BLOG2017-12-26T21:07:49+00:00

Check-In San Diego

A lifestyle guide by the Sofia Hotel

Thanksgiving Wishes From the Sofia Hotel

Thanksgiving Wishes From the Sofia Hotel Whether you’re staying with us here in Downtown San Diego for the holiday or not, here’s wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving! Pondering the gratitude at the center of Turkey Day, we’re thinking not only of our guests, new and familiar faces alike, who help define what the Sofia Hotel is (just as guests defined our historical incarnation as the Pickwick, which opened way back in 1926). We’re also full to the brim with thankfulness for all of our staff, who, every single one of them, are the reason our hotel is able to do what it does—that is, deliver Downtown San Diego’s most heartfelt and well-appointed boutique luxury hospitality—day in and day out. We’re also so very thankful to have as our partners on the culinary side of the spectrum Currant American Brasserie: They ensure that our Sofia Hotel guests have some of the very best dining in San Diego at their disposal just a stone’s throw from their room or suite. (And heads up: Currant offers a fantastic special menu for Thanksgiving, in case you don’t feel like cooking, cleaning, and entertaining—or if you’re making it a Thanksgiving at the Sofia this year!) We also want to give a Thanksgiving shout-out to our home base, the one and only San Diego: They don’t call you America’s Finest City for nothing! Once again, happy Thanksgiving to you all from us at the [...]

Surf’s Up at the Sofia Hotel

Surf's Up at the Sofia Hotel San Diego holds its own with any city in the world for its surf breaks and its surf culture. San Diego County is a renowned year-round surfing epicenter, but we’re right in the thick of the very best time of year for consistent conditions and quality swells. Call the Sofia Hotel in Downtown San Diego your home away from home, and you’ll have easy access to some fabulous surfing beaches for both spectating and riding some waves yourself, plus no shortage of possibilities for surf lessons regardless of your skill level. Let’s dive in (so to speak) to an exploration of the surfing possibilities this fall and winter, plus one awesome place to learn more about our local surfing heritage! The Surfing Calendar in San Diego With some 70 miles of Pacific coastline with all sorts of different shore aspects and submarine topography, San Diego provides surfing opportunities all year. That said, this is a particularly auspicious stretch of the calendar. Between August and November, you’ll find the most ideal all-around conditions, given predominantly westerly swells, still-friendly ocean temperatures, and frequent bouts of offshore breezes. As we shift into winter, the coast receives bigger, stronger swells from the north and northwest, which make this season prime time for elite surfers. If you’ve got the skills and the experience (and the wetsuit!), come experience these big-time waves, which not uncommonly get into double-overheader territory; if you’re not comfortable [...]

Take Advantage of Foodie-Friendly Sofia Hotel Accommodations for the 2019 San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival

Take Advantage of Foodie-Friendly Sofia Hotel Accommodations for the 2019 San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival An epicurean’s dream to be sure, the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival is about to launch its 16th annual edition, and you’ll have boutique accommodations just minutes away from its main event at the Sofia Hotel! This weeklong smorgasbord soiree celebrates chefs, winemakers, and other food and drink personalities from not only San Diego but also the rest of Southern California and, indeed, the wider world. It’s widely considered one of the top foodie events in the country: Indeed, this year it landed the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for “Best General Food Festival.”  The 2019 San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival  This year’s San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival takes place Saturday, November 9th through Sunday, November 17th. There are special dinners and tastings across town, plus culinary lectures, workshops, foodie safaris, and other awesome events on the itinerary. Among those festival happenings this year are a lesson in Neapolitan-style pizza making at Buona Forchetta (Tuesday, November 12th) and an introduction to the wines and cheese of Basque Country at Ranch 45 (Thursday, November 14th). There are also loads of swanky parties with a foodie focus, fieldtrips to Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe and the speakeasies of the Gaslamp Quarter (right next door to the Sofia!), and a spirited battle that’ll establish who whips up San Diego’s finest taco (going [...]

