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About San Diego
With excellent beaches, idyllic climate, numerous universities, rich cultural life, lively nightlife and a SeaWorld, San Diego definitely deserves a second look when it comes to selecting a city break in California. Right by the Mexican border, San Diego has a more colourful atmosphere than many Californian cities. The best places to stay in San Diego reflect this.
San Diego is a great place to bring your family. It’s not just Shamu at SeaWorld, there’s also an excellent zoo and safari park, a Legoland, some fantastic museums, safe, soft, sandy beaches and a lovely Old Town. If you choose the right season you can also expect bankable weather and friendly locals.
It’s not just for kids though, there’s also plenty to do after hours, from restaurants to bars, clubs and theatre.
San Diego is an excellent place to give surfing a go, explore America’s maritime or military history and view some world class art. This laid back, beautiful city also has some pretty impressive architecture to ogle.
What not to miss
- Visit the world's number one zoo, San Diego Zoo.
- Explore the numerous museum's and take a stroll through the grounds at Balboa Park.
- Stop by Birch Aquarium to view the wide collection of marine life.
- Go into the wild at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
- Learn about the area's past at the fascinating San Diego Natural History Museum.
This is a big city, so there’s plenty of choice when it comes to recommending the best places to stay in San Diego and our Gurus have endeavoured to separate the great from the good so you don't have to.
The Best places to stay in San Diego
For boutique chic
- The Andaz San Diego is a hip luxury hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, which is lively spot for evenings out. The 159 rooms are plush and comfortable, there’s a rooftop restaurant and bar and a pool which turns into an open air cinema.
- Tower 23 isn’t quite what it sounds - it’s not really a tower but a beautifully designed three storey building right on the seafront. The 44 rooms have floor to ceiling sea views and there are in-room spa treatments to sample and a restaurant worth trying.
- 1906 Lodge has been meticulously restored. Located on the historic Coronado Island, the decor is understated, elegant and modern. This boutique hotel is ideally located for exploring the vibrant Island and is within walking distance of all the sites and beaches.
For the beach
- La Valencia is a fair distance from the centre of town, but is ideal if you want an ocean view, old world charm and a spot of R'n'R.
- If you've come to channel your inner Jack Nicklaus, then book a room at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. It overlooks the course which has hosted the US Open Championships more than once and is well equipped if your other half would rather not hit the fairways.
For an apartment or villa
- If you're travelling with family or a group of friends it may be a better option to book a villa or apartment. For a wide range of properties for all tastes and budgets we recommend you visit our online partner Booking.com.
- Fly to San Diego International Airport, better known as Lindbergh Field, which is 2.5-3 miles NW of downtown San Diego and is less than 10 minutes drive along Harbor Dr to get to downtown.
- San Diego is a year round destination with consistently warm days. There is some rain in the months of November and April.
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in San Diego
Tower 23 44 rooms from $287San Diego (California)
A contemporary architectural masterpiece on the seafront, interiors mirror the modern facades and fresh, clean cut style. Rooms have spectacular sea views, all the mod-cons and in-room spa treatments are available. Steak & Seafood restaurant is a must, but the location lends itself to exploring.Surfing - Pacific Beach is close and great for picking up a board and getting in the ocean.Fishing - Ask at reception for the recommended spots.Great walks - Along the beach front or in town.Local markets - Close to San Diego city centre.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
The Lodge at Torrey Pines 170 rooms from $345San Diego (California)
Beautifully located over looking the green of Torrey Pines Golf Course and the ocean. Wood, fabric and leather give that cosy lodge feel. Foodies enjoy A.R. Valentine Restaurant or the Grill and casual laid back bar. Between the spa and the tennis courts there is something for everyone.Sights nearby - Complimentary chauffeur driven service within a 5 mile radius. Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of OceanographyGreat walks - Great beach walks to be had close to the lodge.Local markets - La Jolla is 12 minutes drive away.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Tablet
Les Artistes Inn 12 rooms from $110San Diego (California)
Charming boutique in the heart of Del Mar offers a European style courtyard with ornate fireplace and seating. Rooms have balconies and are named and styled after famous artists. Almost everything is walking distance; the beach, restaurants & shops. A popular place to base your stay, prime location!Great walks - Life by the ocean is a vibrant one, so be sure to stroll the beaches.OpulentBarefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Full of character
1906 Lodge 17 rooms from $199San Diego (Coronado)
A meticulously restored 1906 Lodge, on the historic Coronado Island. The decor is understated, elegant and modern. This boutique hotel is ideally located for exploring the vibrant Island and is walking distance from all the sites and beaches, yet secluded enough for a romantic getaway.Great walks - Coronado Walking Tour- a leisurely guided strolls through this famous playground of Presidents and Princes.Sailing - Charter a boat from The Aolani Catamaran is San Diego's first private yacht charter company.Fishing - Go on a sport fishing trip with Action Sports.Restrictions on children - Children cannot be accommodated.
Andaz San Diego 159 rooms from $190San Diego (California)
Described as 'sexy', this luxury hotel in Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego is the perfect for adventures by day and lively life at night. Rooms are plush, comfortable and with all the mod-cons. Rooftop restaurant and bar by the pool turns into an open-air cinema at night. Views are great from the top.Great walks - Take a stroll along Windansea Beach, or see the cliffs at Black's Beach.Local markets - Seaport Village is closeby and worth a visit.Sights nearby - Famous San Diego Sea World is in town.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet
La Valencia Hotel 112 rooms from $330San Diego (California)
Old world charm resting in manicured gardens overlooking the expansive Pacific Ocean. Rooms & suites are naturally light and exude comfort. Coastal dining at The Med, European cuisine at the Café la Rue is reason enough to stay. Spa and pool could mean you never want to leave. Idyllic!Great walks - Windansea Beach offers a great place to take off your shoes and walk in the shallows.Sights nearby - La Jolla Cove is a stones throw from the hotel and a great spot to catch sunset.Surfing - Underwater reefs make the surf break on Windansea Beach ideal.Diving - Diving and swimming at La Jolla Cove is utter paradise.