Entertainment and Activities

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Entertainment Guides

San Diego has two free weekly papers filled with listings for movies, theater, lectures and other events. You'll find them in dispenser boxes around town and also online:

Looking to check out the local music scene? San Diego Dialed In offers a roundup of club shows happening in the next few days.

Hooky Recommendations

If you find yourself with some free time, here are a few suggestions for things to do.

Balboa Park

One of the largest urban green spaces in the country, Balboa Park is home to the bulk of San Diego' museums as well as the famous San Diego Zoo and the Globe Theatre. Take bus Route 7 from Broadway. On weekends, the Spanish Village is open - this is a collection of art studios and shops. You can meet the artists and admire and buy their works.

Coronado is most famous for its beach hotel, the Hotel Del Coronado, the location for much of the film Some Like it Hot. The beach is one of San Diego's prettiest, and Orange Avenue is a pleasant strolling street. Coronado can be reached by ferry or bus.
Ferry: there is a terminal behind the Convention Center, and another at Broadway Pier. Ferries let off at a small shopping area on the far side of the "island," about 10 blocks from the hotel. You can stroll along Orange Ave or pick up the Bus 904 which runs around Coronado.
Bus: Catch the 901 bus EASTBOUND on Broadway between Union and 10th Ave. This will take you over the big bridge across the bay to Coronado. Get off at the Hotel Del Coronado. (FYI, the bridge is very high. If you don't like heights, sitting on the left side of the bus may be less vertigo-inducing.)

Midway Museum
Located at North Harbor Drive just south of Broadway, the USS Midway aircraft carrier has been converted to a museum, showcasing life aboard a carrier and boasting an impressive collection of historic fighter planes.

Old Town
Home to the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, this area is a mix of interesting history, tourist kitsch, and really cool shopping. Easy to reach via the Trolley's Blue Line.

Seaport Village
If you only have a very short time "off," this is a nice accessible destination straight northwest from the Convention Center. Oriented to the tourist and cruise ship crowd, this features prettily-landscaped clusters of restaurants and shops. There are some gems mixed in with the t-shirt shops including the Upstart Crow bookstore and a nice Mexican tile shop.

Star of India/Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum features several vessels that you can tour, the most visible being the Star of India, the world's oldest active sailing ship. Optional packages include a short harbor tour aboard a pilot boat or the Californian sailing shop.

Whale Watching/Harbor Tours
Gray whales migrate south past San Diego every winter. Several companies offer half-day whale watching tours as well as shorter and longer excursions. Seals and dolphins are also commonly seen on these trips.

  • Hornblower Cruises - other companies offer these trips as well - their kiosks and departures are along the North Harbor Drive, north of Broadway. Also look for brochures in the racks at your hotel.


The following list was put together from "where can I find..." questions on the alamw11 Twitter stream. It is not intended as a comprehensive shopping guide to San Diego!

Gluten Free foods/restaurants
There are two good listings of gluten-free-friendly restaurants and stores in San Diego. One is from Gluten Free San Diego and the other is from Sharp Healthcare, a major hospital/medical group in San Diego. Unfortunately, neither are arranged geographically.

There is a Ralphs (Kroger family) market at 1st and G streets. It is not huge, but better than a corner market.

Independent bookstores
Sadly, there are not many downtown. The nearest is Upstart Crow, located in the Seaport Village shopping complex northwest from the SDCC. Other stores are scattered across town. The San Diego Booksellers Association has a directory. (There is also a Borders in the Gaslamp district at 668 6th Ave.)

Adult beverages
You will find liquor sold in most grocery, drug and corner stores. If you are looking for something special for an in-hotel soiree, check out Wine Bank at 5th and J Streets. In addition to wine and beer, they have a full range of spirits and a large tequila selection.

Shopping centers
Horton Plaza is a large shopping mall located between 1st and 4th, G Street and Broadway. Major department stores are Macy's and Nordstrom, and it has a decent food court on the upper level.