A San Diego Halloween at the Sofia Hotel

A San Diego Halloween at the Sofia Hotel The nights here in San Diego may not exactly be on the crisp side, and our abundant palms aren’t putting on a leaf-peeping show, but that doesn’t mean the Halloween spirit isn’t in full bloom in America’s Finest City. If you’re joining us at the Sofia Hotel during this hauntingly fun stretch of the calendar, here are some of the holiday events—on a varying spectrum of spooky—to consider hitting up during your Downtown San Diego stay! Dia de los Muertos in San Diego The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration—Dia de los Muertos—is a wonderful tradition rooted in pre-Columbian festivities and also colored by the Christian practices of All Saint’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day (the October 31st – November 2nd window of Allhallowtide). Today widely practiced in the United States as well, the Day of the Dead encompasses both personal observances—setting up ofrendas (altars) to honor deceased loved ones and friends, visiting cemeteries, sharing meals—and organized public ones, at both of which you’re liable to see plenty of beautifully rendered calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons) and no shortage of marigolds: the Flowers of the Dead. With its vibrant Mexican-American population and multicultural energy, Greater San Diego puts on more than one awesome Dia de los Muertos party. On Saturday, October 26th, for example, you’ve got several quite close to the Sofia—the Sherman Heights Dia de los Muertos, the City Heights Dia [...]

Visit Cabrillo National Monument on the Point Loma Peninsula For Free on National Public Lands Day

Visit Cabrillo National Monument on the Point Loma Peninsula For Free on National Public Lands Day Celebrate National Public Lands Day this weekend with a visit to San Diego’s very own spectacular unit of the National Park Service: Cabrillo National Monument! This jaw-dropping swath of Pacific seashore lies at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, at the gateway to San Diego Bay. It encompasses not only wonderful scenery but also some momentous history—and on Saturday, it’s yours to explore and enjoy free of charge! National Public Lands Day The National Environmental Education Foundation presents National Public Lands Day each day in coordination with such federal agencies as the National Park Service, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the USDA Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It’s the biggest one-day volunteer initiative for America’s public lands, mustering the good work of countless people and organizations to help restore or maintain these special places: from rehabbing trails and cleaning up litter to planting native vegetation and combatting invasive species. To mark National Public Lands Day—which always falls the fourth Saturday of September, and celebrates its 26th anniversary this year—a slew of public lands waive their normal entry fees, and Cabrillo National Monument’s among them! Cabrillo National Monument: Historic Ground Covering roughly 144 acres, Cabrillo National Monument was formally established in 1949 to mark the point where Europeans first made landfall on [...]

Survey Outstanding Native Artwork & Craftsmanship at the 2019 Santa Fe Marketplace in Old Town San Diego

Survey Outstanding Native Artwork & Craftsmanship at the 2019 Santa Fe Marketplace in Old Town San Diego Photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash Experience and enjoy a treasure trove of indigenous North American artistry this upcoming weekend in San Diego, calling the Sofia Hotel your Downtown home base for the occasion! Friday through Sunday will see the annual Santa Fe Marketplace spotlighted at Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town, only a few minutes from our doorstep here on West Broadway. Don’t miss it! The 2019 Santa Fe Marketplace Bazaar del Mundo is a year-round shopping destination in San Diego, with a vibrant concentration of businesses selling artwork, handicrafts, clothes, jewelry, and other wares from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, plus Native American items. (It’s also a great place to grab a bite, given a number of outstanding Mexican restaurants on site.) The Santa Fe Marketplace complements the Native items for sale on a regular basis in the Bazaar del Mundo shops—from Pendleton blankets to Zuni hand carvings—with an outdoor market featuring fine American Indian artists from the Greater Southwest and beyond. They represent Navajo, Hopi, Pima, Pueblo, Cherokee, and other indigenous cultures, and the art comprises a marvelous variety, including jewelry, paintings, and textiles. Traditional techniques, tools, and motifs come wedded to modern inspirations at the Marketplace, which serves as a celebration of the diverse cultural traditions on display as well as an exhibition of sheer artistic mastery and creativity. [...]

