Ways to Save! San Diego Travel Guide (On a Budget)

You can experience exceptional accommodations and service at a price that won’t blow your budget at one of Marriott’s San Diego hotels. Whether you are interested in sight seeing and sun worshiping or you are staying on business, you are sure to find a Marriott San Diego hotel that is right for you and right where you want to be.

If you are on vacation you will appreciate Marriott’s unique blend of comfort, luxury and affordability. If you are traveling on business, Marriott’s hotels in San Diego tout state of the art technology for work as well as the finest in spa services for pleasure.

Now, it has been said that the best things in life are free. And if you are staying at one of the 26 Marriott San Diego hotels you are in luck! We want our guests to fully enjoy this captivating city, no matter the size of their budget. That is why we have put together this list of San Diego’s “best kept secrets” that are totally free:

Timken Museum of Art: Over 600 years of art history are housed within the modern architecture of the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Enjoy masterpieces by Rembrandt and Rubens, as well as works by American painters like Eastman Johnson and John Singleton Copley. Always free, call the Timken today for hours and special visiting collections (tel. 619/239-5548).

All the museums in Balboa Park: This may be the number one best-kept local secret! All of the museums in Balboa Park are open to the public, free of charge, one Tuesday a month. This is America’s largest urban cultural park, with more than 25 museums and attractions. But, how do you know which Tuesdays which museums are free? We’ve put together a list of the free days for you:

1st Tuesday of each month: Natural History Museum (tel. 619/232-3821), Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (tel. 916/238-1233), Model Railroad Museum (tel. 916/696-0199)

2nd Tuesday: Museum of Photographic Arts (tel. 619/238-7559), Historical Society Museum (tel. 619/232- 6203)

3rd Tuesday: Museum of Art (tel. 619/232-7931), Museum of Man (tel. 619/239-2001), Mingei International Museum (tel. 619/239-0003), Japanese Friendship Garden (tel. 619/232-2721), Museum of the Living Artist (tel. 619/236-0011)

4th Tuesday: Aerospace Museum (tel. 619/234-8291), Automotive Museum (tel. 619/231-2886), Hall of Champions Sports Museum (tel. 619/234-2544)

Organ Pavilion Concerts: The 4,518 pipes of the world’s largest outdoor organ have been in near continuous use since 1915. Enjoy free concerts, year-round, every Sunday at 2:00 pm at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park (tel. 619/702-8138).

Chicano Park Murals: Considered the largest and most important collection of outdoor murals in the country, the Chicano Park Murals celebrate and honor Latino heroes and culture. The more than 70 works of art adorn the support pylons of the Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park, National Avenue at Crosby Street (tel. 619/563-4661).

Gone Fishing: You don’t need a fishing license to fish from any municipal pier in San Diego. Just bring your own pole and some suntan lotion.

Self-Realization Fellowship Temple: Built by a yogi in 1937, this retreat in Encinitas, 215 W. K St., offers incredible vistas. It is an architectural marvel, with its lotus-shaped towers, and also features cliff-side meditation gardens overlooking the Pacific. Visitors are welcome free of charge (tel. 760/753-2888).

Tijuana: There are many reasons that Tijuana is the country’s most popular border town. If you have never been, it is a must see. If you have been there, it is a want to see again! It is a short drive or trolley ride away, and taking in the sights is free.

U.S. Olympic Training Center: See for yourself where the Olympic athletes train and, if you are lucky, get a sneak peek at some upcoming gold-medal winners. Free tours are given year-round at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. It is the country’s first warm-weather, year-round, multisport Olympic training complex (one of four in the United States). A 6-minute film about the Olympic movement is followed by a narrated tour (a 1 1/2-mile walk) of the impressive 150-acre campus. Hour-long tours are given every hour on the hour, Monday through Friday from 10am to 3pm, Saturday from 9am to 4pm, and Sunday from 11am to 3pm (tel. 619/656-1500).

Old Town: OK, they’ll charge you to eat in the area’s largest collection of authentic Mexican restaurants, but the historic tours in the city’s oldest neighborhood are free. A visit to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is like stepping back in time to experience the history of early San Diego. Even today, life moves more slowly in Old Town. The Historic Plaza remains a gathering place for community events and historic activity. Old Town, the Birthplace of California, is just a short walk from the San Diego Trolley Transit Center and a short drive from most San Diego destinations. Check out their website at www.oldtownsandiego.org/.

Walkabout International: Put on your walking shoes and experience San Diego up close. It’s fun, free and for all ages. Walkabout International is a non-profit educational group that promotes neighborhood walking in urban, suburban, and rural environments throughout the world. Guided walks vary in pace and duration, many ending with an invitation to socialize over coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Check out their website for their calendar of walks and destinations at www.walkabout-int.org

San Diego is an ideal vacation destination – with so much to do, much of it free, and the climate to enjoy it year round. For more entertaining and budget friendly ways to enjoy San Diego, visit the Concierge at one of Marriott’s San Diego hotels you are staying at.

So, go ahead, book your vacation at a Marriott San Diego hotel today! With so many San Diego hotels to choose from, you are sure to find one right where you want to be. Some of Marriott’s San Diego hotels include:

Courtyard San Diego Downtown
San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina
San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter
Residence Inn San Diego Downtown
Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa

…And many more! Book Today!

