Meetings held in downtown San Diego allow for easy access to all the best the region has to offer—dining, nightlife and the city's premier hotels and special event venues. The Gaslamp Quarter is teeming with eateries, shops, clubs and rooftop bars. The base of this entertainment district empties attendees right at the entrance to the sail-shaped San Diego Convention Center. Mega-sized hotel venues in Downtown San Diego that are proximal to the center include the Manchester Grand Hyatt, the Marriott Marquis Hotel & Marina and the new Hilton Bayfront San Diego.
Bounded by San Diego Bay on the south and west sides of the city, downtown is just a 5- to 10-minute cab ride from San Diego International Airport (a major hub for Southwest Airlines). There is an ample supply of taxis, and the public transportation system includes buses and a red trolley fleet that runs on tracks. Pedicabs operate year-round. Downtown is also home to the Santa Fe Depot, a train station that serves Amtrak (it's about three hours to Los Angeles) and the Coaster, which travels up and down the San Diego County coast.
The San Diego Convention Center is regularly voted among the best by national industry publications. The facility is noted for being among the greenest, and can host small meetings and large conventions, including the annual summer Comic-Con gathering, which draws more than 125,000 people in its four-day run.
One of the best aspects of downtown for meeting groups is the walkability to the meeting space from hotels. Along with the 1,000-room convention hotel venues in Downtown San Diego (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton) is a bevy of boutique and eclectic properties nearby: the flashy Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, the historic U.S. Grant Hotel and the neighborhood-friendly Hotel Indigo.
Dining venues in Downtown San Diego are lined up en masse on Fourth and Fifth Avenues in the Gaslamp Quarter. There is an abundance of Italian eateries (Aqua al 2, De Medici, the new Bice) but there's still a spot for every taste, including Rama (Thai), The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Red Pearl Kitchen (Asian fusion) and many more.
The downtown hub is definitely the Gaslamp, but there is plenty to see by venturing just outside the urban core. Adjacent neighborhoods include East Village (check out the eclectic meat dishes at Cowboy Star; or bowl at East Village Tavern), Little Italy (Bencotto gets raves for lunch and dinner; there's a fabulous farmer's market on Saturdays) and the multitude of museums at Balboa Park are a short jaunt away.
Colleagues can also get closer over a friendly golf tournament at golf venues nearby Downtown San Diego, including Cross Creek Golf Club, Redhawk Golf Club and The Golf Club at Rancho California.
Follow these links for more on San Diego meeting planning and San Diego event venues.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Approximate taxi fare: $12 USD
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