September 17th, 2019|Tags: , , , |

Masterworks of Balboa Park: Take in the San Diego Museum of Art This Fall

Masterworks of Balboa Park: Take in the San Diego Museum of Art This Fall Sculpture garden at San Diego Museum of Art (Photo: Rob Malouf/Flickr) A center of San Diego arts and culture, big, beautiful, and be-gardened Balboa Park includes some of the city’s best-known tourist attractions. Among them is the wonderful San Diego Museum of Art, better than 90 years old and going strong. As a guest here at the Sofia Hotel in Downtown San Diego, you’re nice and close to this precious institution: one of the finest art museums on the West Coast, host to multimedia masterpieces that engage, inspire, and provoke. Introducing the San Diego Museum of Art The San Diego Museum of Art’s collections comprise 20,000-plus pieces and objects representing thousands of years of human creativity and expression. Foremost among them are precious works of the Spanish old masters, including Goya, Zurbarán, and El Greco. But there’s so much else to explore here: from African basketry and pottery to East Asian landscape scrolls, from Renaissance paintings to modern photography. Like more than a few of San Diego’s institutions, the Museum of Art’s roots go back to the Panama-California International Exposition of 1915 and 1916, held in Balboa Park and featuring a Fine Arts Building. In 1922, the businessman Appleton S. bridges pledged to fund a permanent city art museum, with William Templeton Johnson selected as architect; his design was inspired both by the Spanish Colonial style that [...]

The Sofia Hotel: Ideal Home Base for the 12th Annual “Bike the Bay” Ride

The Sofia Hotel: Ideal Home Base for the 12th Annual “Bike the Bay” Ride If you’ll be in town this weekend for the annual “Bike the Bay” ride, we invite you to enjoy our boutique Downtown San Diego accommodations at the Sofia Hotel—just a few blocks from the start/finish line—for this fabulous occasion! The Bike the Bay Experience Bike the Bay marks its 12th running (or 12th pedaling, perhaps we should say) on August 25th. It’s the sort of organized bike ride that emphasizes the scenery and the pleasure of the route and the overall experience more than any bragging rights per say: Its 25-mile course isn’t timed and isn’t competitive.  The ride provides a fantastic excuse to explore the Bayshore Bikeway, a year-round recreational resource for Sofia Hotel guests that encircles the postcard-perfect natural harbor of San Diego Bay and threads together its fringing cities: besides San Diego itself, also Coronado, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and National City. What’s unique about Bike the Bay is the opportunity to pedal your way across the historic and iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge, built in 1969 to coincide with the bicentennial of America’s Finest City and featuring one of the lengthiest continuous box girders (about 1800 feet) in the world. (You can read more about the history of that fabled span in this previous “Check In” post.) While the Coronado Bridge funnels loads of drivers each day, Bike the Bay offers the rare chance to make [...]

August 21st, 2019|Tags: , , , , , |

From Sgt. Pepper to Chaka Khan: Take in the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights

From Sgt. Pepper to Chaka Khan: Take in the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights Join us in Downtown San Diego at the Sofia Hotel this summer, and you’ll have an absolute plethora of live music and other performances to enjoy alongside our historic boutique luxury accommodations. We’ll preview some of the other concerts still in store for San Diego this summer in a later blogpost, but today we’re going to narrow our focus to one of the reliably awesome musical traditions of the season: the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights. From classical masterpieces to rock-‘n-roll, there’s still plenty on tap for the 2019 Bayside Summer Nights program, which is presenting its most packed calendar yet at the Embarcadero Marine Park South only about a mile away from the Sofia on the Downtown waterfront. Upcoming Shows at Bayside Summer Nights Fresh on the heels of the hip-hop artist, producer, and actor Common taking the stage with Steven Reineke and the San Diego Symphony at the end of July, some more big-name performers are joining the Bayside Summer Nights party in August. On August 3rd, for example, the legendary B-52s will have the crowd dancing with “Love Shack,” “Rock Lobster,” and other indelible hits. There’ll be joined by New Wave icons Berlin, who’ll open the show, and there’ll be some dazzling fireworks as part of the proceedings (as for a number of the shows outlined below). On August 18th, meanwhile, Blues Traveler will [...]

Pop Culture at its Biggest & Best: San Diego Comic-Con International Returns for 2019!

