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Downtown & Gaslamp Quarter

The hottest nightlife scene on the West Coast

Discover San Diego's Urban Side

The heartbeat of every city lives in its downtown, and San Diego is no exception. Located only minutes from the airport, San Diego's thriving urban center offers an abundance of options for accommodations, activities, dining and cultural attractions, all easily accessible by foot, bike, car or public transportation. In the historic Gaslamp Quarter, where modern architecture and Victorian-Age buildings stand side-by-side, you'll discover eclectic galleries, chic boutiques, trendy nightclubs, rooftop bars, gastropubs, craft beer haunts and fine dining restaurants lining the streets.

During the day, families can enjoy compelling cultural attractions in San Diego's downtown, like The New Children's Museum, take in a baseball game at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, or catch the trolley to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. With plenty of places to eat, shop and explore, families can enjoy a true California urban safari.

After dark, the city transforms into a sophisticated playground for adults. With an endless variety of posh night clubs, sizzling music venues and sky-high rooftop bars, there's plenty of ways to enjoy a memorable night on the town.

The waterfront Embarcadero (or "landing place" in Spanish) lines the western edge of downtown. Its boardwalk hugs the San Diego Bay, home to the cruise terminal, the Navy Pier and Seaport Village. Climb aboard to explore the ships at the USS Midway Museum, the Star of India, or the Maritime Museum of San Diego. If a moving sea vessel is more your style, hop on a harbor cruise and explore the bay, while taking in the skyline views. For fun on land, head to the Headquarters at Seaport Village to grab a gourmet bite or browse for one-of-a-kind take-home treasures.

If you're looking for some authentic local flavor, immerse yourself in San Diego's Little Italy district, just north of downtown, where you can grab a slice of pizza or an espresso and biscotti from a local café, or dine at one of the celebrity chef restaurants located on bustling Kettner Boulevard known as "Top Chef Alley." Just south of downtown sits the vibrant East Village, a revitalized warehouse district with a hip social scene, and trendy cafes, craft beer bars and high energy vibe. East of downtown you'll find Barrio Logan, the epicenter of San Diego's Hispanic community, where art and food converge in a symphony of sights, sounds and tastes. The colorful murals and outstanding fare are worth the trip.

 

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Getting to Downtown & Gaslamp Quarter

Downtown is the heart of San Diego and there's not shortage of ways to get into the action. All major freeways go through the city including Interstate 5 and 805, and State Highway 163. Unlike many cities, traffic during rush hour flows away from the city in the morning, and into the city at night - so for tourists, the trip is quick! San Diego's public transportation system is efficient and cost-effective. The Red Trolley crosses the city in several key areas with major connections at downtown's Santa Fe Station. Amtrak and the Coaster rail service connects North County and its quintessential beach towns to downtown action. And once you are in the city, ride share programs including Car-To-Go, DecoBike, and FRED (Free Ride Everywhere Downtown) provide great alternatives to move around town.

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Barrio Logan

For years, the Barrio Logan neighborhood has been one of San Diego's best kept secrets. An epicenter of the city's Mexican-American culture, this neighborhood is quickly becoming a hotspot for cutting-edge art and authentic local culture.

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San Diego's Embarcadero

A great place for a stroll along the water

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San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter

Not only is this area the epicenter of San Diego’s nightlife scene, it is also rich with cultural offerings

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Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2021

The Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show is back, promising another spectacular display over San Diego Bay. Fireworks will be discharged simultaneously from barges placed strategically around the Bay off Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Seaport Village, Embarcadero South Marina Park and Coronado Ferry Landing. The impeccably choreographed display will last approximately 17 minutes.

Come down to the bay and enjoy the biggest fireworks show in San Diego!

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Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

Jun 11 - Sep 6, 2021

Stay after dark and help us celebrate summer during Nighttime Zoo. Come "rock and roar" every day this summer with live music and other amazing entertainment experiences. There's so much to do, see and hear at Nighttime Zoo - it's a good thing summer hours are longer!

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Art Alive 2021

Jun 17 - Jun 20, 2021

Art Alive 2021 kicks off the summer with a weekend of newly imagined festive floral events. As always, enjoy spectacular floral interpretations of nearly 100 works of art throughout the Museum. The sights, scents, and sounds of the floral exhibition will spill onto the plaza for the family-friendly Open Air Floral Affair. Bloom Bash takes a hiatus for the Color Feast, a more intimate but full surround-sound, synesthetic outdoor dining experience. And the exclusive Premiere Dinner moves under the stars. Art Alive 2021 offers even more virtual festivities, with a 360 virtual tour of the floral exhibition, a virtual silent auction, at-home workshops for all ages, and more.

 

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RelayPlay Personalized Experiences

Feb 18 - ongoing

Finding “things to do” is tough and sorting through a thousand events can be maddening! Every week our local experts personalize your TOP FIVE can’t miss Weekend Experiences, so you can maximize your time away from work.  Sign Up for Free at RelayPlay.com

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Barrio Logan

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San Diego's Embarcadero

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San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter

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Big Bay Boom!

Jul 4, 2021
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Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

Jun 11 - Sep 6, 2021
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Art Alive 2021

Jun 17 - Jun 20, 2021
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RelayPlay Personalized Experiences

Feb 18 - ongoing
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Downtown on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Accommodation

Third Night Free in San Diego

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Valid: Mar 2 - ongoing

Book two nights in San Diego and get the third night on us.  Enjoy stunning bay or city views from every room, private balconies, and a sparking private marina to enjoy water activities or...

Accommodation

STAY 3 & SAVE $100

Grande Colonial Hotel
Valid: Mar 19 - ongoing

Stay more and save more and find paradise all at the same time…right here in the Village of La Jolla, just a block from the ocean, with our “Stay 3 and Save $100”...

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Beach Village Hotel Del Coronado

Outdoor Travel Adventures
Valid: Nov 25, 2020 - ongoing

Plan your escape for a change of scenery and experience the stunning new Beach Village at Hotel Del Coronado. A private enclave of residential-style cottages and villas. Perfect for the most...

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For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

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