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.
Hillcrest And North Park: Great Value Local Vibes Amazing Food & Drinks
If youre trying to figure out where to stay in San Diego on a budget, Hillcrest and North Park are your best options. These trendy neighborhoods which are north of Downtown San Diego are known for having amazing spots for shopping, dining, and drinking.
Hillcrest is known for being the center of San Diegos LGBTQ+ community, with plenty of fun gay bars. North Park has more of a hipster vibe, with lots of small craft beer taprooms, boutiques, and cafes.
Pros of Staying in Hillcrest and North Park
- Lots of Great Bars, Restaurants, and Cafes: These areas are known for amazing places to eat and drink, so youll have no problem finding options that fit your taste.
- Walkable: Hillcrest and North Park are extremely walkable. Exploring by foot is the best way to get the full feel of these neighborhoods.
- Less Touristy: Youll definitely get more of a local viewpoint staying in these towns, since they dont tend to attract as many tourists.
- Close to Downtown: Downtown San Diego is just a ten-minute drive away, so you can easily access the city without having to stay in the center of hustle and bustle.
Cons of Staying in Hillcrest and North Park
Hillcrest and North Park Highlights
Best Places to Stay in Hillcrest and North Park
North Park and Hillcrest are fairly residential, which is part of their charm. However, the downside of that charm is that there are very few hotels nearby. Here are three that are worth your time.
The Lafayette Hotel
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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Extended Stay Hotel Circle
Also in the Hotel Circle, Extended Stay America offers all the comforts of home, including a fully-equipped kitchen, spacious bedrooms, a swimming pool, laundry services and more. Grab and go offers a complimentary breakfast to help you start your day of sightseeing off right and the fitness room ensures you wont miss a workout.
Where To Stay In San Diego California
San Diego is a pretty big city, but it is split up into many smaller neighborhoods, which makes it easier to navigate. Each of the San Diego neighborhoods that we recommend to tourists has a unique vibe and feel to them. Depending on your itinerary and personal preferences, well help you find the best place to stay in San Diego.
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Why You Should Not Stay At Hotel Circle
Yes, I know, the name sounds promising, but if you are visiting San Diego as a tourist, I would highly recommend you do NOT stay at a Hotel in Hotel Circle.
This area in Mission Valley/Fashion Valley has 2 attractions: Mission Valley Mall and Fashion Valley Mall. Other than that, you will find car dealerships, big box stores, chain restaurants, gated apartment complexes, but not a lot of culture and atmosphere.
If you stay there to just sleep, you might be ok, but you wont get the full San Diego experience. I lived in Mission Valley during college for 2 years and except for having the coolest two roommates, I dont have many fond memories of living there. There are better options in San Diego
Of course, there are many more great neighborhoods in San Diego, but these are the most ideal for visitors. They are within short driving distance to the top San Diego sights, have good hotels and accommodation options as well as restaurants and things to do within walking distance.
Where to stay in San Diego was written by San Diego native Maria Haase for San Diego Explorer.
Best Airbnb In Downtown: Prestine Studio In Downtown
This home is both historic and elegant with a canvas atmosphere everywhere you look. The bed gives you a heavenly experience like you have floated into the clouds above every take you rest your head. Besides the fact that while staying here, you will feel like royality this home sits right next to many restaurants, bars, with the best nightlife! Its ideal for travelers that want to spend most of the time out exploring and getting to know the local pubs. With room for a third party, its peaceful for single travelers and romantic for couples.
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Best Areas To Stay In San Diego
San Diego is one of the safest cities in America and that makes choosing where to stay a little easier for first-time visitors. There are plenty of places to stay ranging from hostels for budget travelers, boutique hotels for the more discerning traveler, upscale resorts for those with luxury in mind, and plenty of vacation rentals too.
Before choosing the area you want to base yourself in, it is best to get oriented with the city. The map of San Diego below will help you get the lay of the land and give you a general idea of where the neighborhoods are.
Our #1 Money Saving Tip in San Diego Purchase a San Diego Pass They are valid for 12 months and you can get them for 1-7 days
Old Town & Mission Valley
If youve come to San Diego looking for history, then you should look no further than the Old Town district. Practically neighboring San Diego International Airport to the south, the Old Town area boasts a few mid-range options, some of which are housed appropriately in historic buildings.
For further convenience, this district even has its own trolley stop Old Town. The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a living museum here and at adjacent Presidio Park is where the city was first founded in 1769 as part of Spanish California.
Continue north on the trolley, and it makes a turn for the northeast, where youll find the overlapping Mission Valley area. With the San Diego River running through its center, youll find more accommodation here particularly in Mission Valley West. Shopping is great in this area try Fashion Valley on for size, or the branch of Westfield here.
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Days Inn Hotel Circle
Your San Diego vacation just got sunnier at the Days Inn! Choose from spacious guest rooms with all the amenities youd expect or one of their suites that comes equipped with a kitchenette. When hunger hits, enjoy a burger and milkshake at the onsite restaurant and refresh in the pool after a day of exploring the city.
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 Airbnb In San Diego: Studio In The Action Of Old Town
Located in the heart of Old Town is this little cottage home. Besides the excellent location this home has, there is a hot tub you can dip your feet in after a long day exploring the beaches. And in the morning, enjoy your cup of joe in the peaceful shared courtyard. It is simple but quaint, and you cant beat the location! Its just footsteps away from the trolly and impeccable cafes you have to try.
Things To See And Do In Old Town
Visit the Junipero Serra Museum to see exhibits and displays on the life in Old Town.
Wander throughout San Diego Historic Park.
See the San Diego Courthouse, which dates back to the early-19th-century.
Catch an American football game at Qualcomm Stadium.
Watch a live performance at the Theatre in Old Town.
