“America’s Finest City” had seen a lot of change over the past decade. The result has transformed the formerly sleepy downtown area into a vibrant cosmopolitan center. Luxury high-rise hotels look out to the busy harbor and across the ever changing skyline. The renovated Gaslamp District and Petco Park home to the San Diego Padres Baseball team add continual nightlife to an already alluring daytime scene.
Once a sleepy Navy town with the country’s best weather, San Diego looks more like Miami with mountains these days. Numerous high-rise condos and hotels rise up from San Diego Bay and offer spectacular vistas of the Bay and Pacific Ocean stretching across Coronado Island to nearby Mexico. The best beaches in California are no more than a 15-minute drive from downtown with Coronado just across the bay and Mission Beach a bit north. San Diego has long been one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and the cosmopolitan transformation only adds to the appeal.
If you are in search of great view it’s hard to top the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt. The property’s twin towers rise up more than 30 stories and have the best views of San Diego Bay. This is a very luxurious hotel with extra touches you will notice even upon check-in. The lobby includes elegant European murals and a ceiling three stories high from which large chandeliers hang. The rooms feature the finest in linens and bedding along with state-of-the-art electronics.
The Manchester Grand Hyatt sits right next to Seaport Village with its popular restaurants and shops. There are numerous bike paths around the hotel and its location is ideal. Guests are walking distance from Petco Park, the Gaslamp District, and any other downtown attraction. The transit system can be accessed close-by with lines serving all of San Diego County and even up to Los Angeles.
Another option downtown to check out is the Omni San Diego. It is actually attached to Petco Park with upper level rooms looking right into the ballpark. Guests can enter the games via a private entrance on the hotel’s second floor. The Omni San Diego also has sweeping views of the bay especially form its top floors and it is just a block from the restaurants in the Gaslamp District.
What to Do
The closest main attraction to the downtown area is the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. It has long been considered the best zoo in America and well worth a visit. Sea World is the just up the road near Mission Beach and not to be missed. Both of these venues will take a whole day to do properly. Parking is easy and the zoo is a short cab ride from downtown.
Coronado is close enough to take in for a morning or afternoon. Crossing the high level bridge is reason enough to go but make sure you keep your eyes on the road as the view is out of this world. On Coronado the shopping, golf, and beaches are all top notch. Coronado Golf Course is a scenic public layout with many holes fronting the bay or marina. The historic Coronado Hotel sits right on the sand and might be a good spot for lunch.
If you visit during baseball season make sure to take in a Padre game at the new Petco Park. Taking in a restaurant either before or after in the Gaslamp District would be my suggestion—there is always a party going on.
To get there with ease, Sunday morning is your best bet, 101 through downtown L.A. being the shortest route. Get up early and you will sail all the way down with little traffic. On the return, leave San Diego mid afternoon and then stop in Westwood or Santa Monica for a leisurely dinner, after which the traffic should have thinned. Highway 1 is always our favorite route during the day and you can pick that up at Las Posas Rd. The driver needs to be focused here though as the road is tight and the views are captivating.