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

Check-In San Diego

A lifestyle guide by the Sofia Hotel

Tour Military Ships & Watch the Navy Square Off Against Notre Dame During Fleet Week San Diego 2018

Tour Military Ships & Watch the Navy Square Off Against Notre Dame During Fleet Week San Diego 2018 This year marks the 83rd anniversary of San Diego’s very first Fleet Week, that annual celebration of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard that sees the docking of active-duty ships, military ceremonies, and all manner of other events go down in some of the nation’s big-city ports. Call the Sofia Hotel—the finest boutique hotel in Downtown San Diego—your home away from home during Fleet Week San Diego 2018, and you’ll enjoy quick and easy access to all of the activities along the waterfront nearby. Today we’re going to spotlight two of the upcoming events well worth putting on that calendar of yours—but first, a quick snapshot history of Fleet Week San Diego! Fleet Week San Diego San Diego’s very first Fleet Week took place in June 1935 during the California Pacific International Exposition. Overseen by U.S. Navy Admiral Joseph M. Reeves, 114 warships, 400 military aircraft, 3,000-plus commissioned officers, and some 55,000 enlisted service members were part of the proceedings. Today’s Fleet Week San Diego, meanwhile, arose in 1997 as an opportunity to highlight the support shown by America’s Finest City to Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. Originally an initiative of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the event expanded rapidly enough to warrant its own registered non-profit, The San Diego Fleet Week Foundation. Fleet Week San Diego 2018 Highlights A [...]

Experience the Finest in Independent Global Cinema at the 2018 San Diego International Film Festival

Experience the Finest in Independent Global Cinema at the 2018 San Diego International Film Festival One of the country’s highest-profile and highest-caliber film festivals is about to kick off for the 17th time here in San Diego, and you’ll enjoy the ideal home base for it at the Sofia Hotel right on the doorstep of the Gaslamp Quarter. The San Diego International Film Festival begins Wednesday, October 10th and runs through Sunday, October 14th: a five-day exposition for some of the greatest global talent in independent filmmaking, and a definite highlight of the arts-and-culture calendar here in America’s Finest City. Secure yourself the most sophisticated, well-appointed, and across-the-board friendliest Downtown San Diego accommodations for the festival with a guest room at the Sofia Hotel, nice and close to the festival venues as well as many of the city’s best-known attractions. The 2018 San Diego International Film Festival More than 200 film screenings make up the heart of the San Diego International Film Festival, the bulk of them shown at Horton Plaza Park and ArchLight Cinemas at the Westfield UTC Mall. Dramas, thrillers, comedies, shorts, documentaries—the variety on tap amid the festival’s many regional, national, and international premieres is (as always) outstanding. This year’s panels—deep dives into the process and the context of independent filmmaking in the 21st century—include the Social Impact, Unstoppable Women, Critics, and Business Side of Business sessions. Another reliable highlight of the festival is the Night of the Stars Tribute, [...]

October 8th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Beethoven to Bernstein to Jurassic Park: Experience the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 Season

Beethoven to Bernstein to Jurassic Park: Experience the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 Season Photo: Ewen Roberts (Flickr) In the next couple of weeks, one of the most respected symphony orchestras in the USA kicks off a brand-new season absolutely stacked with highlights, and a boutique guestroom at the Sofia Hotel sets you up within close reach of all the concerts! America’s Finest City has been home to the San Diego Symphony Orchestra since 1910 (give or take some hiatus years), and its spectacular H.Q., the 1929-built Copley Symphony Hall in the Jacobs Music Center, is a mere half-mile from our Downtown hotel here on Broadway. The 2018-19 season begins with a bang on October 4th, and we thought we’d take the opportunity to preview some of the good stuff coming down the pike. The Season Opener The “bang” we referred to takes the form of Lang Lang Plays Mozart: star pianist Lang Lang joining conductor Edo de Waart and the SDSO for a performance on Thursday, October 4th of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24, bookended by Berlioz’s Overture to Béatrice et Bénédict and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome. Rafael Payare’s Debut The Lang Lang appearance on October 4th is the first of three Special Concerts the Symphony presents this season. Another is the debut of the SDSO’s new music director designate, conductor Rafael Payare, who alongside cellist Alisa Weilerstein will present a program of Mozart and Tchaikovsky on Thursday, [...]