Pop Culture at its Biggest & Best: San Diego Comic-Con International Returns for 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International is always a big deal—this is the biggest pop-culture festival in the world, after all—but this year’s edition is extra-special. That’s because 2019 represents Comic-Con’s 50th anniversary, an occasion that’ll come marked (as every year) by exclusive movie and TV screenings, panel discussions, autograph sessions with iconic artists and actors, and (naturally) no scarcity of festivalgoers costumed and cosplayed up as their favorite characters. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights of this 50th anniversary of San Diego Comic-Con International, the bulk of which will be going down at the San Diego Convention Center just minutes from the Sofia Hotel here in Downtown San Diego! Notable Panels at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International As usual, some hugely popular TV shows will be the subject of big-name panels at this year’s Comic-Con International. Some of the shows in question are much-anticipated reboots. At 11:30 AM on Friday, for example, there’ll be a panel devoted to the resurrected Veronica Mars about to premier on Hulu, which’ll feature star Kristen Bell and others. And on Saturday at 7:45 PM, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, and other cast members and creators of Brooklyn Nine-Nine will talk about the cop-show comedy, canceled last year by Fox and freshly revived this past January on NBC. Another Comic-Con panel this year bids adieu to a true pop-culture phenomenon. [...]

Mark the 4th of July in America’s Finest City with Downtown San Diego Accommodations at the Sofia Hotel

Mark the 4th of July in America’s Finest City with Downtown San Diego Accommodations at the Sofia Hotel San Diego will be observing the 243rd birthday of the old Stars and Stripes with plenty of revelry and skyrocketing flair, and you can enjoy the festivities to the fullest with a guest room here at the Sofia Hotel on West Broadway! Here’s a quick survey of some of the more notable Independence Day celebrations going on in and around America’s Finest City. Fireworks Over the Water: Big Bay Boom 2019 The 4th of July in San Diego each year comes marked by the very biggest fireworks display in all of Southern California: the aptly named Big Bay Boom. Beginning at 9 PM, fireworks will launch from a fleet of four barges arrayed around San Diego Bay. While some watch the show from boats on the water, there’s also fantastic shoreline viewing at multiple locations, including the North and South Embarcadero and Seaport Village waterfronts within very easy reach of the Sofia Hotel. An Old-School Independence Day in Old Town San Diego Another 4th of July tradition in America’s Finest City is the free Independence Day gala at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. In keeping with the site’s heritage significance and interpretive mission, this holiday fete takes the form of a throwback 1800s-style 4th of July festival, with period games (cherry-pit spitting, cow-chip throwing, etc.), costumes, live music, and dance. The event comes [...]

Watch Law Enforcement Officers & Firefighters From Across the Country Square Off in Everything From Paintball to Archery at the U.S. Police & Fire Championships in San Diego

Watch Law Enforcement Officers & Firefighters From Across the Country Square Off in Everything From Paintball to Archery at the U.S. Police & Fire Championships in San Diego Join us at the Sofia Hotel this month to watch law-enforcement officers and firefighters from all around the country convene in San Diego for some friendly (but intense) athletic competition. That’s right: It’s time once again for the U.S. Police & Fire Championships, the 2019 edition of which goes down June 22nd through June 29th all across San Diego County. This “Olympic-style” event has been a fixture of the city for more than a half-century, and you couldn’t ask for better boutique accommodations in Downtown San Diego for the occasion than the historic Sofia! The U.S. Police & Fire Championships: A Long-Running San Diego Tradition A lieutenant (and later deputy chief) of the San Diego Police Department, Veon “Duke” Nyhus, established what would become the U.S. Police & Fire Championships in 1967 by founding the California Police Olympics. As the official U.S. Police & Fire Championships website explains, “Duke formulated the idea of the Police Olympics and created the competition with an eye towards promoting physical fitness and sport as a means for officers to improve their overall fitness, reduce stress, and increase their professional abilities.” The California Police Olympics proved an immediate success. In 1990, they officially became the California Police Summer Games. A decade later, the inclusion of firefighters prompted the name to [...]

Take an Epicurean Safari Through the Gaslamp Quarter on June 15th With a Base Camp at the Sofia

