Downtown San Diego (also referred to as "Centre City" in some cases) is the thriving central business district of San Diego. A heavily gentrified area with plenty of tourist amenities, Downtown serves as a hub of business and entertainment, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and nightlife to take in, as well as a few attractions, including several museums and the home of the San Diego Padres baseball team.
See the Major League Baseball Padres play at '''Petco Park'''. The stadium, modeled after other "retro" ballparks, has many unique elements, such as the Western Metal Supply Co. building, a historic warehouse which is incorporated into the left-field seats. Price range for tickets varies widely, from $15-$20 for a spot on the grassy lawn beyond the outfield wall (the "Park at the Park") to over $50 for a seat behind home plate. Ballpark tours are available off-season daily at 10:30AM and 12:30PM, with an extra 3PM tour on Saturdays; tours are also available during the season, but times vary depending on whether there's a game that day or not.
A massive five-story outdoor shopping mall unique for its appearance, with lots of bright colors, architectural tricks, and interesting spaces. Even if you're not planning on doing any shopping, it's worth coming here just to ''see'' the place. Horton Plaza contains nearly 200 stores and restaurants, including a couple of department stores, a food court on the 4th floor, and entertainment options such as a movie theater. From March to October, a '''farmer's market''' takes place every Thursday from 11AM-3PM on the square just north of the mall.
For four days every July, one of the world's largest fan conventions descends on Downtown San Diego, flooding the convention center with over 100,000 attendees. Since its comic book origins, the convention has expanded into virtually every genre of pop culture, drawing Hollywood celebrities, major television producers, toy manufacturers, video game designers, and top-name anime and manga creators, offering sneak peeks at their future works. Expect massive crowds and all manner of celebration of geek culture.
Located in Gaslamp Quarter, clean, friendly, offering 24-hour desk service, free breakfast, laundry facilities, lockers, and wifi. This hostel is part of a non-profit organization, HI-USA. The only hostel in this area to offer air conditioned rooms with iPod dock alarm clocks. Also offers free activities including: Walking tours, pub crawls, a screen printing workshop and bicycle tours. In addition there are three donation based dinners offered per week.
For the 81 Padres home game days, this grassy berm overlooking Petco Park is closed to the general public, open as a place to view the game for the price of a ticket. But for the other 284 days of the year, the park is open to the public. The park has a small baseball diamond, a playground, and there are various monuments to the achievements of the Padres, such as a statue of star player Tony Gwynn nearby.
Anthony's Fish Grotto is co-located with Anthony's Fishette, a quick and informal outdoor eatery. Seems to be especially frequented by tourists to the nearby Maritime Museum and senior citizens. Lunch in the Grotto is some version of fried fish with a choice of sides from $10-12. The main entree/fish menu is priced from $15-20+. Beer is $5 and up. Try the Anthony's Amber Ale.
Also known as the Marina Park, Embarcadero Park is split into two parts, north and south, which shelter the marina. Very pleasant, with lots of trees, grass, and good views of the harbor. You can access the north park by walking through the Seaport Village shopping center, and you can reach the south park by going around the back side of the convention center.
Previously called the William Heath Davis House, this museum is the headquarters of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. The visitor center here offers information for self-guided tours of the district as well as a guided walking tour of the district that leaves every Saturday at 11AM, and Thursday at 1PM. Hosts a festival every St. Patrick's day.
A modern luxury hotel connected to Petco Park via a skybridge across the street, the Omni was built along the new ballpark and has a few baseball relics inside, such as Joe DiMaggio's cleats in the lobby, Babe Ruth's 1932 contract with the Yankees in the Presidential Suite, and a broken bat autographed by Willie Mays in the fifth-floor hallway.
Home to a number of historic sea vessels, including the ''Star of India'', the world's oldest active sailing ship, the ''Berkeley'', an 1898 steam ferryboat, the ''Californian'', a replica sailing ship, the ''Medea'', a 1904 steam yacht, the ''HMS Surprise'', another replica sailing ship, and a B-39 Soviet Attack Submarine.
Take a self-guided tour of the USS Midway (CV-41), a former aircraft carrier of the US Navy. The Midway is home to a collection of former naval aircraft housed on her expansive flight deck. Guided tours and displays offer a unique look into the life aboard and of a powerful old warhorse.
Cool gastropub with a great menu and wonderful selection of draft beers. Would recommend getting a sample of four beers for $7 to see what you like. If none of the draft beers suit your taste, there's a multitude of other beers from all over the world listed on the chalkboard.
