Destination San Diego!
San Diego recently welcomed our Strictly Business team with open arms on our recent travels! The weather in sunny San Diego tends to be a dream year-round, which is why it holds the title as the “Weather Capital of the World.” Visitors from all over are discovering its attractiveness based on this aspect alone, escaping the heat or cold of their home city to spend time in this heaven on earth with an average year-round temperature of 70 degrees. On top of that, the city is loaded with world-class and world-famous attractions for you to enjoy during your stay and the hospitality is felt everywhere you go. With an abundance of hotels, restaurants, nightlife venues, and beautiful beaches, there’s something for everyone in San Diego. It is the one place where you can do everything, or you can do nothing, and have a fantastic time either way!
Our team was fortunate to be able to visit a lineup of fantastic venues during our stay in San Diego. As many of us here in Nebraska enjoy making the journey to the beautiful coast to get away from being landlocked and avoid the weather extremes, here are some of our recommendations based on our most recent adventures! In a city with so much to offer and only one a few short days to pack it all in, we selected what we considered to be the “must see” attractions that San Diego has to offer.
Select a thumbnail above to jump to each venue, or simply scroll down to continue reading!
Kimpton Solamar Hotel | www.hotelsolamar.com | 1-800-546-7866
From beach to city, there’s no shortage of options for quality hotels to accommodate the high volume of travelers at any given time. Located in beautiful Gaslamp District, Kimpton Solamar is a standout property for luxury and hospitality! From check-in to check-out the service we received went well beyond our expectations and was definitely the highlight of our visit.
The interior of the hotel was elegant and very well decorated. We arrived at the hotel well before our available check-in time and the staff was more than accommodating! They were able to get us in substantially early and we were grateful for the smooth check-in. We were then greeted in our room by a bottle of wine, charcuterie board, and personalized note from the staff. What a pleasant way to be welcomed after a long day of travel!
The room itself was very spacious and loaded with everything one needs for luxury travel. An additional bonus of the Kimpton Solamar is their complimentary Happy Hour in the lounge hosted daily from 5-6 pm. We made sure to take advantage of this! It worked out flawlessly for our evening as we had dinner reservations at 6 pm so we were able to indulge on pre-drinks, with a nice selection of wine and beer available, and appetizers before we ventured onto our next activity. Judging from the turnout, it’s an affair that few miss during their stay. We only wish we were able to take advantage of their terrace and pool area, but due to the uncooperative weather, it was closed for the day. Next visit we will make certain we are able to have a fruity cocktail and take in the city views from their very own oasis rooftop!
To sum it all up, our stay at Kimpton Solamar was brief but we enjoyed every minute of it!
Situated just a few short blocks from our hotel and also in the gorgeous downtown San Diego Gaslamp District lies Parq Restaurant & Nightclub. After a full day’s travel, we were thrilled to visit Parq Restaurant for an ultra trendy and stylish place for dinner that evening. Parq Restaurant serves farm-to-table eats in a truly unique Alice in Wonderland setting. The funky and electric decor makes you feel as if you are in a fairytale garden, transporting you to another world. We were definitely not in Nebraska anymore, that’s for sure! In the restaurant, tall beams open up to the sky, allowing for fresh San Diego air to complete the chic “secret garden” atmosphere.
This unique venue offers authentic dishes, all created using the freshest ingredients and homegrown techniques. We would recommend making a reservation and dining first, then heading right over to the night club after dinner for the ultimate evening. The dinner crowd was a mixture of large groups, bachelorette parties, and couples so it’s apparent they’ve got you covered if you’re looking for an upscale experience all around while out on the town.
For starters, we began with the Dry Aged Ribeye Tatki, the Brussels Sprouts and the Grilled Asparagus. The Brussels Sprouts were amazing and probably the best we’ve ever had! For dinner, we ordered the Short Rib, Halibut, Scallops, and Free Range Chicken. All of our dishes were favorable and the presentation was spectacular. The Short Rib was definitely the table favorite! It almost melted in your mouth it was so tender and juicy.
As a whole, our dinner experience was praiseworthy and we were impressed to say the least!
