Travel

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WikiConference North America 2016 • San Diego, California
Downtown San Diego

San Diego, California is located on the Pacific Ocean, 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of the border with Mexico and 120 miles (193 km) south of Los Angeles. The Wikiconference North America venue is the San Diego Central Library located in the East Village, a few blocks east of the historic Gaslamp Quarter of downtown. The Wiki Culture Crawl  day is Friday, October 7. The venues and focus will be at the Balboa Park Museums.

For more information on the venues, see the Location  page.

About San Diego

Map depicting the Kumeyaay region in green

San Diego has a mild year-round climate, a deep-water harbor, long beaches, and an association with the United States Navy in addition to a recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center. It is the historic homeland of the Kumeyaay people.

Links

For general information on the city of San Diego and surrounding areas:

Practical matters

3-prong 120-volt plug

Weather for October, 2016

  • Weather.com for 92101
  • Average high: 73 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius)
  • Average low: 61 F (16 C)
  • Average rainfall: 0.57 inches (1.4 centimeters)

High / low for long weekend

Friday: 87 / 61 (sunny)
Saturday: 85 / 61 (mostly sunny)
Sunday: 84 / 64 (partly sunny)
Monday: 83 / 64 (mostly sunny)

Tipping

Tipping is customary in the United States. Tips are calculated pre-tax. Meals with waiter service average between 10-20% on the pre-tax total. Tip US$1 per drink at bars. Taxis, hairdressers, tour guides, masseuses, etc. are 10-20%. Bellperson or Skycap: $2 for 1st bag, then $1 for each bag thereafter. Restroom staff: $1. Housekeepers: $2-5 per day. Shuttle drivers $2-5 depending on distance. Anybody doing a service for you should be tipped-out including concierge, maitre d', and so on. Fast food: 10-30%. Uber driver: $0 (per driver agreement). Lyft driver: 0-20%.

Lodging

Gaslamp Quarter - Historic Heart of San Diego

Lodging in the area close to the Central Library is generally higher-priced than in outlying areas, but inexpensive options do exist. The planning committee has visited several places that are close to the venue and reasonably priced.

The motels and hotels close to Balboa Park, where the culture crawl events will occur, are generally a little less expensive than in the Gaslamp Quarter, though availability of public transportation may be an issue for people who do not have a car. There are a number of reasonably-priced lodgings south of Balboa Park between the park and the Gaslamp Quarter/East Village

We have searched for lodging within striking distance of the Library and Balboa Park advertised as under $200 per night for October 7–10. As always, book early for the best selection.

Price search was done on August 12, 2016 and is for comparison purposes only. Both rates and availability are subject to change at any time and are apt to go up the closer to the event you book your room. Anyone who can ask for a AAA or other discount can, most likely, get a 10–15% discount on room rates. Also, it may be possible to get a lower room rate by calling a hotel directly rather than booking online.

Core hostels and hotels

Conference organizers have personally visited the following, which are relatively close to the venue. We are providing this information for the convenience of attendees:

Hostel International San Diego Downtown
  • The Hostel International (HI) Downtown San Diego at 521 Market Street has shared dormitory-style rooms starting at about $40/night and private rooms with shared bathrooms ($100-$125/night +). These are less expensive than any hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter area. To get these rooms, you must join HI, which is $28 for adults 18-54 for a year, or you can simply pay $3/day on top of your daily room rate. Some dorms do not have air conditioning. Lockers and locked storage are available, if you furnish your own lock or buy one onsite for $5. If you find a lower price online, you can call the hostel directly and they will attempt to beat it. The hostel is about ten minutes walk from the library venue which is at 330 Park Boulevard, San Diego.
  • Hotel Indigo (4 star) - this is the closest hotel to San Diego Central Library and features a rooftop deck. $179-$265 (as of September 7 via Kayak.com).
  • Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside. This hotel is very close to the airport and is 3.5 miles from the venue by freeway (or 2 miles by foot) - a 15-minute cab or Uber/Lyft ride away. We have a courtesy block of rooms reserved here at the rate of $155/night from Thursday Oct 6-Monday Oct 10. To take advantage of this rate, click here to make your reservation for the WikiConference North America or call 877-782-9444 and mention the "WikiConference" and the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/Bayside San Diego to receive the group rate.

