Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weekend Runaway: San Diego

Summer fun in the Gaslamp Quarter

Conventioneers clear out of San Diego's Gaslamp on weekends, leaving behind a couples playground.

Friday night: Check-in and chill
Ferrari's designer Pininfarina gave the new Keating hotel racecar red walls, stainless steel accents and Bang & Olufsen sound systems.
The Keating, 432 F Street (619-814-5700).  Rooms start at $360.

Thanks to a $50 million renovation, the stately U.S. Grant is now chic as well, offering top-of-the-line linens in first-class bedrooms. The Grant Grill is ideal for breakfast or dinner.
U.S. Grant Hotel, 326 Broadway (619-232-3121). Rooms start at $330.

Saturday daytime: Ballgame, beach or Balboa Park
Catch a Padres game at PETCO Park in the heart of the Gaslamp. The Braves, Phillies, Giants and Astros visit for Saturday games this summer.
San Diego Padres, PETCO Park, 100 Park Blvd. (619-795-5000).

Coronado
's beach is cleaner than any in LA. The jewel of an upscale residential neighborhood, it's always packed but big enough to find a private spot.
Coronado Central Beach, Coronado (619-522-7346). Free street parking.

Picnic among Balboa Park's 1,200 acres of rolling lawns and gardens. Visit the 18 museums or the legendary San Diego Zoo.
Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego (619-239-0512). Park is free, some museums charge separate admissions.

Saturday night: Gaslamp date night
For an old-school yacht club vibe, knock back oysters and martinis at the The Oceanaire Room. Stay for steak and seafood, or move on to small plates in a casual Aussie environment at the offbeat Bondi Bar & Kitchen. Then hit the local dives like Tivoli, or party on a rooftop at the club Stingaree.
Oceanaire Seafood Room, 400 J St. (619-858-2277). $$$
Bondi Bar & Kitchen, 333 Fifth Ave. (619-342-0212). $$
Tivoli Bar & Grill, 505 Sixth Ave. (619-232-6754). $
Stingaree, 454 Sixth Ave. (619-544-9500). $$

Sunday morning: Brunch
There's always a line at Cafe 222, but it moves quickly. Wake up with self-serve coffee while you wait for your reward: pumpkin waffles and satisfying omelets.
Cafe 222, 222 Island Ave. (619-236-9902). $

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