Following dinner, we were ready for some dancing! Chandeliers guide you through a dark brick tunnel and into the nightclub. We reserved a luxury VIP table for our group which was well-located on the dance floor so that we had prime real estate for dancing! The sound, lighting, and design of the nightclub employ all of the latest technologies and entertainment, which gives you the feel as if you were in a Las Vegas nightclub. The decor was super swanky and sexy, with visual textures and colors all around you, distinctive upholstery, one-of-a-kind metal tree branch dividers and warm tones – every little detail is impressive! It was equally impressive how attentive and sociable the staff and management were throughout the evening. We’ve had subpar experiences across the country when it comes to bottle service and Parq sets the level high for VIP treatment! They checked on us numerous times throughout the evening, which is always appreciated! It doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering this popular hotspot was formed by bringing together the top leaders in the restaurant and nightclub industries, which was evident based on our experience.
Whiskey Girl | www.whiskeygirl.com | 619-236-1616
We were ready to continue the dancing at Whiskey Girl, which was our final stop for the evening. We heard that people come for the whiskey and stay for the party at this place – so true! Located in the heart of the Gaslamp District, Whiskey Girl has become one of the hottest sports bars and nightlife spots in San Diego. Once our group arrived, we were escorted to our VIP section which was located on top of a stage with couches and tables. The VIP service was prompt and our hostess was extremely friendly and attentive to our group’s needs. Our arrangement came complete with a bottle of Belvedere Vodka and a variety of mixers. Red Bull was already included, but you are able to add up to 2 or 3 other options. The dance floor was packed the entire evening. The crowd was lively and easygoing as it was apparent everyone was having such a great time. The DJ was spinning all of our favorite top 40 hits and music videos. We didn’t want the night to end. The entire evening was high energy and we can definitely say Whiskey Girl knows how to throw a party!
JSix Restaurant | www.jsixrestaurant.com | 619-531-8744
After an energetic night out on the town in downtown San Diego, we were looking forward to a hearty brunch! Fortunately for us, it was just a short walk over to JSix, which is located adjacent to the Kimpton Solamar Hotel on the property. You literally go from one door to the other, it’s that close. The ambiance of the restaurant was super trendy and inviting from the moment you walk in. We read rave reviews about their sister lounge, LOUNGEsix, which boasts superior views, firepits and a poolside bar. Again, much to our disappointment, we weren’t able to explore due to inclement weather. Fun fact: Many of the herbs used in the dishes are grown in-house on the hotel’s rooftop terrace! We were appreciative to also learn that they serve environmentally-friendly meat, produce and other ingredients in their meals. Those with dietary needs will also appreciate their vegan options. For brunch, we ordered the All American, Breakfast Sandwich and the Eggs Benedict. Our server suggested their specialty Brioche French Toast which came with an apricot almond sauce, mascarpone, toasted almonds, and gelato. It was mouthwatering! The presentation of the food, quality and selection of the brunch dishes, and the exceptional service provided us with an A+ brunch visit!
Overall, our brunch at JSix was fabulous!
Mission Sands Vacation Rentals | missionsands.com | 858-488-2550
As you might already be aware, San Diego is home to a multitude of beautiful beaches! There’s something exciting about renting a house at the beach. Why rent a room when you can rent a whole house just steps from the ocean? Our team did just that and made an exquisite beach house from Mission Sands Vacation Rental our home for our recent trip to paradise in Mission Beach, which spans nearly two miles of oceanfront. Mission Beach is centrally located in the heart of the Golden Strand, between South Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.
The property was everything we anticipated and more. It was full of charm and beautifully decorated! From the moment we walked in the door, we felt right at home. Our three-story ocean view townhouse featured 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, as well as a private rooftop patio. It sleeps up to 12 people, so we had plenty of space, along with everything we possibly could have wanted at our fingertips. The house was ideal for our needs, as it was very well-equipped with all of the essentials plus some. It offered all the comforts of home with the added benefits being on vacation. They even offer a concierge service to guests who want to walk into a fully stocked kitchen or want recommendations for activities and restaurants in the city during their stay. There’s the convenience of three parking spots, a full kitchen, washer/dryer, grill, WIFI, bikes, and 3 balconies for guests to use during their stay, just to name a few! Aside from all of the amazing amenities, the location of our rental was phenomenal. A few steps out the front door and down the walkway and you’re on the sand! We could walk and ride bikes all around Mission Bay on the Bayside Walk and cut over to the ocean easily. The unit had plenty of indoor and outdoor space for socializing as well as private spacious bedrooms and quiet sitting areas for anyone to go off on their own and have some alone time.
