Welcome to San Diego

California's second largest city and the United States' seventh largest, San Diego boasts a citywide population of nearly 1.3 million residents and more than 2.8 million residents countywide. Within its borders of 4,200 sq. miles, San Diego County encompasses 18 incorporated cities and numerous other charming neighborhoods and communities, including downtown's historic Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Coronado, La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Escondido, La Mesa, Hillcrest, Barrio Logan, Chula Vista just to name a few.

San Diego is renowned for its idyllic climate, 70 miles of pristine beaches and a dazzling array of world-class family attractions. Popular attractions include the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Sea World San Diego and LEGOLAND California. San Diego offers an expansive variety of things to see and do, appealing to guests of all ages from around the world.

San Diego Convention Center
111 Harbor Drive

Almost 20 years young, the San Diego Convention Center is currently ranked 21st in size among the 375 convention facilities in North America.  In its first year of operation, it exceed its own expectations by welcoming over 1,000,000 visitors to 354 events.  An expansion, which nearly doubled the size of the facility to 2.6 million square feet, was completed in September 2001.

Local Weather
San Diego enjoys beautiful weather year round, with an average daily temperature of 70.5˚ F (21.4˚ C).  A marked feature of the climate is the wide variation in temperature within short distances due to the topography of the land.  You can enjoy coastal, mountain and desert environments all in the space of one day.

Average temperatures in October are between a high of 75°F (24°C) and a low of 60°F (16°C).  Expect a minimal amount of rainfall during this month.

San Diego International Airport – Lindbergh Field, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, is three miles northwest of downtown San Diego and ten minutes from the San Diego Convention Center. Several shuttle services operate from the airport, while taxis also are readily available.  Please visit the airport website,, and click on Ground Transportation on the left-hand side of the screen.

Please note - for departing flights from the airport, it is recommended to arrive two (2) hours prior to flight time for domestic flights and three (3) hours prior for international flights.

Ground Transportation from San Diego International Airport - Lindbergh Field
Shuttle, bus and taxi services are available at the Transportation Plazas across from Terminals 1 and 2 and curbside at the Commuter Terminal.

Taxi fares from the airport to the Convention Center and many downtown hotels range from $12.00 - $14.00.  For more information, please visit

Car rental reservation boards are located near the baggage claim areas of Terminals 1 and 2.  All car rental agencies are off-site and do not have counters inside the terminal facilities.  Car rental shuttles at the Transportation Plazas will take you to their rental locations.  For more information, please visit

Please note - the San Diego Trolley and the Coaster commuter train do not stop at the Airport. The only public transit available is the Flyer Route No. 992, a Metropolitan Transit System bus that travels between the Airport and downtown San Diego, stopping between Terminals 1 & 2 and the Commuter Terminal. The 10-minute bus service to and from downtown connects with Trolley, Coaster and Amtrak stations and is wheelchair accessible.

Trolley Service
There is a trolley station at the Convention Center and within a short walk from most major downtown and Mission Valley hotels, most of which are just a 10-20 minute ride to the Convention Center.  Day Tripper passes provide unlimited access on all MTS Trolley lines and most MTS Bus routes for an enjoyable ride to the many great destinations like Coronado, the Gaslamp Quarter, Old Town, the San Diego Zoo and Sea World.  Visit the following website for more information –

On-site private vehicle parking is available at the Convention Center’s 1950-vehicle underground parking garage.  The fee per day is $10.00.  There are no in/out privileges, and payment is due upon entry to the garage.

The US monetary system includes denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. There are also four common denomination of coins: 1¢ (1 cent or 1 penny), 5¢ (a nickel), 10¢ (a dime), 25¢ (a quarter). The two less common types of coins are worth 50¢ and $1.

Currency exchange can take place through banks in San Diego.  Some hotels will offer currency exchange services, but often, the better exchange rate is at the bank.  It is also wise to check for currency exchange services through American Express (800) 525-7623 or or visit  Additionally, the Thomas Cook Currency Services are available and can be found at, or by calling (800) 287-7326.

Traveler’s cheques are widely accepted and used as well as credit cards and ATMs.  The most used credit cards include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club and Carte Blanche.

