Are you searching for the best places to stay in San Diego? Well, in the below article, we have a lot of options. Here we list the best areas to visit and plan a vacation in San Diego. But before that, let us find out where San Diego is and other facts before you plan your stay.
1. San Diego
What are the best places to stay in San Diego? San Diego is a city in the southernmost part of California, on the Pacific Ocean coast. It is one of the most beautiful cities famous for its attractive beaches, good food, and incredible history. So, people of all ages and families can enjoy staying in this city.
It is also adjacent to the Mexican border since it was earlier a Mexican fort and presently the 8th largest city in the USA. It is a perfect beach city and the best place to plan your stay for summer. San Diego’s beaches are the city’s identity, with strips of sand, diners, restaurants, bars, and attractive boutique hotels.
All the more, there is no shortage of activities to do in San Diego either for a solo visit, family tour, or for couples. You will enjoy San Diego’s downtown, harbor, beaches, museums, and other attractions. The city is flourishing well with the best luxury hotels, boutique hotels, and beach towns, making the stay in San Diego comfortable and affordable.
So, are you mesmerized by experiencing the best places to stay in San Diego? Here, we have compiled a list of the best San Diego hotels and the most popular San Diego neighborhoods so that you can plan to choose the best places to stay in San Diego effectively.
2. Best Places to Stay in San Diego
2.1 Downtown San Diego
Was your first guess the downtown San Diego? Then, you are right. It is the city’s most popular and vibrant tourist destination and one of the best places to stay in San Diego for those who wish to enjoy buzzing nightlife and sightseeing.
The historic Gaslamp Quarter, famous for its rich history, forms the soul and heart of downtown San Diego. Although far from the beach, you can ingress some admiring destinations like Seaport Village, Old Town San Diego, Petco Park, Balboa Park, Coronado Bridge, San Diego Zoo, and Convention Center.
It is nearby to the San Diego international airport. Some of the best downtown hotels are Pendry, Intercontinental San Diego, Hotel Indigo, and the U.S. Grant.
2.1.1 Gaslamp Quarter
The historic Gaslamp Quarter is downtown San Diego’s premier night entertainment with live music, fine late-night dining, comedy shows, rooftop bars, pubs, and mind-blowing restaurants. It has another name, called San Diego’s Nightlife Hub.
A mélange of historical and modern life, the streets are colorful with boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.
You can celebrate occasions with your loved ones, like birthdays, romantic dates, bachelors’ parties, and much more. Well-known for its distinctly Victorian architecture, the Gaslamp Quarter 16-block area provides walking distance access to nearby neighborhoods.
2.1.2 Seaport Village
Seaport Village is a shopping center on the San Diego Bay, Pacific Ocean. It has 14 acres of area for fine-dine, shops, galleries, cafes, and live musical waterfront entertainment. Also, a historic carousel handcrafted since 1895 features animals, and a long waterfront walkway offers an exceptional sunset view.
2.1.3 Old Town San Diego
Old Town is the oldest neighborhood of San Diego in California, founded in 1769. It provides a charming atmosphere with historical sites, museums, specialty shops, and attractive gardens.
Known as the birthplace of California, the place also bestows moderate weather, a beachfront atmosphere, remarkable attractions, and adventures. Also, it is a pretty good place for festivals year-round.
2.1.4 Balboa Park
Balboa Park is a 1200-acre iconic urban park in San Diego that forms the enchanting landscape of Southern California. It includes 17 museums, themed gardens, and the famous San Diego Zoo.
An urban green space of national significance, this park has hosted numerous international exhibitions. Balboa Park also has diverse attractions like Desert Cactus Garden and Zoro Garden, complimentary to the people.
2.1.5 San Diego Zoo
San Diego zoo is in Balboa Park and is notable for being the best zoo in the country and the whole world. It is a habitat for 4000 animals of 650 different species and subspecies with a safari park.
It is 100 acres and the only zoo where you can watch giant pandas in bondage and the highest population of koalas. Getting to and from downtown San Diego is also easy.
2.1.6 Petco Park
This park is an appealing baseball stadium in downtown San Diego. Founded in 2004, it is eminent as “The World’s Best Ballpark in USA City.“
It offers alluring views of San Diego Bay, the San Diego skyline, state-of-the-art amenities, a gleaming venue options array, and a committed event management team. Its innovative design is the ultimate spot for an unforgettable event.