Celebrate Chinese Culture, Family, & the Full Moon at San Diego’s Mid-Autumn Festival

Celebrate Chinese Culture, Family, & the Full Moon at San Diego’s Mid-Autumn Festival On September 24th, that great rocky, pock-marked natural satellite of ours will rise in full pearly glory over America’s Finest City. A couple of days before, the House of China will mark this Harvest Moon in the traditional Chinese manner: with a Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as a Moon Festival, and it’ll be yours to enjoy—the onstage performances, the hands-on crafts, and of course the mooncakes—just a short trip from your guest room here at the Sofia Hotel in Downtown San Diego! The Moon Festival: Millennia of Tradition The moon has been an object of general worship and great symbolism in China for thousands of years. By the 7th century, this reverence had merged with traditional harvest celebrations to formalize the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival. Because Chinese culture associates the full moon with family, the Moon Festival also became an occasion for relatives to gather; indeed, another name for the event is the Reunion Festival. By the 10th century, the Moon Festival—held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month—had begun featuring what’s become its signature gastronomic element: the mooncake, a delectable round pastry typically filled with lotus-seed or sweet-bean paste. Other hallmarks of the Moon Festival include lanterns and osmanthus, which blooms this time of year; a wine fermented from osmanthus blossoms is a drink of choice at the Mid-Autumn Festival. The tradition of the Moon Festival has [...]

Fleeting Masterpieces: Check Out the Waterfront Art-making of the 2018 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge

Fleeting Masterpieces: Check Out the Waterfront Art-making of the 2018 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge That humble yet universally popular rock grain we call beach sand can be molded into forms a heck of a lot more complex than a simple bucket-built castle. (Not that there’s anything wrong with sand castles—don’t misunderstand us.) And coming up Labor Day weekend, you’ll be able to see the full artistic potential of this powdery medium—in no short supply here in Southern California, it goes without saying—just a few blocks from Downtown San Diego’s favorite hotel, the Sofia! From Friday, August 31st through Monday, September 3rd, Broadway Pier—a straight shot west from the historic Sofia—will once again host the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Exposition, and we can’t think of too many better ways to mark the summer sendoff of Labor Day than taking it all in while enjoying our one-of-a-kind boutique accommodations. The 2018 U.S. Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Exposition As the Sand Sculpting Challenge playfully puts it, its Labor Day competition turns San Diego into “SANDiego” thanks to the talents of a cadre of World Master Sand Sculptors come to America’s Finest City to square off—and meanwhile delight festivalgoers with their beachfront masterworks. To qualify for that opportunity, artists must have nabbed an award at a major international sand-sculpting competition within the past five years. They have some 300 tons of sand hauled in to Broadway Pier at their disposal and four days [...]

Watch Some Board-less Wave Riders Hitting the Breakers at the 42nd Annual World Bodysurfing Championships

Watch Some Board-less Wave Riders Hitting the Breakers at the 42nd Annual World Bodysurfing Championships Photo: Bengt Nyman (Flickr/Wikimedia Commons) The same Pacific breakers that make our stretch of coastline here in San Diego County among the most fabled destinations in the world for traditional surfing also happen to work mighty well for riding the waves sans surfboard—aka bodysurfing. Perhaps you’ve tried it, perhaps not, but either way the pinnacle of the sport will be on display this month within easy day-tripping reach of the Sofia Hotel here in Downtown San Diego at the World Bodysurfing Championships! The 2018 World Bodysurfing Championships in Oceanside, CA The 2018 World Bodysurfing Championships are the 42nd: an impressive run, it goes without saying. As many as 400 bodysurfers from all across this grand liquid planet of ours compete in the event, which this year takes place Saturday, August 18th and Sunday, August 19th at Oceanside Pier—just an hour or so by car or commuter train from San Diego. (We don’t recommend bodysurfing the whole way, in case your enthusiasm’s getting the better of you.) The contests, which kick off bright and early at 6:30 AM both mornings, come broken up by age bracket and take the form of 15-minute heats on Saturday. Those who advance will work their way through quarter finals, semis, and finals for each age group on Sunday in the big buildup to the Men’s and Women’s Grand Championships that afternoon. [...]

