By James Abraham
Why You Must Go: While this seaside city’s allures are many—fabulous climate, the Zoo, the beaches—the Gaslamp Quarter in the downtown area certainly needs to get its props. And if you’re gonna pay a visit to this bustling district, book a stay at the Omni San Diego Hotel located right next to PETCO Park. The accommodations are sterling and the views—the city skyline, the ball field or this unbelievable sight called San Diego Bay—are stunning. This is a four-star place so we’re talking amenities like a heated spa and swimming pool, an outdoor terrace with a stone fireplace and for you sportos, the hotel’s skybridge lets you into the Park easy-peasy, so you can bypass the long lines and get right into the game (Homerun!). Valet service here is top-notch—they didn’t skip a beat for repeated requests to retrieve items we absentmindedly left inside our car—and for someone who judges places by their bathrooms, the facilities here are elegant and refined.
Where To Eat: McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant has an awesome breakfast buffet. Make friends with the omelet chef because his creations are off the yolk. Or, since you’re adjacent to the Gaslamp, you can easily hit up Fred’s Mexican Café for their Cabo Carnitas or Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge if you want to throw back a Good Lei (Absolut mandarin, mango, lime and orange juice, mint) and get your pu pu platter on.
What Else To Check Out: You’re right next to PETCO so catch some Padres action while you’re here. Or you can swing by the William Heath Davis House Museum and learn about the area’s 19th Century reputation as Prostitution Central—it wasn’t called the “Stingaree district” back then for nuthin! Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is about four miles up the 5 and recommended (it’s free!) to get a dose of local lore and the chance to sample the peanut clusters at Cousins Candy Shop.
Omni San Diego Hotel, 675 L St., San Diego, (619) 231-6664, 1-800-THE OMNI, www.omnisandiegohotel.com. “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” (includes two Padres home game tix) package starts at $249.