In San Diego, 15-20 percent of the total bill is a good rule of thumb for tipping.  Additional guidelines are below:


There is a 7.75 percent (7.75%) sales tax on purchases and a 10.5 percent (10.5%) tax on hotel rooms in San Diego.

Listed below are recommended restaurants within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center and the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina:

728 5th Avenue

Asti is located in the heart of San Diego’s well- known Gaslamp District, where their outdoor patio crackles with the energy of San Diego’s nightlife. The red brink walls of the dining room add an urban touch to the room, as well as showcase photos of the many celebrities who have enjoyed dining at Asti.

Cuisine: Italian
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11:00 – 23:00
Friday – Saturday, 11:00 – 24:00
Sunday: Brunch, 10:30 – 15:00; Dinner ‘til 23:00
Reservations: Suggested
Price: Main courses $20-$30
Credit Cards: AE, MC, V, DISC

275 5th Avenue

Dussini Mediterranean Bistro is an upscale and intimate restaurant with a distinctive menu, which features an inviting range of exciting dishes with flavors from the Mediterranean including Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal and more.  Wine aficionados will appreciate the three-story wine room, which rises from the restaurants lower level and up through the mezzanine floor.  There is also a patio for outdoor dining in warmer weather and complimentary wireless internet access.

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 17:00 – 22:00
Friday – Saturday, 17:00 – 23:00
Reservations: Recommended on weekends
Price: Main courses $19-$35 (children’s menu available, too)
Credit Cards: AE, V, MC, DISC

Soleil @ K
660 K Street

California dining at its best, with a Mediterranean flair.  Soleil @ K incorporates organic ingredients, local produce and products from area vineyards.  Located just two blocks from the San Diego Convention Center and steps away from Petco Park stadium.

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Hours: Breakfast: Monday – Sunday, 06:30 – 10:30
Lunch: Monday – Sunday 11:30 – 15:00
Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 17:30 – 22:30
Friday – Saturday, seating until 23:00
Reservations: Recommended on weekends
Price: Main courses $20-$36
Credit Cards: AE, MC, V, DISC

400 J Street @ 4th Avenue and J Street

As sleek as a 1930’s ocean liner, yet as relaxed as a dinner on the shore, the Oceanaire provides the perfect setting to enjoy ultra-fresh seafood, flown in daily from around the world. Enjoy seasonal favorites such as fresh Copper River salmon or hard-to-find delicacies like true Dover sole or bluefin tuna. Menus change daily.

Cuisine: Seafood
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 17:00 - 22:00
Friday – Saturday, 17:00 - 23:00
Reservations: Recommended
Price: Main courses $20 - $30
Credit Cards: AE, MC, V, DISC

Morton’s of Chicago
285 J Street @ The Harbor Club

USDA prime aged steak is just part of the story at Morton’s, where true beef connoisseurs feel right at home. rates Morton’s in the Top 10 Steakhouses.  But let’s not overlook the spectacular selection of fresh seafood and a wine list carefully chosen to perfectly match the cuisine.

Cuisine: Steakhouse
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 17:30 – 23:00
Sunday, 17:00 – 22:00
Reservations: Recommended
Price: Main courses $36 - $101
Credit Cards: AE, V, MC, DC

314 4th Avenue

Enjoy a culturally-inspired experience in the exploration of all the 5 senses.  Masala, translating to the spices and herbs which makes curry a delicious, full-body and robust experience, invites you to explore the extensive selection of tandoori, murgh and gosht selections.

Cuisine: Indian
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11:00 – 22:30
Friday – Saturday,11:00 – 24:00
Sunday Brunch, 11:00 – 16:00
Sunday Dinner, 17:00 – 22:30
Reservations: Recommended
Price: Many main courses between $18 - $20; special preset tasting menus $29-$75 per person
Credit Cards: AE, V, MC

Athens Market Taverna
109 West F Street

Cuisine: Greek
Hours: Lunch Monday – Friday  11:30 – 16:00
Dinner Monday – Saturday  16:00 – 22:00
Reservations: For groups of six or more
Price: Lunch  $6.95 - $12.95
Dinner $12.95 - $24.95 (featuring two courses)
Credit Cards: AE, V, MC, DISC

Athens Market Taverna serves up award-winning cuisine, outstanding service, casual elegance and old-fashioned San Diego and Greek hospitality for a meal you won’t forget.  Healthy, flavorful cuisine featuring grains, fresh vegetables and seafood are part of Owner Mary Pappas’ offerings of bountiful classic Greek cuisine, as well as updated Mediterranean lamb and beef specialties.