Take a Dunk This Summer Off San Diego’s Golden Shores at Our Best Swimming Beaches

Take a Dunk This Summer Off San Diego’s Golden Shores at Our Best Swimming Beaches No question that San Diego ranks among America’s great beach cities, not least for its world-famous surf breaks and Southern California coastal culture. And your beautiful, historic, and centrally situated accommodations at the Sofia Hotel here in Downtown San Diego put this stunning and varied beachfront right at your fingertips—or perhaps we should say right at your barefoot toe tips. That said, more than a few San Diego beaches venerated by surfers are too rough or riptide-roiled to appeal to the average swimmer (though they’re still plenty fine places to kick back, sunbathe, and spectate). Here we’ve put together a sampler-pack roundup of some of the best seashores in the Sofia Hotel’s greater backyard for casual dips in the great blue Pacific perennially caressing our coastline. Silver Strand State Beach Silver Strand State Beach on the eponymous isthmus connecting Coronado to the San Diego mainland is a beachgoer’s paradise, given it encompasses plush sands on both the Pacific and San Diego Bay side of the Silver Strand. The waters along the bayfront are the calmer and more swimmer-friendly ones, and you get to splash around with a fabulous view of our ravishing harbor. Mission Beach Mission Beach is another popular swimming beach within easy reach of you as a Sofia Hotel guest, and among the ones monitored by lifeguards. La Jolla Shores This time of year, the waters [...]

A Summer Evening Among the Beasts: Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

A Summer Evening Among the Beasts: Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo The San Diego Zoo —better than a century old and reigning as one of the highest-profile and most respected zoos in the world—is always worth a visit, which is easily pulled off during a stay at Downtown San Diego’s favorite hotel, the Sofia, given we set you up nice and close to Balboa Park. And this time of year, you’ve got even more reason to mosey on over to that mindbogglingly diverse menagerie. Summer evenings are luxuriously long, of course, and here in San Diego they’re almost intoxicatingly pleasant. To celebrate the season—and profile a brand-new exhibit, Africa Rocks—the San Diego Zoo’s running a special “Nighttime Zoo” through September 3rd: a chance to catch live entertainment and admire glorious creatures from all corners of the planet amid some after-hours festivities. Come check it out during your summer idyll here at the Sofia Hotel! Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo Nighttime Zoo goes down each and every evening this summer, so it couldn’t be more convenient to weave its beastly charms into your San Diego vacation itinerary headquartered at the Sofia Hotel. What exactly are those beastly charms? Well, first of all, plenty of live music to get the party going, from the Rock & Roar concerts and Summer Songs acoustic sets to the mobile Chameleon brass band. You’ll also get to goggle at some high-flying trampoline acrobatics during New [...]

July 28th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

The One & Only Comic-Con International Returns to San Diego

The One & Only Comic-Con International Returns to San Diego If it’s July in San Diego, it’s time for the city’s very biggest festival and one of the defining expressions of pop-culture fandom in the world: Comic-Con International! It’s the 49th annual edition of San Diego Comic-Con, and as always the stops have been thoroughly pulled out for the four-day extravaganza. The action goes down primarily at the San Diego Convention Center just a few minutes from the Sofia Hotel as well as the San Diego Central Library and a few other secondary venues. The 49th Annual San Diego Comic-Con As usual, perusing the schedule of events at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2018 may set your head spinning, such is the quantity and quality on offer—and, if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool fan of comics, graphic novels, movies, and TV, there’s a chance you’ll start mumbling incoherently in gleeful anticipation. Part of the Comic-Con experience is sifting through the sheer tonnage of screenings, signings, panels, costumery, and other happenings to plan your attack, and we won’t dare try to identify the all-out highlights. But here’s a look at just some of what’s being served up at this year’s convention. Preview Night On Wednesday, July 18th—the eve of the convention’s official launch—Preview Night sees New Line Cinema introducing footage from its upcoming horror flicks during “Scarediego” and some exclusive screenings of the shows Manifest, The 100, and Freedom Fighters: The Ray. Thursday, July 19th Thursday’s offerings [...]

Hanging With the Giants: It’s Blue Whale Season Once Again in San Diego!

