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Blue Wave
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Blue Wave

Exploring San Diego

San Diego is perhaps unique in that you are within easy traveling distance of beach, desert, and mountains for any type of experience you are interested in.

Our hotel is a 13 minute drive from the closest beaches, which include Belmont Park with its famous wooden roller coaster, Mission Bay (which includes Sea World), and Ocean Beach Dog Beach. But these beaches aren’t the only ones nearby. When you visit San Diego, you can tour La Jolla’s famous beaches (and view the neighborhood that inspired Raymond Chandler when he lived there). Coronado is a short ferry ride away and easily reachable with the trolley that runs downtown and its beaches have been rated one of the best in the U.S. San Diego is lucky to have a number of stunning beach areas to explore.

If deserts are more your thing, San Diego is near the Anza-Borrego Desert and its annual wildflower bloom is frequently in March. Who knows, 2020 could be another “super bloom” year when the flowers really come out in large numbers and draw people from all over to view them. Even San Diego’s closer backcountry has wonderful hiking trails and desert gardens for you to visit.

If you want to drive to the mountains, San Diego is close to the mountain community of Julian, famous for its apple pies and historic buildings. While it does get some snow in the winter, that will probably be gone in March, leaving the area beautiful and temperate.

Old Town
Old Town is the historic heart of San Diego. Created in 1769, Old Town San Diego was California’s first settlement with only a mission and a fort. Wander through lush gardens or browse at one of the many specialty shops for treasures from around the world. Indulge in authentic Mexican food at one of the many restaurants or dance to the strolling mariachis. Pause to reflect at the fountains at Fiesta de Reyes and in the Bazaar del Mundo and plan a day or two to visit the dozens of historic sites. Take a tour of a haunted building and spend a day at one of the many museums. Year round, Old Town is the place for food, folklore, and fun. Visit Old Town, celebrate San Diego’s heritage, and bask in early California ambiance. (Easily reachable from the trolley stop right at the back of the conference hotel.)

Balboa Park and its museums
Balboa Park is the largest urban park in the U.S. and it is also sometimes known at the Smithsonian of the West because it is home to over 17 museums and cultural institutions. The park’s central area was designed around two major events, the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. Today is is home to the World Famous San Diego Zoo, the Natural History Museum, the San Diego Art Museum, and other attractions. It also has a number of beautiful gardens, including a rose garden, cactus garden, and the 1915 Botanical Building (this historic building is one of the largest lath structures in the world and contains over 2,100 plants including cycads, ferns, orchids, tropical plants, and a bog/carnivorous plants area).

Sea World
Want to see killer whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins, or world-class aquariums? Sea World offers all that plus roller coasters and family entertainment. Nearby in Mission Bay.

Legoland
Over 60 kid-powered, kid-tactic rides, shows, and attractions. See our world as built with Lego bricks or ride one of the brick-themed roller coasters. Themed areas for ninjas, pirates, Star Wars and others will be sure to delight children of all ages.

Los Angeles (with Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Hollywood and more)
It’s less than two-hours by car and also easily reachable by trolley and train, and Los Angeles has plenty to entertain, including theme parks, restaurants, and, of course, Hollywood.

Mexico
Our hotel is a half hour drive from the Mexican border—and the trolley will take you right to the border crossing. Once there, make sure you have your passport, but then you are ready to visit our nearest neighbor—Mexico!

More San Diego Information
 • Mission Valley Map
 • San Diego Visitor Planning Guide
 • San Diego website