Business Travel B and B Style

Business Travelers Enjoy Staying at Bed & Breakfast Guild of San Diego LocationsTraveling on business to San Diego? Why not try something different from the generic coldness of a chain hotel? A bed and breakfast inn is the answer with free amenities galore!

The San Diego Bed and Breakfast Guild properties offer diverse atmospheres from beach funky to elegant high style. What they have in common is personal service, yummy breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, and easy access to the business hubs of our city.

Starting at the north end of the city, consider the elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla if your business is biotech or medical research related. La Jolla is close to Sorrento Valley, the Salk Institute, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography as well as the University of California, San Diego. This inn offers a corporate rate for midweek travel, onsite meeting space, catered lunches, and secretarial services. Guests traveling on government per diem can reserve rooms for a Sunday through Thursday stay, subject to availability (without the complimentary breakfast and wine reception).

At the other end of town, an equally upscale B and B is the 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach. Travelers with business downtown San Diego or at the San Diego Convention Center can take the San Diego/Coronado Ferry across the bay and skip the parking fees at the Convention Center.   Plus the Ferry is free during the early morning commute hour.  The 1906 Lodge has an onsite meeting center with a conference room for up to 40 attendees and a smaller breakout room.  In addition to free Wi-Fi throughout, the 1906 Lodge has a small business center where guests can print documents and boarding passes.  Government per diem guests can reserve rooms for an additional $20 fee per night for breakfast, parking, and happy hour (subject to availability).  Remember, it’s easy to unwind in Coronado!

The six B and B’s in the heart of San Diego all offer easy access to the airport as well as a short commute to downtown, the Convention Center, and other business hubs of San Diego.

Stay at the Hillcrest House and say good-bye to exorbitant mini-bar charges, business center and Wi-Fi fees, $5 bottled waters, and resort fees. Strong Wi-Fi signal, and wireless printer, accessed from the comfort of your guest room is a bonus! In the guest dining room you’ll find 24-hour beverage service bottled waters, and snacks. A guest refrigerator is a handy amenity to keep anything you need cold, and the microwave does just the trick to heat up those yummy leftovers from last night’s dinner meeting. You’ll always find off street, free parking, and you’ll always find the light on and someone to greet you by name when you return home. With just a quick, 15-minute city bus ride, you will find yourself at the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the entryway to the Convention Center front steps! Click here, to see more reasons why “repeat” business travelers love the Hillcrest House.

Bed and Breakfast Guild of San Diego has convenient locations in San DiegoGlory’s Holiday House and the Elsbree Hoouse Beach Bed and Breakfast are both great choices when you want to combine a quick trip from the airport, views of San Diego’s beach and bay, and the relaxed atmosphere of coastal San Diego. Both have very affordable rates for all business travelers. Government travelers spending time at the Pt. Loma naval facilities find Glory’s Holiday House a perfect choice for a few nights or long term. Guests can relax in the spa tub at the end of a day sitting in meetings. Or you can stop at Stone Brewery, just down the hill at Liberty Station, and enjoy one of San Diego best craft beers.

For the feel of a true California beach town, stay at Elsbree House B & B in Ocean Beach. It is close to dozens of laidback restaurants and pubs, a wide beach, and the beautiful sunset cliffs. The Elsbree House also offers a condo accommodation with three bedrooms and a full kitchen plus a washer and dryer, great for a long-term stay.

If your business is in the heart of San Diego, close to Balboa Park and downtown, Carole’s Bed and Breakfast and the Keating House are perfect options. Carole’s is located in North Park, the craft brewery hub of San Diego, great for unwinding after work. Breakfast, cooked by her son Michael, will spoil you – no bland restaurant food here. On the other side of Balboa Park, the Keating House also offers a wonderful breakfast in their Victorian dining room. Downtown is walking distance or a quick trip by bus or taxi.

After work, enjoy relaxing on the old fashioned front porch or in the secluded back garden (with complimentary hummingbird serenades).

Bed and Breakfast Guild of San Diego members provide accommodations for Business travelers

Just five minutes from the airport is the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego. It’s also located a block from one of the trolley hubs for the city, providing easy access to downtown as well as east county. The hotel rooms are located in the 1870s building along with a full restaurant and meeting spaces. If you are looking for a unique venue to impress your clients, consider having your conference at the Cosmopolitan.

Whatever your travel preferences or budget, a San Diego Bed and Breakfast is sure to fit the bill. Try one of us next time you visit on business (or for pleasure)!

Bed, Breakfast, and Beer in the Craft Beer Capital of the World!

San Diego Bed, Breakfast, and Beer in the Craft Beer Capital of the World!

With over 85 craft breweries in San Diego, it is difficult to pick a place to start our Bed and Breakfast recommended tour. Our innkeepers all have their local favorites so we’ll start in the heart of beer town – North Park. Carole’s Bed and Breakfast is walking distance from three great choices. She recommends starting at Modern Times Tasting Room with sixteen taps in the Flavordome including “variations on our core beers, pilot batches, mysterious experiments.”

