Beaches! Parks! Art galleries! Gardens! The zoo! All of this can be found in San Diego, a warm and sunny city on California’s Pacific coast. It’s a city steeped not only in beauty and activity, but history, too: it’s home to Old Town San Diego, which was site of California’s first Spanish settlement. And there’s plenty in the present to keep you occupied as well: the 1,2000-acre Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, the USS Midway Museum and much, much more. The weather is temperate year-round, but the beaches are crowded in the summer months of June through August. Try going in December, January or February for sparser crowds and more powerful sun!
We’ve chosen a whopping 10 properties for you within San Diego. We selected hotels close to the city center and its many surrounding happenings and attractions. We’ve aimed to keep hotels affordable and well-rated by past guests (which generally means a rating of 8 or above on Booking.com).
Staypineapple at Hotel Z
From $152/ night
This bright hotel features bold blue and yellow on its facade —a welcoming show of light and color to this highly-rated property. Past guests have gushed about this place, from the bedding and blankets to coffee and the cupcake happy hour (an appropriately cheerful offering for this jubilant-looking hotel). Once you venture outside, there are plenty of attractions within 3,000 feet. Try downtown San Diego, Horton Grand Theater, AD Nightclub and House of Blues San Diego. To encourage your adventurous side, Hotel Z has free bike rentals.
This hotel has slightly lower ratings than some of the other properties on this list, but its rates were generally affordable and it offers access to plenty. Balboa Park, Seaworld San Diego, and the San Diego Zoo are two miles away. The City College Trolley Station is even closer, at less than a mile away. And when you are in your room, you’ll find a fridge, microwave, seating area, desk and safety deposit box. And in the morning? Why, there’s breakfast, of course!
Looking to check out Balboa Park? How about downtown San Diego? Or are you arriving by Amtrak? Any of those factors would make this Quality Inn a quality choice; this property is within 5,000 feet of all three. Past customer ratings are similar to the Days Inn, but guests have praised the breakfast (fresh eggs, waffles and the like) and the outside garden, adorned with a fountain and plenty of flora and sunlight. It’s “just like liv[ing] in a secret garden,” wrote one reviewer.
This slightly European-looking hotel is located, appropriately enough, in San Diego’s Little Italy. It’s a little over a mile from the Gaslamp Quarter. Walking there? A free continental breakfast should help put some pep in your step. (You might even be able to eat outside in the San Diego sun!) Afterwards, the Convention Center is another potential destination; it’s only a mile away, as is Balboa Park. No matter where you go, you can come back to your room and enjoy the free wifi or, as one guest put it, “the chill vibe of the place.” The staff — helpful and friendly— has received generous comments from past guests.
Craving the ocean? This might be the place for you — it’s only a minute’s walk from the beach. But it’s not just close to the water: the San Diego International Airport, Convention Center, Horton Plaza, Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy are all within a few minutes’ travel. There’s plenty to keep you occupied on-site, too, from free breakfast to a fitness center to a rooftop pool with sweet city views. When it’s time to bid adieu to San Diego, you can take advantage of the hotel’s free airport transfer service.
Arriving by air? This Best Western offers free shuttle service to the airport and to cruise terminals. If you’ve travelled from afar, why not rest your tired body in the heated outdoor pool or hot tub? Afterwards, breathe in the sights and sounds of the San Diego harbor or skyline from your room’s balcony. Traveling with kids? Video games are available for your in-room TV. For an all-ages treat, there’s a complimentary buffet at breakfast time. Once everyone is properly rejuvenated, check out some of the nearby attractions: downtown San Diego, Balboa Park, or, if you’re feeling bookish, the Central San Diego Public Library.
This property is full of contemporary luxury —from the lobbies and bathrooms to the fitness center, stocked with plenty of treadmills and strength-training equipment. The rooms are all suites, outfitted with microwaves, silverware, fridges and living areas. As for location, this modern Marriott is near the Gaslamp Quarter and its many eateries, shops and pubs. Don’t feel like leaving this beautiful hotel? SHAKE is an on-site bar and lounge with cocktails and small bites.
The Westin is another property boasting bright, spacious, upscale design that evokes the magic of California. If you’re looking to stay fit amongst all the beauty, a gym, outdoor pool and massages are available. Your room is nicely equipped also, with a rainforest shower, Starbucks coffee and HDTV. You can doll yourself up for a night downtown, or you can simply eat at the on-site restaurant, Coast, which serves three meals a day. Looking for a lighter nosh? The Aroma Cafe bakes goodies for guests.
This hotel is close to downtown (about half a mile), but its interiors are so pretty you might hesitate to leave. An outdoor pool and very hip-looking fitness center are available year round. Certain rooms up the beauty factor with urban or ocean views —one guest even called these vistas “unbelievable.” You can upload all your vacation pics to Instagram with the free wifi. While the wifi is free, the parking is not. Thankfully, there’s continental breakfast daily to compensate.
So far, we haven’t mentioned pets in this list. Animal lovers, take note: pets can lodge here for an additional charge. As for human amenities, there are plenty at the Porto Vista, which is located in Little Italy. The “European-style” rooms feature a CD player, cable TV and access via open air corridors. Sumptuous design fills not only the guest rooms but the entire property, which includes an updated, modern gym. Also on-site is The Glass Door Restaurant & Bar, which serves breakfast, brunch and dinner with a side of sparkling views of San Diego Bay.
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