Take an Epicurean Safari Through the Gaslamp Quarter on June 15th With a Base Camp at the Sofia With accommodations at the Sofia Hotel, you’re smack dab on the doorstep of one of San Diego’s best-known and most popular neighborhoods: the Gaslamp Quarter. Along with fascinating history (encompassing such early names as New Town, Rabbitville, and Stingaree, and such famed residents as Wyatt Earp) and scads of great shopping, the Gaslamp Quarter is a truly fabulous place to get a bite to eat. And coming up this month is just about the best excuse to get a big-picture sense of the culinary scene here: Taste of Gaslamp! Taste of Gaslamp 2019 Taste of Gaslamp will be marking its 25th anniversary this year when it takes the stage on Saturday, June 15th from 1 to 4 PM. It’s only gotten bigger and better, and needless to say the quality of the food samples on offer continues to be outstanding. This delicious event’s an excellent opportunity to hit up beloved stalwarts of the Gaslamp dining scene as well as some of the latest kitchens on the block alongside a thousand or so fellow foodies. Check-in begins at noon in front of Tin Fish at Gaslamp Square (538 L St.)—less than a mile from the Sofia Hotel, mind you. A General Admission ticket—$35 ahead of the event, $45 day of—affords you access to nearly 30 of the restaurants and bars participating in this edition of Taste [...]

Sip Your Way Through San Diego County’s Winelands

Sip Your Way Through San Diego County’s Winelands Think of Californian wine—some of the most acclaimed in the world, of course—and you likely think first of the Napa, Sonoma, and Russian River valleys of the North Coast, or perhaps some of the famed wine regions of the Central Coast, such as the Santa Ynez Valley (showcased in the hit film Sideways). But here in San Diego County, we also boast a rich and vibrant viticultural heritage that, in actual fact, claims the most venerable history in the entire Golden State. With a well-appointed perch at the Sofia Hotel here in Downtown San Diego, you’ve got the wine country of San Diego County at your fingertips—not to mention some fine urban sipping within strolling reach! San Diego Wine: A Snapshot History The first California wine grapes were planted in today’s San Diego County by the Franciscans in the 18th century. The inaugural Spanish mission in the state, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, now located within San Diego, installed a vineyard back in 1769. The local wine industry declined in the early 20th century thanks to such setbacks as the devastating floods of 1916 and (of course) Prohibition. Californian winemaking eventually recovered, but San Diego County’s revival didn’t take off until the 1990s. We’re very glad it did! San Diego’s Wine Regions The whole of San Diego County falls within a large American Viticultural Area (AVA), the South Coast AVA, which also encompasses Los Angeles, [...]

Enjoy Artwork, Live Music, Dance Performances, and More at the 35th Annual Mission Federal ArtWalk in Little Italy This Weekend

Enjoy Artwork, Live Music, Dance Performances, and More at the 35th Annual Mission Federal ArtWalk in Little Italy This Weekend Photo: Jon Sullivan This weekend marks the 35th annual running of the biggest and oldest arts festival in Southern California: the Mission Federal ArtWalk, held Saturday and Sunday (April 27th and 28th) in San Diego’s Little Italy. The 16 blocks of visual art, live music, dance, spoken word, street food, and other enticements—a festival experience that draws 100,000-plus visitors each year—is close by our boutique Downtown San Diego hotel here on West Broadway. We hope you’ll call the Sofia home while you take in this wonderful arts-and-culture block party in one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in town! The 2019 Mission Federal ArtWalk More than 300 artists will be taking part in this year’s Mission Federal ArtWalk, showing and selling their works—oil paintings, watercolors, photographs, sculptures, and much more—between Ash and Grape streets from 11 AM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday. A long-running part of the festival’s artistic mosaic is the Artes de Mexico setup in front of the Consulado de Mexico, which features visiting artists from Mexico, many of whom are longtime Mission Federal ArtWalk regulars. Accentuating the visual art will be a whole smorgasbord of performances, from poetry readings to rock-and-roll to ballet. Musicians taking the stage at this year’s ArtWalk include Finnegan Blue, The Heavy Guilt, Wayne Riker, Andrew Barrack, Cardinal Moon, the Bayou Brothers, Lizzie [...]

Balboa Park in Spring: Lots to See & Lots to Do!

Balboa Park in Spring: Lots to See & Lots to Do! The Old Globe Are you still feeling the hangover of the winter doldrums? Is it still in fact basically winter where you are? (We’ve been shuddering looking at some of the forecasts for other parts of the country—yikes!) Well, allow us to unroll one giant and sunshiny welcome mat for you: an invitation to join us here at the Sofia Hotel in Downtown San Diego for a springtime visit to America’s Finest City! It happens to be a fabulous time to mark the vernal season over at one of San Diego’s signature landmarks, Balboa Park, which is just a short trip from our boutique hotel here on West Broadway. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the upcoming happenings in Balboa Park, one of the country’s great urban greenspaces. Art Alive at the San Diego Museum of Art One of the San Diego Art Museum’s signature fundraisers, Art Alive is back for its 38th edition this April 12th through the 14th. Better than 100 floral creations bedeck the Balboa Park museum for this spectacular weekend installation, which draws thousands of visitors every year and never fails to impress. A whole slew of art workshops and other activities help mark the occasion as well. Performances at the Old Globe Theatre Among America’s top regional theaters, the Old Globe has been wowing Balboa Park audiences since the 1930s, and has launched more [...]