Another good choice is Mike Hess Brewing. Mike turned his fifteen years of home brewing experience into premier craft beer. The tasting room in North Park is kid- and dog-friendly, and is designed to encourage socializing – no TVs and lots of opportunity to meet the folks sitting around you.

Don’t leave North Park without checking out the Thorn Street Brewery. Savor your beer with a meal from one of the rotating food trucks.  You can find the menu schedule online, and pick from thai to pizza to sushi and beyond.

Bed and Breakfasts in San Diego near Craft Beer BfreweriesAnn Callahan of the Hillcrest House Bed and Breakfast highly recommends the Salt and Cleaver. Not only do they have an extensive craft beer list (you can view the current selection online), they specialize in the ancient art of sausage making.

If you are staying at the Keating House, try the downtown San Diego Karl Strauss Brewing Company, which launched the current wave of breweries. It opened in 1989 and was the first local brewery start up in more than fifty years. Thursday night is Cask Night when the Cask Master introduces a new creation each week at 5:00 sharp.

If you’re staying at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego, they suggest a trip to the nearby Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment. It is located in the oldest standing brewing facility in San Diego County. Pair your taste for history with a choice of eighteen beers.

Just down the hill from Glory’s Holiday House in Point Loma is the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station.  It is home to San Diego’s largest brewery and is the tenth largest craft brewery in the United States. In addition to their own first class beers, their menu includes over forty beers on tap and one hundred bottled beers. If you have a wine drinker in your party, don’t despair.  They offer dozens of wine choices. Finally, they have a full restaurant, serving lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.

Pizza Port is known for both yummy pizza and craft beers. At its location in Ocean Beach near Katie Elsbree’s Beach Bed and Breakfast, it promises “the highest quality and the best service humanly possible while having too much fun.”  That’s a proposition that’s hard to resist.

Coronado Brewing Company near 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach

You might not guess that upscale La Jolla, home to fine dining and exclusive shops, would also boast its own brewery. The La Jolla Brewing Company, walking distance from the The Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, serves its own beers as well as notable choices from other San Diego breweries.

The 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach innkeepers are proud to brag about their hometown Coronado Brewing Company (CBC) that opened in 1996 and has recently begun distributing to multiple states. Their favorites brews: Coronado Golden, Mermaid Red, or Islander IPA.  Mention this blog and you’ll received two ice-cold CBC beers at check-in during the month of October 2014.

If it’s too difficult to decide where to start, stay at any of our neighborhood B&Bs for San Diego Beer Week, November 7-16. The price of the ticket includes unlimited beer samples coupled with unlimited food samples.  San Diego…. Hoppiness is Calling!

Bed, Breakfast, Beach – Have it all in San Diego!

A summertime trip to San Diego wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of our famous beaches.

The owners of the eight B&Bs in the Bed and Breakfast Guild of San Diego have the inside scoop on which beach will match your tastes. And many of the inns provide loaner chairs and towels. But remember to bring your sunscreen!

Here’s a sampling of our favorite spots…

Just like in the movies, San Diego’s beaches are white, wide, and wonderful. Coronado Beach takes top honors as it has been named the #1 beach in the country by seaside expert Dr. Beach. Coronado Beach’s gentle waves are great for a refreshing dip and body surfing.  It’s never crowded, but please note that public parking is limited.Coronado’s wide beach at low tide near 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach

Ocean Beach is a laid-back beach community that features a 1971-foot long concrete pier, that’s great for fishing or just strolling in the warm sun.  At the base of the pier, at low tide, you can explore the tide pools packed with shore crabs, hermit crabs, and sea anemones. Ocean Beach is a great place to learn to surf with gentle, low waves. Beginners can rent boards and sign up for lessons at one of the shops along the main beach or on Newport Avenue.

Looking for a lively and youthful vibe? Mission Beach is the place for you. Its three and a half mile long and generously wide boardwalk is great for walking, biking, or rollerblading. Or if people watching is your preferred sport, settle down in one of the many eateries or bars and take in the amazing array of humanity. Most of the action is centered at Belmont Park at the intersection of Mission Boulevard and West Mission Bay Drive. The main attraction at the park is the famous 73-foot tall wooden roller coaster, the Giant Dipper. Catch a ride on it and you can enjoy breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean.

On the north end of town is the La Jolla Cove, San Diego’s best spot for snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba diving.  The water is calm, providing a safe home for colorful fish. (No flotation devices are allowed.) A little further north is La Jolla Shores, a wide, mile-long cozy beach. The large free parking lot, bathrooms, showers, grassy picnic area, and playground all contribute to its reputation as a great family beach. Surf, kayak, and scuba lessons are all available in La Jolla.

