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Being the state’s second-largest city, it’s no surprise that many have dubbed San Diego the birthplace of California. History records that this region was the first place the Europeans landed in the west of America. Today, it has become an astonishingly diverse mix of cultures, with the Pacific to the west and Mexico to the south. If lovely weather and laid-back style are the two main things you need for a perfect getaway, then look no further. Join in, as we unveil some of the best hotels in San Diego!
Where to Stay in San Diego
Expect days of fun while in San Diego, as America’s Finest City has it all. From world-class collections at the San Diego Zoo to the eclectic shops and incredible tacos on Ocean Beach. If you make a list, there will be at least 9 top things to do in San Diego. Not bad for a town that once had nothing but war and epidemics!
Each neighborhood in Silicon Beach has different characteristics. How you choose between the best hotels in San Diego depends on two things: budget and activity. For first time visitors, the Gaslamp Quarter is highly recommended. It’s the center of the city’s cultural and entertainment scene, with some of the highlights include the Gaslamp Museum and the Balboa Theater. The people here are also quite open-minded, so you can expect to find some of the top 11 gay-friendly hotels in San Diego.
Surfers will love staying in Mission Bay, a neighborhood that many travel brochures refer to as San Diego’s Aqua Paradise. It offers many options for water sports, from kite surfing, wakeboarding, sailing, everything! In case you don’t want to bother going to the beach for a swim, some of the 11 best hotel pools in San Diego are in the area.
For those who want to be in the center of the action, the downtown area will never go wrong. Here you’ll find a thriving environment with dozens of businesses, dining, shopping, and entertainment. If you’re traveling with a pet, we recommend searching for one of the top 11 pet-friendly hotels in San Diego around here.
So, are you ready to check out some of the best hotels in San Diego? Don’t switch your tabs, because we’ll dive right into it after this break!
Hotel Indigo San Diego – Gaslamp Quarter
Being the second-largest city in the state doesn’t necessarily make San Diego bustle like a metropolis. In fact, the pace of life here is more laid-back. And there’s no better way to enjoy such a great atmosphere than to sit back and relax on a rooftop terrace, such as that offered by Hotel Indigo San Diego!
Located in downtown San Diego, Hotel Indigo features an outdoor rooftop terrace that’s really cool. You’ll get a comfortable sofa, with a glass wall all around. It’s perfect for just hanging out with friends while enjoying some great cocktails and gorgeous views all around. Here you can also find Phi Bar & Bistro, the hotel’s casual restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner with Continental and American menus.
We really love the rooms at Hotel Indigo, as they all come with hardwood floors and plush bedding. Enjoy one of the best breaks in America’s finest city, thanks to amenities such as 37-inch flat-screen TVs and iHome clock radios. And as with most of the best hotels in San Diego, WiFi access is available and can be used free of charge.
Some of the best local attractions such as the USS Midway Museum, Balboa Park, and the San Diego Zoo can be found within 1.7 miles of the hotel. If you still have some time, 3.8 miles from here is Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This is the place where you can see the true birthplace of California!
Paradise Point Resort & Spa
The comfortable weather is one of the reasons why tourists flock to San Diego each year. City in Motion is perhaps the closest thing to a tropical vacation a Californian can get. And there’s no better place to experience it than the Paradise Point Resort & Spa.
Set on a private island in Mission Bay, Paradise Point Resort & Spa is a gorgeous accommodation offering tropical gardens and a full-service spa. When it comes to leisure facilities, they’re one of the best. You can expect no less than five swimming pools, sports courts, and a fully-equipped fitness center. Have the getaway of your dreams, as this one of the best hotels in San Diego on the beach also provides beach bonfires and poolside movie nights!
Breakfast can be found at Tidal Restaurant, which also serves great seafood and craft drinks. For a more relaxed atmosphere, stop by the Bars and Grills, which is near the pool and beach. Enjoy your favorite cocktail, while listening to the sound of the waves and the gentle breeze.
Some of the must-see sights of San Diego are within easy reach of the hotel. But one that we especially love is none other than the San Diego Zoo. In case you live under a rock, it’s one of the most famous zoos in the world and can be found within 8 miles. Inside you’ll see hundreds of collections of exotic species and some of the best animal attractions around the globe.
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Are you one of those travelers, who doesn’t worry about the budget and prioritizes comfort? If yes is your answer, then the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego is a great place to visit.