Hanging With the Giants: It’s Blue Whale Season Once Again in San Diego! Blue whale off the Channel Islands (Shulman at English Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons) We’re now in prime-time season for seeing the world’s biggest creature cavorting in our very own waters—one of the most astonishing natural spectacles the San Diego coast (which isn’t lacking for them) serves up! Blue whales are once again traveling and feeding a few miles offshore, and a whale-watching cruise gives you a sporting chance of seeing these leviathans-among-leviathans doing their stuff in the ocean blue. Such an outing makes quite the unforgettable summer’s day during your Downtown San Diego getaway at the Sofia Hotel, needless to say… Introducing the Blue Whale The blue whale: It’s a simple name, but given the legendary beast it describes it carries plenty of weight (so to speak). The cetacean in question may grow past 100 feet in length and weigh on the order of 200 tons (think a whole elephant herd’s worth): superlative statistics almost impossible to wrap your head around, and putting even the heftiest dinosaurs to shame. (Another superlative? The blue whale’s heart: at several hundred pounds, the biggest in the animal kingdom.) Blue whales belong to the family of baleen whales known as the rorquals. They’re filter-feeders, their favored menu item being the tiny crustaceans called krill. Given its great size, you might assume the blue whale’s a sluggish animal—but quite the contrary: Like the other rorquals, [...]

July 9th, 2018|Tags: , , |

Make it a 4th of July for the Books With a San Diego Celebration at the Sofia Hotel

Make it a 4th of July for the Books With a San Diego Celebration at the Sofia Hotel The good old USA turns 242nd years old this July 4th, and as always San Diego will be marking the occasion with a whole lot of razzle-dazzle—some of the razzliest and dazzliest in the nation, in fact. Come experience how America’s Finest City celebrates Independence Day—and treat yourself to the best in Downtown San Diego accommodations at the Sofia Hotel for your holiday getaway! Here’s an overview of some of the 4th of July highlights you’ll have at your disposal while soaking up the luxury at our historic West Broadway hotel. The Showstopper: The Big Bay Boom The crown jewel of San Diego’s 4th of July festivities, the Big Bay Boom outdoes any other fireworks show in Southern California. Come 9 PM on Independence Day, you’ll most definitely want to be ensconced along the San Diego waterfront to see the pyrotechnic plumes that launch from four barges strung along the length of the bay. Some of the best viewing can be had from Seaport Village and the North and South Embarcadero: just a short and carefree stroll from the Sofia Hotel! The 4th of July, Island-Style: Coronado's Independence Day Bash The island of Coronado makes the 4th of July an all-day party. The 43rd annual Independence Day 12K run and 5K run/walk kicks off at Tidelands Park at 7 AM, while an hour later Art [...]

Bring Your Appetite to the 2018 Taste of Gaslamp Culinary Tour

Bring Your Appetite to the 2018 Taste of Gaslamp Culinary Tour The Sofia Hotel makes a stellar getaway for gourmets, epicures, and all-around foodies in America’s Finest City. That’s partly, of course, because our historic boutique hotel on West Broadway happens to house one of San Diego’s standout restaurants: Currant American Brasserie. But we’re also unbeatable accommodations for the gastronomically inclined because of our prime Downtown San Diego location right at the north edge of the famous Gaslamp Quarter, as rich in eateries as it is in history. Coming up this Saturday, June 16th, you’ve got an awesome opportunity to explore the neighborhood’s diverse flavors via Taste of Gaslamp, an event whose mouthwatering pleasures await just an easy stroll from the Sofia’s doorstep! Taste of Gaslamp 2018 You’re going to want to bring your appetite for the annual Taste of Gaslamp culinary extravaganza, that’s for certain. Your $35 General Admission ticket puts some of the signature dishes from 24 Gaslamp Quarter restaurants on your plate: from Café Sevilla and Union Kitchen & Tap to Whiskey Girl, Gaslamp Fish House, and Suckerfree Southern Plate & Bar. You can drift at your own pace on a self-guided tour of participating eateries from 1 to 4 PM on Saturday, and also enjoy the refreshments on offer in the Karl Strauss Beer Garden. For $65, meanwhile, you can get the VIP treatment during Taste of Gaslamp, which translates to six more dining establishments added to the list—Fogo de Chão, Blue Point [...]

