Mixing Business and Pleasure: Quick Escapes in San Diego

by  Darren Murph | Dec 12, 2012
Downtown San Diego
Downtown San Diego / Mindy_Nicole_Photography/iStock

San Diego? For a convention? Must be Comic-Con International, right? Unfortunately, not all of us are able to head to Southern California to goof off with costumed characters, but there are certainly worse places for business travels to take you during this part of the year. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of "America's Finest City," we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

If you're up for branching out a bit, and you need an upscale place that's far from stuffy, Rama has you covered. Just a few short blocks away from the sprawling San Diego Convention Center, this place serves up "exotic" Asian fare, but there's plenty of curries to choose from if you don't want to risk it. The atmosphere is really unique, and while you're certainly pay for it when the check arrives, it's a fantastic place to lighten spirits and generally blow off steam after a long day amongst concourses.

If you just so happen to be in the area when a Padres game is on deck (or any major event at PETCO Park, for that matter), Proper Gastro Pub is a stop you shouldn't miss. Even if there's nothing going on at the stadium, it's a short walk from the convention center and well worth a visit. It's practically on top of the park and an ideal place for lunch, dinner, or a quick after-hours drink. You can't leave San Diego without visiting a gastro pub, right?

For those with a rental car (or a small emergency fund for spontaneous cab rides), the ride across town to Balboa Park is certainly worthwhile. Not only will you find plenty of green space for a stroll and clearing your mind, but you'll be directly in front of the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Timken Museum of Art, and the San Diego Zoo. Even if you can only squeeze in one of these destinations after an afternoon meeting, there's plenty here to return to should you opt to stay in the city for the weekend.

For those with truly adventurous spirits, grab a rental car and head south. Eventually, you'll find yourself in Imperial Beach, home to Border Field State Park. Without question, this is one of the stranger places in America. It's run down, grown over, but it still remains open to vehicles during daylight hours. You can park anywhere and walk up to the Mexican border, and if you're fortunate, you'll see people looking back from Tijuana. You won't be able to do much more without a local's car (rental car insurance isn't accepted for crossing into Mexico), but there's a certain feeling you get when peering into another country across an invisible line that keeps travel junkies hungry for more.

Before heading back home, I'd recommend checking out the Dussini Loft Bar. It's a fantastic place to close any trip to San Diego, and if you happened to bring your significant other along, he or she will surely appreciate the atmosphere. Wines and spirits are paired with excellent food, and things are usually pretty calm. If you're looking to wind down in peace, this is your place.

This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?

See our San Diego destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.

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