gaslamp Quarter.
Many of the best places to stay in San Diego are located within or adjacent to some of the citys top attractions, allowing for fun and convenient exploration.
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The 13 Best Family Hotels In San Diego That All Ages Love
- Emily Appelbaum
Looking for the best family hotels in San Diego?
San Diego a great place to go for a family vacation, and youll find the perfect spot for your needs no matter what youre looking for it has everything, from family-friendly beach hotels to smaller boutique places, and theres a lot to see around the area too.
Here are my 13 top picks and what each of them can offer you.
Loews Coronado Bay Resort
Best for: Families, couples
On-site amenities: Separate pool areas for families and adults, spa, bar, beach club
Pros: The bay views from all corners of the property are fantastic and peaceful, especially in the Bay Terrace bar area. The fantastic staff helps keep kids entertained at the pool, and daily activities are all included in the resort fee.
Cons: The resort and parking fees add up on a long family vacation, and the hotel’s distance from Coronado’s town center and downtown San Diego can feel inconvenient when you want to explore. Similarly, the lack of direct beachfront access is something to consider as shuttle access can be challenging off-season.
Coronado might be synonymous with the famous Hotel Del Coronado, but for a cheaper beach resort getaway, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort is a solid option without compromising on comfort or style.
Situated at the end of a private 15-acre peninsula, Loews Coronado offers a hip but relaxed vibe with a luxury lean, plus excellent grounds, amenities, and scenic 360-degree bay views.
Though beach access is located across a highway and requires a free hotel shuttle, there’s plenty to enjoy on-site including the large pool deck with reserved space for both adults and kids, a spa, and a terrace bar with ample views. It’s also a bit quieter than Hotel Del, surrounded by natural elements and removed from the city bustle. Rooms are chic and in line with the high-end Loews brand.
COVID-19 procedures are available here.
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Where To Stay In San Diego For Families
If you’re traveling with toddlers or kids, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly resorts in San Diego. But if SeaWorld is your main destination, consider staying at Mission Bay, about 12 minutes by car from the famous marine park and only a few minutes’ drive from Balboa Park.
Overlooking the calm waters of Mission Bay, the Polynesian-themed Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa is a fun-filled destination for families with kids of all ages. Koi ponds, tiki torches, and waterfalls add to the tropical feel, and multiple on-site restaurants cater to fussy eaters.
Take the kids kayaking or stand up paddleboarding off the private beach, bike around the waterfront trails, or splash in the outdoor pool. All rooms come with private patios or balconies, and the best rooms for families here come with .
A little farther out, the moderately-priced Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar, in Torrey Hills, is also popular with families. Legoland is about a 20-minute drive north, and family-friendly destinations, such as La Jolla, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, and Torrey Pines Reserve are a short drive away.
This is an especially good option for families who want the option of cooking their own meals, as the suites come with fully-equipped kitchens. Kids love the heated outdoor pool and whirlpool, and the rates include a complimentary shuttle within a five-mile radius during certain hours, a hot breakfast, and a light evening dinner Monday through Thursday.
La Jolla Where To Stay In San Diego For Outdoor Activities
La Jolla and its southern neighbor Pacific Beach are some of the most popular beach towns in San Diego. Located just 10 miles north of Downtown and reachable by public transport, the beautiful La Jolla shores have convinced tons of tourists to find hotels in San Diego, and once you see them, Im sure youll feel the same.
All youll want to do is relax on the white sand and swim in the blue water all day long. Plus, you get to meet some cute seals! Yep, La Jolla Cove and other beach spots here are famous because of these adorable animals!
If youre looking for where to stay in San Diego, CA, to make the most out of all the outdoor sports opportunities, this area is definitely the spot for you. Besides exploring the sandstone canyons near the La Jolla shores, you can go diving in the Kelp Forest, an underwater park where youll be able to meet tons of cute animals! And if you cant get enough of the fishes, the Birch Aquarium hosts many events for you underwater lovers.