The San Diego-Coronado Bridge: Feast Your Eyes on a Southern California Landmark With a Getaway at the Sofia Hotel

The San Diego-Coronado Bridge: Feast Your Eyes on a Southern California Landmark With a Getaway at the Sofia Hotel US Navy cruiser passing under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge (US Navy public domain photo) When you come stay with us here at the Sofia Hotel in Downtown San Diego, you’re close to one of America’s greatest bridges: a marvel of engineering and aesthetics that never fails to give a thrill to those who drive across it, and which crystallizes the beauty of San Diego Bay for those who admire it from shore. We’re talking, of course, about the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, which for nearly a half-century has towered above our superb natural harbor as one of the region’s defining landmarks. Next time you soak up some top-grade Sofia Hotel hospitality, spare a bit of time to appreciate this architectural jewel just a few minutes from our door! Introducing the San Diego-Coronado Bridge Stretching a bit more than two miles (when approaches are included) between the City of San Diego’s waterfront and Coronado Island, the San Diego-Coronado Bridge opened in August 1969 during the bicentennial celebration of San Diego’s founding. It was built by Murphy-Pacific; its consulting architect, Robert Mosher, who passed away in 2015, rallied for the funds to preserve its curving form and advocated for its blue hue, which complements its sky-and-water backdrop. The five-lane, steel-and-concrete Coronado Bridge (as it’s often shortened to) features one of the world’s longest continuous box [...]

Celebrate Memorial Day in San Diego With a Stay at the Sofia Hotel

Celebrate Memorial Day in San Diego With a Stay at the Sofia Hotel Here’s inviting you to spend your Memorial Day weekend at one of Downtown San Diego’s most auspiciously situated and historically rich hotels, the Sofia, where you’ll have multiple great options for marking the holiday. Here are some of the Memorial Day ceremonies and relevant destinations that’ll be within your easy reach during your holiday getaway to the Sofia Hotel! Legacy Week at the USS Midway Museum One of the dominant threads of San Diego’s Memorial Day celebrations is the USS Midway Museum’s Legacy Week, a series of events held on the venerable aircraft carrier that served longer than any other in the Navy and now hosts one of Southern California’s best-known museums. Legacy Week commences on Saturday, May 26th with a Veterans Wreath Ceremony at 9 AM on the Midway flight deck. From that day through Memorial Day, you can add a photo and a message to the museum’s Remembrance Wall, paying tribute to those who’ve fallen in the line of duty. On Sunday, May 27th, you’ll have the rare opportunity to hear stories directly from veteran pilots who’ll be stationed next to the aircraft they flew in active duty. Legacy Week includes a number of Memorial Day concerts: the annual Freedom Benefit Concert on Saturday evening at 6 PM, which features Gin Blossoms and raises money for local military non-profits; two US Coast Guard Auxiliary Band Arizona shows on [...]

San Diego Block Party: Attend the SDCCU Festival of Arts

San Diego Block Party: Attend the SDCCU Festival of Arts In the mood for a good old-fashioned block party? Or, to be more exact, a hitting-all-the-marks zinger of a block party? In that case, come join us for the pinnacle of Downtown San Diego hospitality here at the Sofia Hotel this Saturday for the San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU) Festival of the Arts, just a stone’s throw or two away in the North Park neighborhood! The 2018 SDCCU Festival of the Arts This free bash—in its 22nd running in 2018—covers nine square blocks centered on University Avenue and 30th Street and goes from 11 AM to 10 PM: a full day’s worth of art, live music, street food, and craft beer that draws better than 40,000 festivalgoers. You’ll probably want to be among ‘em… The SDCCU Festival of the Arts—which benefits the non-profit North Park Main Street—comprises several themed blocks, which you can think of as diverse fun zones for happily drifting between. There’s the Live Art Block, for instance, strung along University between Iowa and Herman, where immensely talented creators will be forging works of contemporary urban art from elements of everyday life: from cars to fridges. The new Waypoint Public Craft Beer Block and Cocktail Garden, meanwhile, will offer beer samples and full pours, spirits, and food pairings in two sessions: noon to 4 PM, then 5 to 9 PM. It’ll also be hosting a little something called Drag Queen [...]

An Art Extravaganza in Little Italy: Attend the 34th Annual Mission Federal ArtWalk This Weekend

