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Downtown San Diego: City Basics

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So you’ve never been to San Diego – what took you so long? Whatever the reason, be happy you’re headed to America’s Finest City (which has rightfully earned its nickname) and check out our city basics, a short list packed with important information that we think all first-time travelers should know.

Arriving. The heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter, is roughly an 8 minute cab ride from the San Diego Airport and will typically cost less than $15. Although the cabs conveniently line up across the airport’s skybridge located outside of baggage claim and are always readily available, they tack on “an airport convenience fee” which adds a few unnecessary, but required dollars to your final fare. You can also take the bus or a shuttle service which are often about the same price, but will take longer because you have to wait for other passengers to hop off at their respective destinations. Need a place to stay near the Gaslamp Quarter? Click here for information about the Pacific Inn, an affordable San Diego hotel minutes from the Gaslamp.

Getting around. San Diego is a beautiful waterfront city, providing the perfect environment to walk around and explore. However, do remember that a day of walking can be pretty tiring, not to mention rough on your feet, so wear comfortable shoes and think about trading out your flip-flops for more supportive tennis-shoes. In addition to walking, tourists have ample options for transportation including driving, the trolley, the MTS bus, trains, bicycles, ferries and segways (even if they do scream tourist.)

Driving. There are plenty of rental car agencies located near the airport making renting a car and driving easy. Finding a place to park your car however, is not. Patient drivers will be rewarded with on-street parking which provides easy access to downtown’s shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, but will have to return every two hours before 6pm to feed the meter. If you plan to drive into the city, expect to pay $10 to $20 for hourly parking and even more if you need to stay overnight. Our advice for visitors who must rent a car – look for an affordable downtown San Diego hotel that offers free parking.

Taxis. In most parts of the city you can hail a cab without problem. There really only tends to be an issue around 2am when everyone is trying to escape the chaos surrounding the city’s popular nightclubs and bars. Also keep in mind that many downtown patrons out at this hour are college students and self-proclaimed partiers who might not have a problem with (or realize they are) swopping your ride if you telephoned for a cab directly. You’re likely better off just hailing a cab from the street directly.

Dining. Honestly, there isn’t a good place to start when it comes to dining, you just have to experience it all! The best way to sum up the foodie culture in San Diego – the city offers everything. From prohibition-style gastro pubs and gourmet food trucks to critically acclaimed seafood establishments and five-star steakhouses, there is something sure to make everyone’s mouth water. With limited meals during your trip, refer to review websites like yelp.com to ensure you dine somewhere that meets your taste preferences and budget requirements.

Weather. San Diego is infamously known for beautiful, sunny skies and a mild year-round climate. Visit during the summer and blue skies are almost guaranteed. Visit during the off season and temperatures drop when the sun sets. Now, if you’re from the East Coast and used to harsh winters or a place less fortunate in terms of annual sunshine, you’ll probably snicker at San Diegans who are bundled up in the evening when its “only” 50 degrees. And that’s fine, we just wanted to warn you – packing that light jacket might be a good idea.

What more do you need to know about San Diego? Start planning your vacation now and consider reserving a room at the Pacific Inn & Suites. Our spacious rooms and suites are perfect for couples, families and groups of friends and we offer pricing and a location that can’t be beat! Learn more about our exclusive San Diego hotel deals or contact a Reservation Manager directly at 1-800-571-2933 and take advantage of our unbeatable rates!

Advance Booking

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Call: 1-800-571-2933
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