2.1.7 San Diego Convention Center
The San Diego Convention Center is an award-winning San Diego meeting, convention, trade show, exhibition, and community events facility near the Gaslamp Quarter, founded in 1989. It has around 11,000 top-class hotel rooms and is 10 minutes from San Diego airport.
Coronado Island is one of the best places to stay in San Diego for families. It is a narrow cape in San Diego Bay, and the perfect travel destination for those who love a beach vacation and also explore the best attractions in downtown San Diego.
To get to Coronado Island from San Diego proper, you can travel by car over the Coronado bridge or a ferry from downtown San Diego. The island is a 20-minute drive from the airport.
Coronado’s two most notable attractions are Coronado beach and Silver Strand state beach. Hotel Del Coronado, 1906 Lodge, and Loews Coronado Bay Resort are the best hotels to check in.
2.2.1 Coronado Beach
Coronado beach is a national award-winning best beach, approximately 1.75 miles in length. It is open from sunrise at 6 am till sunset for activities like swimming, sunbathing, surfing, paddle boarding, and tide pools.
Tide pools are great recreational activities for kids to explore and watch sea creatures along the shoreline. Hotel Del Coronado stays in front of the beach.
2.2.2 Silver Strand State Beach
Located on the southern coast of Coronado, it is the most beautiful beach for beach lovers. The sandy land with ocean and bay shorelines offers activities like fishing, swimming, picnicking, and RV camping. Loews Coronado Bay Resort is in front of the beach, and 4 miles south is hotel Del Coronado.
2.3 Pacific Beach
Pacific beach is one of the swarming beach towns in San Diego’s Mission Bay. It is one of the best places to stay in San Diego for friend’s groups, young generations, and college buddies.
You will enjoy restaurants and bars a few steps from the sand but only a few luxury hotels. Families and other luxury tourists must avoid planning a vacation at Pacific beach.
North Pacific beach is family-friendly as it provides lifeguards for children. The best cheap hotels at Pacific beach are Tower 23, Pacific Terrace Hotel, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, and Beach Cottages.
2.4 Ocean Beach
The Ocean Beach is one of the best places to stay in San Diego, especially if you an adventurous teenager. It is on the south of Mission Beach and the San Diego River. You can enjoy night festivities, street performances, and open-air markets, at Ocean beach, usually near the Ocean beach pier, one of the longest piers in Southern California.
Ocean beach is near downtown San Diego making it easier to visit popular San Diego attractions and sites. The activities to enjoy are the tide pools, sunbath, surfing, diving bars, swimming on the ocean beach, and walking along the Ocean beach pier.
Ocean beach is a perfect destination for those who want to stay in San Diego and enjoy a lively beach vacation. You will find affordable hotels like Hotel Ocean Beach and the Inn at the Sunset Cliffs within your budget.
2.5 Mission Beach
Mission beach, situated near Seaworld San Diego, and is home to Belmont Park, a beachfront park in South Mission beach with dozens of rides and roller coasters.
It is one of the best places to stay in San Diego for travelers longing for a relaxing beach vacation and interested in water sports like paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking, and oceanic boardwalk. You can enjoy plenty of sunshine, with several restaurants and bars. The best hotels to stay here are Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina, San Diego Mission Bay Resort, and Dana on Mission Bay.
2.6 La Jolla
La Jolla is a seaside, romantic, and luxurious neighborhood in San Diego with a charismatic coastline. Known as ” The Jewel” of San Diego for its expensive homes and luxury hotels, it is a remarkable area and one of the best places to stay in San Diego.
The best attractions in La Jolla are La Jolla Shores, one of the beautiful beaches, and La Jolla Cove, a cove beach surrounded by cliffs and Birch Aquarium.
Torrey Pines is a La Jolla magnificent neighborhood for families, couples, and parents. The highlights of the place are the famous Torrey Pines State Park and Torrey Pines Golf Course.
La Jolla town is a beauty for museums, boutique hotels, and countless art galleries. Some of the best hotels and neighborhoods in La Jolla are La Valencia Hotel, La Jolla Shores Hotel, and Pantai Inn San Diego.
2.7 Del Mar
Del Mar is one of the most beautiful beach towns on the Pacific Ocean coast in San Diego. It is one of the best places to stay in San Diego for a beach vacation. With stylish dining options and art galleries, it is a picturesque neighborhood that gives lovely clifftop views of the ocean.