San Diego Beaches near San Diego Bed & Breakfast Guild member locations

San Diego Beaches are great places to learn to surf

Check with your innkeeper for detailed information about parking, services, and other expert advice about our not-to-be-missed beaches!

One final note, September is one of the best months to visit our beaches.  The weather is phenomenal and the crowds are gone!

Celebrate the 4th of July in San Diego

View July 4 fireworks shows from all the San Diego Bed & Breakfast Guild locations

Fireworks light up the sky over San Diego on the 4th of July

Looking for a hotel for the 4th of July in San Diego?  Check out these possibilities.

Independence Day may well be the favorite holiday in the city of San Diego.  And all the Bed and Breakfast Inns in our Guild stand ready to help you celebrate with gusto.

Our B&Bs offer lodging in homes and historic buildings with character and attention to detail.  Our staff members are available to provide the insider scoop on where to go, schedules, and parking (if necessary).

Starting on the north end of town, you can enjoy a full day of patriotic festivities, rides, music and finally fireworks at the San Diego County Fair.  We recommend a stay at the Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, the closest B&B to the fair grounds.

Travel south a few miles and you can experience a small town celebration. The Elsbree House B&B is the perfect place to stay in quaint Ocean Beach (OB to the locals).  Take a whole week off and you can enjoy the 35th Annual OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-off on June 28.  Then, six days later on July 4th, enjoy a day at the beach topped off with fabulous fireworks viewed from the elevations on Sunset Cliffs.

Travel a bit inland to step back in time and enjoy an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration in San Diego’s Old Town.  The Cosmopolitan Hotel, situated in the heart of Old Town, is the perfect overnight lodging for this event.  Not only is there free parking, but you can sit on the second story veranda outside of your room and watch the fireworks at SeaWorld.

Head to downtown San Diego where they definitely go a bit overboard with the fireworks – the Big Bay Boom is a coordinated display from four locations on the waterfront.  For the best seat in the house, stay at Glory’s Holiday House and view the extravaganza from her deck.  Other nearby downtown B&B owners can direct you to their secret viewing spots, many within just a few blocks.   Rooms are still available at the Keating House, Carole’s B&B, and the Hillcrest House B&B, all located near Balboa Park with its museums, theaters, gardens, and the famous San Diego Zoo.

Walk to the July 4 parade in Coronado from the 1906 Lodge, a San Diego Bed & Breakfast Guild member

Vintage fire truck in the Coronado Independence Day Parade

Travel south of downtown, and out into San Diego Bay, to where the village of Coronado hosts a full day of outdoor activities.  Parking is at a premium, so stay at the 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach and park for free.  It is located a block from the parade route (the biggest parade in the county) and provides loaner chairs to view the two hour spectacle.  After a day at the beach, take your chairs and head to the golf course two blocks away to watch the Coronado fireworks.

July is definitely the busiest month of the year in San Diego.  Our B&B owners suggest that you consider leaving your car at home and take advantage of our public transportation or utilize the convenient service of Uber.com. (It’s everyone’s personal driver!)  Use promo code “rlr02” and you’ll receive $10 off your first trip.

Make your reservations today as every room in the county is full on our favorite holiday of the year!

Comic-Con rooms (July 24-27) still available at some San Diego Bed and Breakfast

If you are searching for a hotel for Comic-Con, check out the following Bed and Breakfast inns and small hotels.

Usually there is a multiple night minimum during the big event, July 24-27.  If you’ve waited to book your room and only need 2 nights, you might be in luck at one of these properties.  If you’ve never attended Comic-Con, you should know that extra mass transit options are available.  Buses just for transportation to the Convention Center are added.  The San Diego Trolley system is also a great way to get around. There is also an hourly pedestrian ferry running between Coronado and San Diego. These two inns currently have some space available.

Comic-Con visitors can stay at the 1906 Lodge in CoronadoHillcrest House Bed and Breakfast – 3845 Front Street, San Diego, (619) 990-2441

1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach – 1060 Adella Avenue, Coronado (619) 437-1900

For additional options, check out other San Diego Bed and Breakfast Guild members.

Let the fun begin!

Comic-Con guests at the Hillcrest House Bed and Breakfast

Comic-Con guests at the Hillcrest House Bed and Breakfast

San Diego’s Unique Bed and Breakfast Inns

Enjoy the neighborhoods of San Diego and stay in one of our unique Bed and Breakfast Inns

Bed & Breakfast Guild San DiegoSan Diego is one of the country’s largest cities and a favorite international tourist destination.  But the locals know that it’s really a collection of neighborhoods with distinct personalities, and an abundance of activities, shops, restaurants, culture, and nightlife.  While you may be drawn to San Diego because of the world famous Zoo, SeaWorld, or our beaches, there’s so much more to our city.  And one of the best ways to really get to know San Diego is to stay at one of our unique Bed and Breakfasts, all located within a few miles of our waterfront, if not actually in a beach community.

