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Stay classy in San Diego, or keep it casual on the beach. This city toes the fine line between high-brow and low with ease. It’s equally comfy in flip-flops and boardshorts as a power suit and heels, with a little of everything sprinkled in between.
San Diego is more than Navy boats and beaches. Go beyond the Gaslamp District and Coronado. Support the arts and theater in La Jolla, see local bands in North Park, eat Mexican food so good you’ll cry, and drink delicious beer just about anywhere. The city’s embraced foodie culture in promising ways, branched beyond its surf’s-up attitude, and grown up a lot in the process.
San Diego lives up to the moniker America’s Finest City on so many levels. How many? We’re so happy you asked….
Tip-Top Tier: It’s easy to feel like a million bucks without spending it here. In oceanfront neighborhoods like Del Mar and La Jolla, splurge at high-end boutiques or keep your Pretty Woman moment to window shopping. Spend happy hour at fancy spots like George’s at the Cove and La Valencia Hotel, where the sunset ocean views are solid gold. Soak up that luxe life in hotels in San Diego with Jacuzzi tubs, and don’t forget your bath bomb.
Glitterati Grade: Book last-minute hotel deals in San Diego and make a splash on arrival. Downtown, the East Village, and surrounding neighborhoods will be your scene. Find stylish strangers at Bread & Salt, an experimental art center in Barrio Logan. Reserve a spot at the sleek and secret speakeasy, Noble Experiment. What’s more, your Instagram will never look better than rocking scenes from brunch at pink-and-gold-clad Morning Glory and dinner at gilded marble steakhouse, Born & Raised.
Laidback Level: Grab a fresh-squeezed juice and head to the beach. Ocean Beach is a crunchy, mellow neighborhood with good surf and even better people-watching. It’s not uncommon to see dogs in sunglasses, pet snakes around necks, hula hoops, hacky sacks, and all things weird and chill. It’s so easygoing, you won’t want to leave. That’s when last-minute hotel deals, San Diego beach-style, come in handy. Picnic in nearby Balboa Park for a relaxed afternoon with a palatial Spanish colonial backdrop, and pop into a museum or two. Then visit North Park for breweries like Mike Hess and to catch a concert at the Observatory theater.
Spendthrift Stage: It’s simple to get by on a dime here. Cheap last-minute hotels in San Diego are easy to find, the dive bar scene is thriving, and mom-and-pop taco shops shatter the hangriest of moods for cheap. Check out favorites Las Cuatro Milpas and ¡Salud! for tacos, and Nico’s for California burritos (a San Diego MUST). Old Town can skew touristy, but locals love it, too, and most of the activities are free. For cheap drinks, a great jukebox, and every kind of whiskey under the sun, the Aero Club is one of the better dives.
Whatever your budget, hotels in downtown San Diego hit all price points. Get amazing deals with Hotwire Hot Rates, where it’s possible to score a 4-star hotel at a 2-star price. You can even find hotels with free parking in San Diego if you can’t resist renting a convertible and going full SoCal cliché.