This four-star hotel is perhaps one of the most luxurious in City in Motion. It’s set in a modern 40-story building above the Bay of San Diego. Expect unbelievably gorgeous views of the city, as you fall asleep on their soft mattresses. And did you know that this place is one of the 11 most romantic hotels in San Diego?
Speaking of which, the rooms at the Manchester Grand Hyatt won’t disappoint you either. They come up with some great in-room entertainment alternatives, such as flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations. Enter the private bathroom and you’ll find free toiletries available. And just like most of the best hotels in San Diego on the beach, there’s free WiFi. In short, you’ll get everything you can imagine from a perfect hotel!
Enjoy one of the best culinary experiences in San Diego, as the hotel has no less than eight restaurants! In case you ask, our recommendation is Sally’s Fish House & Bar. There you can get some of the best seafood in America’s Finest City.
When it comes to location, the Manchester Grand Hyatt is nothing less than superior. A 12-minute walk will take you to the lively Gaslamp Quarter, while Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo can be found within a 10-minute drive. If you wish, the hotel can help with ticket and tour bookings. Sweet!
Omni San Diego Hotel
Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the Omni San Diego Hotel is a great accommodation for both business and leisure. It has a prime location, only a five-minute walk to the PETCO Park baseball ground and 10 minutes to the San Diego Convention Center. It also offers top hospitality and service, one of the best you can get in America’s finest city.
Expect luxurious amenities such as flat-screen TVs, Terry cloth bathrobes, plush towels, and linens, once you step into one of their modern rooms. All are decorated elegantly, with main tones of brown and white. It creates such a warm impression that’s so inviting. And like most of the best hotels in San Diego on the beach, high-speed wireless internet is available free of charge. We definitely wouldn’t mind if we had to stay here all day!
For baseball fans, we recommend booking a room with a direct view of PETCO Park. Who knows, you might even catch a live game, right from your bed! But since this type of room is very popular, we recommend contacting the local staff in advance.
Satisfy your appetite at West Social. This hotel restaurant serves traditional steaks and seafood in an extraordinary atmosphere. If you want something calmer, you can’t go wrong with Palm Terrace & Pool Bar. They’ve got some of the best cocktails in San Diego, as well as light lunches and appetizers.
Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Mission Valley/Stadium
The Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Mission Valley/Stadium is a great choice to stay, especially if you want to get a better understanding of San Diego culture and people. It’s relatively close to Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre urban historical park located 5.5 miles from the hotel. Meanwhile, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, known to many as the birthplace of California, is just a 14-minute drive away.
Just like the location, the rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Mission Valley are no less impressive. As you would expect from a three-star hotel, they all come with air conditioning and flat-screen TVs. We don’t recommend packing a lot if you want to stay here, as the hotel already provides a private bathroom with complete toiletries, including a hairdryer. Oh, and just like most of the best hotels in San Diego on the beach, there’s free WiFi available.
The hotel’s hot tub or outdoor pool will be the perfect place to unwind after a day of discovering the best of the City of Motion. Meanwhile, San Diego’s great foods have the potential to add calories to your body. But don’t worry, because you can get back in shape at the hotel fitness center! It is available free of charge to all guests. And if you need anything else, the hotel’s 24-hour front desk will be there to help. Unfortunately, they don’t provide tour services, ticket bookings, or the like.
Best Western Plus Bayside Inn
We can’t tell you enough how much we loved staying near the airport. It’s relatively cheap, practical, and efficient. Especially if you don’t have much time to roam around. That’s why we recommend the Best Western Plus Bayside Inn. This three-star accommodation is only 1.86 miles from San Diego International Airport or about five minutes’ drive. The hotel even provides a shuttle service upon request. Get yourself a quality rest, the moment you arrive at City in Motion!
Speaking of rooms, Best Western Plus Bayside Inn offers a comfortable stay with several amenities such as cable TV, a safe deposit box, and a soft bed. In case you need some hot snacks or a cup of joe, a microwave and coffee machine are readily available. One thing we like most about the rooms here’s the private balcony. It offers a gorgeous view of the city skyline, something not all the best hotels in San Diego on the beach can offer.