If you enjoy getaways where you receive the insider local scoop, the pace is relaxing, the service is exceptional, the gardens are lovely, AND you get a free breakfast, the San Diego Bed and Breakfast Guild has eight properties for your consideration.  convention center_000001147066SmallAll are located in walkable neighborhoods as well having easy access to public transportation to downtown and the Convention Center.  Plus San Diego has multiple transportation options such as Uber, Lyft, and Car to Go which make getting around town flexible and affordable.  If you are driving to San Diego, most of the B&Bs have access to free parking as well.

Whether you are looking for a summer getaway, a romantic weekend, a relaxing business trip, or even a hotel during Comic Con (we have rooms available!), we are ready to help you make the most of your precious time in our city.

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Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego is home to the Hilcrest House Bed and Breakfast

Hillcrest is San Diego’s most vibrant, urban, hip, and eclectic community.   In recent years it has become a “foodie” haven buzzing with wonderful restaurants, a busy nightlife scene and a fabulous Farmers Market every Sunday.  As San Diego’s original shopping district, there is a huge variety of unique shops and galleries featuring local artists.  Hillcrest House Bed and Breakfast, owned and operated by Ann Callahan, is a great choice for the first time B&B guest or guests in their thirties and forties, or really any age.  Hillcrest House Bed and Breakfast in San DiegoJust like Hillcrest, her décor (and personality!) is eclectic and vibrant.  She converted the historic home of the Scudder family (think potato chips and peanut butter) into a delightful and inviting five room B&B.  As a board member of the San Diego Tourism Authority, Ann is sure to have the latest scoop of what to do in the entire region.  Business travelers find the location convenient, with a bus stop just one block away that leads to downtown.


Carole's Bed and Breakfast in North Park Neighborhood
North Park
is said to be home to the nation’s best beer boulevard – 30th Street.  The neighborhood boasts multiple breweries and numerous bars catering to aficionados (as well as 50 restaurants).  Once a month, you can join the Ray at Night Art Walk, featuring over 25 galleries and art venues.

Carole's Bed and BreakfastCarole’s Bed and Breakfast sits in the heart of the district, in a charming cottage surrounded by riotous gardens.  If you enjoy the warm natural wood décor of the craftsman style, this setting is perfect for you.  Hospitality is a family affair, with Carole’s son Michael providing wonderful breakfasts, and the occasional grandson pitching in to make everyone feel welcome.  Rooms are decorated with cozy quilts, and there is even a salt water pool tucked away in the backyard.  Carole’s is very close to Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and also has a nearby bus stop for access to downtown San Diego.

 

Keating House Bed and Breakfast is Near Balboa Park in San DiegoBankers Hill is an uptown neighborhood that was originally home to the city’s most affluent families.  It borders San Diego’s Balboa Park which was developed primarily for the First World’s Fair – the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.  The park’s 1200 acres host San Diego’s finest museums, gardens, theaters, and the San Diego Zoo.

Keating House Bed and Breakfast in Bankers Hill near Balboa ParkThe Keating House Bed and Breakfast is the closest B&B to the park, just a 10 minute walk to the visitor’s center.  It was built as a “starter home” for George Keating, a successful Kansas business man who moved to San Diego in 1886.  Now the graceful inviting Victorian décor welcomes guests from around the world.  Its proximity to downtown San Diego makes it a favorite for business travelers.  For the seasoned walker, downtown is about 15 minutes away.  Or guests can easily utilize public transportation to reach their destinations.  After a busy day sightseeing or at work, enjoy the front porch and the fabulous natural garden with a peaceful fountain and attentive hummingbirds.

 

Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant in Old Town San DiegoOld Town is touted as the Birthplace of California as it is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California in 1769.  Designated as a State Historic Park in 1968, it is chocked full of historic buildings, museums, exhibits, and living history demonstrations.  In addition, there are dozens of shops, restaurants and a theater.  On the main plaza you will find the Cosmopolitan Hotel, built over the original adobe house of the Bandini family.  A continental breakfast is included in the night’s stay, plus the hotel features a full service restaurant and bar open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant Patio

The Cosmopolitan provides a great experience for California families with young children who study state history in school.  Rooms are simply furnished with period furniture (and no TVs) and are accessed by a second floor open veranda.  Guests enjoy lounging outside their rooms on the veranda, with views of Old Town as well as the fireworks from SeaWorld on most summer nights. An added benefit is that children eat free in the Cosmopolitan restaurant.  Special events, meetings, and weddings can be hosted on site.  After exploring all Old Town has to offer, you have easy access to San Diego via the major transit hub located a block away.  Business travelers can reach downtown and the Convention Center with ease.