Perhaps our favorite spot on the property belonged to the rooftop patio, where we loved spending the day taking in the ocean breeze and the evening underneath the stars. Side note: We highly recommend making s’mores on the rooftop and taking in the sunset!
In our experience, the rental process with Mission Sands Vacation Rentals was very streamlined, which is appreciated by those who are new to vacationing here and unfamiliar with the location. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or quick getaway with your friends, you’ll discover why Mission Sands properties come so highly recommended! Mission Sands definitely sets the bar high with its services, property location, and especially its level of hospitality during your stay.
Great job Mission Sands! We didn’t want to leave but we knew we had to when the time came. Thank you for the escape to paradise – we hope to come back and stay with you again soon!
Duck Dive | www.theduckdive.com | 858-273-3825
The Duck Dive in Pacific Beach is widely recognized as one of the best hotspots in San Diego. Beachfront and treasured by locals and tourists alike, if you are looking for a lively, fun atmosphere with an abundance of great people and brunch options, we highly recommend that you visit Duck Dive! This restaurant offers brunch, lunch and dinner menus, catering to all types of beachgoers. We quickly realized that bottomless mimosas or Bloody Mary’s, served daily, are all the rage in San Diego.
We couldn’t imagine a better way to start our afternoon than by ordering a selection of Duck Dives’ savory appetizers. We ordered the Baja Oysters Rockefeller, the Steamed Baja Bowl and the Baja Calamari for appetizers. Take Me to Mexico which is made with Los Altos Plata tequila (house infused with fresh watermelon), basil and jalapeño, shaken with agave, lemon and watermelon is a must have cocktail. So refreshing!
PB Shore Club | pbshoreclub.com | 858-272-7873
Just steps from the beach, this electric establishment serves grub classics, ideal for those fun-filled days at the beach. This place came highly recommended as a must stop while in Pacific Beach. PB Shore Club is known for combining the delicious tastes of the sea, prepared with classic Mexican flair, while providing guests with the perfect setting for the ultimate beach dining and drinking experience. The bar is extremely spacious and we loved the panoramic views of the ocean available no matter where we were standing or sitting.
For appetizers, we ordered the Nachos Gigante, Shore Tater Tot Basket, Shore Club Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Ahi Poke Stack. So delicious!
Make sure you order their signature secret recipe Red Bull Vodka Slushie served in a goblet. It’s pretty much a Pacific Beach rite of passage to get the frozen combo and is a MUST!
SeaWorld | Dine With Shamu | seaworldsandiego.com |619-222-4732
Bright and early Monday morning we made our way to SeaWorld® San Diego to enjoy shows, animal interaction, rides, and lunch! Our first stop was the Dolphin Days show, where we got to see dolphins and pilot whales perform behaviors and interact with their trainers. Since it was our first stop of the day we made sure to avoid the splash zone, but the kids at the show certainly seemed to really enjoy it! The Penguin Encounter exhibit was our next stop and their playful attitudes sure did not disappoint. Next, we headed over to the rays section of the park, which included the Manta® multi-media double-launch coaster and the one-of-a-kind grotto with the gliding rays. Amanda was brave enough to ride the Manta® while Paige touched and fed the incredible animals. The high-energy Pets Rule! show left us laughing with a delightful and playful cast of characters, some of which included: dogs, cats, potbellied pigs, birds and much more! Our last stop before lunch was the fun and thrilling Journey to Atlantis® ride, which combined the splashing fun of a water ride and the thrilling excitement of a coaster ride. We look forward to returning to SeaWorld® San Diego to explore the rest of the park and attractions!