Springtime Flowers & Cultural Illuminations: The 14th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden

Springtime Flowers & Cultural Illuminations: The 14th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden We’re just past the March equinox, and spring is unfolding in spectacular fashion here in Southern California. It’s a wonderful time to stay with us here in Downtown San Diego at the Sofia Hotel, where you’ll find yourself nice and close to one of the great annual celebrations of the season: the Cherry Blossom Festival in the Japanese Friendship Garden! A week of floral buildup is culminating in this weekend’s festival, held Friday through Sunday within one of the most resplendent of the many gardens of Balboa Park. The Cherry Blossom Festival in San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden This is the 14th edition of the Cherry Blossom Festival in the Japanese Friendship Garden, which honors San Diego’s sister-city status with Yokohama. The Cherry Blossom Festival evokes a century-old fixture of Japanese culture and art: the practice of hanami, the appreciation of flower blooming. These days, it’s most associated with blossoming cherries, though the flowers of plum trees have also been a traditional focus of hanami in Japan. Hanami sees people strolling and picnicking around springtime cherry trees in their pink and white splendor, and taking plenty of pictures. Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden devotes about an acre of its magnificently landscaped grounds to Pink Cloud cherries, which are nearing peak bloom right now. The garden’s event and marketing coordinator, Jon Osio, told the San Diego Union-Tribune, [...]

From Balboa Park to the Gaslamp Quarter, Mark Saint Patrick’s Day in San Diego With Holiday Headquarters at the Sofia

From Balboa Park to the Gaslamp Quarter, Mark Saint Patrick’s Day in San Diego With Holiday Headquarters at the Sofia Are you ready to paint the town green for Saint Patrick’s Day? San Diego really knows how to celebrate this holiday of Irish and Irish-American heritage, when just about everybody can claim a little spiritual or cultural (if not ancestral) connection to the Emerald Isle. And with a boutique guestroom at the Sofia Hotel on West Broadway, you’re within jigging distance of the two biggest Saint Paddy’s Day soirees in town: the San Diego Saint Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival in Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter’s San Diego shamROCK block party! Saint Patrick’s Day: A (Very) Condensed History Saint Patrick’s Day has traditionally been a feast day honoring the namesake patron saint of Ireland, who wasn’t actually born there but rather in Roman Great Britain, aka Britannia, as Maewyn Succat. He was initially brought to Ireland in slave bondage, then escaped and ended up training as a missionary in France. Saint Patrick then returned to Ireland, the story goes, to spread Christianity: allegedly symbolizing the Holy Trinity with a three-leaf clover (the shamrock) and, apocryphally anyway, ridding the (naturally snake-free) island of snakes. It’s said that Saint Patrick exited this mortal coil on March 17th, 461, which explains the timing of Saint Patrick’s Day each year. While the feast day as a religious commemoration has been observed in Ireland for better than [...]

Enjoy Spectacular Music, Dancing, and Cuisine at the 2019 International Mariachi Festival

Enjoy Spectacular Music, Dancing, and Cuisine at the 2019 International Mariachi Festival Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista (Photo: Arash Afshar, Port of San Diego–Flickr) One of the great cultural events in San Diego County is right around the corner, and you’ll be within easy reach of its melodic, visual, and gastronomic pleasures as a guest of the Sofia Hotel! Sunday, March 10th marks the seventh edition of the International Mariachi Festival, which this year will take place in Chula Vista’s Bayside Park. Join us for the finest hospitality in Downtown San Diego at our historic hotel, and take in the live music, dancing, arts-and-crafts, and culinary delights of this fabulous celebration right at the doorstep of San Diego Bay! The International Mariachi Festival Presented by the National City Chamber of Commerce and the Unified Port of San Diego, the International Mariachi Festival celebrates Mexican cultural heritage with world-class performances by mariachi and ballet folklorico dance ensembles. These groups hail from all around the United States and Mexico, and include a host of student outfits that’ll be competing for cash prizes in both high-school and middle-school divisions. (A two-day music conference ahead of the festival will go down at the University of San Diego, where top mariachi instructors will lead workshops and classes for hundreds of students.) Mariachi is a centuries-old style of folk music that originally developed in rural Mexico and came of age during the 20th century as it spread [...]