 

Glory's Holiday House Bed & Breakfast in Point LomaPoint Loma is a seaside neighborhood nestled on the hilly peninsula jutting to the south from San Diego. The Holiday House Bed and Breakfast is perched on the hill and boasts the most amazing views in the city.  Guests enjoy 180 degree unobstructed views of the bay and San Diego.  On the far right in the panorama is the Cabrillo National Monument named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European explorer to see San Diego Bay.  Down the hill from the Holiday House is Liberty Station, an award winning mixed use development on the site of the former Naval Training Center San Diego.

Glory's Holiday House Bed & Breakfast PoolRestaurants, art galleries, shops, and museums now occupy this prime real estate as well as the first golf course in San Diego, Sail Ho.  Holiday House owner Glory Giffin, a retired art teacher, highly recommends First Friday NTC at Liberty Station when the galleries are open from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., wine and cheese is served and you have the opportunity to meet artists in person.  Relax after a busy day on the deck, in Glory’s comfy living room, or with a good soak in the hot tub and the sparkling pool.  Military and government travelers find Holiday House a perfect location for access to the many installations on Pt. Loma and at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

 

Ocean Beach Pier Near Elsbree House Beach Bed & Breakfast and Vacation CondoOcean Beach (called OB by the locals) is a small laid-back beach community with funky shops, fun bars and restaurants, an antique shopping row, fishing pier, and wide sandy beach.  It was one of the original swimming destinations in San Diego and is credited with having the first trained lifeguards in the city.  As the shore line runs south to Point Loma, the land rises and creates the scenic Sunset Cliffs Natural Park with intricately carved coastal bluffs, tide pools, sea caves, and some of the best surfing spots in the county. A Beach Bed and Breakfast at the Elsbree House is nestled in a residential block just 500’ from the cliffs.

Elsbree House A Beach Bed and Breakfast and Vacation Condo in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Owner Katie Elsbree designed and runs a cheerful and comfy inn, whose décor pays homage to her Irish heritage with a beachy twist!  Her lush country gardens, patios, and decks are perfect for enjoying the sea breeze.  Katie ensures guests make the most of OB by providing beach chairs, towels and ice chests.  Walk the 500’ feet down the block to the edge of the Pacific Ocean and watch for California Gray Whales as they migrate from the Bering Sea to Baja California.  Explore San Diego via public transportation; a bus stop is just a block away.  Katie’s guests also recommend using Lyft to get around town on your own schedule.

 

Coronado Sunset near 1906 Lodge Coronado is a quaint seaside village located across the bay from downtown San Diego, connected by the graceful two mile long Coronado Bridge.  It has been a vacation destination since 1888 when the iconic Hotel del Coronado was opened.  While presidents and princes have visited Coronado over the years, it retains its small town atmosphere with cottages and mansions sharing the quiet streets.  Coronado’s wide and long pristine beach has been declared the number one beach in the country and attracts visitors from near and far.

1906 Lodge in Coronado across the bay from San DiegoThe 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach is a boutique hotel just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean.  The Lodge was built as a simple boarding house in 1906 but now provides gracious rooms and luxury suites in the Arts and Crafts style.  Fireplaces and spa tubs in the suites make this an ideal romantic getaway.  The Lodge provides a delicious breakfast, wine and snacks at 5:00 p.m., plus secure underground parking.  Once in Coronado, you can walk to everything as the island is only one mile long.  Tantalizing restaurants, unique shops, historic walking tours, theaters, and lots of water sports can fill a vacation itinerary in no time.  Downtown San Diego is easily reached via a pedestrian ferry or the Coronado Bridge.

 

Bed and Breakfast Inn at La JjollaLa Jolla, on the coast north of downtown, has an upscale ambiance inherited from its roots as an artist colony and intellectual enclave.  The Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla is elegant and relaxed hospitality at its finest.  Its rooms and suites are meticulously decorated, many with private porches and views of the Pacific Ocean horizon.

Start your day with a delectable three course gourmet breakfast.  And be sure to be back for the sunset wine reception in the central courtyard which is graced with a bewitching statue Isus from Greek mythology.  The Inn is just a block from the La Jolla Cove where you can swim, snorkel and kayak, and the Children’s Pool where visitors and a harbor seal colony coexist.

Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla is near many golf courses

Walk to five star restaurants with ocean views, art galleries, and shops in the village.  Enjoy live theatre at the La Jolla Playhouse, a professional theatre-in-residence on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.

Plan your dream golf vacation and improve your swing with lessons at the world famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. If you run out of things to do in La Jolla, you are just 15 minutes from San Diego’s other attractions and the Convention Center.  Are your still looking for a Comic Con hotel?  La Jolla has rooms!

No matter where you choose to stay, you are never far away from the heart of San Diego.  Find a neighborhood and B&B that fits your style and we think you’ll have an exceptional experience in our fine city!

