2024 Conference Food and Recreation

Where to eat when not conferencing

South Park/North Park/University Heights: excellent options, diverse, some pockets of extreme gentrification. Parking is the penalty in these areas.

Gaslamp: if you love being with rowdy tourists, this is the neighborhood for you.

Little Italy: Excellent food options, a little fancy, overcrowded and parking is impossible.

Convoy: Asian food mecca. Parking is moderately challenging, but if you want East Asian food, you should really choose here.

Mira Mesa/Miramar: South Asian food mecca.

The malls in Carmel Valley, La Jolla: good food, but you’re in a mall. Then again, parking is easy.

La Jolla/Del Mar: basic menus, expensive, with high prices. Ocean views.

Things to do (esp. family-friendly activities)

Beaches – La Jolla (easy, pretty), Pacific Beach (younger), Ocean Beach (rowdier), Black’s (nudist).

Birch Aquarium – Pros: parking is free and easy. Gorgeous ocean views. Cons: entry fee, small.

Zoo – Balboa Park – Pros: well-organized, easy to park and relatively close for most of the city. Cons: $$$.

Zoo – Safari Park – Pros: huge, amazing free tram tour, more add-ons like ziplining, calmer vibe. Cons: about an hour away from central SD, $$$.

Balboa Park – Pros: many parking options, easy to get to, plenty of museums including Fleet Science Center (good for the under 12 set), Natural History Museum, etc. Weird puppet shows available on weekend. Occasional free organ concerts. Plenty of space to scooter or bike if that’s of interest. Trees to climb.

Rady Shell – frequent performances in outdoor venue. Cons: can get quite cold. Take blankets.

UCSD’s ArtPower – performances that may be of interest in various venues.

Water sports – kayaking in La Jolla Cove, surfing lessons for kids and teens in La Jolla/Pacific Beach, pier fishing at Ocean Beach, sailing and body boarding at Mission Bay.

Glider Port at UCSD for hang-gliding.

Hiking – one of SD’s biggest draws. So many trails.

Independent breweries – another SD notable.

Climbing gyms: Mesa Rim, Vertical Hold, Asylum.

Jumping playgrounds: Skyzone, GetAir.

Low-key amusement park: Belmont. A little run down, a little expensive, but right on the beach and generally fun. Small but popular escape room and laser tag available for extra $.

Bigger amusement parks: in order of distance from SD, SeaWorld (but Blackfiish and endless fireworks), Sesame Street Land (waterpark), Legoland (including small waterpark and aquarium), Disneyland (about 1.5 hours’ drive), Universal Studios (about 2.5 hrs), Magic Mountain (about 3 hrs.)