Prestigious Awards and Recognitions
The September 2009 issue of DOG FANCY magazine recognized San Diego as ‘America’s best big city for dogs.’ Based on reader nominations, San Diego was awarded this recognition for the presence of dog-friendly activities, restaurants, businesses, dog parks, medical specialists, pro-dog legislation and other criteria.
Readers of Successful Meetings magazine recently awarded the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau with the prominent 2009 Pinnacle Award for the 16th year in a row. The award signifies outstanding commitment to hospitality excellence and a consistent delivery of superior service, innovation and top-notch amenities to meeting planners and visitors.
The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau was recently awarded a 2009 Award of Excellence from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine for outstanding meetings and incentive programs. Criteria for receiving the Award of Excellence include superior service
and support; promotional assistance; a high level of supplier, facility and venue information; coordination and liaison with local attractions and transportation; and comprehensive assistance with accommodations and site inspections.
Upcoming Major Events
The United States Tennis Association National 40 Hard Court Championships take place November 30 – December 6 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla. Spectators can watch the competition heat up during the men’s and women’s matches in singles, doubles and mixed doubles events for players over the age of 39. The event features former touring pros and the nation’s strongest players in this age group.
Whale watching season traditionally takes place from mid-December to mid-April in San Diego County as over 15,000 California gray whales make the trek from the chilly Alaskan seas to the warm water breeding lagoons of Baja California. Many boating excursion companies offer whale-watching tours throughout the season.
Cultural delights abound during Balboa Park December Nights held 5 – 10 p.m. on December 4 and 12 – 10 p.m. on December 5. This popular holiday event, the largest free community festival in San Diego, includes ice-skating, carolers, live entertainment, dance performances, children’s rides, a re-creation of a traditional Native American village, free admission to more than 80 of the Park’s museums and cultural organizations and delicious foods from around the world.
In May 2010, SeaWorld San Diego will debut a new theatrical dolphin show, titled Blue Horizons, which will feature energetic bottlenose dolphins, powerful pilot whales, a colorful array of exotic birds and amazing acrobatic performers. The show will blend the amazing grace of animals with the lavish splendor of a Broadway production and tell the tale of Marina, a young girl whose vivid imagination sets the stage for a spectacular Blue Horizons extravaganza. The show will feature endless action above and below the water, as a cast of divers and aerialists plunge off elaborate set pieces in and out of the water while the birds and marine animals perform amazing stunts. In preparation, Dolphin Stadium will be closed while the new stage, sound system, high-tech water features and 700 additional guest seats are constructed.
In August 2009, the San Diego Zoo’s 17-year-old giant panda, Bai Yun, gave birth to a male cub. The newborn panda is the fifth giant panda to be born at the Zoo, which is home to five of these endangered species. Following Chinese tradition, the male cub is not named until he is 100 days old; visitors can watch a video feed of the baby panda 24 hours a day via the Panda Cam on the Zoo’s website.
Hotel Developments and News
During November 13 – 26, visitors to San Diego can take advantage of special discounted hotel rates during the first-ever San Diego Hotel Week. Ranging from boutique hotels to large scale convention properties, over 20 hotels located throughout the county are participating in this event.
The 14-story, 240-room Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter will open in November 2009 in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Providing a residential feel with a strong sense of comfort, guestrooms will feature all the amenities of home including a fully-equipped kitchen and pantry with a refrigerator, microwave, stovetop, dishwasher, cleaning supplies, dining and cooking sets and grocery shopping service. Other hotel features will include 1,305-sq. ft. of meeting space, complimentary breakfast daily, pet-friendly guestrooms, a rooftop pool, fitness center, full-service lounge, complimentary high-speed internet and Bar Vie, a full-service bar with a dinner menu.
In April 2010, The Cosmopolitan Hotel will open in Old Town State Historic Park in a historic building dating back to 1827. The property’s multimillion-dollar restoration will create 10 guestrooms, an indoor and outdoor restaurant and several meeting rooms for special occasions. Recognized as one of the most historically significant buildings in California, many aspects of the original building structure will remain intact including a balcony that wraps around the building and once served as the perfect place to watch local bullfights, adobe brick walls dating back to the 1820s and its wood exterior dating back to 1869.
Meeting and Convention News
In August 2009, Seaport Village, a 14-acre waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex nestled along San Diego Bay in downtown San Diego, announced a new partnership with Restaurant Events, a free site selection and restaurant planning company, which will allow the use of the entire Seaport Village complex for small and large-scale events. For the first time ever, Seaport Village’s stunning backdrop, unique retail shops, upscale restaurants and casual eateries can provide a perfect waterfront venue and event space within close proximity to the San Diego Convention Center and many downtown accommodation properties. Bookings are currently available for weekday evenings.
