Spotlight On: San Diego

by Country Inns & Suites
Thursday, July 9, 2009

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Country Inn & Suites By Carlson – San Diego North
5975 Lusk Boulevard, San Diego CA 92121,
Reservations: 1-800-596-2375 US/Canada Toll-free
Telephone: (858) 558-1818 Fax: (858) 558-0421

Email: cx_sdca@countryinns.com

Dubbed by many as “the only area in the US with perfect weather,” San Diego is the oldest port on the West Coast and the sixth-largest city in the nation. Long known as a naval base, the military – along with tourism – still dominates the economy. In addition to rolling mountains, beautiful deserts, and seventy miles of coastline featuring some of the world’s best beaches, San Diego offers a wealth of attractions such as Sea World, Wild Animal Park and the San Diego Zoo. Art lovers can choose from many fine museums or catch a Shakespearean play at the Old Globe Theater. With more championship golf courses – over 85 – than any other US city, linksters will have no problem teeing off. The city also hosts the NFL’s Chargers and Major League Baseball’s Padres.

Visit the San Diego tourism website for a list of 50 Fun and Free summer activities you can partake in while visiting San Diego, in addition to a wealth of other travel information.

Read on to learn all about San Diego, and to plan your next trip to Surf Country.
~Emily

Coming & Going: Located three miles northwest of downtown, the San Diego International Airport witnesses approximately 300 departures each day, with several Mexican and Canadian destinations served by direct flights. Upon arriving in San Diego, you have a number of transportation options, but car rental is probably the best, as most residents and visitors do get around by car. See the “Making Your Way” section for car rental agency contact information. Amtrak and Coaster trains link the airport to downtown and surrounding communities, providing access as far away as Los Angeles. Commuters traveling from the airport to nearby destinations can take the Metropolitan Transit System Flyer Route No. 992 from the airport (service runs every 10 minutes from 5am-12:50am) to Amtrak’s Santa Fe train station downtown where they can board Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner or the Coaster on the appropriate train to surrounding locations. Although Amtrak operates daily, Coaster operates only Mon-Sat. For Amtrak train information, contact 800-USA-RAIL. For Coaster train information, contact 800-262-7837. The Flyer Route No. 992 is a Metropolitan Transit System bus that makes its way between the airport and downtown, with stops between the airport’s 1 and 2 terminals and the commuter terminal. The bus does make connections with Coaster and Amtrak trains as well as with the Trolley. The airport operates the Red Bus, a shuttle which provides free transportation between terminals. Buses generally run every 10 minutes. For more information, call 619-291-1508. If you need a charter bus, contact Cloud 9 Shuttle at 800-974-8885; A Blue Shuttle at 800-719-3499; or Access Shuttle at 800-690-9090. For shared shuttles, make your way to the airport’s Transportation Plaza where a transportation representative will direct you to available transportation.

Making Your Way: The main way to get around San Diego is by car. If you plan to be in the city for any length of time, consider renting a car. Area car rental agencies include: Avis Rent a Car 3180 N Harbor Dr 619-231-7171 or 800-852-4617 Enterprise Rent a Car 1691 Hancock St 619-225-8881 or 800-270-8881 Hertz Rent A Car 3202 N Harbor Dr 619-220-5222 or 800-654-3131 Thrifty Car Rental 1120 W Laurel St 619-429-5000 or 800-847-4389 It’s helpful to be familiar with some of the major highways when making your way, so we’ve included some brief information here. I-5 runs north/south, and I-8 runs east to Arizona. I-15 also runs north, to the Canadian border. CA-94 connects the downtown area with I-805, the highway that breaks away from I-5 at Sorrento Valley and joins it again near the border with Mexico. CA-163 connects downtown to the city’s northeast. The city has a trolley that runs downtown and into area suburbs, Mission Valley, East County and the coastal south bay. Amtrak and Coaster trains run regularly along the coast, easily connecting the San Diego area with Los Angeles, Orange County and San Bernardino. Amtrak stations can be found at Old Town, downtown’s Union Station and Sorrento Valley. Bus transportation is also available, with most stops being located in the city’s central district. Ferries also ply the waters of the Bay to Coronado every 30 minutes.