825 4th Avenue

Persian dining raised to new heights, with authentic marinades for signature beef, lamb, chicken and seafood entrees.   Add to that the use of fresh and healthy ingredients – saffron and lime - and bold, complex flavors from the classic to the contemporary, and Bandar has achieved a delicious taste!

Cuisine: Persian
Hours: Sunday – Thursday  11:30 – 22:00
Friday – Saturday  11:30 – 23:30
Reservations: Recommended (but required for parties of ten or more)
Price: Main courses $18 - $29
Credit Cards: AE, V, MC, DISC, DC


SeaWorld San Diego
500 Sea World Drive      

Venture beyond the ocean’s door at SeaWorld San Diego. Get so close you can touch a dolphin’s fin, stare down a shark and connect with the sea’s creatures in their world. Come see what everyone’s talking about and experience Believe — the visually stunning Shamu show. Encounter polar bears at Wild Arctic and brave the daring drop on the Journey To Atlantis water coaster. Everywhere you look, the energy and wonder of the world’s water surround you in the sights and sounds of SeaWorld. Sesame Street is coming to SeaWorld. Starting in spring 2008, you can share a breakfast buffet with your favorite Sesame Street friends. Experience Sesame Street’s spectacular new 4-D movie, Lights, Camera, Imagination. And, late spring play in our all-new themed play area, Sesame Street Bay of Play. Come laugh, play and dine with all your Sesame Street friends … only at SeaWorld.

Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 18:00
Transportation: SeaWorld is easily accessible by public transportation.  For city trolley bus schedules and routes, please call 619/685-4900.  Many local hotels and motels will offer complimentary transportation to SeaWorld.
Price: Ages 10+, $59.00 (exclusive of the “Behind the Scenes” backstage tour)
Ages 3-9, $49.00 (exclusive of the “Behind the Scenes” backstage tour)

San Diego Zoo
Park Boulevard & Zoo Place

More than 4,000 creatures reside at this celebrated, influential zoo, started in 1916 and run by the Zoological Society of San Diego. The zoo is also an accredited botanical garden, lavished with more than 700,000 plants. To ensure what would become the zoo's naturalistic and mature environment.

The zoo is one of only four in the United States with giant pandas, and many other rare species live here, including Buerger's tree kangaroos of New Guinea, long-billed kiwis from New Zealand, wild Przewalski's horses from Mongolia, lowland gorillas from Africa, and giant tortoises from the Galapagos. The Zoological Society is involved with animal preservation efforts around the world and has engineered many "firsts" in breeding. The zoo was also a forerunner in creating barless, moated enclosures that allow animals to roam in environments resembling their natural ones.

Please note – the facility is vast and some of the walking is amongst steep hills.  There is a 35-minute Guided Bus Tour, which provides a narrated overview and covers about 75% of the zoo.  The fee for the tour is included in the “Best Value” admission package.  You’ll want to revisit some areas, as the animals may not be visible when you “cruise” by.

Hours Daily, 09:00 – 16:00
Transportation From areas in the central, east, and south counties, the fastest way to get to the Zoo is to take any of the trolley lines (orange, blue, or green) into downtown San Diego. Get off at the City College stop (12th Ave. and C St.) Transfer to the outbound #7 bus just around the corner at 11th and C. It will take you to the Zoo stop at Zoo Place. Your trolley ticket will cover your bus fare.
Price (Includes unlimited use of Guided Bus Tour, Express Bus and Skyfari Aerial Tram)
One Day Adult, Ages 12+, $34.00
One Day Child, Ages 3-11, $24.00