The new Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter will open in November 2009 in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. The 14-story, 240-room hotel will feature signature Marriott services and amenities in addition to 1,305 sq.-ft. of meeting and event space that will include wireless high speed internet, a DMX music system, LCD wall-mounted TVs and an experienced event technology staff to assist with audio visual needs. The newly designed meeting room will accommodate up to 120 meeting attendees or 110 guests for banquet seating; the room can also be divided into two separate meeting spaces for more intimate gatherings.
In October 2009, the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina completed a $1 million renovation to its 20,000 sq.-ft. of meeting space creating the new Regatta Pavilion and a redesigned Bayview Ballroom and 18th floor Penthouse. The 10,000 sq.-ft. Regatta Pavilion can accommodate up to 900 guests for meetings, galas or banquets and features large wrought-iron chandeliers, elegant draping and multiple windows with scenic views of Mission Bay. The neighboring 6,132 sq.-ft. Bayview Ballroom can accommodate up to 650 guests for meetings or banquet receptions and features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Mission Bay, contemporary ceiling lighting, new wall coverings, stylish black-out drapes and furnishings. Sitting on top of the Hyatt’s tower on the 18th floor, the 3,200 sq.-ft. Penthouse offers stunning panoramic views of Mission Bay, the Pacific Ocean and downtown San Diego and boasts a modern new look with an ocean-inspired palette. Upgrades include new decor, paint, furnishings, linens, lighting fixtures and carpet.
In August 2009, chef Giuseppe Ciuffa opened SDMA Sculpture Court Cafe by Giuseppe, a new European-style cafe, which is adjacent to the San Diego Museum of Art’s sculpture garden in Balboa Park. Tying in his Italian heritage, the menu includes everything from classic Mediterranean bites, artisan pizzas and Panini’s to artisanal cheese plates and cured salumi boards. The handcrafted cuisine is made from natural meats and poultry, organic produce and local ingredients; fresh baked sweets including Giuseppe’s famous carrot cake, brownies, cookies and lemon bars are available for dessert. The cafe also features an espresso bar and an eclectic list of wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.
In October 2009, the Ivy Hotel in downtown San Diego opened the new Ultra Lounge and Wine Bar. Guests can sample from a selection of 80 wines ranging from highly sought-after ‘cult’ wines to tried-and-true classics at the bar’s 20 high-tech and interactive WineStations. To enhance the tasting experience, Ivy’s restaurant chef also created a complementary wine pairing menu with items like Prosciutto and Arugula Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates wrapped in Bacon with Grated Parmesan, Duck Rillets, Strawberry Semi-Fredo and a Belgian Chocolate Torte.
BICE San Diego, a new Italian restaurant, opened in October 2009 in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter offering a skillful mix of traditional and contemporary trends in Italian cuisine. Using fresh local and seasonal ingredients, the menu includes a selection of homemade pastas like veal ravioli and potato gnocchi; main dishes like Mediterranean sea bass roasted with garlic and rosemary on a bed of potatoes and breaded veal Milanese chops, and signature dishes like Ossobuco, a dish that originated in the first BICE restaurant in Milan. In addition to the main dining room, the restaurant features a sophisticated Cheese Bar offering a variety of Italian cheese, salumi plates and appetizers and the Milano Room, a private dining room which can accommodate up to 40 people and comes equipped with audio and video equipment.
Romance seekers do not have to travel far to experience one of Venice’s most magical spa treatments. Loews Coronado Bay Resort on the romantic ‘island’ of Coronado recently introduced Voga Voyage, a unique spa experience that is enjoyed while cruising in an authentic Venetian gondola through the canals and waterways of the neighboring Coronado Cays. Designed for couples, the Voga Voyage takes place on a 33-foot gondola equipped with two professional massage beds. After departing from Loews private marina, couples enjoy a soothing sunscreen application and a relaxing 40-minute massage, while cool sea breezes and the gentle rocking of the gondola as it cruises through the Cays add an unforgettable element to the already unique experience. Complimentary champagne and strawberries are also served during the final 10 minutes of the scenic cruise.
During San Diego’s whale watching season from December through March, San Diego’s Hornblower Cruises & Events will offer two, daily Whale & Dolphin Watching Adventure cruises with a new ‘green’ twist. As part of the company’s Respect Our Planet program, each 3.5-hour cruise will feature new initiatives and offerings designed to reduce Hornblower’s environmental impact as well as educate the public about the environment. The ‘green’ features include new eco-interest sights included in the cruise’s narrative, onboard exhibits and the use of onboard sustainable products.