Neighborhoods:  San Diego has many different neighborhoods that loosely connect to make up the entire region. Downtown is located along the San Diego Bay and is generally considered central San Diego. The historic Gaslamp Quarter is located within the downtown area. The lovely 1400 acre Balboa Park, home to many museums, cultural institutions and the San Diego Zoo, is located to the northeast of downtown. The Hillcrest and North Park neighborhoods are north of Balboa Park. Hillcrest serves as the city’s center for the gay and lesbian population. Both offer plenty of shopping, restaurant and nightlife options. Separating the city from the ocean, Coronado and Point Loma are peninsulas with an assortment of housing, hotels and restaurants. Mission Valley stands along the I-8 corridor that runs east. It’s all about business and modern amenities, with office buildings, big box stores and popular chain shops. North of downtown is the Old Town, the area’s first European settlement. It now has restaurants, art galleries and a historic park. Northwest of downtown you’ll find Mission Bay and a number of beaches, including Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. Mission Bay is the home to the ever popular Sea World. To the north along the shore stands the charming La Jolla area. Along with excellent beaches and lovely scenery, it offers a mix of charming inns, restaurants and shopping destinations. Even further north, you’ll find the areas of Del Mar and Carlsbad. Del Mar’s known for its sprawling fairgrounds that house the San Diego County Fair each year, and Carlsbad is home for Legoland California. Staying north but traveling inland a bit, you’ll find one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, Rancho Bernardo, as well as the towns of Julian and Temecula.

Getting Your Bearings:  When visiting a new city, it’s helpful to know where to find help should you need it. The city’s visitor information center is located at: International Visitor Information Center 1040 1/3 W Broadway (at Harbor Dr) San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: 619-236-1212 Fax: 619-230-7084 E-mail: sdinfo@sandiego.org Hours: Jun-Sep daily 9am-5pm; Oct-May daily 9am-4pm La Jolla Visitor Center 7966 Herschel Ave (Herschel & Prospect in the Village of La Jolla) La Jolla, CA 92037 Phone: 619-236-1212 Fax: 619-230-7084 E-mail: sdinfo@sandiego.org Hours: Sep-Oct and Apr-May Mon-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am – 4pm; Nov-Mar Mon-Thu 11am-4pm, Fri 11am-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm; Jun-Aug Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm The Mayor’s office is located at: City Administration Building 11th Floor, 202 C St San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: 619-236-6330 Fax: 619-236-7228 Email: jerrysanders@sandiego.gove Website:www.sandiego.gov/mayor/

Weather:  San Diego experiences almost ideal weather conditions, with average daily temperatures settling around 70.5 °F. Mild, sunny weather is experienced throughout most of the year, with the exception of what locals refer to as “May gray and June gloom.” These downers occur when a marine cloud layer settles over the area. The area can experience higher temperatures during times when the Santa Anas, easterly winds, bring dry, hot air from the deserts. Most of the rain comes December-March. However, the overall yearly precipitation is generally under 12 inches.

City Orientation:  Located in SoCal (Southern California), San Diego sits at the southwestern corner of the US, just north of the Mexican border and the large city of Tijuana. The area features an ideal climate, plenty of sandy beaches and more than 15 different military facilities. The area has canyons separating mesas, easily defining neighborhoods and serving as landmarks. The downtown or central area stands along San Diego Bay and includes the Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park, a man-made park that spans 1400 acres situated between downtown and Mission Valley. The Coronado and Point Loma peninsulas stand between the shoreline and the Pacific Ocean. To the east, mountains loom large, followed by desert land. The county spans 4200 square miles in total.