Valentine’s Day Also Marks the Start of San Diego Theatre Week!

Valentine’s Day Also Marks the Start of San Diego Theatre Week! The Old Globe Theatre, one of the venues for San Diego Theatre Week February 14th, of course, marks Valentine’s Day: the perfect excuse to remind you of the Sofia Hotel’s prodigious appeal as a romantic getaway. Whether for this special sweethearts’ holiday or any other occasion putting love at center stage, our boutique Downtown San Diego hotel gives you a chic and stylish oasis of a guest room or VIP suite and all-around warm, welcoming luxury. (For help scheming up some date ideas around town—from brewery and wine-bar hopping to gondola rides on San Diego Bay—take a look at one of our previous Valentine’s Day posts.) But today isn’t just about valentines: It also happens to be the launch of San Diego Theatre Week, a fabulous celebration of the performing arts here in America’s Finest City. Your West Broadway home base at the Sofia puts you right in the heart of theatergoing geography during the festival, which the San Diego Performing Arts League presents through Sunday, February 24th. Here’s a taste for what’s in store! San Diego Theatre Week 2019 The idea for Theatre Week is akin to the exceedingly popular San Diego Restaurant Week, only with theaters, playhouses, and dramatic companies in the spotlight rather than the city’s world-class eateries. “Just as Restaurant Week is a week for foodies to explore new culinary options while saving money,” D. Candis [...]

Get Laughing at a San Diego Comedy Club—and Get Ready for the San Diego Improv Festival!

Get Laughing at a San Diego Comedy Club—and Get Ready for the San Diego Improv Festival! Whether you regularly attend comedy shows or you’ve simply thought about doing so, you’ve got ample opportunity to yuk it up at some standout venues for standup and improv within easy reach of the Sofia Hotel. And coming up later this week and weekend, you’ll be especially well positioned for live comedy as a Sofia guest: The 6th annual San Diego Improv Festival will be hitting the Tenth Avenue Arts Center just a few blocks away from our historic boutique hotel here in Downtown San Diego! Read on for a quick rundown on the festival as well as an overview of a few noteworthy comedy clubs you might consider swinging by any time you pay us a visit here at the Sofia. The San Diego Improv Festival Finest City Improv hosts the 2019 San Diego Improv Festival at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center from Thursday, February 7th through Sunday, February 10th. The festival, which draws quick-thinking funnypeople from across the country and the world, will be hosting better than 60 shows as well as a slew of workshops wherein ace teachers such as Kristen Schier, Emily Fightmaster, and Andy Perkins will share some tricks of the whole “Yes, and…” trade. Beyond the festival, Finest City Improv offers shows year-round at the Hillcrest Theater each week from Wednesday through Saturday, with the house team taking the stage Friday [...]

Soak Up Some Gorgeous San Diego Sunsets From Beachfront to Bay

Soak Up Some Gorgeous San Diego Sunsets From Beachfront to Bay For any and all of you suffering some midwinter doldrums, keep in mind we’re on the back end of the seasonal solstice. That means the days are slowly but surely lengthening, and that spring’s at least on the far horizon. In celebration of the expanding daylight—and its especially beautiful quality here in America’s Finest City—we thought we’d spotlight a few of the best places (and ways) to take in a Southern Californian sunset during your Sofia Hotel getaway in 2019. We’re partly inspired by the San Diego Tourism Authority’s list of seven great sunset vantages in San Diego County—part of its “Sunny 7’s” campaign, worth checking out for more trip-planning ahead of a stay at our historic Downtown San Diego hotel. Topnotch Sunset Stakeouts in San Diego The Tourism Authority’s list includes two famously fantastic sunset perches in La Jolla. One of them is the celebrated strand of Windansea Beach, popular among surfers for its shore breaks and among sun-worshippers for its all-around beauty. Nothing like seeing the sun slip beneath the wide-open Pacific horizon with some sand between your toes, right? Then there’s Mount Soledad, an 824-foot La Jolla hill serving up one of the very best views to be had anywhere in greater San Diego. Watch the sunset shimmer over the ocean while flaring up the coastline far to the north and the south. (We’ve profiled Mount Soledad, also host [...]

