Let’s face it business travel can be tedious. Flight delays, mediocre dinners in the hotel lobby, stressful meetings and of course, more flying. So, the next time you’re packing your bags be sure to throw that Hawaiian shirt in with your business khakis and build some exploration time into your agenda, especially in the summer when it seems like everyone else on your flight is on holiday!
This August business people from all over the world will descend on San Diego for the Global Business Travel Association annual conference. I admit San Diego is not a tough assignment, but if you tread a straight path between your hotel and the convention center you risk missing the So Cal experience. It’s not difficult to find fun local activities, especially with the convention center sitting on the waterfront downtown. So, allow me to offer a few ideas for your next business trip in America’s Finest City.
- Downtown San Diego is home to Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres. If you’re a baseball fan then this state of the art baseball experience is sure to impress. Catch a fly ball, or enjoy the game with a cold one and take in the atmosphere.
- If you’re looking to experience a little Puerto Nuevo style seafood without actually crossing into Mexico, Rockin’ Baja Lobster has a location right downtown in the Gaslamp Quarter. Venturing just north of downtown there is another Rockin’ Baja in Old Town. A trip to Old Town will transport you back in time as it is the oldest settled area in San Diego. Here you’ll discover historic buildings dating back to 1820.
- Downtown is also home to one of the largest “Little Italy” neighborhoods in the country and is a thriving pedestrian market place with restaurants, shops, wineries and more. If you set out to explore this historic area, make time to grab a bite at Indigo Grill. With a fire pit patio, it’s the perfect place to enjoy “Modern Latin Cuisine.”
- Another downtown favorite for “social dining” is Searsucker. There are plenty of small plates to share, grilled octopus…duck wings…mushroom crepes…yes, please! If you’re in the mood for something heartier, the prime dry aged New York strip with Japanese sweet potato and shishito chimichurri will not disappoint.
- Balboa Park is in close proximity to downtown and this 1,200-acre urban oasis offers something for everyone. Museums, gardens, trails, theatre, the world-famous San Diego Zoo and of course, food! The award-winning Prado at Balboa Park in the House of Hospitality offers both indoor and outdoor dining. A beautiful setting to taste the local San Diego brew with your lunch or dinner.
- If you crave waterfront dining, Coronado Island is a quick 15-minute boat ride across the bay from the convention center ferry stop. Once you arrive at the Coronado Ferry Landing, head to Il Fornaio and sample some of its award winning Italian cuisine. Il Fornaio’s dining room and patio provide a glorious front and center view of the beautiful San Diego skyline.
- Another perfect vantage point for dining with a view is Coasterra, at the tip of Harbor Island just a short drive from the convention center. You will enjoy panoramic views of the harbor and city while feasting on modern Mexican cuisine.
- Lastly if you can sneak away long enough to escape to La Jolla, a beautiful village offering ample dining options. Whisknladle is considered a “neighborhood gem” where inspired dishes featuring local ingredients change frequently to capture the freshest flavors of the season. According to Edible San Diego, “the modern-rustic, indoor-outdoor dining room screams La Jolla chic.”
- Across the way sister restaurant Catania features fresh, authentic, handcrafted Italian fare. Earning top accolades since opening, Catania’s perch on the top floor of the La Plaza Center offers stunning views of La Jolla and the Pacific beyond.
- A La Jolla classic George’s at the Cove hosts three venues in one building. You can savor “California Modern” cuisine on the first level; on “Level2” you’ll be treated to an elevated cocktail experience featuring classic and innovative modern creations; and one level up is George’s Ocean Terrace, overlooking the Pacific, which Travel and Leisure named “one of the world’s hottest rooftop restaurants.”
I hope I’ve lured you away from ordering room service and provided ample opportunity to put on that Hawaiian shirt and own your San Diego experience!
Written by Janice McEachen.