 

 

Stay at one of the eight Bed and Breakfast Guild locations in San Diego

Balboa Park San Diego

Balboa Park in San Diego is the largest urban park in the United States.  Located near downtown San Diego, it encompasses 1,200 acres with 15 museums, beautiful Spanish  architecture, water fountains and features, an outside theatre, numerous walking trails and of course the World Famous San Diego Zoo. Be sure to include this destination in your next visit to San Diego.

Balboa Parks Visitors Center is a great place to start your visit to the park. Located in the House of Hospitality near Prado Restaurant, here you will find up to date information on the latest happening in and around the park including the museums.  The Visitors Center is open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily.  Pick up a map or brochure, ask the friendly staff and volunteers any questions you might have about the park, or join a free guided tour of the Park. You may even find a souvenir at the gift shop full of a wide selection of gifts including those locally made.

A Little History
In 1868, land was set aside by civic leaders to become the city park. It was rough and undeveloped. Just after the turn of the 20th century, the City Park as it was known, finally received a formal master plan for improvements.  Water lines, roads and planting of trees and shrubs continued. When San Diego was named to host the 1915 Panama Exposition, the Parks named changed to a more distinctive name, Balboa Park, named after, and in honor of, Spanish-born Vasco Nunez de Balboa. With the Exposition coming, building began for the Spreckels Organ pavilion, the Cabrillo Bridge, the California Tower and dome, and the San Diego Museum Association (Museum of Man).

Gardens of Balboa Park
One of the most photographed scenes in Balboa Park is the view of the Botanical Building with the Lily Pond in the foreground.  Be sure to stop by and see the Koi, water lilies, and capture the picture yourself.  The Botanical Building built for the 1915 Exposition is free to enter. It houses more than 2,100 plants including tropical orchids and palms. This building is a kid friendly place with a Carnivorous Plant, and Venue Fly Traps for kids to enjoy. If you are a garden enthusiast, Japanese Friendship Garden is one garden to must see complete with a Koi Pond where one can feed the fish. There are so 17 other gardens or areas each with their own special style or type of garden. Ask at the Visitor Center if you are looking for a specific kind.

Museums of Balboa Park
The 15 museums in Balboa Park are sure to pique an interest for everyone.  With museums ranging from science, air and space, to art, sports, and automotive, there are buildings to pick and choose as you please.  If multicultural exploration is an interest, there are 32 groups participating in the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Many of these international cottages will feature music, dance, arts and crafts and ethnic food on the weekends.

World Famous San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo is a popular attraction. Home to more than 4,000 rare, exotic and endangered animals, this zoo at Balboa Park is a must see. Rare Giant Pandas are usually on visit from China. Or, check out the koalas.  If you visit at the right time, you might just get to see baby pandas!  Inside the zoo, there is a special area called “The Children’s Zoo”, with animals and activities geared for kids. The San Diego Zoo is known for their conservation program and to date have reintroduced 33 species back in to the wild.

Spreckels Organ Pavilion
One of the world’s oldest outdoor pipe organs is the Spreckels Organ.  It contains 4,530 pipes. It was donated to the city of San Diego by John D. Spreckels for the 1915 Exposition. The Pavilion can seat over 2,400. It is highly recommended to be in one of those seats for a free concert every Sunday at 2:00 pm.

There are nearly a dozen places to find food.  From award winning restaurants to cafes, there is a variety of food in Balboa Park. There are also snack carts around the park where you can enjoy ice cream, hotdogs, or a drink. Of course, you can also bring your own picnic and enjoy the acres of green grass and abundant trees. You can also enjoy the 65 miles of trails throughout Balboa Park. All are clearly marked with varying degrees of difficulty.

Spend a day or a weekend at Balboa Park. With free parking, abundant activities for the family, you’ll be entertained with sights and sounds around Balboa Park.  Enjoy the near ideal year round weather in San Diego. Whether you enjoy the zoo, gardens, or museums, there is truly something for everyone at Balboa Park.

 

San Diego Beaches

Our Bed and Breakfast Guild members are located close to many San Diego beaches. San Diego is a top destination for travelers of all ages and wallets. Millions of visitors flock to its numerous amusement parks, zoos, museums, and shopping centers each year. With a near ideal year round temperature, San Diego’s coastline is a priority for travelers to visit. Visitors have a choice in San Diego’s nearly 70 miles of beaches. There is something to be found for nearly everyone. Whether it be surfing, sunbathing, building sand castles, or running with your dog, there is a beach for you in San Diego.

There are approximately 19 main beaches in San Diego for tourists and locals to enjoy. In the southern most part of San Diego, here are just a few of them.

Imperial Beach 

Near the US/ Mexico border is Imperial Beach. Known for its annual US Open Sandcastle Competition, it also offers a great place for swimming and body boarding. With a pier, fishing is a popular hobby here as well as picnic areas, parks, and playgrounds for the rest of the family. Restaurants and shopping are all located near the pier to complete your day at this beach.

