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Welcome to Cvent’s San Diego meeting planning guide – a city guide for San Diego meeting planning professionals. With 70 miles of beaches, 92 golf courses, over 100 culturally diverse neighborhoods, 120 San Diego meeting hotels, and an abundance of San Diego event venues for groups of 10 to 30,000, San Diego meeting planning is ideal for planners. Traveling to and from the city is simple and convenient with an international airport located less than three miles from downtown proper.
San Diego is home to many legendary attractions like the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Legoland California, Balboa Park, the Museum of Man, the Natural History Museum, and the Maritime Museum, which makes San Diego event planning all the more inviting. The city is approximately 20-minutes driving distance from La Jolla, which has been referred to as the jewel of San Diego, due to its charming down-to-earth atmosphere that combines the excitement of Southern California with the look and feel of a Southern European resort town. The Birch Aquarium, which contains the largest oceanographic display in the United States, is also located in La Jolla.
It's also terribly easy to incorporate food into San Diego event planning. San Diego offers delicious cuisine coupled with magnificent waterfront meeting spaces, countryside settings, mountain vistas and a dynamic downtown. The city's perfect temperature allows for many year-round outdoor dining opportunities including exclusive dinners aboard chartered yachts, picnics in the park, wine and cheese tasting on the beach, and many more. Popular regional cuisine is comprised of California, Pacific Rim, Elegant Continental, Contemporary French, and Authentic Mexican and Southwestern dishes. For a sophisticated dining experience with modern aesthetic appeal, try George's California Modern on Prospect Street in San Diego. Here, executive chef, Trey Foshee, has created a diverse menu that celebrates the fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients that characterize the San Diego restaurant scene.
The arts thrive in this culturally rich metropolis. The San Diego Opera performs regularly at Civic Center Plaza, ranked by Opera America as one of the top ten opera companies in the United States. Approximately fifteen musicals and plays are performed at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park every year. The California Center for the Arts serves as Northeastern San Diego's premier performing arts center with a 400-seat auditorium. Little Italy is the pulse of the city's Art & Design District. Check out "Kettener Nig" a unique event that invites visitors to gallery hop and celebrate the finest in art, urban living, home furnishings and accessories that San Diego has to offer. Other exciting annual events and festivals include Comic-Con, the Del mar Fair, and the Street Scene Music Festival. Sunny and stylish San Diego is truly a city with something for everyone.
Named for the Spanish Catholic Saint, St. Didacus, in 1602, San Diego is a magnificent waterside city with a showcase of dazzling skyscrapers, glitzy modern loft developments, five-star hotels, and numerous exquisite cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Scenic views lurk around every corner-hills covered in blossoming junipers, golden stalks of pampas grass and towering palm trees enamor all who visit this vibrant metropolis. San Diego is the second largest city in California and the seventh largest city in the United States with more than 1.3 million people residing within its borders totaling 4,200 square miles.
San Diego is made up of 18 enchanting neighborhoods and communities including the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Coronado, La Jolla, La Mesa and Carlsbad just to name a few. While each of these neighborhoods falls under the umbrella of San Diego, each community has a unique identity, character, and geography.
The city's terrain is varied with gentle foothills to mile-high mountains and 600,000-acre Anza Borrego Desert State Park to lush wine country. Nature is San Diego's backyard - offering outdoor enthusiast the opportunity to hike, camp, fish, and explore the wildlife of the great outdoors. With a warm Mediterranean climate and more than 70 miles of Pacific coastline, San Diego also supports many water sports year-round such as surfing, boating, sailing and swimming.
Horton Plaza, a monumental architectural development built in the 1970's, is the heart of the city's lively downtown; trendy stores, modern restaurants and colorful people line the plaza's streets seven days a week. Breathtaking views of the Bay can be found by heading due west of the city to Embarcadero or jumping aboard a harbor cruise. The historic buildings of Old Town include a blacksmith shop, Seeley Stables, and the oldest schoolhouse in San Diego which all help visitors take a step back in time. The streets of the 16 ½ -block historic Gaslamp Quarter are overflowing with turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture. Seaport Village offers 14-acres of shops and restaurants to choose from. With so many options, it is easy to see why exploring San Diego is an endless adventure.
San Diego is a technology powerhouse with an economy that is largely supported by biotechnology, electronics manufacturing, defense and space manufacturing, software development, and telecommunications. It is home to one of the largest players in the telecommunications industry, Qualcomm. The environmental, transportation, and international trade industries also play a significant role in San Diego's economy. In fact, one-third of the top 20 environmental design firms in the US are located in San Diego; more than 1,000 transportation companies call San Diego home; and, there are more than 600 internationally-based companies here.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
San Diego is known for its delightfully sunny and warm weather with daily temperatures averaging around 60°F to 70°F. The city receives less rainfall than any other part of the west coast. In fact, it rains less than 12 inches a year, resulting in a relatively arid environment.