Seeking Out Snow in San Diego

Seeking Out Snow in San Diego As we’ve discussed in the past here at the Sofia blog, San Diego’s climate is a justifiably celebrated one: Indeed, it’s often called the best all-around of any city in the U.S. If you like sunshine and warmth (but not tropic mugginess), San Diego—and the Sofia Hotel, of course—is the place for you. But it’s fun to play in the snow, too, right? Well, you can basically get the best of both worlds on a Sofia getaway to Downtown San Diego. Here in Southern California, after all, good-sized and gorgeous mountains are never far away, and in the high-country hinterland of San Diego County you can usually track down some awesome snowpack within an easy commute of our balmy bayfront. Snow…in San Diego? Before we get to a few likely options for getting your fill of the white stuff on an otherwise short-sleeved visit to the Sofia Hotel, here’s a little trivia for you. Though higher parts of San Diego proper have seen flurries more recently, the last time snowfall actually stuck in America’s Finest City was back on December 13th, 1967. Much of this was just a trace, though some surprisingly low-lying spots in the county, such as Carlsbad up north along the coast, received a couple of inches. (You can see some footage from that once-in-a-blue-moon meteorological event here, and eyeball front-page coverage from the following day’s San Diego Union here.) Our firmly subtropical latitude [...]

A San Diego Holiday Getaway at the Sofia Hotel

A San Diego Holiday Getaway at the Sofia Hotel If you’d enjoy a Christmas or New Year’s with plenty of festive atmosphere, premium hospitality, and—and this could be crucial—a distinct absence of debilitating blizzards, icestorms, and Arctic deep freezes, we humbly submit the idea of a holiday getaway in San Diego here at the Sofia Hotel! We love hosting guests both familiar and new this merry time of year: Give us one more opportunity in 2018 to treat you to superb accommodations in Downtown San Diego at our historic hotel, and you’ll have the warmth, sunshine, and exciting seasonal goings-on of our slice of Southern California to indulge in. The Holidays at the Sofia Hotel From our lobby holiday decorations to the elegant comforts of our guest rooms and VIP suites, we offer our own kind of seasonal wonderland here at the Sofia Hotel: the perfect holiday headquarters in Downtown San Diego. Treat yourself to fine dining at our on-premises restaurant, American Currant Brasserie, a rejuvenating spa or yoga session to end 2018 (or launch 2019) on the right sort of note, and grab one of our complimentary loaner bikes (Urban Cruisers) to explore Downtown’s diverse neighborhoods. Throughout your holiday stay we’ll relish the full dose of Sofia hospitality, which of course is a year-round, everyday guarantee, but which certainly makes a Christmastime or New Year’s vacation feel extra-special! Out & About in San Diego for the Holidays While most of San Diego’s [...]

Catch U.S. Marine Corps Military Working Dogs in Action at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum This Weekend

Catch U.S. Marine Corps Military Working Dogs in Action at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum This Weekend A military working dog (Astor) at MCAS Miramar. If you’ll be joining us here at the Sofia Hotel this weekend—and of course we’d love it if you will be—we’d like to draw your attention to a pretty special way to spend your Saturday morning in San Diego. From 9 to 10 AM on the grounds of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar—only a half-hour or so from the Sofia here in Downtown San Diego—the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum will present a demo of the MCAS Miramar K-9 unit’s military working dogs. It’ll be a fascinating opportunity to see some of the U.S. Marine Corps’ integral four-legged members in action!   The Military Working Dogs Demo & Exhibit at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum Saturday’s demo will feature the MCAS Miramar’s resident “pack” going through their paces with the help of their equally highly trained handlers. You’ll get to ask the handlers questions, and, if you so desire, suit up in an attack sleeve and vest such are used in training exercises with working dogs. The demo day is part of the Military Working Dogs of MSMC exhibit the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is displaying through June of next year. The exhibit tells the story of the Marine Corps canine contingent, which has served in every deployment and military conflict since World War II. The working [...]