You can get your daily breakfast with a buffet menu at The Bayside Bar & Grill Restaurant. The hotel’s dining venue also serves vegetarian and American menus for those who crave something else. But if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, you can go outside and walk for about five minutes to Little Italy. In this San Diego tourist magnet, you’ll find dozens of cafes and restaurants serving incredible pizza, spaghetti, and risotto!
Once you’ve finished eating, don’t rush back to the hotel because there’s still a lot to see. One that we recommend is the San Diego Maritime Museum. It’s only a 15-minute walk away from here. Founded in 1948, this museum is home to the largest collection of historical sea vessels in the United States. Here you’ll have the opportunity to see the Star of India, a majestic bark from 1863.
InterContinental San Diego
Get ready for the ultimate stay in America’s finest city, as the InterContinental San Diego provides spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. Have an unforgettable rest like no other, with an incredible view of the San Diego skyline before your eyes. Indulge in the hotel’s fabulous leisure facilities, including three fine dining venues and a magnificent open rooftop bar.
Apart from the ones we mentioned above, the impressive rooms at the InterContinental San Diego also come with air conditioning, a 49-inch flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. Open your day with a warm and tasty cup of Java, as the hotel also provides custom coffee makers. While those who prefer some light refreshments, make your way to the minibar and mix your own cocktails.
Of the three dining venues at the InterContinental, one you definitely shouldn’t miss is Vistal. The hotel’s signature restaurant serves brilliant menus such as blue prawns with purple sweet potato gnocchi and local abalone with smoke onion sabayon. Trust us, this is one of the best culinary experiences you can have while in San Diego!
If you’ve had enough fun at the hotel, then it’s time to venture around. The USS Midway Museum, which houses an extensive collection of aircraft, is only about 1 mile from here. For football fans, a 10-minute drive will take you to PETCO Park, the home of the San Diego Padres team. And don’t miss a stop by the San Diego Zoo, home to more than 650 animal species from around the world.
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
You party animals will definitely love staying at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. This four-star property is located in the Gaslamp Quarter, one of the city’s nightlife hubs. Within the blink of an eye, you should be able to easily find some of the lively pubs and cool eateries around!
Entertainment is also the name of the game at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. As you might expect, the theme of this accommodation is centered around music. Live shows are available at the hotel bar every night. To keep you entertained, there’s a free guitar available to borrow. And once you finish check-in, the hotel staff will give you free downloadable music as your soundtrack while staying here!
Another thing that makes Hard Rock Hotel San Diego stand out from the crowd is the décor of its rooms. They opt for a contemporary style that looks bold and edgy. We also love the presence of biased lighting, which really adds to the mood. Apart from that, you’ll get standard amenities such as a 42-inch flat-screen TV with cable channels, a full-length mirror, and a rain shower. Just like most of the best hotels in San Diego on the beach, you can also access the internet via WiFi at no additional cost.
Some of the notable attractions around here include the USS Midway Museum, Balboa Park, and the San Diego Zoo. All of them can be found within 1.86 miles. If you don’t mind traveling further afield, 4.16 miles from here is Coronado Beach. Unleash your inner-surfer at one of America’s finest beaches!
Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel
Here’s another of the best hotels in San Diego that offers easy access from the airport. Located in the Point Loma district, Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel is only about a four-minute drive from San Diego International Airport. Don’t bother looking for a taxi or fire up your Uber, because the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle service. Just make sure you arrive between 7:00 and 17:00. Great!
As you’d expect from a three-star accommodation, the rooms at the Best Western Yacht Harbor are all spacious. They all come with a refrigerator and microwave, which should be perfect for storing a few snacks or making a quick hot meal. Have a great resting experience in hotel beds, all of which feature premium triple sheeting. As morning approaches, open your day admiring the beautiful view of the city from the private balcony.
Since there’s so much to see around here, it’s not a bad idea to work on your feet a little before taking a walkout. Go straight to the hotel fitness center and work up some sweat. Once you’re done, proceed to the hotel dining area to enjoy your daily breakfast. They usually serve buffets with American menus here.
With all of that over, you can now start exploring to discover the best of San Diego. 1.05 miles from here is Liberty Station, the former Naval Training Center which is now a vibrant place for families, artists, businesses, and cultural groups. A little further, about 1.86 miles away, you’ll find Sunset Cliffs. It is a city park which is also a great place to see a unique coastal landscape.
