San Diego is a world-class city in Southern California, drawing tourists from around the world to its sun-kissed beaches and cultural streets. Locals love many of the sights and sounds of their diverse metropolis as well, frequenting Old Town for its delicious restaurants and eclectic shopping, the Gaslamp Quarter for its nightlife and culture, Mission Bay for its gorgeous beaches, "Big" San Diego Bay for its parks, and Birch Aquarium to see what's actually happening in the seas around us.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Experience the early history of San Diego in this expertly restored and reconstructed neighborhood from the 1800s, merging Mexican and American cultures in fun, educational ways. The Historic Plaza stands as the area's hub for events, while 5 original adobe structures house numerous museums, shops, and restaurants. Sights include a blacksmith shop, regular entertainment, and live donkeys. A quick 10-minute walk from the Old Town Inn. For more information, visit http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=663
Birch Aquarium ushers visitors into the world of the sea. Courtesy of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, there are over 60 recreated habitats and hands-on exhibits on display, all educationally focused on Pacific marine life. The Tropical Seas Gallery, Hall of Fishes, and 13,000-gallon Shark Reef are true standouts. The jaw-dropping cliff-side location over the ocean in La Jolla gives visitors a one-of-a-kind view of the water as well, so be sure to bring your camera. Open 9am-5pm daily, An easy 15 minute drive from the Old Town Inn. More information can be found at http://aquarium.ucsd.edu/
Downtown Gaslamp Quarter
Known as the "Historic Heart of San Diego," the Gaslamp Quarter is a 16.5-block district of downtown, listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its preserved Victorian architecture. It's the premier destination for locals and travelers seeking a hip night on the town, with over 80 unique shopping boutiques, numerous art galleries, diverse dining options, and every type of entertainment imaginable. All together, there are over 200 restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and lounges, so where the good times go is up to you! A speedy 15 minute trolley ride from the Old Town Inn. For more, visit http://www.gaslamp.org.
Once a salt-water lagoon, at 4,200 acres of land and sea, Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made recreational waterpark of its kind in the world. There's nothing quite like "San Diego's Water Wonderland." Surrounded by 27 miles of sandy beaches, the paths of Mission Bay are perfect for running, cycling, skating, skate boarding, or taking a sunset stroll. The classic amusement rides of Belmont Park beckon nostalgic thrill-seekers, while the warm seawater calls surfers, boogie boarders, kayakers, skiers, and divers to its depths. Regular events and live music fill the coastal resorts as well, with bars and restaurants galore. A quick 10 minute drive from the Old Town Inn. Learn more at http://www.sandiego.org/what-to-do/beaches/mission-bay.aspx.
San Diego Bay
Home to 250 acres of wildlife refuges and 17 parks, San Diego Bay offers visitors an array of peaceful walkways, lush gardens, playgrounds, public art, and beautiful views of the California coast. From "Big Bay" you can take a ferry to the island of Coronado, where you'll find a secret gem of unique culture. You can also take a trip to Imperial Beach and watch the surfers, catch a wave yourself, or lay back and take in a sand sculpture competition. And no trip down the Bay is complete without a stop at Seaport Village, with a lovely collection of restaurants, shops, live music, and all sorts of street performers. Skip the drive, take the trolley, only 10 minutes from the Old Town Inn. Find out more at www.thebigbay.com.