San Diego Beaches | Imperial Beach

Silver Strand Beach

If walking miles of white beaches collecting seashells more your speed, Silver Strand State Beach is for you.  Silvery oyster shells cover the beach hence the name Silver Strand.  You can also find clams buried in the sand. This is not the best place to swim or sunbath, or even surf, but you can enjoy 10 miles of bike paths that run the length of isthmus.  Just be sure to stay on the public beach property.  To the north and south of Silver Strand is the military training ground of the Navy SEALS!

San Diego Beaches | Silver Strand State Beach

 

Coronado Beach

One of American’s Top 10 beaches of the Travel Channel, is Coronado Beach. Views across the bay of San Diego harbor make this a favorite for locals and visitors alike; it is just down right beautiful. There is truly something for everyone here. If romance is what you’re after, stroll along the boardwalk to Hotel Del Coronado, stay for a drink, soak in the atmosphere. If you have a four legged friend, dogs are allowed in some areas of this beach. With its wide beach, this is also a family friendly place to take the kids. Swim the Pacific Ocean, catch a wave at the “Outlet”, and end the night with a bonfire at one of the fire rings.

San Diego Beaches | Coronado Beach

Sunset Cliffs

If surfing and views are what you are after, Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma is the place to go. There is actually no beach for sun bathing or playing and swimming is not recommended. Instead, it offers views of waves crashing on the cliffs and surfers trying to catch that perfect wave. If exploring tide pools is more your style, you can do so by Cabrillo Lighthouse. This is a fun activity for all ages.  There are no amenities including food, bathrooms or lifeguards at this particular beach in San Diego.  Just be prepared if you want to check out Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma.

San Diego Beaches |  Sunset Cliffs

Ocean Beach

Known to the locals as OB, Ocean Beach is home to the longest concrete pier on the west coast. The pier offers great views of the water as well as fishing. The town of Ocean Beach is a casual place great for families, friends, and/or dog lovers. On weekends, or after work, you’ll find dozens upon dozens dogs romping on the sand and in the crashing waves at Southern California’s original Dog Beach with their human companions. If you are traveling with your dog and he/she is able to be off lease, this is a must visit beach for you to enjoy. The amenities at this beach are great too since it offers bathrooms and even accessible off road wheelchairs. Just ask at the lifeguard station during on duty hours for assistance. Swimming and surfing is good at this beach too for those looking to get more than their feet wet.

San Diego Beaches | Ocean Beach

So grab your sunglasses and sun screen, and enjoy what San Diego has to offer. Whatever your goal for going to the beach, just go!  If you enjoy seagulls or pelicans fly by and the crisp smell of ocean air, a visit to a beach can be the highlight of your visit to San Diego.

The San Diego Bed and Breakfast Guild Welcomes you to San Diego

Need a cure from Syracuse winters: Try sunny San Diego

Syracuse, N.Y. — I love Syracuse winters in December. Even in January, the snow looks fresh and beautiful. But by mid-February, shoveling snow in freezing temperatures loses its appeal.

When I have trouble remembering what sunshine looks like, it’s time to consider taking a trip. San Diego is the perfect cure for Syracusans fed up with winter. In an average February, the sun shines on the streets of San Diego an average of 71 percent of the hours between sunrise and sunset, according to the National Climatic Data Center. In Syracuse, the average is 39 percent.

There are some sunnier cities in America. But there are not many of them. And none that offer as many attractions as San Diego. There’s the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park is filled with great museums, a photogenic Botanical Hall, and a Desert Garden full of cactuses.

There are miles of beautiful Pacific Ocean shoreline at Cabrillo National Monument. Seals gather on the beach each evening in the village of La Jolla, just a short drive from San Diego. Eighteen miles north of the city, Torrey Pines State Park offers hiking trails with stunning ocean views.

San Diego is about 130 miles from Hollywood, close enough that you can take a side trip, tour a movie studio, get into the audience of one of your favorite TV shows and gawk at celebrities. I got free tickets from the “Conan O’Brien Show” and “Let’s Make a Deal” to join their studio audiences. Amtrak can get you to Los Angeles hassle-free. If you are driving there, avoid the L.A. rush hour. It’s more horrifying than a teen slasher movie.

A half dozen commercial airlines fly from Syracuse to San Diego. None of them offer non-stop flights. In February, fares can be had for about $450 roundtrip. Buy your tickets about six weeks in advance and you might find a better price.

A caution to travelers: California is very expensive, especially if you are used to Syracuse prices. I was charged $55 at a San Diego restaurant for breakfast for three. The pancakes were extraordinary, but not worth that kind of dough.

San Diego Zoo

CarolesBB-Zoo

The most famous attraction in San Diego is the San Diego Zoo. It is ranked the sixth-largest zoo in the world by many travel guides. Spread out over 100 acres in Balboa Park, there are more than 800 species of animals. The zoo has everything from slow-moving 300-pound Galapagos turtles to sleek black panthers. The zoo, one of the largest in the United States, has a collection of the endangered giant turtles from the Pacific island.