After a long day of educational shows and exciting rides, it was time for our lunch reservation at Dine With Shamu®. Dine With Shamu® was an hour-long experience that included an exclusive, up-close seat for the Killer Whale Presentation while we enjoyed a gourmet poolside buffet. Some of our favorites from the buffet included: Oven Roasted Beef Striploin, Dijon Herb Chicken, Salmon, Vegetables, Chipotle Potatoes, Charcuterie, Shrimp Cocktail, Cheesecake, Cupcakes, Shamu® Cookies and much more!
The food was outstanding and our attentive and friendly waitress, Jessi, went above and beyond to make our Dine With Shamu® experience a great one!
Hornblower Cruises & Events | www.hornblower.com | 1-888-467-6256
What a truly memorable way to spend one of our last evenings in San Diego by hopping aboard a storied yacht also known as the Hornblower Cruises – one of San Diego’s most beloved attractions. The dock was conveniently located downtown and easy to find. From the minute we stepped foot on the dock, the customer service was above and beyond. The crew did an incredible job of making us feel overwhelmingly special. Once we entered the ship we were greeted by very pleasant staff members and ushered to our table. The cruise was 3 hours in length and featured a 3-course dinner, dancing and spectacular sunset views. We ordered the Chicken, Salmon and Beef. The food exceeded our expectations! Every dish tasted great and fresh. The meat was tender and well seasoned. We loved the complimentary champagne! Not to mention our waiter Sean Castro was exceptional!
Following dinner, the dance floor filled up with people having a great time. The decks were well designed with adequate seating for guests to take in the views. We did want to mention that some of us easily get seasick, but not on this boat. It was smooth sailing for the entire group!
The views were perhaps the best part of the cruise if we had to pick one, which is tough indeed. The romantic setting and beautiful scenery would be ideal for all types of people and groups – couples, celebrations, weddings, and company outings like us!
Pueblo | www.pueblopb.com | 858-412-3312
Pueblo brings the best of Baja flavor to San Diego! Located just 2 blocks from the ocean, Pueblo offers a taste of the Baja coast without having to cross the border! Our group was longing for authentic Mexican fare on our last night of the trip so we were undoubtedly excited to dine at this upscale eatery! The restaurant itself is airy and feels somewhat eclectic, yet with modern decor and contemporary details while still incorporating the more prominent architectural features you’d commonly find in the southwest and Central America that inspired the Pueblo name. For those unfamiliar with the modern Baja coastal cuisine, it can be described as not old world Mexican, but fresh Baja that incorporates local ingredients, prepared with global techniques and recipes that are rooted in the Baja culinary traditions.
The restaurant is decorated beautifully and boasts 2 bars, a rooftop deck, and an outdoor courtyard. To get started we ordered the Classic Pueblo Margarita (a must try), the Cactus Bloom, and the Oh, Dios Mio Mango!, which contains their house-infused red jalapeno tequila. For appetizers, we went with the Guacamole Y Chips and the Lobster Queso Fundido. Lobster and Queso – the perfect combination! For the main course, we ordered the Carne Asada, Fish, Spicy Shrimp & Carnitas Taco Plates, and the Lobster. The taco plates were unquestionably the table favorites, but the Lobster was a show-stopper, with extraordinary presentation and cooked to perfection. We must admit that overall, our meals were some of the best we’ve had in awhile!
We had the pleasure of being introduced to Chef Eduardo Rosales, who has spent the last 20 years developing his culinary skills as chef, restaurant owner, and educator in South America and Mexico. Chef Rosales taking the time to meet us was a treat to say the least and ended our stay on such a high note. We really got to see Eduardo’s mastery for complex flavor profiles during dinner and his passion for pastry with the exquisite assortment of desserts we were surprised with to end our visit at Pueblo.
As you can see, there’s a reason why San Diego is voted one of the best cities in the US and also very high up on our list of favorite vacation spots. With its gorgeous beaches, delicious Baja Mexican food, an endless variety of stunning views, and a buzzing nightlife, we’ve detailed many of the reasons why you need to put San Diego on your travel radar.
Our stay in San Diego was truly nothing short of incredible! We really had a fantastic time in San Diego and highly recommend these venues as the best California has to offer! Until next time, “Stay Classy San Diego!”