San Diego Wild Animal Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park is an expansive wildlife sanctuary operated by the not-for-profit Zoological Society of San Diego. It is home to more than 3,500 animals representing 429 species, including the largest crash of rhinos in any zoological facility, and one of the only California condor exhibits in the world. Naturalist habitats provide an opportunity to view animals lounging in natural settings, while unique construction at areas like Lion Camp allow you to come face-to-face with Africa’s biggest cat. Modeled after the hot air balloon tours of the Serengeti, Balloon Safari offers visitors scenic views of the Wild Animal Park’s lush grounds and don’t forget Photo Caravan Safaris offer an intimate adventure inside the Wild Animal Park’s field habitats in open-air trucks. Close-up photography experiences are the norm where Indian rhinoceros lumber alongside vehicles and giraffes peer into the camera lens from inches away.

Hours Daily, 09:00 – 16:00
Transportation From areas in the central, east, and south counties, the fastest way to get to the Zoo is to take any of the trolley lines (orange, blue, or green) into downtown San Diego. Get off at the City College stop (12th Ave. and C St.) Transfer to the outbound #7 bus just around the corner at 11th and C. It will take you to the Zoo stop at Zoo Place. Your trolley ticket will cover your bus fare.
Price (Includes unlimited use of Journey Into Africa Tour, Conservation Carousel Ride and all exhibits and shows.)
One Day Adult, Ages 12+, $34.00
One Day Child, Ages 3-11, $24.00

LEGOLAND California
One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad

The ultimate monument to the world's most famous plastic building blocks, LEGOLAND is the third such theme park, following branches in Denmark and Britain (and now Germany) that have proven enormously successful. Forty minutes north of downtown San Diego, the Carlsbad park offers a full day of entertainment for families. In addition to 5,000 LEGO models, the park is beautifully landscaped with 1,360 bonsai trees and other plants from around the world. There are more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions, including hands-on interactive displays; a life-size menagerie of tigers, giraffes, and other animals; and scale models of international landmarks (the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, and so on), all constructed of LEGO bricks.

Hours: Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00
Legoland is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in October.
Saturday, 11 October, the park hours are extended to 21:00.
Transportation: For full information on public transportation options to LEGOLAND, please visit oen of the two following websites: or call 619/233-3004 (North County Transit District) or call 760/722-6283
Price: Ages 13-59 (Adult), $59.95
Ages 3-12 and over 60, $49.95
(Includes one-day park admission to Legoland.  Please visit for information on multi-day passes.)


San Diego Symphony
1245 Seventh AvenueFax: 619.231.3848
The San Diego Symphony performed its first concert on December 8, 1910. In the 97 years since its inception, the San Diego Symphony has become one of the leading orchestras in the United States. It is committed to providing musical experiences of superior quality for the greater San Diego community and beyond. Through a rich mixture of innovative and educational programming designed to appeal to all ages and cultures, the Symphony makes music an integral part of the cultural and intellectual fabric of the San Diego Region, valued by and relevant to all its residents.
Recently, the San Diego Symphony received the single largest donation ever made to a symphony orchestra, which launched the Symphony’s New World Endowment Campaign, designed to ensure the future stability of the orchestra.  The New York Times declared the San Diego Symphony "placed firmly on the nation’s musical landscape" as a result of this news.

Gaslamp District
In the historic Gaslamp Quarter, consisting of 16-1/2 blocks around Fourth and Fifth Avenues, grand Victorian-era buildings are home to more than 100 of the city’s finest restaurant, 35 pubs and nightclubs and 100 retails shops, as well as theatres, art galleries, offices and residential /work lofts.  When the sun sets, this downtown neighborhood attracts thousands of diners, shoppers, theatergoers and nightclub patrons.

San Diego Chargers

On their home turf at Qualcomm Stadium, the San Diego Chargers meet the New England Patriots on Sunday, 12 October at 17:15.  For more information about individual ticket sales, please visit or


Museum of Contemporary Art
1100 & 1001 Kettner Boulevard

The permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego includes more than 4,000 created after 1950 representing all mediums and genres:  painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, video and film.  MCASD is known for collecting works by promising emerging artists, as well as major figures in contemporary art.  Among the greatest strengths of the MCASD collection are minimalism of the 1960’s and 70’s, conceptual art of the 1960’s to present, installation art, Latin American art and art from California and the San Diego/Tijuana region.

