Welcome to Downtown
It's an easy drive into Downtown, especially from the nearby airport. There are reasonably priced parking lots (about $10 per day) along Harbor Drive, Pacific Highway, and lower Broadway and Market Street. Most restaurants offer valet parking at night, but beware of fees of $15 and up.
If you tire of exploring Downtown on foot, hop aboard a pedicab, hail the Free Ride Everywhere Downtown (FRED) shuttle, or rent a GoCar (three-wheel cars equipped with a GPS-guided audio tour).
Top Reasons to Go
Waterfront delights: Stroll along the Embarcadero, explore Seaport Village, or enjoy a harbor cruise.
Contemporary art for all ages: From the stunning galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art to the clever incorporation of art and play at the New Children's Museum, Downtown is the place for art.
Maritime history: Climb aboard and explore a wide array of vessels from sailing ships to submarines.
Delicious dining: The hip and high-style restaurants of Little Italy, the Gaslamp Quarter and the East Village make Downtown San Diego a diner's delight.
Happening Gaslamp: It's hard to believe this hip neighborhood filled with street art, galleries, restaurants, and buzzing nightlife was once slated for the wrecking ball.
Carnitas' Snack Shack - Embarcadero. Indulge in some carnitas tacos, a BLT, or the "Triple Threat" pork sandwich at the Embarcadero outpost of this popular swine-heavy dining spot. 1004 N. Harbor Dr., Embarcadero, San Diego, California, 92101. 619/616–7675; www.carnitassnackshack.com.
Pappalecco. Kids and adults alike will swoon over the addictive gelato at Pappalecco, while those seeking something savory can choose from a selection of panini and other snacks. 1602 State St., Little Italy, San Diego, California, 92101. 619/238–4590; www.pappalecco.com.
Planning Your Time
Most Downtown attractions are open daily, but the Museum of Contemporary Art is closed Wednesday and the New Children's Museum is closed on Tuesday during the school year. For guided tours of the Gaslamp Quarter Historic District, visit on Saturday. A boat trip on the harbor, or at least a hop over to Coronado on the ferry, is a must at any time of year. From December through March, when gray whales migrate between the Pacific Northwest and southern Baja, consider booking a whale-watching excursion from the Broadway Pier.
San Diego Visitor Information Center. This colorful and inviting visitor center is a great resource for information and discounts on hotels, restaurants, and local attractions. 996 N. Harbor Dr., Embarcadero, San Diego, California, 92101. 619/737--2999; www.sandiego.org.
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