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Located in San Diego Bay makes Wyndham San Diego Bayside a great place to visit. It’s one of the city’s most popular spots, where you can find a plethora of activities to do. Apart from that, this three-star property boasts three on-site restaurants, an outdoor pool, and a poolside fitness center. Discover the best of America’s finest city, as the hotel also provides a free shuttle service to the San Diego Zoo and Seaport Village.
The most important feature of a hotel is the great rooms and Wyndham San Diego doesn’t fail to deliver. All of their guest rooms come with large windows and private balconies. It provides a great view of the bay, something you rarely see in most of the best hotels in San Diego. Apart from all that, standard amenities such as a flat-screen TV, soft bed, and free WiFi access are also available.
You can get daily breakfast every morning in the hotel dining area. But if you prefer something a bit more premium, look no further than Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The steaks they serve here are some of the best in San Diego Bay and shouldn’t be missed. As for waterfront dining options, make your way to Hazelwood’s Bayside Deli and sample their incredible beers and healthy menus.
Some of the must-see sights of San Diego are easily accessible from the Wyndham San Diego Bayside. The famous Gaslamp Quarter is only 1.5 miles from here, while the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the American Plaza are just steps away. For those who want to learn about the city’s history through literacy, a visit to the San Diego Public Library is highly recommended.
La Jolla Cove Suites
As the name suggests, this hotel offers direct views of La Jolla Cove. In case you didn’t know, it’s one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California. The area is relatively small but so beautiful, tucked away between sandstone cliffs. And you can enjoy all of its endless charms while staying at La Jolla Cove Suites. How cool is that!
When it comes to rooms, La Jolla Cove Suites doesn’t disappoint either. Things that you can find at some of the best hotels in San Diego on the beach, you’ll have them here too. A flat-screen TV with cable channels, free WiFi, soft bed and wardrobe, it’s all there. But one thing we especially love is the private balcony. It has chairs, where you can sit back and relax. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Now that’s what we call a perfect tropical getaway!
For those who travel with family, SeaWorld San Diego is 10 miles from here or about 18 minutes’ drive. For a closer alternative, you can try the Birch Aquarium. Located 1.7 miles from the hotel, it’s one of San Diego’s best attractions and not your average aquarium. This is a hands-on exhibition with more than 60 habitats for fish and invertebrates. Children will definitely love to be invited here.
To save on budget and make things easier, we recommend getting the Go San Diego All-Inclusive City Pass: Access 55+ Attractions. With this mobile pass, you’ll get access to some of the city’s most unique attractions, including LEGOLAND California and Knott’s Berry Farm. Get the extra benefit of up to 30 percent discount at selected restaurants and stores. This is a must for first-time visitors to San Diego.
Recommended Restaurants/Bars in San Diego:
- Juniper & Ivy – Chef Richard Blais’ creation features whatever is fresh and delicious from San Diego. All the dishes here are so tasty as if they’re all the result of witchcraft! You won’t find a fixed menu, as everything is seasonally driven. But rest assured, you’ll get the utmost satisfaction at this spacious dining venue!
- Hash house a Go Go – Expect old dining rooms, crowded bars, and open patios when visiting here. As for the food, they serve what they call ‘twisted farm food’. Prepare to be surprised by unusual dishes like the head-sized Towering Benedict pancakes and succulent sage-fried chicken, at one of Hillcrest’s most popular eateries.
- Pacific Beach Fish Shop – Don’t miss this seafood paradise if you’re in San Diego. Located on Garnet avenue, this communal-style dining venue offers more than 10 types of fresh fish, from ahi to yellowtail. For the style of presentation, you can choose between salad, rice, or even a taco!
Recommended Activities in San Diego:
- San Diego Harbor Cruise – Explore the harbor of San Diego in a unique way. Aboard a luxury ship, you’ll be invited to admire some of the best views around. From the Coronado Bridge to the Midway Aircraft Carrier you’ll see it all on this two-hour tour.
- La Jolla: 90-Minute Sea Cave Kayaking Tour with Guide – Discover the best of the most photographed beaches in San Diego. Accompanied by a trained guide, explore each of La Jolla’s waters and rapids by kayak. See for yourself how this region has a thriving and rich ecosystem.
- San Diego Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruises – Witness some of the amazing sea creatures right in their natural habitat. Marvel at the Gray Whales migrating from Alaskan waters. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the legendary Blue Whale!