Hours: Friday – Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 – 17:00
Thursday, 11:00 – 19:00
Closed Tuesday
Price: General Admission, $10.00
Seniors, $5.00
25 and Under, Free

San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum
910 N. Harbor Drive

Live the adventure and honor the legend aboard the longest-serving aircraft carrier in US Navy history – a 47-year odyssey that spanned the end of World War II and the liberation of Kuwait in 1991.  Located downtown in San Diego at Navy Pier, Midway provides a dynamic and enriching experience from “boiler to bridge.”  A visit to Midway instills a greater appreciation for courage, freedom and service to country.

Hours: Open daily 10:00 – 17:00
Transportation: With the Santa Fe Depot just blocks away, the Midway is easily accessible by train, coaster and trolley.  Please visit for more complete public transportation options.
Admission: Adult, $17.00
Senior, $13.00
Student, $13.00
Youth, $9.00
Retired Military, $10.00

San Diego Natural History Museum
1788 El Prado

Founded in 1874, the San Diego Society of Natural History is the oldest scientific institution in southern California, and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. In its initial years, the Society was the region's primary source of scientific culture, serving a small but growing community eager for information about its natural resources.

Hours: Daily, 10:00 – 17:00
Transportation: By bus – the museum is on the #7 bus line, which runs very frequently between downtown San Diego (along Broadway for most of the downtown portion of the route) and east San Diego and La Mesa (along University for most of the eastern portion).
By trolley – take any trolley into downtown San Diego.  Get off at the City College stop (12th Avenue and C Street).  Transfer to the outbound #7 bus just around the corner at 11th and C.
For more complete public transportation information, please visit or
Admission: Adult, $9.00
Senior, $7.00
Child (3-12), $4.00
Child (under 2), Free
Active military, youth (3-17), student (w/ i.d.), $6.00

Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC - San Diego
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla
858/534-FISH (3474)

Explore where the wonders of the ocean come alive!  The mission of the Birch Aquarium is to provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps Institution of Oceanography research and to promote ocean conservation.

Hours: Daily, 09:00 - 17:00
Transportation: MTS Bus Route #30 stops at Downwind Way, across from the Scripps Campus.  Walk up Downwind Way (approx. 5 minutes).  Fare - $2.25 one way.
Trip Planning for MTS:
Admission: Adult, $11.00
Senior, $9.00
College Students, $8.00
Youth (3-17), $7.50
Under 2 yrs., Free

Taking a trip outside the city limits?  How about a trip to La Jolla?

With its dramatic coastline and spectacular views, it's no surprise that La Jolla was one of the first San Diego neighborhoods to be settled, and has since become some of the most prized real estate in the nation.

Surrounded on three sides by the sea and backed by the steep slopes of Mt. Soledad, La Jolla has a Mediterranean feel and enjoys a unique microclimate which rarely drops below 50 degrees or exceeds 90 degrees.

The bustling business district offers one-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries and restaurants, and the surrounding residential community is a charming mix of turn-of-the-century Spanish architecture, eccentric modern designs and everything in between.

La Jolla's big draw, for locals and tourists alike, is the sea. In the summer and autumn months, the surf is relatively gentle, the water warms into the 70s, and the beaches at La Jolla Shores, The Cove and Windansea are busy with swimmers, scuba divers and surfers. In the Winter and Spring, the coast takes on an ominous mood with billowing fogs and powerful winter surf crashing on the rocks.

Helpful Websites

San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau
Useful information regarding things to see and do and local maps.

Historic Gaslamp Quarter
Complete information on dining, nightlife, entertainment and shopping in The Gaslamp. or

San Diego Convention Center
The host venue for the 2008 International Conference on Image Processing 

Go San Diego
Places to go, things to see, great deals and discounts.

City of San Diego Official Website
Leisure information and local calendar of events.