San Diego Downtown:
Harbor of Heroes
Gaze over the bay as the sun gracefully dips below Coronado Bridge and Point Loma at the city’s skyrocketing skyline dripping in crimson and coral rays. Rippling waves beat gently against sultry sailboats and military ships as commuters whiz out of downtown by car, Coaster and Trolley.
Long Beach and the Queen Mary used to be SoCal’s star of the sea. Thanks to San Diego’s alluring weather and the city’s vision, the little princess is now the Queen of harbor havens.
Once home to the tuna fleet, San Diego Bay is 12 miles long and one of the finest natural harbors, an international gateway for visitors from Asia, Europe and Mexico. The Bay pays homage to San Diego’s history, from Spanish explorer Cabrillo Monument in Point Loma to National City’s shipyards and North Island NAS.
In the last decade, this sleepy harbor has exploded with dozens of attractions. The harbor mecca now anchors a state-of-the-art Convention Center, bustling resorts, sophisticated condominiums and lofts luring suburbanites back to the city’s heart, boutique hotels with rooftop beach bars, shopping (Horton Plaza, Borders Books), movie theaters, bookstores, galleries, culture (San Diego Symphony, Opera, San Diego Repertory Theater) and raging N’ Orleans-style nightlife (Gaslamp Quarter and House Of Blues).
San Diego celebrated its nautical and Navy heritage with the 2004 opening of Petco Park (home to the Padres) and the heralded homecoming of the U.S.S. Midway as a floating museum paying tribute to the armed forces. A fabulous boardwalk for biking and walking runs from the airport around the bay, past the historic Star of India and Maritime Museum through kitschy Seaport Village, then snakes behind the Convention Center and snazzy marina to the new ballpark, where boaters vye to catch fly balls.
Ethnic cuisines from Indian to Indonesian, serious power lunching spots (Morton’s, Fleming’s, Rainwater’s) and hundreds of restaurants are just a kiss away from the harbor. But it’s these bayview restaurants that capture the essence of San Diego’s downtown harbor.
Anthony’s Fish Grotto: From clam strips to louie salads, family fun for all.
Anthony’s Star Of The Sea: Elegant décor, sophisticated seafood.
The Chart House: Historic rowing club serves swanky steaks and seafood. Come by boat or car.
Fat City Steak House: Hot pink exterior, red hot ribeyes inside. Where politicos play footsie.
The Fish Market & Top Of The Market: Sushi, shellfish, wines to whiskey, it’s all here.
Sally’s: Dine alfresco or inside on crab cakes, eclectic salads and Mediterranean fare.
Lael’s: The ultimate seafood buffet and brunch.
in the Manchester Grand Hyatt; 619-232-1234
McCormick & Schmick’s: Apres Padres, it’s oysters & martinis.
in the Omni Hotel; 619-645-6545