Best Areas to Stay in San Diego, California

Americas, California, San Diego, United States  /   /  By bestdistricts

Where to stay in San Diego – A guide to America’s finest city

The city of San Diego, known as “the birthplace of California“, is located on the west coast, in the southern part of the state.

San Diego is the favorite destination of many tourists for its beaches, craft beer, the Balboa Park, its zoo, SeaWorld and its museums.

January is the coolest month in this region of California, with temperatures around 59ºF (15°C). August and September are the hottest months (with 72ºF/22°C), but, generally, the climate of San Diego is stable and warm throughout the year.

San Diego’s transport include the trolley, with different lines that cover the whole metropolitan area, taxis, buses and apps.

The San Diego International Airport is located south of the city, with domestic flights to different cities in the United States and some international destinations.

Among the best areas to stay in San Diego is Mission Beach, for its spectacular views of the ocean, its wide range of nightclubs and outdoor activities. This area also has the Sea World water park, the most visited attraction in San Diego. See accommodation in Mission Beach.

Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Diego.

The best areas to stay in San Diego

1. Our favorite area: Mission Beach & SeaWorld

Mission Beach is located next to the Pacific Ocean, north of Belmont Park.

This area is ideal for beach lovers since it perfectly sums up the Californian lifestyle.

The leisure at Mission Beach revolves around Belmont Park, where you can get on the Giant Dipper roller coaster or take a walk along the waterfront.

Another great attraction near this district is the famous SeaWorld, a water park with incredible animal shows, which makes it one of the best areas to stay in San Diego for family trips.

The gastronomic offer of this area is highlighted by street food, hot dog stands and gourmet restaurants where you can taste delicious dishes.

Access to other San Diego neighborhoods from Mission Beach is possible through the bus network available along Mission Boulevard.

Mission Beach, has many beach-style bars, perfect for a few drinks and tapas in the late afternoon.

If you’re looking to rest or go fishing, south of Mission Beach offers a quiet environment for fishing or to relax.

Best areas to stay in San Diego - Near SeaWorld & Mission Beach

Best areas to stay in San Diego – Near SeaWorld & Mission Beach

Accommodation in Mission Beach - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Mission Beach – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Diego:

  • Best area for sightseeing
  • Belmont Park
  • Beach area
  • SeaWorld
  • Bars y restaurants
  • Mission Beach

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Holiday Inn Express San Diego

The Holiday Inn Express San Diego is conveniently located near SeaWorld, just off Interstate 8. This California hotel offers a hot breakfast buffet with automatic crepe maker.

from US$119
Budget

Good Nite Inn San Diego near SeaWorld

Located 10 minutes’ drive from SeaWorld San Diego, this non-smoking hotel offers accommodation with free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV with over 60 channels.

from US$49
Luxury

Four Points by Sheraton San Diego – Sea World

Located just a 10-minute drive from SeaWorld San Diego, Four Points by Sheraton San Diego – Sea World offers contemporary rooms with free Wi-Fi. It also has a restaurant and an outdoor pool.

from US$199
 

 

 

2. Pacific Beach

This neighborhood of San Diego, with beaches on the shores of the Pacific, is located north of the city, between La Jolla and Mission Beach.

In addition to being a popular beach for tourists and surfers in California, Pacific Beach has a young vibe.

During the day, you can have lunch at the restaurants on the dock, buy souvenirs or go to the beach and, at night, get to know the nightclubs and bars located along Garnet Ave and Mission Blvd that make it one of the best areas to stay in San Diego for nightlife.

Pacific Beach has good location and transport links, with bus stops along Garnet Ave, Mission Blvd, and Grand Ave.

Where to stay in San Diego, California - Pacific Beach

Where to stay in San Diego, California – Pacific Beach

Accommodation in Pacific Beach - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Pacific Beach – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Diego:

  • Beach area
  • Great area for sightseeing
  • Best area for nightlife

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Ocean Park Inn

The Ocean Park Inn is ideally located a short walk from the Pacific Beach Boardwalk and offers rooms with free Wi-Fi. The property has a year-round outdoor pool and hot tub.

from US$149
Budget

Red Roof Inn San Diego- Pacific Beach

This non-smoking California hotel is less than one mile from Mission Bay Park & Public Golf Course, and features free WiFi and cable TV with HBO movie channels in all rooms.

from US$69
Luxury

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

This San Diego resort is located less than one mile from the Pacific Ocean and has an outdoor pool and full-service spa with beauty treatments. In addition, the rooms at the complex include free Wi-Fi.

from US$199
 

 

 

3. Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter is the historic district of San Diego and is located within the Downtown of the city.

This neighborhood is known for hosting events and celebrations such as the Mardi Gras, the ShamRock and St. Patrick’s Day, as well as housing museums and being the seat of the city council.

Gaslamp Quarter is located to the south of the city and is the epicenter of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife of the city, in addition to being one of the best areas to stay in San Diego.

Near this district is the Convention Center where the famous Comic-Con is held annually.

In addition, staying in Gaslamp Quarter allows you to enjoy the Californian cuisine, listen to live jazz, drink craft beer on terraces or visit a couple of casinos.

Gaslamp Quarter is very pedestrian friendly and, through its streets, you can witness a variety of shops, particularly along Broadway, Fourth, and Fifth Avenue.

