San Diego

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by CNW, Dec 18, 2011.

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  1. Dec 18, 2011 #1

    CNW

    CNW

    CNW

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    Planning a trip to San Diego in January. Don't know anything about the city. Is Old Town the best area to stay as a tourist? What hotels would be closest to the Amtak Station? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Dec 18, 2011 #2

    rrdude

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    Old Town is def nice, and relatively RZ to get to and fro on the light rail. My personal preference is downtown, on the harbor. If you are a member of Holiday Inn's Priority Club, you may want to try their property right downtown. It's EZ walk to the Amtrak/Santa Fe station.
     
  3. Dec 18, 2011 #3

    guest

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    Would not recommend staying in Old Town. It's a touristy little area worth no more than a half-day visit by trolley from downtown, mostly curio shops since Old Town perse was a dusty little plaza for a city of no more than 2,000 people at the time (before everything moved to New Town (now downtown) in 1873 after a disastrous fire. And there are really no hotels meant for non-auto visitors; mostly motor inns.

    There are many, many hotels downtown either within walking distance of the Santa Fe Depot (Amtrak terminal) or a short trolley ride away. (Trolley stops at the terminal.)

    Downtown hotels are all within walking distance of the harbor promenade with historic ships and restaurants and waterside vistas, the Gaslamp Quarter (restaurants and nightlife), and the multi-story, whimsical Horton Plaza Shopping Mall (with theaters).

    Downtown is a 10-minute bus ride (no. 7) from Balboa Park, with the zoo, a dozen museums (world art, photography, natural history, anthropology, auto, space, model trains, planetarium, folk art, European art, Japanese garden, world's largest outdoor organ) and miles of trails and greenery. You can walk to the park from downtown if ambitious (about 30 minutes up Park Boulevard).

    Tijuana is a Blue Trolley ride away. La Jolla (classy shopping area, beautiful ocean scenery and beaches, home to University of California, San Diego) is a 50-minute trolley and bus ride, or 40-minute express bus ride, to the north. Coronado is the beautiful island town across the harbor with the historic Hotel Del Coronado (built in the 1880s) and an easy bus ride on no. 901 across the bridge or a pleasant 20-minute passenger ferry ride from the downtown pier or Convention Center pier.

    Downtown hotels range from pricey to thrifty, but in January rates are about the lowest they get all year. Check for specials on their websites. Some are independent boutique hotels; others are part of chains. Waterfront hotels include the Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt. Other hotels actually in downtown include the W, the Westgate, Holiday Inn, Westin, Sofia, Embassy Suites, Indigo, Horton Grand, Hard Rock and the venerable US Grant.

    Our family is partial to the Horton Grand and/or Westgate.

    Have fun. It's a beautiful place to visit AND live.
     
  4. Dec 18, 2011 #4

    guest

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    guest

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    Depends on your budget...I lived in SD for over 10 years, and it was VERY expensive then, and is more so now. If budget is not a big issue, you have lots of options, including the HI between Harbor and Pacific Highway. But for something less expensive, there are lots of more reasonable motels along Pacific Highway between downtown and Old Town. A lot of the suburban chain hotels are in Mission Valley (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott), within pretty close proximity to trolley stops.
     
  5. Dec 18, 2011 #5

    johnny.menhennet

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    I think that you should stay in the Gaslamp Quarter. It's a trendy revitalized neighborhood right around Petco Park. Close to the Convention Center and multiple Trolley stops. In January you can find prices (relatively) cheap. I would avoid Old Town, because most of the hotels that claim to be Old Town are actually in "Hotel Circle North/South", a not nice area a half-mile away with more spotty access to the Trolley
     
  6. Dec 18, 2011 #6

    Railroad Bill

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    We have stayed at the Best Western Plus Bayside Inn several times and like its large free breakfast, beautiful view of the city from the upper floors, and the close proximity to the station. Wife and I walk to and from the Amtrak station with no problem. A quick walk to board the Red Line to Old Town, Downtown, etc. And close to the waterfront attractions and easy walk to Italian Village restaurants. :)
     
  7. Dec 18, 2011 #7

    CNW

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    Thanks to everyone. It is good to check here. I always feel confident in the advice given.
     