Vizit San Diego Tours provides four new sightseeing tours on vintage Double Decker open air buses. Live narrated tours provide fun facts about the city and amazing views, as the buses tour guests to a number of hop-on, hop-off locations and stops, including downtown San Diego, Old Town, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, SeaWorld San Diego, Pacific Beach, La Jolla and more. Buses leave hourly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be picked up at any stop. A special after-hours loop is also available at 6 p.m. every day.
In October 2009, The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego opened its new exhibition, Animal Art. Designed for children and families, this original exhibition creatively displays the bond between humans and animals through photography, sculpture, painting, installation and digital art. Among its various exhibits, guests can discover 30 new animal habitats, ride a human powered chariot, see a giant sea creature made out of balloons, participate in a ‘barn dance’ and more.
The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) is proud to present a new exhibition, American Artists from the Russian Empire, October 24, 2009 – January 17, 2010. SDMA is the only West Coast venue to host this dynamic display of paintings and sculptures from some of the best-known Russian artists who lived and worked in the United States like Louise Nevelson, Jules Olitsky, Mark Rothko and Ben Shahn. Guests can see a broad range of artistic styles and media that dates back to the 1930s.
The San Diego Natural History Museum will present an enlightening new exhibition, Darwin: Evolution|Revolution, November 7, 2009 – February 28, 2010. The exhibit will explore the life and work of Charles Darwin, whose evolutionary theories on natural selection and evolution changed the face of science. Darwin’s personal manuscripts, notebooks and artworks will be on display, as well as fossils, taxidermy mounts and living specimens like Galapagos turtles, green iguanas and intricate orchids that Darwin used when developing his revolutionary theories. Next spring, the museum will present Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries, March 27 – September 5, 2010. Based on recent dinosaur finds, the exhibit will take visitors on a journey into the world of modern paleontology, including how advanced technology allows scientists to understand fossils in fresh new ways.
In 2010, the Tony Award-winning Old Globe theater in Balboa Park presents a dynamic lineup of premieres including the World Premiere of Whisper House, January 13 – February 21, 2010. This haunting new musical, set in 1942 at the height of World War II, tells the story of Christopher, a young boy who encounters ghosts that no one else can see or hear. As the ghosts warn him about the dangers of an employee at his aunt’s lighthouse, Christopher struggles to embrace new things rather than fear the unknown. Continuing the season, The Old Globe presents the West Coast Premiere of Boeing-Boeing, March 13 – April 18, 2010. This hilarious Broadway comedy follows Bernard, a successful architect struggling to juggle his three flight attendant fiancees. When an old friend arrives and his fiancees change their flight schedules, Bernard’s life hits some turbulence. Next spring, the theatre presents the World Premiere of Alive and Well, March 20 – April 25, 2010, a romantic comedy about a mismatched pair, Carla, a big city reporter, and Zach, a Civil War re-enactor, whose entertaining relationship can make even skeptics believe in true love. Rounding out The Old Globe’s spring season is the West Coast Premiere of The Whipping Boy, May 8 – June 13, 2010. Set in Virginia following the final days of the Civil War, a Jewish Confederate soldier returns to his childhood home to find it in ruins and occupied by his former slaves, who are preparing for a Seder feast. As a new chapter of history unfolds, dangerous secrets of the past threaten to destroy family and shared faith.
The Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse presents Aurelia’s Oratorio, February 3 – 28, 2010. Starring Aurelia Thierree, the musical presents a dazzling display of stage illusion, surprises, tricks and transformations as Aurelia takes the audience to a realm where dreams come to life and the impossible happens before everyone’s eyes.
Cirque du Solei returns to the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego’s North County with a dazzling new show, KOOZA, February 25 – March 28, 2010. Telling the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world, KOOZA transforms the circus traditions of acrobatics and clowning into a breathtaking and colorful performance. As The Innocent’s journey brings him into contact with an eclectic mix of comedic characters, themes of fear, identity, recognition and power splash across the stage with stunts, flips, music and dance.
Happy happens in San Diego
For more information on San Diego offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Web site, www.sandiego.org, or call 619-236-1212. In San Diego, visit the International Visitor Information Center, located along the Embarcadero at the corner of West Broadway and Harbor Drive in downtown San Diego, or the La Jolla Visitor Center, located at the corner of Herschel Avenue and Prospect Street in La Jolla.
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