Southern California Fun – San Diego

San Diego is one of the most well-known cities in Southern California. And while it’s a popular place to live, ranking as the seventh most populated city with close to 1.3 million residents, it’s also a big tourist draw. San Diego has plenty of tourist attractions for the entire family as well as plenty of restaurants, shopping malls and stores, and night clubs and bars for the adults.

Gas Lamp Quarter San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza
The area around the W Hotel San Diego is known for its shopping. Historic Gaslamp Quarter is home to numerous festivals and events, including the Street Scene Music Festival, Taste of Gaslamp and Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. The 16 1/2 block neighborhood is about a block away from PETCO Park, in East Village, where the San Diego Padres play.

But Gaslamp almost crumbled away until an urban renewal effort revitalized the neighborhood in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, Gaslamp is on the National Register of Historic Places. It gets its name from the gas lamps that dot the streets on all blocks. The neighborhood has plenty of places to dine and shop.

But if you’re really looking to hit the stores, then the nearby Horton Plaza is the shopping center to check out. Adjacent to Gaslamp, the Westfield Horton Plaza is a five-level outdoor mall located on 6 1/2 blocks and includes anchor stores Macy’s and Nordstrom.

W Hotel San Diego

Beach Fun for Everyone
California has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The W Hotel San Diego lies close to a number of those beaches. Some of the major beaches include Black’s Beach, Dylan’s, La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Cove, Marine Street, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, North Pacific, Ocean, Pacific, South Mission, Sunset Cliffs, Torrey Pines and Windansea to name a few. Overall, San Diego has 70 miles of coastline.

For the Kids
San Diego is also famous for its zoo and SeaWorld. SeaWorld has theme park, marine mammal park and oceanarium. The facility is building touch pools where guests can touch small sea animals. It’s set to open in 2014 to commemorate the park’s 50th anniversary. And SeaWorld intends to add an Aquatica park, set to open in the summer of 2013.

shamu sea world san diego

The world-renown San Diego Zoo is less than a 10 minute drive from W Hotel San Diego. The zoo is home to more than 3,700 animals and more than 650 species and subspecies. The zoo is also one of the few that has giant pandas on display.

Fun After Sundown
Of course, San Diego is also home to plenty of bars and nightclubs. Some of the more prominent spots include Latitude Lounge, FLUXX, Tipsy Crow, Side Bar, ALTITUDE Sky Lounge, Café Sevilla, Double Deuce and Belly Up. But if you’re staying at the W Hotel San Diego, then you should check out the Rooftop Bar, an outdoor bar on the roof of the hotel. Check out one of the bar’s five private cabanas, or mingle with the crowd by the bonfire during the nightly Sunset Ritual.

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  1. Julie Wood says

    I have been to San Diego and I had so much fun visiting this city! I went to Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. I also went to a awesome restaurant that served Chinese food very cheap. I liked the big Ralph’s grocery store, it sits on a whole block! I would love to visit San Diego again!

  2. says

    I lived in San Diego for 12 years :) Horton Plaza is a gorgeous 7 story outdoor mall. Don’t forget the World Famous San DIego Zoo and right next door is Balboa Park – full of awesome museums. Be sure to check out Saffron Chicken if you’re in that neighborhood – best Chicken and Thai food you’ll ever have!!

  3. says

    We LOVE San Diego! We go every summer for Comic-con and while we stay super busy with that alone, we do try to see some sites while we are there too. We love Gaslamp…and you’ve got some great ideas listed that we never considered.

  4. Susan Johnson says

    Wow! I haven’t been to San Diego in 20 years, and boy has it changed! My mom used to take us to Mission Beach every summer as kids, but back then it was kind of a dumpy, if not in some places seedy, beach town in a lot of places. I’ve heard it had been totally renovated, and have been wanting to see what it looks like now, but have yet to scrape up the money… I think I’ll have to try harder!

  5. says

    I haven’t been back to California since I was 13 and I’d love to go back this summer for my 40th birthday. I even met a friend via Disney Social Media Moms who lives in San Diego so I’m looking forward to connecting with her. Maybe we’ll stop by Horton Plaza.

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