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Activities/ Cultural Attractions

The heart of every city lives in its downtown, and San Diego is no exception. Located only minutes from the airport, San Diego's thriving downtown districts offer a plethora of options for accommodations, activities, dining and cultural attractions, all accessible by foot or by trolley. Modern and historic buildings stand side-by-side, in the downtown historic Gaslamp District, housing shops and boutiques, trendy nightclubs, rooftop bars and fine dining restaurants.

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

After dark, the area transforms into a sophisticated playground for adults. With an endless variety of posh night clubs, sizzling music venues and sky-high rooftop bars, you are bound for an adventurous and memorable night on the town.

On the west edge of San Diego downtown lies 3 miles of the Embarcadero district. Meaning "the landing place" in Spanish, the Embarcadero boardwalk hugs the east side of San Diego Bay, and is home to the San Diego 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 flavor, hop on a harbor cruise and explore the San Diego Bay. For fun on land, visit Seaport Village to grab a bite or pick up a one-of-a-kind gift.

If you're looking for some local flavor, immerse yourself in San Diego's Little Italy district, just north of the downtown. Grab an espresso and biscotti from a local café, or dine alfresco with a plate of hand-made pasta and a glass of Chianti. To walk off that authentic Italian meal, stop into any one of the many art and design galleries in Little Italy, showcasing artwork by international to local artists and furniture designers.

With an array of hotels, attractions, restaurants and cultural venues close by, San Diego's Downtown is a great spot to base your San Diego vacation.

 

What to Love

Dining at any of the fabulous downtown restaurants, many of them featuring celebrity chefs.

Lounging at an outside café in Little Italy, people watching while enjoying a cappuccino.

Viewing the “Urban Trees” sculptures along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

What to Know

Parking can be a bit of challenge in Downtown, consider Public Transportation to avoid the hassle.

San Diego’s downtown is filled with many one-way streets, be sure to look carefully before turning.

The International Visitor Information Center is located on Harbor Drive in front of the cruise ship terminal.

Public transportation is readily available via bus, trolley and train.

Many of the main attractions in San Diego are not downtown, however there are many transportation options available to get you where you want to go. 

 

- Provided by Discover San Diego



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