San Diego's impressive central library offers free WiFi to the public; just connect to the network 'sdpl'. Desktop computers are available only to library card holders. Library cards are free only to California residents; non-residents have to pay $32 for an annual card.
Hostel with easy access to the historic Gaslamp District. They have 2 bed private rooms, 4 bed mixed, 4 bed female and 6 bed mixed dorms. Most of them with a sink and a closet. Amenities include free wifi, free luggage storage, and free breakfast.
Third and newest of the popular locally owned breakfast restaurant. Avoid the lines at the North Park and Mission Beach locations by coming here. Vegetarian offerings for the diet conscious. Only open for breakfast and lunch from 8AM - 3PM.
Fun hostel in San Diego's trendy East Village. The hostel offers free breakfast, free dinners, free internet, free house phone, free pub crawl and free use of linens and towels. They also run a weekly tour to Tijuana.
Home to a number of historic Victorian-era buildings, such as the Louis Bank of Commerce, the Backesto Building, the Old City Hall, the Yuma Building, and a whole bunch of other beautiful old structures.
A small park located in Little Italy, notable for its bocce (a popular sport in Italy) courts. You can also find Italian recipes engraved onto the sidewalk plaques and tables around the park.
An unusual park with lots of grassy hills, shade trees, and a large water feature. Unfortunately, this park is usually occupied by homeless, so it wouldn't be a safe destination for children.
Located in Little Italy, this lovely hotel has 75 small rooms with views of the bustling neighborhood. Parking is quite tight here, but the place is quite affordable at around $80/night.
A luxurious and historic hotel located across the street from the Horton Plaza Square. Originally built by Ulysses S. Grant's son, who later became a real estate developer in San Diego.
This hotel has over 1600 rooms, making it the largest hotel in San Diego. Located next to the Convention Center, consisting of two towers that are connected on the bottom four floors.
Small hostel in the Gaslamp Quarter. The hostel offers free breakfasts, wireless access, lockers, a laundry room, and bike rentals. They run a tour to Tijuana on Saturdays.
22-floor hotel in the Gaslamp neighborhood with most of the services and features typical of Marriotts (sadly, no pool or jacuzzi). Rooftop bar, on-site restaurant.
A unique 245-room hotel where timeless charm is blended seamlessly with sophisticated comfort of modern guest accommodations. Ideal location in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Formerly the Se Sean Diego, now a Kimpton Hotel. This boutique hotel is near Horton Square and a few blocks from the Gaslamp District. Rates start at $159 a night.
A friendly and cozy hostel that offers free breakfast and free dinner daily. Also they provide free adventure activities that guests can go on to enjoy San Diego.
A shopping and dining complex overlooking the bay, with a recreated historic "seaside village" look. Nearly 70 shops and restaurants and an antique carousel.
Housed in a beautiful historic building, this hotel offers lovely rooms and complimentary breakfast - served on the rooftop terrace (weathering permitting).
Enjoy Sicilian style favorites and some of the best pizza in town at this family oriented restaurant. Deli has large selection of Italian imports.
Great seafood. Can be a little pricey. Food is fresh and flavorful. The Australian rock lobster is fantastic. Also, try the oysters.
A small square located next to the Gaslamp Quarter trolley station with a small water fountain. Good views of the convention center.
Modern and classic hand-made pasta dishes. Multi-year winner of critics and readers choice for Best Italian in San Diego Magazine.
A historic square located just north of the shopping center of the same name. A large fountain marks the center of the park.
A pleasant Italian restaurant somewhat removed from the heaviest congestion of downtown with an outdoor dining patio.
A museum dedicated to Chinese history, culture and art. Includes exhibits on the Chinese experience in America.
Unpretentious barbeque on paper plates. Unique interior with friendly staff and customers. Bar on premises.
Gorgeous shop with very well priced and excellent chocolates. All candies are made fresh daily on premises.
Just north of Santa Fe Depot, this museum holds a part of the museum's collection over 4,000 works.
Very cozy wine bar/restaurant. Prices are more on the expensive side, however quality is excellent.
YMCA-affiliated Hostel in downtown San Diego, right next to Amtrak railway station. Free Wi-Fi.
A contemporary and casual hotel, the Bristol features an unusually large pop art collection.
A modern luxury hotel with an on site bar, spa services, and Italian designed rooms.
Complimentary airport shuttle, extensive amenities and friendly staff.
One of San Diego's oldest drinking establishments and best dive bars.
A 100% non-smoking hotel located in the Gaslamp Quarter.
A luxurious Victorian era hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Dedicated to the history of firefighting in San Diego.
A linear park honoring the late civil rights activist.