Fun Filled San Diego Events for the Holidays

If you’ve traveled to San Diego, you’ve likely shopped and dined in its historic Gaslamp Quarter, caught a Chargers game at QUALCOMM Stadium, relaxed in one of its sandy beaches or enjoyed world-renowned rides and attractions at SeaWorld. If you haven’t been in San Diego for the holidays, however, you’re missing out on some of the best holiday celebrations anywhere. Whether you’re interested in winter entertainment on the water, eye-catching lights displays or family-friendly holiday exhibits, these San Diego events make perfect ways to celebrate the holiday season and spread plenty of cheer in the process. Below is a handful of holiday festivities taking place in the place nicknamed “America’s Finest City,” plus noteworthy San Diego hotels that lie near them.

1. Balboa Park December Nights: Balboa Park – the nation’s largest urban cultural park – features 15 major museums, lush gardens, famous performing arts venues, and the hugely popular San Diego Zoo. It is also home to Balboa Park December Nights, a two-holiday event that kicks off the holiday season with sparkling lights, mouth-watering food, music and entertainment. Now in its 33rd consecutive year, December Nights will be held Friday, Dec. 3 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4 from noon to 10 p.m. Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on both evenings.

This is hands down the largest free community festival in the city, as Balboa Park December Nights is expected to draw more than 300,000 visitors over the two-day event. Highlights include the Fossil Mysteries exhibit set to holiday music inside the atrium of the Natural History Museum, foods and crafts from around the world at Cascades Holiday Marketplace, a holiday tree adorned with the Schlappi collection of unique ornaments by Elizabeth Schlappi and the late Florence Hord at the Timken Museum, and rousing musical performances by local groups on The Palisades Stage. Balboa Park is less than two miles away from the U.S. Grant Hotel and The Sofia Hotel.

2. Holiday of Lights: The Del Mar Fairgrounds north of La Jolla will be transformed into the largest drive-through holiday lights show on the west coast for Holiday of Lights. The event runs most nights (closed Dec. 6 and Dec. 13) from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. More than 400 stunning displays, all centered around such themes as Toyland, Treasures by the Lake, Candy Cane Lane, and Elves at Play, will be set around the Del Mar Racetrack. Visitors can delight in the holiday displays from the comfort of their vehicles as they drive along a 1.5-mile stretch through the lively Fairgrounds. On select Fridays, you can tour Holiday of Lights on the much-touted Holiday Hayride, which was introduced in 2009 and quickly became a crowd favorite. If you’re looking for nearby accommodations, check out L’Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa, a seaside estate-style property that is ranked among the best luxury resorts in the country by Condé Nast.

3. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights: If your idea of spreading holiday cheer involves being on or near the water, don’t miss the 39th annual Parade of Lights, which happens to be the city’s only Christmas parade. Boats of all shapes and sizes decorated for the holiday season will parade around the bay as more than 80,000 spectators watch in awe. The parade has grown so much in popularity that it’s held twice annually; this year it is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec.19, both evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The theme for 2010 is The Sounds of Christmas, and the festivities will kick off with a fireworks show at 5:30 p.m.

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights will begin at the east end of Shelter Island and travel eastward, past Harbor Island to North Embarcadero. From there, it will head south along the Embarcadero near the 10th Street Terminal. The parade will then make its way toward Coronado before moving west to Ferry’s Landing. And if you’re curious about San Diego hotels in the area, the 44-acre Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, as well as the 25-story Westin San Diego, are both less than 4 miles from the event.

4. Garden of Lights: You don’t have to be a nature lover to appreciate the lovely city’s Botanic Garden’s Garden of Lights, which runs from Dec. 9 through Dec. 23 and again from Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 (5-9 p.m.) With over 100,000 sparkling lights, live music, a Nutcracker exhibit, horse-drawn-wagon rides, marshmallow roasting and much more, it’s easy to see why children and parents alike can’t enough of this family-friendly winter wonderland. Located in Encinitas, the Botanic Garden boasts the Hamilton Children’s Garden – the largest interactive children’s garden on the west coast – as well as the nation’s largest bamboo collection. Visitors can stay at Del Mar Motel on the Beach, set approximately 6 miles from San Diego Botanic Garden.

A slew of great San Diego holiday events await. What are you waiting for?

San Diego DUI Laws

Driving under the influence, or DUI, is the law that prohibits driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated. In many states a person is charged with DUI when he is found driving with a blood alcohol concentration over .08% or .10 %. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. In most places a BAC limit is set under which people can legally drive motor vehicles. Therefore, a driver’s BAC is used to determine guilt in cases of driving under the influence. A person driving under the influence of drugs may also be charged with DUI, even if the drugs are prescribed. San Diego DUI is a legal resource for the accused to counter the influence of extremist groups advocating unfair laws, the destruction of constitutional rights and a new era of prohibition.

An arrest for DUI can be made at any blood alcohol level. Some counties routinely prosecute people with blood alcohol levels below .08% BAC. Often the decision to arrest depends upon the performance on the field sobriety tests (balance and coordination) and the driving pattern (weaving, speeding or an accident, etc.). An officer can arrest for simply being under the influence of alcohol or drugs with no reference to your blood alcohol level at all! The District Attorney would then file a 23152(a) CVC charge, which is simply driving under the influence of alcohol. Again, this would likely be based on the police observations of your driving pattern and performance on field sobriety tests.

If the person charged with DUI is having a hard time finding a lawyer, then he can immediately call 1-800-DUI-laws and a lawyer will be provided to him in no time. If the person doesn’t like his attorney then he can contact DUI laws directly at 818-884-8075 and another attorney will be found for him. The person will not be charged to speak to a lawyer about his case; the initial consultation charge is absolutely free.

The court will generally count prior DUI convictions against a person. If the law is substantially similar to the law in San Diego then a previous DUI can be used against the person, thereby increasing the penalties (jail time, greater fines and longer alcohol programs, etc.).