San Diego area--what would suit our needs?

Jan 30th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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San Diego area--what would suit our needs?

We're middle-aged, casual, adventuresome, have travelled extensively in the US and Europe, like nature including hiking & biking, the ocean, quaint un-touristy areas, historic sites, unique settings etc. We aren't shoppers, aren't looking for nightlife, aren't interested in theme parks, and we don't need posh accomodations. Our dining choices favor inexpensive ethnic places since we have wide-ranging tastes. We are thinking of a 4 day trip to the San Diego area in mid-March. We want a central base from where we could do activities. What do you have for suggestions for a general locale, inexpensive places to stay, and places we might want to visit? We have never visited the San Diego area before. Thanks much.
julies is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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We stayed at a decent Hampton Inn 3888 Greenwood St.
San Diego, California, US, 92110
and it was close enough to the Spanish Village and easy to hop on the highway and it was pretty central to stuff. Our room was very clean and they had a free breakfast and the hotel was not right next to the highway (but close enough). When we were out there we rode the trolley and it picks up at the Spanish Village. That gave us a good overview so the next few days we drove to the places we really wanted to see.
SkippyW is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 02:13 PM
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I would suggest you check the very many prior threads as well
Even in March, it may be difficult to find a nice hotel in a nice area for a moderate tariff. We stayed last May at Shelter Pointe Hot and Marina which we found on a trip advisor site (Orbitz or one of the others) and got a Ford Focus for $13. a day (less than $45. for 3 days incl taxes, but no MX travel permitted) from Payless.
There are many hotels in/near Hotel circle which is near 8 and east of 5 - not the best area, but...
Sounds trite, but I would always visit the SD Zoo - flora is nearly as outstanding as the fauna. Balboa Park is adjacent to the zoo and has a bunch of good stuff.
San Diego Magazine's restaurant (esp.annual readers') reviews are good. We especially like Thee Bungalow in Ocean Beach (
You can split a Breakfast at Hash Haus on 5th St for an interesting morning.
mikemo is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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Thanks for the tripadvisor advice. I'd read through the past 50 or so posts on San Diego before posing my question. I just couldn't seem to find the info I was looking for.

I have read that the San Diego area is spread out and was wondering if there is a better general locale in which to base ourselves since we have certain likes and dislikes. As in any large merto area we don't want to be on the opposite end of town from the places we are liekly to visit.
julies is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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I would suggest you try Priceline for San Diego, it seems people still get good bargains in this city. Hotel Circle is pretty much what it sounds like. It's a bunch of hotels on either side of Interstate 8. Price range from motels to nicer hotels. The one good thing about hotel circle is that the location is very convenient to downtown San Diego, Balboa Park, Coronado and not too far of a drive to La Jolla. A lot of Priceline hotels are for downtown San Diego, which is convenient but may not be your type of location.

Myself I would prefer to stay on Coronado or in La Jolla. Both are more upscale with La Jolla being on the higher end. In Coronado, there are beaches to walk on, you could bike around town and while there are expensive restaurants, there are also more inexpensive places, not sure though how many of them are ethnic. La Jolla has some beaches but is on a bluff, the views are outstanding, there are some tidepools to visit. Staying in La Jolla is more expensive but there is a Best Western (BW by the Sea) that comes up around $120 a night on Expedia for mid-March. It's also more of a drive out of downtown La Jolla to other areas of San Diego.

If you are interested in historic sights then Balboa Park is the place to go and as Mike mentioned the Zoo is outstanding even if it is a tourist spot. Another thing you might be interested in is the tour of the aircraft carrier Midway. My Dad (who was in the Navy) and I visited it last fall. It was very interesting.

One thing to keep in mind about San Diego, it is a tourist town. There are so many wonderful things to see but there will be other tourists. La Jolla or Coronado can be crowded on the weekends as will the Zoo and Balboa Park. During the week in March it's pretty quiet but that depends on the weather. In March it can be beautiful or it can cool and rainy. Also remember that spring break for a lot of schools are based around Easter Sunday which is on March 27th. While San Diego is not a huge spring break destination because people are looking for warmer climates, there will probably be more tourists both the week before and the week after Easter.

If you have any questions on some specific hotels, there are many of us who can help.

paula1470 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 05:55 PM
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spanish village is actually known as old town.
Underhill is online now  
Jan 31st, 2005, 06:07 PM
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We love San Diego but enjoy the little beach towns outside of town. Pacific Beach has a great inexpensive place for breakfast called Konos it is across from the Crystal Pier. You stand in line (sometimes pretty long but moves fast) for your food but it is great food full of locals and an outdoor patio. Maybe some of the cottages along the beach might be worth checking out.
beechbum is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 10:39 PM
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A good book for hiking is Afoot and Afield in San Diego by Jerry Schad. Lots of great hikes all over SD. Julian is worth a visit. One hour north of San Diego -nice drive.
rj007 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 10:59 PM
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rj007 - Never think about Julian when people are only staying for a few days and have never been to San Diego just because there is much to see in the city area. It should be beautiful there in March. With all the rain we've had, the hills are very pretty with blooming flowers and if the weather cooperates, hiking in the Julian area would be nice. Make sure to have some apple pie if you go there and stop at Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel if you take that route.
paula1470 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 06:17 AM
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I just went to San Diego for the first time. I would suggest staying in La Jolla- it's nice enough on its own, is very near a beach, and is only about 15-20 minutes from Downtown when there is no traffic. You will also be able to go to beach towns like Del Mar without having to constantly cross through the city. La Jolla also has the famous cliffs and Gliderport, which was well worth a trip.

Coronado seemed very pleasant but to go anywhere else you have to take the bridge. It's also very pricey.

I can report that there were a LOT of cheap ethnic eats in San Diego, particularly Asian food. Most of the good stuff seemed to be located on or near Convoy St. - many, many mini-malls there with great restaurants!

If you stay in the Hotel Circle area (Mission Valley), there are a lot of cheap chain motels, it's right off I-8. You will be in the center of the SD area, so pretty much everything will be equidistant.

You will NEED a car to enjoy S.D.

QC is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 07:29 AM
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QC - You are right about lots of ethnic food restaurants in San Diego. When I said that I wasn't sure about how many there were, I was refering specifically to Coronado.

paula1470 is offline  
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