Downtown San Diego aka Gaslamp District has its own charm, but what it doesn’t have is PARKING! We checked into Worldmark San Diego on Park Street and were surprised to hear that parking on property was $30 per day. They offered several other alternatives such as paid lots several blocks away for $15, but most of them charge you again when you take your car out of the lot and bring it back. Another option was street parking and they presented us with a list of the streets and the “parking rules” of each. The sheet read like a jigsaw puzzle, some streets had street sweeping on Monday/ Friday, others on Wednesday, and some on Tuesday/Thursday, and all but one street had a 2 hour minimum, with or without meters, from 7 AM to 6 PM. You could spend your entire vacation downtown just moving your car every 2 hours. Luckily we were heading to Balboa Park to see the museums, where there was ample parking, and we would not be returning until after 6PM.
Balboa Park was celebrating its 100th birthday in 1015 and we had to choose from 15 fantastic museums. Each museum charges admission and they each have different pricing and rules. We paid retired military rate for the Air and Space Museum, but got in free to the Veteran’s Memorial Museum and the Auto Museum. A dear friend’s brother volunteers at the Veteran’s Museum and he gave us a personal tour and invited George to sign the wall of a mural depicting military campaigns. His signature is next to George’s USAF buddy, with whom he served during the Viet Nam Linebacker I & II campaigns in the early 70’s. He felt very honored for that privilege.
That evening we ventured out of the hotel and walked the streets of downtown. We looked up “Diner’s Drive-in’s and Dives” (DDD) to see if there was a possible “dining adventure” near by. We found Hodad’s! Not only was the Guido Burger outstanding, but the chocolate malt was the best we had ever had. It was served in a cold metal malt cup with a huge scoop of chocolate ice cream frozen to the rim, dusted with malt and drizzled with chocolate syrup. Thankfully we shared both the burger and the malt and needed the exercise walking back!
It became apparent that the streets of downtown don’t really come alive until after 8 PM. At first I was a bit uneasy walking these seemingly shady districts, but we didn’t go even one block without seeing patrol cars or foot patrols. There were plenty of other walkers, but also a lot of homeless people, pot smokers and derelicts.
The next day we opted to go to Sea Port Village. We absolutely love watching the rock stacker on the beach and we needed to do a little shopping…plus parking with validation is much cheaper than downtown. George got a few lessons in rock stacking and a “Guide to Reiki” to help him sleep. Apparently the rock stacker, Rabindra Sarkar, is a Reiki master who uses his powers to center the rocks and he also delivered up the insomnia diagnosis. He is truly amazing to watch and it is a great way to pass the afternoon. He is truly a very interesting and entertaining fellow.
For dinner we decided to try “C Level” the sister restaurant to Island Prime. George’s sister had raved about Island Prime, but warned that it was pricey. Since we didn’t have reservations and were not very hungry, we opted for C Level…same views, same chefs, less expensive, no reservations required, and more casual. Perfect for us. The food, drinks and the service were outstanding. The views were a bonus! The chocolate dessert that they comp’d us because of spilling my drink was a triple bonus!!! Delicious!!!
So Downtown San Diego? Yes it has it’s own charm, but we would much prefer driving to Downtown for a visit as opposed to staying Downtown.