Additional lodging options

Conference organizers have also visited many of these hotels and hostels:

  • In the Gaslamp district:
    • Hotel Z, (a block south of Market Street on 6th) $158/night
    • Comfort Inn Gaslamp (G Street, rated 2-stars, one block N of Market Street) $126/night (on booking.com) - 0.6 miles (1 km) from the Central Library
Comfort Inn Gaslamp
Ramada Gaslamp

Also in the area:

  • Market Street and south:
    • Horton Grand (Island Ave, 3 star) $167
    • Residence Inn San Diego (6th and J street, 3-star) $184
  • Moving north of Market Street up to about Broadway (give or take a couple blocks):
    • Ramada Gaslamp Convention Center (F street, rated 3-star) $118 - includes Brian's 24, an attached 24-hour bar/restaurant
    • Sofia Hotel Downtown (on W Broadway) $147
    • The Bristol (1 block N of Broaday & 1st) $148
    • Gaslamp Plaza Suites (E street & 5th, 3 star) $149
    • Wyndham Harbor Lights (5th and E) $152
    • The Keating (F street 4-star) $171
    • Courtyard by Marriott Downtown (Broadway) $179
    • The Westin San Diego $186 (there’s another Westin nearby at about $200)
    • Westgate Hotel (Broadway) $183
    • Kimpton Hotel Palomar (Broadway and 5th) $194 (Also a Kimpton Solamar that’s more expensive)

North Downtown San Diego/Balboa Park

  • Farther north, still part of Downtown San Diego (map, in the vicinity of A street and Ash street— between 6th and 10th — closer to Balboa Park by the I-5 cloverleaf:
    • Motel 6 (on Beech and 2nd, just north of Ash street) $80
    • Day's Inn $103
    • Red Roof Inn $102
    • Holiday Inn Express Downtown $150
    • Marriott Vacation Club Pulse (on A street) $149
    • Best Western Cabrillo Garden Inn (on A street) $149

Other options

  • Downtown:
    • USA Hostels - Downtown, 0.6 mile (1 km) walk to San Diego Central Library. $31/night in a 6-bed dorm (note: $80 private rooms are running out). The USA Hostels is 0.1 miles (0.16 km) from the HI hostel mentioned above. Caveat: All USA Hostels rooms are 2nd and 3rd floor and there is no lift (elevator).
Little Italy gateway
  • Little Italy:
    • ITH (International Travelers House Adventure Hostel) - $24/night (includes free breakfast, dinner, and possible transportation) - 1.6 miles from the Central Library - priced on kayak.com
  • Other inexpensive options:
    • Motel 6 (On Pacific Hwy, north of Harborview, need car) $76
    • Motel 6 (North, by I-8, near Sea World, need car)

Rental homes

  • Airbnb has a number of listings for San Diego, some in the area between the Library and Balboa Park.

Transportation

Outside Terminal 2 at SD International Airport
The light rail trolley serves San Diego and outlying areas

General transportation information is described in detail at the San Diego Tourism Authority site. There are both busses and a trolley light rail system.

Airport

  • San Diego International Airport AKA Lindbergh Field (SAN) is the main airport serving San Diego. It is 5 miles (8 km) from the Central Public Library.
  • Many hotels have an airport shuttle. If you are not staying at a place that does, there are also private shuttle companies that offer transportation from the airport
  • You can also take a bus or trolley from the airport ($2.25-$4.75). 511.org is a helpful site to plan car/bus/trolley/train/walking routes.
  • Taxis are available. There is an additional surcharge on taxi fare from the airport.
  • For more information on the Airport and ground transportation, see here.

Cars and parking

  • General information on car rental can be located here.
  • Specific information on car rental at the airport is here.
  • The library has its own underground parking (first two hours free (validation in the Library lobby) $21/full day maximum)
  • There are numerous additional nearby paid parking structures (usually used during the Baseball season for those going to Petco Park). Prices are generally higher than at the library.

Public Transportation

  • Directions and parking for the San Diego Central Library are here.
  • An interactive map with directions to Balboa Park is here.
  • There are trolley and bus stops close to the library. An interactive Google Map shows trolley routes from outlying areas. 511.org is a helpful site to plan car/bus/trolley/train/walking routes.
  • The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has public transportation throughout the area and maps are available. An area 511 page can assist in working out transportation options.
San Diego DecoBike BikeShare rack near the Ramada Gaslamp
San Diego pedicabs

Taxi/Ride sharing

Bicycles

Pedicabs

  • Available in the Gaslamp District: Gets low reviews on Yelp.

International visitors

For participants from outside the United States, information for tourists entering the USA is here:

For the perspective of other nations on safety of travel to the United States, please see the travel advice of:

Safety

The area in and around the library has a significant transient population, so participants are advised to secure their belongings. In general, as in any large city, people are advised to travel in groups after dark.

