TORONTO — The city of San Diego has plenty to smile about, as its motto suggests.
For one thing, ‘Kids Free Month’ takes place throughout October, during which those approximately 12 years old and under enjoy over 130 deals at various attractions, hotels and restaurants. These include everything from free admission to the San Diego Zoo (with a paying adult), to complimentary meals and gifts at various hotels. More information can be found at https://www.sandiego.org/promotions/kids-free.aspx.
If that weren’t enough to put a smile on one’s face, the city is also buzzing with an array of new offerings that will entice visitors year-round, not to mention direct service coming next summer with Swoop.
As Robert Arends, Public Relations Manager for San Diego Tourism Authority tells Travelweek, there’s no better time to go.
“What we’re mostly known for is being a family destination. We’ve got everything from the world-famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld, to big surf culture, exciting food halls and quaint beach towns situated along 70 miles of public beaches,” he says. “Canada is our number one international market, so Canadians are very important to us. We want to let them know that there’s always something to smile about in San Diego.”
Here are San Diego’s top selling points:
FLIGHTS & LOCATION
After delaying service launch earlier this year due to the grounding of the Boeing MAX 737, Swoop is on track to start direct service to San Diego from Edmonton and Abbotsford starting summer 2020.
Both Air Canada and WestJet already service San Diego from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.
San Diego International Airport (SAN) is situated in the heart of downtown, putting visitors within walking distance of major hotels and attractions.
• Balboa Park is a concentrated area comprising 17 museums and featuring original buildings from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Opening in 2021 within the park will be the world’s first Comic-Con Museum a year-round attraction that will celebrate the comics through exhibits, programs and events.
• Fonts Point, which Arends refers to as San Diego’s “best kept secret”, is widely known as California’s ‘Grand Canyon’, located approximately two hours east of downtown San Diego. Half- and full-day guided Jeep tours are available with California Overland Desert Excursions or Borrego Jeep Photo Adventures.
• Borrego Springs, nicknamed the ‘Palm Springs’ of San Diego, is located at the heart of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and has the distinction of being the only California town that’s completely surrounded by a state park. It’s also an official International Dark Sky Community – the first in California – which makes it an ideal spot for stargazing.
• San Diego is home to the largest concentration of Native American tribes in the United States, with 18 in all. Half of these have casinos, where guests can enjoy swimming pools, great restaurants and a calendar of concerts and entertainment.
• For just three weeks each spring, the ‘Sunflower Fields’ on Henderson Canyon Road come to life with colourful Desert Lilies and Sand Verbena. To ensure that visitors don’t miss this phenomenon, a hotline has been set up for inquires. Call (760) 767-4684.
• Visitors can easily fit in a day trip to Mexico as it only takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the border. Tijuana is renowned for its colourful markets and food trucks, while the colonial town of Tecate is home to such luxury spas as Golden Door and Rancho La Puerta.
• Food halls have become an increasingly popular trend in San Diego, with the Liberty Station Public Market opening recently in a former naval base, the Little Italy Food Hall opening in July 2018, and, most recently, the Windmill Food Hall located near Legoland opening earlier this month.
• Did you know? San Diego is America’s Craft Beer Capital, home to 150 craft breweries including Stone Brewing.
• LEGOLAND in Carlsbad is gearing up for the debut of its new land, ‘THE LEGO MOVIE World’, in 2020. Located 40 minutes from downtown San Diego, the immersive new land will feature new attractions and character experiences inspired by the hit movie.
• SeaWorld San Diego recently won approval to build the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in California, coming in 2020. Dubbed ‘Mako’, it will boast a 143-foot, facedown plunge and reach speeds faster than 60 mph while travelling across a nearly 2,500-foot coaster track.
• The Guild Hotel, part of Marriott’s Tribute portfolio, celebrated its grand opening this past June inside a former YMCA. Many of the building’s original elements remain, including the jogging track that now encircles the grand ballroom.
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• The ultra-hip, 128-room Moxy Hotel, part of Marriott’s Moxy brand, opened last November in the famed Gaslamp Quarter. Catering specifically to millennials, the hotel features large ‘writing walls’, a video wall, grab & go food items, and guestrooms that closely resemble a “clubhouse with cushy beds”.
• Open since September 2018, the new, pet-friendly InterContinental San Diego in the downtown area has 400 guestrooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking San Diego Bay. Other highlights include two restaurants, three bars, a pool with cabanas, a 3,300 square-foot health and wellness centre, and a business centre.
• San Diego is expected to welcome its first-ever Ritz-Carlton in the next five years. Though an opening date has yet to be confirmed, the location will be in the popular Gaslamp Quarter.
For more information on travel to San Diego, go to sandiego.org.