Due to the varied topography of the land, visitors have the unique opportunity to experience coastal, mountain, and desert climates with temperatures varying as much as 10°F within a short drive. During the months of May and June, commonly known as "May Gray" and "June Gloom," heavy cloud cover keeps the air cool and damp on the coast, while 5 to 15 miles inland clouds dissipate yielding to sunshine and blue skies.
Low humidity is ideal for year-round sightseeing and outdoor adventure. Early spring brings an abundance of vibrant wildflowers that transform the city's mountainsides and deserts. Autumn leaves umbrella the city creating a tremendous display of fall color. The majority of the city's limited rainfall occurs during the months of January and February, but showers typically last for only a few hours or for one to two days at most. There is virtually no bad time of year to visit San Diego.
San Diego Convention Center
Located in the Marina district at the heart of downtown, this San Diego meeting facility offers wonderful panoramic views of the city and the bay. Designed by architect, Arthur Erickson, it spans an impressive 2.6 million square feet, making it the largest convention facility in North America. Numerous notable conventions are hosted at the San Diego Convention Center, including the American Psychology Convention, the Boat Show, and the International Auto Show; however, Comic Con is perhaps the most well-known, drawing more than 100,000 people a year.
The Convention Center boasts 615,701 square feet of exhibit space; 204,114 square feet of meeting space; and, 284,494 square feet of pre-function, lobby and registration space. Sails Pavilion, the building's 90,000 square foot architectural centerpiece, has been drastically improved with an industry standard trade show floor, state-of-the-art lighting and a new cooling and heating system. Sails Pavilion is topped with a Teflon-coated fiberglass roof designed to look like sails, reflecting San Diego's maritime history and advertising the center's waterfront location.
Within walking distance to the city's major attractions such as Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza, Petco Park, and Seaport Village, the San Diego Convention Center is California's premier location for meetings, events, and trade shows. Convenience is an understatement as a five-minute shuttle ride from the airport brings visitors straight to the Convention Center's doors. There are also 7,500 first-class hotel rooms to choose from within one mile of the Convention Center.
A professional Convention Services team is available to assist with all the details of the planning process including coordinating and conducting hotel and meeting space site visits; suggesting entertainment and area activities; providing vendor referrals; and, even assisting in marketing efforts. The Housing Services staff takes away the headache of room-block management and the Restaurant and Concierge Services team is available to arrange dining, private parties and special events. The San Diego Convention Center is equipped with all the essentials to ensure the success of your next event.
Marina Village Conference Center
1936 Quivira Way
San Diego, CA 92109
Total Meeting Space - 25,000 Sq. Ft.
Ramada by Wyndham San Diego Gaslamp Convention Center
830 6th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Total Meeting Space - 2,000 Sq. Ft.
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Steps from the San Diego Convention Center, at the entrance of the Gaslamp Quarter, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is turning up the volume on the conference and convention scene with 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space, an urban garden and rooftop pool including an 8,700 square foot meeting space and rock spa.
Additionally, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego offers 420 modern, high- tech guestrooms including 244 studios, 159 Hard Rock Suites and 17 completely Unique Rock Star Suites. It's where modern, non-traditional design and cutting-edge technology meet 4-star unforgettable service and amenities - all with the energy and spirit of rock 'n' roll that you can't find at any other San Diego meeting facilities.
San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Approximate taxi fare: $18 USD
The San Diego International Airport, locally referred to as Lindbergh Field, is the second busiest single-runway commercial airport in the world. The airport and its affiliates contribute nearly $10 billion to the regional economy per year. Approximately 40,000 passengers travel through the airport every day, totaling more than 17 million passengers in a year. Flying into San Diego is an incredible experience with awesome views of skyscrapers, Petco Park—home of San Diego Padres, and the Coronado Bridge to the east and Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo to the west.
Situated on 661 acres of land and located three miles northwest of downtown San Diego, San Diego International Airport is served by 22 major airlines offering flights to 55 destinations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The San Diego Airport is proud to have become the first commercial airport in the United States to impose restrictions on late night and early morning departures; planes are not allowed to take-off between the hours of 11:30 pm and 6:30 am. Flights operate out of three terminals: Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and the Commuter Terminal. Almost all of the airport's flights arrive and depart from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2; shuttle service is provided between terminals.