Food

Carne Asada Fries from Lolita's in San Diego
A pair of triple In-N-Out burgers with fresh cut French fries from a location within San Diego
Tivoli Bar & Grill in the Gaslamp Quarter is on the NRHP

San Diego is home to a diverse selection of people who have made their cuisine available to everyone, including its own style of burrito. For those who want to venture away from the library to get something to eat, there are many restaurants within a short walking distance of the San Diego Central Library. These include The Mission, Lolita's At The Park and Salvucci's

Further away are iconic San Diego restaurants, including but not limited to: Hodad's, Kansas City BBQ, Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Point Loma Seafood, Bali Hai, In-N-Out Burger, Tita's Kitchenette, & Tacos El Gordo. Other recommendations include those by Fodor's,  Frommer's,  mmm-yoso (especially Cowboy Star, Tokyo Deli, Café Chloe, Monkey Paw, Sultan Baklava, La Fachada, Anotjitos Colombianos, and Mariscos German), San Diego Eater, San Diego Magazine,  TV Food Maps, Zagat  and the readers of the San Diego Union Tribune.

San Diego is noted for a number of breweries, and there is a web site with additional details. Clem's Tap House is a popular wine and beer bar on Adams Avenue.

Grocery stores

In order of distance from the Central Library

  • Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Albertson's, Smart and Final, Ralph's, Jimbo's...Naturally!, Walmart Neighborhood Market

Things to do

San Diego Zoo is the world's sixth largest

The San Diego Tourism Authority has an extensive website with information on tourism options. The Travel Channel also lists many activities as well as information on restaurants.

San Diego is well-known for its World-famous Zoo in Balboa Park, SeaWorld, and the USS Midway Museum.

Seaport Village, a waterfront shopping and dining complex adjacent to San Diego Bay is 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the Central Library.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is 4.7 miles (7.5 km), or a 28 minute trolley ride from the Central Library.

More adventurous conference attendees may enjoy touring outlying portions of the city using a San Diego Trolley pass, viewing coastal scenery from the connecting Coaster, or taking the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains through the undeveloped terrain of Camp Pendleton in Oceanside.

A tour of the city waterfront is via one of the harbor cruises: Flagship Cruises and Events or Hornblower. The harbor tours offer some exposure to San Diego's rich history as the primary west coast port of the United States Navy. Also on San Diego Bay is the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Palomar Observatory
Hard Rock Cafe of San Diego

Mission Bay, near the mouth of the San Diego River north of Point Loma, which includes Cabrillo National Monument and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, is the largest man-made aquatic park in the United States with miles of sandy beaches and pedestrian paths to enjoy the southern California coastal climate in a park-like atmosphere. Nearby is Belmont Park, an amusement park and carnival built by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels featuring the Giant Dipper, a roller coaster he commissioned in 1925. Further north is La Jolla Cove, Torrey Pines States Natural Reserve, Flying Leatherneck Museum, Legoland California, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the Palomar Observatory. To the west, there is the iconic and historic Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888. San Diego County is also home to the largest number of Indian Reservations in any county in the United States. Information about these reservations can be found here, and information about casinos on those reservations can be found here.

Eight miles (13 km) to the north of the Central Library is Mission San Diego de Alcalá, which was California's first Franciscan mission, the site of the first Christian burial in Alta California and the site of the region's first public execution, in 1778.

Entertainment

  • House of Blues (after hours music, restaurant and bar, Sunday brunch with music, souvenirs)
  • Hard Rock Cafe (restaurant, bar, music, hotel and souvenirs)

Visiting Tijuana or Rosarito Beach, Mexico

Rosarito Beach, Baja

Tijuana shares a border with the United States at San Ysidro, California, which is 16 miles (26 km) south of San Diego.

Rosarito Beach, a popular tourist destination, is 13 miles (21 km) south of Tijuana. Rosarito Beach is home to the world's largest movie set tank where films such as Titanic  and Perfect Storm  were filmed. It is also an art colony. There are opportunities for horseback riding on the beach, and other beachfront activities.

Crossing into Mexico is fairly routine, but getting back into the U.S. entails greater scrutiny and documents. Expect a much longer wait to return than to enter. To travel to and from Mexico, the requirements for crossing the border are here. Additionally, to re-enter the United States please remember to have one of the following documents listed here or here; to go much further into Mexico requires a passport and a Forma Migratoria Multiple  (FMM), which is available for the asking at the border crossing. The FMM may be required at various checkpoints within the country. If you are traveling alone with minor children, be sure to bring along notarized permission from the other parent authorizing their travel with you. Do not bring firearms into Mexico. Special auto insurance is required. Do not transport parrots out of Mexico.

For participants interested in travel to Mexico, please read Global Affairs Canada's Mexico Travel Warning and the U.S. State Department's Mexico Travel Warning, particularly for Baja California, which is the state where Tijuana is located.