Enjoy incredible Mexican fare at Casa De Reyes.
Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing day in Presidio Park.
Visit the Whaley House Museum, which is rumoured to be the most haunted house in America.
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Explore San Diego Aboard The Old Town Trolley
Whether youre staying in Mission Valley, near the airport or on Shelter Island, the Old Town Trolley is the ideal way to discover all the best of San Diego. And, when you stay at any of these hotels, a shuttle will pick you up and transport you to where you need to go to start your tour! Remember, aboard the trolley, youll have the opportunity to see more than 100 points of interest and hop off and spend as much time as you wish at each stop.
Best Hotel In San Diego: The Inn At Sunset Cliffs
The Inn at Sunset Cliffs is our pick for the best hotel in San Diego. It has an outdoor heated pool, spacious rooms and an on-site golf course. Every room has its own kitchenette, a luxurious bathroom, and a myriad of modern amenities.
Located in southern California, San Diego is a busy and bustling city that sits right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It has a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, and a reputation for sun, surf and sand.
San Diego is a great city to visit it has a rich history, diverse culture, and plenty of activities and attractions to entertain curious travellers.
This massive city is home to approximately 1.4 million people who are spread out over 965 square kilometres. It is divided into more than 100 neighbourhoods, each catering to different interests, ages, styles and budgets.
The Gaslamp Quarter and Downtown sit at the centre of San Diego. These two vibrant districts are where youll find a great variety of bars, restaurants, clubs and shops. They are well connected, close to the water, and boast a great selection of budget hostels.
Travel north and youll arrive in trendy North Park. One of the hippest neighbourhoods in the city, North Park has bright street art, quirky cafes, and chic local boutiques.
Still not sure where to stay in San Diego? Dont worry, weve got you covered!
Want more deetz on why we love it so damn much? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!
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Any Unsafe Areas To Avoid
I have been reading some SD travel tips on virtualtourist.com and there are quite a few people posting about the East Downtown area being a very unsafe place to be during day or night.
Is this true? One person also said that MB and PB had a lot of gang activity and there is a chance of being robbed there.
I am staying at Bahia Resort in MB in April. I was hoping that I could take a walk from my hotel along the promenade to PB in the evening. Should I reconsider doing this?
Also, is Public Transport safe. I read that the nearer you get to Tijuana, the worse the city gets. I was hoping to take the trolley to San Ysidro for the Las Americas outlet. Is this a safe way to get there?
The east San Diego area mentioned as unsafe would not be one where a tourist or local would easily end up. You would have to be quite a ways of the “beaten path” to get into the south-east San Diego areas that are less desirable. Both MB and PB are quite safe, as a single 50-something woman, I am not uncomfortable walking alone at night in those areas as long as there are others out and they are relatively well- lit. The places where you would tend to be as a visitor would be safer than the less-traveled areas. The promenade should be safe in the evenings I’m more concerned about getting run over by a skateboarder or rollerblader than being robbed.
Who really knows what safe is. Sure there are risks but I don’t think that is the same as saying that safety is nonexistent.
Point Loma Where To Stay In San Diego For A Honeymoon
Our final destination of Point Loma is a seaside town located on a peninsula in the very south of the city. Often described as where California began, it features everything from national monuments and cemeteries to a university and major military bases.
Perhaps the most famous attraction in the neighborhood is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Located at the very southern tip of the peninsula, it was completed in 1854 and is often used as the icon to represent all of San Diego. Listed on the National Register Of Historic Places, it is a great place to mix culture, art, history and stunning views in a single trip.
Also, while were on the subject of the National Register Of Historic Places, the lighthouse isnt the only attraction in the area to make the cut. The Cabrillo National Monument, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Historic District, Naval Training Center San Diego, and Rosecroft estate and gardens provide ample options for those who want to learn more about the area during their stay.
It is also recognized as the National Landmark Of Soaring by the National Soaring Museum, due to the many records that have been compiled around the area. Plaques denoting the accomplishments can be found near the aforementioned Cabrillo monument.
Due in part to its slightly more isolated location, it is a much quieter area, where you will often find a slightly more exclusive feel. This has led to it drawing a clientele that is looking for a much more sophisticated experience.
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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.
Best Hotels In La Jolla
Lodge at Torrey Pines
For a special stay, the elegant Lodge offers early California Craftsman style with expansive public spaces boasting fireplaces, overstuffed furniture, leather chairs, and views of the Pacific and Torrey Pines Golf Course. A poolside cabana and dinner with a view of the coast at A.R. Valentien would make a perfect romantic getaway.
11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037
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North Park Coolest Neighborhood In San Diego
North Park is far and away one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city. Famous for its laid-back atmosphere and vibrant street art, North Park is packed with hip hangouts and quirky cafes.
A haven for foodies, North Park is home to a wide range of incredible restaurants. Whether youre craving tacos, sushi, American fare or seafood, your taste buds are sure to be pleased in this part of the city.
Are you a culture vulture? Look no further. North Park is located within walking distance of the North Park Theatre, Balboa Park, and the Ray Street Arts District.
Coronado Best Place To Stay In San Diego For Couples
Located just across the San Diego Bay this area is a peninsula, separate from the city, and it is also known as Coronado Island. Dont worry though, you can take the bridge to reach Downtown San Diego or you can jump on the ferry and enjoy a quick thirty-minute trip.
Also known as the Crown City, Coronado is perfect for your romantic getaway to San Diego, CA. The peninsula is super tranquil and peaceful, Yulia the owner of the site even said that at night the highway is so empty and free of cars that you can even walk on it .
Mostly a resort town, here youll enjoy all the privacy you need to have romantic late-night walks by the beach. Coronado Beach was named the best beach in the United States in 2012 and its also home to the famous Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888, which looks like a small village of its own!
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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