It is one of only four U.S. zoos that exhibit Giant Pandas. Unless you’re a marathon runner, you might find strolling the entire zoo a challenge. The zoo offers shuttle buses and an aerial tram to help visitors get around.

Be prepared for some sticker shock. The cost of Syracuse’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park is usually $8 for adults, $4 for children older than 2. The San Diego Zoo admission is $42 for adults, $32 for children older than 3.

My advice: go early and pack a lunch in a backpack.

Seals in La Jolla

The zoo isn’t the only place to see exotic animals near San Diego. Thirteen miles north of the city, in the ritzy seaside village of La Jolla, dozens of harbor seals swim ashore daily in the late afternoon to sleep on Casa Beach. Beginning in early February, the mother seals give birth to pups. Visitors are asked to stay a little further away from mid-December until mid-May, but you can still get close enough to hear the seals barking and take cool photos and videos. This outing is free.

If you go to La Jolla to see the seals, double up and visit the nearby Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography ($14 for adults) or Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve ($10 per car). Torrey Pines has miles of beautiful hiking trails that go from cliffs overlooking the ocean to unspoiled beaches.

My advice: Arrive at 4 p.m. at Casa Beach to see seals. Stick around and take photos of the sun setting on the ocean.

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National MonumentLocated across the San Diego Bay on the Point Loma peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean, this is a 160-acre park on the site where in 1542 Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to set foot on the West Coast of the United States.

The park features a picturesque coastline, tidal pools that children and adults will enjoy exploring for hours, and self-guided tours of the restored Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which was used from 1855 to 1891.

In the winter, the national park is a good place to spot whales swimming in the ocean. From December through March, around 26,000 gray whales make a 10,000-mile migration from the Arctic Sea south to Baja California and back. Pack a pair of binoculars. There are also many whale-watching boat tours that can be booked in San Diego.

Admission to Cabrillo National Monument is $5 per carload.

My advice: Give yourself hours to walk the beach and explore the tidal pools.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park San DiegoBalboa Park is a gem in the middle of San Diego, just like Central Park is in New York City. But Balboa Park is even bigger.

It’s the nation’s largest urban cultural park. Created by civic leaders in 1868, Balboa Park is named after Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the first European to spot the Pacific Ocean.

It is 1,200 acres. By comparison, Central Park is 843 acres. Balboa Park has plenty of unique attractions that aren’t every-day sights for Syracusans. Like cactus. In fact, there are several special gardens in the park that are full of cacti. The Desert Garden contains more than 1,300 plants, including some of the oddest-looking cactus I’ve ever seen. The peak blooming period is January through March.

Speaking of plants, the view of the Balboa Park Botanical Building with a Koi-filled Lily Pond in the foreground is one of San Diego’s most-photographed scenes. The light that streams into the historic lath structure will make photographers in your party drool.

My advice: You can easily spend a relaxing day in this park.

The winter weather in San Diego is so nice, so different than Syracuse’s, that you might be tempted to visit only outdoor attractions.

But don’t miss the Balboa Park Museums. There are 15 major museums in the park. Among them are museums devoted to anthropology, art, automobiles, Latino culture, model railroads, natural history, photography, science, space and veterans.

The Tinken Museum of Art is free, but most of the others charge adult admissions that range from $8 to $17.50, for the Air & Space Museum.

You can buy a one-day adult pass for $35 that is good for any five of the park’s 14 participating attractions. So this winter, if you need to get away from it all, think of San Diego. With the exception of Seattle, the 2,740-mile trip to San Diego is as far as you can commercially fly and still land in the continental United States.

It’s the anti-dote to February in Syracuse.

Contact Mike McAndrew at mmcandrew@syracuse.com or 470-3016.

Trip tips
Post-Standard editor Mike McAndrew traveled Dec. 5 to sunny San Diego. He spent seven days visiting attractions in San Diego and in Burbank.

Biggest expenses: Airfare, dining out, Burbank hotel, rental car.
Best experience: Being in the audience for two tapings of “The Conan O’Brien Show” and one taping of “Let’s Make a Deal” was fun. But viewing the natural beauty of the San Diego coastline and Balboa Park was better.
Worst experience: Rush-hour traffic in Los Angeles.
Biggest regret: Didn’t swim in the Pacific Ocean.
Best souvenir: Carried home four little cactuses.
More information:
San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau: sandiego.org
San Diego hotels, attractions, restaurants: sandiego.com/
San Diego Zoo: sandiegozoo.org/
Balboa Park and museums: balboapark.org/
Cabrillo National Monument: nps.gov/cabr/index.htm
Seeing seals in La Jolla: lajollafriendsoftheseals.org/
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve: torreypine.org/