This town is not only filled with beaches, but it also has a Natural Park where youre basically getting the best of both worlds, hiking trails in the forest with the top beach views! Here is a list of the best hotels but if youre more into Airbnbs and discovering cool houses, we also have a list of the best Airbnbs in La Jolla.
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Best Hostel In Downtown: Hi San Diego Downtown
Free breakfast, a great location and comfortable rooms are just a few of the reasons we love this hostel. It is centrally located in Downtown San Diego and is just steps away from the citys best bars, shops and restaurants. It has a full kitchen, free linens, and a game room with billiards and arcade games.
Hilton Garden Inn San Diego
This hotel looks like a Kardashian mansion! Chill in the lounge area by the pool at night and drink a glass of wine with your friends. This luxurious Hilton San Diego hotel has spacious rooms, with elegant decor and a large private bathroom. Get your nightcap from the bar and rest before you get ready for another day of sightseeing!
Other accommodation in Old Town & Mission Valley
Enjoy the ocean views from the comfort of your room in this studio that offers free parking and a kitchen
Things to do in Old Town & Mission Valley
- Take a guided tour around the open-air San Diego State Historic Park
- Play some golf at the Riverwalk Golf Club in Mission Valley
- Try not to get scared when visiting the haunted Whaley House
- Learn new things at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site
- Spot some amazing Victorian houses around the Heritage County Park San Diego
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La Jolla Where To Stay In San Diego For A Stylish Beach Holiday
An upscale jewel of a beach village, La Jolla is an escape for the well-heeled traveler. It features a gorgeous stretch of coastline that boasts dramatic views and some of the most spectacular sunsets youll ever see.
La Jolla frequently is voted one of the best beach destinations on the planet. Just one visit is enough to convince most people that this is a special place.
This is the home of the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and Scripps Park, which is a favorite place to have a picnic.
To the south of this park is one of La Jollas most famous sites, the Childrens Pool. Once, a seawall stood there, making this stretch of water a favorite place for little swimmers. Today, it is a haven for seals and sea lions, providing a one-of-a-kind natural experience.
Many people come to La Jolla to visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography with its interactive exhibits and opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the oceans rarest creatures.
With attractions like the Museum of Contemporary Art and the La Jolla Playhouse, this city is a recognized cultural destination as well.
The University of California San Diego is located here too, and with plenty of opportunities for hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and more, its easy to see why so many people flock to La Jolla.
If youre looking for a laid-back but luxurious stay, La Jolla may be for you.
Where To Stay In Del Mar
Fairmont Grand Del Mar
This luxury hotels East Del Mar location avoids some of the traffic issues that Village hotels have. Its located on the Los Penasquitos canyon preserve which means guests have access to lots of trails for hiking and biking. The resort offers golf, tennis, a full-service spa, lots of family programming, an onsite equestrian center, a kids club, heated pools and more. Book a Virtuoso rate online.
LAuberge Del Mar
LAuberge Del Mar is a boutique hotel designed to feel like a private coastal estate located across the street from the beach at 15th street , in the heart of Del Mar Village. Rooms feature interior design by local favorite, Barclay Butera. Other highlights include ocean views from the pool and the spa. Check rates and reviews.
- Travelers who are looking for larger accommodations that dont break the bank.
- Travelers who plan to have rental cars.
- Those who like a quieter beach scene.
Not a fit for:
- Vacations with emphasis on downtown San Diego attractions .
- Luxury hotels on the beach .
Getting there: It takes about 35 minutes to get to Aviara and La Costa from the San Diego International Airport without traffic. Plan at least an hour or more if traveling during rush hour.
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Best Places To Stay In San Diego For Tourists
Are you planning a trip to sunny San Diego and are overwhelmed with the question of where to stay in San Diego? With 1.3 million residents, San Diego claims the title of the second-largest city in California, so choosing one of the best and centrally located San Diego neighborhoods as your home base during your visit is important. Well, you have come to the right place.
Greg and I are San Diego locals and we are sharing our best places to stay in San Diego for visitors including hotel recommendations for each San Diego neighborhood. Whether you are looking for a beautiful beach resort in San Diego, a boutique hotel in La Jolla, or a chic hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, we got you covered.