British Airways was the last airline to provide intercontinental service with a San Diego-London Heathrow flight; however, this route was cancelled in 2003 due to weight penalties imposed by the city's varied terrain, making long haul international service uneconomical. Although the number of international travelers continues to steadily increase, the air's limited runway capacity cuts down on the number of international flights it can accommodate. American Eagle and United Express offer frequent non-stop flights from San Diego to Los Angeles International Airport, where most of the area's international flights arrive and depart; ground shuttle service is also available.
Airline carriers serving San Diego International Airport
The Metropolitan Transit System's Flyer Route No. 992 provides transportation to and from the airport with stops at each terminal. The commute lasts about 10-minutes each way and offers connections to Trolley, Coaster and Amtrak stations. All metro buses are wheelchair accessible.
Red bus offers transportation between Airport terminals free of charge; all buses are wheelchair-accessible. Buses run frequently with a maximum wait of ten minutes between shuttles. Buses can be boarded from designated curbside stops at all three airport terminals. Additional information is available from Lindbergh Parking, Inc. at 619-291-1508.
A variety of cars can be rented at the San Diego International Airport. Car rental reservation boards can be found near Terminals 1 and 2 baggage claim areas. Shuttle service to the various off-site rental car locations is provided at the Transportation Plaza. San Diego interstates can be somewhat tricky so if you need to rent a car, be sure to study the road maps before venturing into the city.
Operated by off-premises companies, shuttles are a painless and popular means of transportation. Shuttle service can be arranged curbside at the Commuter Terminal, as well as at Transportation Plazas located across from Terminals 1 and 2.
Numerous taxi companies provide service to and from the San Diego International Airport. Look for signs leading to the Transportation Plazas to grab a cab-airport transportation coordinators will be available to assist you.
Amtrak and Coaster provide commuter train service connecting San Diego to Los Angeles, Orange County, and North County; stops include Old Town, Sorrento Valley, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. Amtrak offers twelve round trips seven days a week, year-round. The Coaster operates six days a week with no service on Sundays and National U.S. holidays.
Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and the Coaster at the Santa Fe Depot train station provide service to and from San Diego International Airport by use of the Metropolitan Transit System. Trains depart every 10 minutes between the hours of 5:00 am and 12:50 am.
Tickets may be purchased at Amtrak stations. “Rail 2 Rail” tickets are available for passengers who desire to use both systems, but beware—certain restrictions apply. Additional information on train schedules and fares can be gathered by calling 1-800-COASTER (1-800-262-7837). For questions specifically regarding Amtrak service in the San Diego area, call 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit the Santa Fe Depot train station.
The San Diego Trolley provides transportation to all major San Diego tourist attractions and serves as a link between the city's numerous neighborhoods. Fares are based upon distance and range in price from approximately $1 to $3 each way. Roundtrip tickets are available for $1.25 within San D's Center City area as long as travel takes place within two-hours from the time of ticket purchase. Tickets can be purchase at vendomats from any of the trolley stations dispersed throughout the city.
Metro bus provides local San Diego bus service with transportation also available in other areas of San Diego County, as well as many of the neighboring areas outside San Diego County. Most bus routes cost $2.25, but beware; exact change is required. The Flyer is an express bus which runs between the San Diego airport and downtown. Fares increase on the express bus so be sure to carry a little extra cash.
Request a transfer when you board the bus. When you board the second bus, give the transfer you received to the driver. If the fare is equal to the standard fee, there should be no additional charge for the transfer. If the second bus fare is more, deposit the difference in fare into the box at the front of the bus. The San Diego Trolley and Coaster also accept bus transfers. Tickets can be purchased at Trolley or Coaster station vending machines. You will often be asked for both the transfer and the ticket so be sure to hold onto these valuable slips of paper.
All buses are equipped with bicycle racks and wheelchair lifts. There are no additional fees for bicycles.
Taxi service is readily available throughout San Diego and its surrounding areas. When traveling from the airport, bus station, train station or cruise ship terminal, it is not necessary to call a taxi. Taxis park in these areas and are waiting for passengers upon their arrival.
The Coronado Ferry is a passenger ferry, connecting San Diego Bay's Broadway Pier and the Coronado Ferry Landing. Ferries depart Broadway Pier every hour on the hour from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. A 10:00 pm ferry is also available on Friday and Saturday only. The ferry departs the Coronado Ferry Landing every hour on the half hour from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm, with a 10:30 pm ferry offered on Friday and Saturday only. A one-way trip, about ten minutes in length, cost $2.75 per person. Bicycles are permitted for an additional 50 cents each way.
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