San Diego - 1st Timer - Long Weekend Trip

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Feb 4th, 2008, 05:58 PM
  #1
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San Diego - 1st Timer - Long Weekend Trip

I'm planning a long weekend in San Diego - Flying from Washington, DC sometime in April (Thursday - Sunday). I'm in my mid-30's and had a baby a few months back so this is somewhat of a solo relaxing trip for mom(me). I'm definitely interested in visiting the Zoo and Wild Life Park.

I've been researching the different neighborhoods on San Diego's tourism site - but I'm still not sure as to where to stay. I will not be renting a car so I'm sure this knocks out a few places.

I like quaint restaurants, leisurely strolls, boutique shops, nice places to run.

I would love some suggestions as to what neighborhood to stay in. I loave the quaint hotels but realize this may not be feasible in the city with me not renting a car.

Thank you for your help!!

katzen is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2008, 02:38 AM
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You will need a car for San Diego. There is very limited public transportation. I would recommend staying in La Jolla. Do a search on these boards for specific hotels. For things to do, go walk around the Gaslamp district. The Cabrillo Monument in Point Loma provides a great viewpoint looking back at downtown. With the limited time that you have, it maybe better just doing the zoo in conjunction with seeing the rest of Balboa Park
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Feb 5th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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My wife and I have resided in the Hillcrest area for 3 years (it starts just north of Balboa Park) and find it the most interesting place in SD. If you stroll along University Avenue (more or less from 3rd Avenue to Richmond) and look into 4th, 5th, and 6th Avenues one block or so above and below University (6th is interesting only south of University) you will find the most interesting array of restaurants in SD. If you stay in a downtown hotel, you can take the #3 or #120 bus north on 5th Avenue and south on 4th Avenue to go to and from University.
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Feb 5th, 2008, 12:52 PM
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"Wild Life Park", do you mean Wild Animal Park? If so, you will need a car to get there. It's all the way up in Escondido, more than 20 miles on the 15.
I suppose you could get along in San Diego without a car for a long weekend, if you stay downtown.

There are plenty of restaurants there and buses. I'm sure there is a bus to Balboa Park and the zoo is very close.
Also, you could catch the ferry to Coronado and have leisurely strolls and boutique shops.

I've never thought of Hillcrest as a tourist destination but from what you've said you wanted, it could be perfect for you. There are many nice little restaurants, some worth driving out of the way for but parking is always a problem. But you've solved that !

April will be a nice time to come here.
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Feb 5th, 2008, 01:00 PM
  #5
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Thank you for all your responses! I was thinking of staying in the Gas Lamp area but I think I need to do more research based on your replies.
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Feb 6th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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Hello "Cats"

If you decide to stay in a hotel sort of mid-Gaslamp, the entrance to Balboa Park (at 6th and Laurel) is less than 1.5 miles north (and somewhat uphill) from you. My wife and I walk to and from the downtown area (about 2.2 miles each way) almost every week.

The #3 and #120 buses go up 5th Avenue and stop at Laurel. It is easy to visit Balboa Park without a car. And the Zoo is just a five minute walk north of the central area of the park.

An extremely quaint "hotel" is the Balboa Park Inn directly north of the zoo, in a predominantly residential area at Park Boulevard and Upas.

A more "traditional" (gay-operated and decidedly "gay-friendly) boutique hotel is the Park Manor Suites at 6th Avenue and Redwood, 6 blocks north of the aforementioned Laurel Street. From there, Hillcrest's University Avenue is about 0.75 miles directly north.

Balboa Park (the west side, bordering on 6th Avenue) is a frequent running area, very grassy, flat, and pleasant.

The Gaslamp is typicaly filled with conventioneers and has exciting nightlife, but I would not want to stay there. If you do prefer it (it IS very near the Bay), I suggest picking a place a bit more to the west, closer to Seaport Village and the Embarcadero.
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Feb 6th, 2008, 08:11 AM
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Follow-up to katzen--

Not to cyberstalk, but here are the links to the two hotels I mentioned:

http://www.balboaparkinn.com/

http://www.parkmanorsuites.com/

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Feb 6th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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Thank you for the great information d_claude_bear!! I will most definitely check out the inn and hotel. I loved 'cats' .. lol
katzen is offline  
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Feb 6th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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We stayed at the Park Manor Suites in October and liked it very much. Our room was really like a studio apartment, with a full kitchen.

We walked to Balboa Park, and found bus service to/from the Gaslamp Quarter and DT easy.

We didn't know about the gay friendly reputation, but, as a heterosexual couple, we were quite comfortable there.
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Feb 6th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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katzen--

If you Google "Hillcrest San Diego" you will find several info sources.

I'd be glad to answer any questions, if you decide to stay/visit the Hillcrest area. My wife and I chose it as our place to retire to after examining several cities/towns/neighborhoods along the central and southern California coast. We are both "big city" emigrees who love the San Diego central-city area with its mix of downtown and neighborhoods. So I am enthused to share its delights with others who plan to visit here.

If you click on my name (to find other messages I have posted) you will find more Hillcrest info in a post dated 11-24-07.
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Feb 6th, 2008, 04:57 PM
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Hillcrest is very nice, but if you don't have a car, you're going to miss all of San Diego's wonderful coastal area. None of it is walking easy distance from Hillcrest. Our public transportation is not great. Without a car, I would strongly recommend staying in a hotel close to the Trolley. Then you have easy public transportation to quite a few places that are of interest to most tourists.

If you stay in the downtown/Embarcadero area, there are lots of interesting things within walking distance, plus access to the Trolley and the ferry to Coronado. You can run along the Embarcadero and Harbor Island.

If you stayed on Coronado, you can run around the Island and on the beach (with the Navy Seals maybe!). You have easy access to downtown, the Embarcadero and the Trolley via the ferry.

Lots of people run in Balboa Park, my son and his friends are a few of them. As a lone woman, do not run there when it's dark, and even during the day stay on the main paths and don't run in the canyons. The Park is very busy at the weekends.

Have a great time here.
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Feb 7th, 2008, 09:00 AM
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I don't disagree, in general, with Barbara'a evaluation of public transportation in SD. However, either hotel I mentioned in an earlier post is a 10-15 minute bus ride from downtown, and once you get there it is as if you stayed in a hotel downtown, with the same problems (and the same opportunities) related to getting to the other places. The trolley provides direct access to limited parts of the city.

Unless you like the crowded bar/nightlife scene, I think staying in a hotel away from the Gaslamp offers a better ambience. And the "west side" of Balboa Park (right along Sixth Avenue) is the best place for running and quite safe.
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