Del Mar also provides a home to Dog beach. Del Mar dog beach is officially called “Del Mar’s North Beach Area,” where your dogs can move freely off-leash and swim in the water.
Del Mar is known for Torrey Pines State Park and Torrey Pines Golf Course. The famous Del Mar horse race occurs every summer on the Del Mar racetrack. The best hotels in Del Mar are Fairmont Grand Del Mar and L’Auberge Del Mar.
Encinitas is a beautiful city of beaches in North County San Diego and one of the best places to stay in San Diego. It is an incredible place having a collection of gardens and nurseries for which it has an alternative name, “ The Flower Capital of the World.“
You will enjoy plenty of low and high-end restaurants, bars, and shops here. Since it is not much admiring destination due to its location 25 miles north of San Diego, you will find less crowd here.
The best hotels in Encinitas, North County, are Inn at Moonlight Beach, Leucadia Beach Inn, and Surfhouse Boutique Hotel.
2.9 North Park
North Park is a chic and modish neighborhood in San Diego for youngsters and students to hang out in coffee shops, beer bars, and boutiques lining the streets.
The oldest neighborhood with a cultural background it is one of the best places to stay in San Diego. Balboa Park, the Ray Street Arts District, and the North Park theater are some of the attractions here.
The best hotels in North Park are the Lafayette Hotel, Berkshire Motor Hotel, and ITH Zoo Hostel.
3. Best Hotels in Gaslamp Quarter
3.1 Kimpton Solamar Hotel
This luxury hotel in the hub of the Gaslamp quarter gives a luxury experience and features free WIFI, a rooftop pool, and complimentary wine tasting.
3.2 Staypineapple at Hotel Z
It is a 3-star business-friendly hotel featuring a free WIFI connection, bikes, and bicycles on site. Pets are welcome and at walking distance of the attractions.
3.3 USA Hotels San Diego
This hostel in the heart of Gaslamp Quarter gives a modern, art-filled experience with free WIFI, breakfast, mixed dorms, and sparkling new-age decor.
4. Best Hotels in Old Town
4.1 Cosmopolitan Hotel
It is a luxurious hotel with a historic architecture built in 1869 that gives Victorian-style furnishing with an on-site restaurant and a bar. It features free WIFI and breakfast and is 8 km from San Diego International airport.
4.2 Hilton Garden Inn Old Town
This hotel is a blending of historic and modern located at a 10 min walking distance from Old Town, SeaWorld San Diego. It features free WIFI, business and conference facilities, and an outdoor pool.
4.3 Old Town Inn
This hotel provides all comfort and beauty within a 10-minute distance of San Diego International airport. It features a garden, an outdoor pool, lounge sharing, a private beach, and rooms for the family.
5. Best Hotels of Coronado
5.1 Hotel Del Coronado
This hotel is a San Diego specialty that provides a feel of a beachfront resort with luxuries and is the best choice for those who love to be near the beach. Located at a distance of 5 miles from downtown San Diego, it provides nearness to downtown and Balboa Park. You can enjoy free WIFI, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a live music lounge.
5.2 Loews Coronado Bay Resort
This resort is a 15-acre peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Coronado bay, with a perfect view of the San Diego skyline that lies 5 miles away from Coronado beach. You can access free WIFI, on-site dining and spa services, an outdoor pool, a fitness, and a business center.
6. Best Hotels in Pacific Beach
6.1 Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
It is a tropical beachfront 3-star hotel a few steps from the Pacific beach on the shores of Mission Bay. The basic amenities available are free WIFI, a bar/lounge, a spa, cafes, boutiques, bicycles, water-sport rentals, and a beachside walk.
6.2 Pacific Terrace Hotel
This hotel is AAA 4-diamond rated and overlooks the Pacific beach boardwalk. The amenities available here are free WIFI, a heated outdoor pool, and a hot tub providing the best ocean views. Additionally, there are massage services and a spacious and modern fitness center for guests.
Tower23 is the best San Diego’s luxurious, upscale boutique hotel on the Pacific beach. It gives fresh ocean views with modern design and sophisticated amenities.
The amenities are free WIFI, meeting facilities, a rooftop terrace, a beach walk, and kid’s stay free, a business center, and rental bicycles.