Best areas to stay in San Diego - Gaslamp District

Best areas to stay in San Diego – Gaslamp District

Accommodation in Gaslamp District - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Gaslamp District – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Diego:

  • Old town
  • Great nightlife
  • Good area for business travelers

Accommodation in this area

    • Top Choice
      Comfort Inn Gaslamp Convention Center

      This hotel is located in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, a 15-minute walk from the San Diego Convention Center. The accommodation is 5 km from the San Diego International Airport.

      from US$117
  • Budget
    Gaslamp Quarter Hotel

    Offering a terrace, Gaslamp Quarter Hotel is located in San Diego in the California region, 3 minutes from downtown San Diego and 7 minutes from the San Diego Convention Center.

    from US$82
 

 

 
 

 

 

4. Downtown San Diego

Among the best areas to stay in San Diego is the Downtown, which is the financial and business area of the city.

This area is divided into nine districts where many of the attractions for visitors to the city are found, including shops, restaurants, nightclubs and a wide variety of hotels.

Due to its good location 20 minutes from the airport, the Downtown has buses to connect with other districts, as well as the Green and Blue lines of the trolley.

In this area, you can also find places of interest such as the USS Midway Maritime Museum, or the Petco Park stadium. On the other hand, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Balboa Park, home of the San Diego Zoo, are nearby.

Staying in Downtown San Diego is recommended for travelers who want to be close to the city’s main attractions.

Best areas to stay in San Diego - Downtown

Best areas to stay in San Diego – Downtown

Accommodation in Downtown San Diego - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Downtown San Diego – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Diego:

  • Business area
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Great transport connections
  • Wive variety of hotels
  • Best area for business travelers
  • Great nightlife

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Diego

The Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Diego is adjacent to the San Diego Symphony Hall and offers comfortable suites with contemporary furnishings. Free WiFi is available in all areas.

from US$149
Budget

USA Hostels San Diego – Downtown

This hostel is located in a historic building dating back to 1880, located in the Gaslamp neighborhood of San Diego. It offers free daily breakfast and offers shared accommodation and free Wi-Fi.

from US$60
Luxury

Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown

This hotel is located in a historic building in the Gaslamp area, in downtown San Diego. It includes a restaurant and offers modern rooms with free Wi-Fi.

from US$249
 

 

 

5. La Jolla

La Jolla is a area of ​beautiful beaches, with a variety of outdoor activities.

This San Diego neighborhood is also home to young entrepreneurs and students at UCSD.

La Jolla, like Pacific and Mission Beach, has beautiful beaches where residents and tourists can enjoy on sunny days.

Because of its location by the beach, the most popular activities in this neighborhood include surfing, diving, and kayaking.

The aquarium, the Jolla Playhouse, and the restaurants are among the most visited attractions in La Jolla.

Its streets adorned with palm trees, mansions and luxury hotels give La Jolla a exclusive atmosphere and make it one of the best areas to stay in San Diego.

La Jolla has few bbusesstops, so it is advisable to rent a car to move to other areas of San Diego.

Where to stay in San Diego - La Jolla

Where to stay in San Diego – La Jolla

Accommodation in La Jolla - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in La Jolla – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Diego:

  • Exclusive area
  • Birch Aquarium
  • Close to the beach
  • UCSD
  • Great area for sightseeing
  • Restaurants and stores

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

La Jolla Cove Suites

Located on the beachfront, this La Jolla hotel features an outdoor saltwater pool and panoramic views of La Jolla Creek and the California coastline.

from US$149
Budget

Holiday Inn Express and Suites La Jolla Beach Area

Located 20 minutes’ walk from Coast Boulevard Park Beach and 10 miles from downtown San Diego, this hotel features an outdoor pool and hot tub. It offers beach-themed rooms with free Wi-Fi.

from US$99
Luxury

Pantai Inn

This boutique inn is located in La Jolla, in downtown California. It offers spacious Balinese-inspired rooms with a well-equipped kitchen, fireplace and ocean views. In the morning a continental breakfast is served.

from US$324
 

 

 

6. Hillcrest

This area, located south of San Diego, is popular with the LGBT community, which gives the district a very particular energy.

Hillcrest, with streets full of shops, is located near Balboa Park, North Park and South Park.

Hillcrest is one of the best areas to stay in San Diego for its variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, indie and fashion stores.

By staying in Hillcrest, you can take long walks through the picturesque district, as its streets are pedestrian-friendly. In addition, if you plan to visit in July, you can enjoy the biggest event San Diego: The annual gay pride parade.

Hillcrest has bus connections to Downtown San Diego, as well as Mission Valley tram stops.

Another event that takes place in this area is the CityFest, a festival of street food, live entertainment and craft beer.

Best areas to stay in San Diego, California - Hillcrest

Best areas to stay in San Diego, California – Hillcrest

Accommodation in Hillcrest - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Hillcrest – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Diego:

  • LGBT-Friendly
  • Bars, cafes and restaurants
  • Festivals and events

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast

    The Hillcrest House Bed & amp; Breakfast offers accommodation in San Diego, 3.7 km from Balboa Park. Free WiFi access is available. All accommodation units are equipped with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. There is a microwave, fridge and kettle.

    from US$149
 

 

 

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