  8. Dec 18, 2011 #8

    johnny.menhennet

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    There s no red line on the San Diego Trolley System... the line Railroad Bill is talking about that connects Downtown with the border and Old Town is the Blue Line
     
  9. Dec 19, 2011 #9

    guest

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    Yeah, that's one crazy thing about the San Diego Trolley: all the cars are painted bright red but the three lines are named the Blue, Green and Orange!! Makes you wonder if the marketing people are color-blind? :eek:hboy:

    I would not recommend any of the string of cheap motels along Pacific Highway northwest of downtown toward Old Town. Several are "cat motels" and others put you almost directly under the flight path into Lindbergh Field, and I mean directly under, since the runway begins no more than 30 feet west of Pacific Highway at Laurel Street, and you can almost touch the wheels of the planes as they come in over the area.
     
  10. Dec 19, 2011 #10

    CNW

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    Not sure what a "cat motel" would be? Can you explain?
     
  11. Dec 19, 2011 #11

    Railroad Bill

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    Whoops! Sorry about that. Remembered the red colored cars. Blue Line :giggle: :giggle:
     
  12. Dec 19, 2011 #12

    guest

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    Where rooms are rented by the hour for "various" activities.

    (Brothel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brothel

    Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute)

    Many of the motels along Pacific Highway northwest of downtown San Diego end up with clients involved in activities such as prostitution, drug dealing and the like. Others are used to put up welfare system clients temporarily. All in all, not highly recommended for tourists unless you are literally down to your last dollars.
     
  13. Dec 19, 2011 #13

    sechs

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    I've stayed at the Westin a number of times. It's very close to Santa Fe Depot (I think that there's only one hotel closer), right down Broadway.
     
  14. Dec 19, 2011 #14

    thully

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    As someone who has been to San Diego a few times (and will be going back again on 12/26), I would say that it likely in part depends whether you're renting a car or not. If not, I would try to make sure you get somewhere fairly close to downtown and/or a trolley stop. As others have mentioned, the Blue Line trolley conveniently stops right next to the Pacific Surfliner at the Amtrak station - though service ends at 11:45pm, so if your'e coming in on the last train from LAX the trolley won't be running. Being by a bus line would be OK as well, though the buses in San Diego vary in their frequency and are sometimes quite infrequent on weekends/holidays (and some lines don't run at all). You also have to consider how much time you want to spend getting from point A to point B. Obviously, if you rent a car you will have more flexibility, but may still want to take traveling distance into account when deciding where to stay. As for particular places, I don't have any recommendations as I've mostly stayed with family when I've been there.

    If you want to look up the schedules for the bus/trolley, the website for the MTS (the San Diego transit authority) is at sdmts.com. Google Maps will also give you transit directions using the MTS system, though I've found it doesn't always give the best directions for complex trips.
     
  15. Dec 20, 2011 #15

    Gingee

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    We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay this past May. Came by Amtrak and pulled our luggage to the hotel. You could almost see the hotel from the train station. The biggest problem was finding a spot to cross the tracks. I would say it was maybe a ten minute walk. You can get the sightseeing trolley across the street and down a little bit. You can also walk a little farther and go to the shopping market or whatever it is called. Lots of little stores and restaurants.
     
  16. Dec 20, 2011 #16

    amtkstn

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    When I was there in April I stayed at the Days Inn Harbor View. It is about five minutes from both the Santa Fe Station and the airport. What I like about San Diego is that the airport is close to the city making a car rentel easy and afforable not having to pay a expensice taxi ride like most Amtrak stations.
     
  17. Dec 20, 2011 #17

    guest

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    Actually, if you want to rent a car, most agencies have counters downtown and the cost is significantly less than the nearby airport because there are no "cost recovery" fees and hefty airport taxes. And these counters are open on the weekends because of so many tourists staying in downtown hotels. If you rent a car in San Diego, don't do it at the airport unless you are arriving and leaving from Lindbergh Field and need the convenience. Otherwise, go for the downtown counters!
     
  18. Dec 20, 2011 #18

    City of Miami

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    I recommend La Pensione. http://lapensionehotel4-px.trvlclick.com/

    This is a smallish boutique hotel in Little Italy - walking distance to Amtrak station. I was checking for a room in Feb and they were available on my date for $99! And they are very nice.
     

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