7. Best Hotels in Ocean Beach
7.1 Hotel Ocean Beach
It is a luxurious hotel surrounded by abundant greenery at a distance of 1 minute from the Ocean beach. Free WIFI and parking, a badminton arena, a bar and lounge, and a nearby airport are the basic amenities of this hotel.
7.2 The Inn at Sunset Cliffs
It is a 3-star waterfront hotel that faces Ocean beach pier, located at a distance of 2.9 miles from Seaworld and 4 miles from Belmont Park. Providing amenities like free WIFI and parking, hiking, outdoor pool creates an idyllic and calm atmosphere for the visitors.
7.3 Samesun Ocean Beach
It is a hostel at a 3-minute walking distance from Ocean beach that offers dorms, AC rooms, and a shared lounge only for adults. The free perks include WIFI, breakfast, and shuttle service to local transport hubs.
8. Best Hotels in Mission Beach/Mission Bay
8.1 The Dana on the Mission Bay
It is an excellent beachfront resort that overlooks Mission Bay providing a tropical landscape to enjoy a calm and pleasant atmosphere. Get delighted in amenities like WIFI, boating, outdoor heated swimming pools, rental bicycles, a water sport, and a fitness area with a gym and workout room.
8.2 Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina
It is a 3-star resort hotel that overlooks Mission beach to enjoy ocean views, waterslides, and pools. You can experience whale-watching excursions, fishing adventures, and fishing with an on-site commercial dock.
The main amenities are free WIFI, a fitness area, boating, kayaks, jet skis, sailboats, an electric vehicle charging station, and children’s television networks.
8.3 San Diego Mission Bay Resort
It is a 4-star family resort hotel that offers various options for families with a serene waterfront to enjoy waterfront dining, spa treatments, relaxation, wakeboarding, sailing, and splashing poolside.
A free WIFI, rental aqua cycles, kayak and bicycles, tennis court along the pool are the amenities available for bay fun.
9. Best Hotels in La Jolla San Diego
9.1 Pantai Inn San Diego
It is a boutique hotel with a spacious charm providing tranquility and pleasant ocean views, located at a 4 min distance from La Jolla Shores.
A perfect luxurious hotel with a romantic ocean view, lush greenery, courtyard, and firepit offers a retreat to revitalize the senses. Free WIFI and Breakfast, Baggage Storage, and Massage are some of the best amenities available.
9.2 La Valencia Hotel
It is an impressive and luxurious oceanfront hotel at a 4-minute distance from La Jolla Cove beach on Prospect Street. Cozy rooms and villas, a restaurant and bar facing the ocean, and a gleaming Spanish-Mediterranean-style lounge are the highlights of this hotel.
The property amenities are Free WIFI, Laundry services, a business center, boating, a fitness club with a gym and workout room, and highchairs.
10. Best Hotels in Del Mar
10.1 L’Auberge Del Mar
It is a magnificent boutique hotel and award-winning deluxe resort in the heart of Del Mar. The best views of the ocean pool, spa, dining options, and tennis courts are the few features to plan your stay in this hotel.
The other amenities include free WIFI, parking, a fitness area, a business center, a rental bicycle, a relaxing bar, a lounge with live music, and babysitting.
10.2 Fairmont Grand Del Mar
It is a luxurious resort hotel on the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, located 5 miles from the Torrey Pines State beach and a 20-minute driving distance from Torrey Pines State Reserve. The resort features a private golf course, tennis, spa, kids club, yoga and fitness classes, an equestrian center, and a heated pool.
The main amenities available are free WIFI, archery, rental bicycles, babysitting, a lobby bar, a nightclub, and valet parking.
11. Final Note
This article gives you an idea about the best places to stay in San Diego. San Diego has a rating as the safest city in the USA as a tourist spot. Irrespective of any neighborhood or hotel you choose based on your interests and budget, you will enjoy a spectacular time with any of the above-mentioned best places to stay in San Diego.
So, have you checked the best places to stay in San Diego and are ready to book your trip? Not yet. Then make your travel planning better with the resources and information above.
If you liked this article, here is something more.
Also check out,
Verified Content by Experts
USA Tales has content written by niche experts, travelers, students, and those with real-life experience. Our content is also periodically reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure content accuracy and relevancy. Have a question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org