An Art Extravaganza in Little Italy: Attend the 34th Annual Mission Federal ArtWalk This Weekend Photo: Jon Sullivan San Diego’s a city overflowing in artistic flair, and coming up this weekend is one of the great annual expressions of that flair: Mission Federal ArtWalk! Come stay at one of the great historic Downtown San Diego hotels, the Sofia, where you’ll be mere blocks away from this free, two-day artisan market and creativity-pumped festival in Little Italy! The 2018 Mission Federal ArtWalk The 34th annual Mission Federal ArtWalk—which helps support the important art-education efforts of ArtReach San Diego—takes place Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th across 17 blocks of the Little Italy neighborhood in Downtown San Diego, just minutes away from our boutique hotel on West Broadway. Attending the affair, which runs from 11 AM to 6 PM both days, won’t cost you a red cent, though plenty of fine art will be for sale courtesy of the better than 350 artists from near and far who are participating. Those artists work in a whole galaxy of different media, from oil, pastel, watercolor, and pen-and-ink to photography, printmaking, sculpture, pottery, and metal- and woodworking. A real highlight is the Artes de Mexico installation in front of the Consulado de Mexico, which spotlights the creations of better than 30 Mexican artists. You can browse the work of the artists joining the 2018 Mission Federal ArtWalk here. The eight Featured Artists at this [...]

Mark Earth Day in Balboa Park With the World’s Biggest Free Environmental Fair

Mark Earth Day in Balboa Park With the World’s Biggest Free Environmental Fair What better way to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd than by attending the San Diego EarthFair in Balboa Park—the biggest free environmental fair on the planet—and enjoying first-rate Downtown San Diego hospitality at the Sofia Hotel while you do? Marking its 29th year in 2018, EarthFair attracts some 60,000 festivalgoers to its eco-oriented soiree, which runs from 10 AM to 5 PM. With accommodations at the Sofia, you’re just a short trolley ride, bus ride, or bicycle ride (Earth Day-style transportation, right?) from Balboa Park, so come join us for the occasion! EarthFair 2018 San Diego EarthFair involves better than 300 exhibitors sharing information on a vast array of “green” topics—organic gardening, wildlife conservation, renewable energy, and much more—and offering everything from natural health and beauty products and tasty organic eats to secondhand treasures. Representatives from government agencies and a wide spectrum of local organizations—from the San Diego Bicycle Coalition and Environmental Center of San Diego to San Diego Canyonlands and the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association—will be among the participants. (You can see the full list of 2018 San Diego EarthFair exhibitors here.) You’ll also be able to enjoy arts and crafts made from reclaimed or recycled materials as well as artistic depictions of San Diego County’s “Endangered Spaces” at the festival’s eARTh Gallery; admire a fleet of vehicles powered by alternative fuels at the Cleaner Car [...]

April 19th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Get Out & Enjoy San Diego Bay During Your Stay at the Sofia!

Get Out & Enjoy San Diego Bay During Your Stay at the Sofia! Here in San Diego, we’ve got as our liquid doorstep one of the finest natural harbors—and one of the finest urban saltwater playgrounds—in the entire country. San Diego Bay contributes an incalculable amount to our city’s livelihood and lifestyle: as a naval and shipping hub, as an irreplaceable ecological resource, as world-class recreational waters, and as a gorgeous Pacific backdrop to our cityscape. When you bed down in style and luxury at the Sofia Hotel (one of the very best Downtown San Diego hotels), you’re mere blocks from the San Diego Bay waterfront. Let’s run down some of your options for appreciating this cosmopolitan harbor, on and off the water! Boating the Bay Whatever your level of nautical interest and skill (or lack thereof), it’s a joy to get out on the Bay itself and take in the views of the San Diego skyline, Coronado Island, and the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Join a sightseeing cruise or charter a sailboat, paddle via kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or crank up the speed (and the splash) by renting a jet ski. Given the plethora of boat tours, rentals, and instructional classes available on San Diego Bay, there’s an on-the-water option for everybody. Pedal the Bayshore Bikeway You can nearly circumnavigate San Diego Bay, meanwhile, by riding the lovely Bayshore Bikeway, a 24-mile bike route between Downtown San Diego and Coronado Island. The Bikeway takes in Imperial [...]

Spring Break in San Diego!

Spring Break in San Diego! Ample quantities of Southern Californian sunshine, a swoony Pacific seacoast, oodles of festivals and sporting attractions: Spring break doesn’t get any better than in San Diego! Let us treat you to sumptuous Downtown San Diego hospitality here at the Sofia, and use our centrally situated hotel to soak up the season! Here are a few ideas for vernal fun in and around America’s Finest City… Catch Some Baseball It’s that “take me out to the ballgame” time of year again, and the San Diego Padres are holding court over at Petco Park just a short jaunt south of us here at the Sofia. There’s nothing like live baseball, and the Padres’ stadium is a real winner. The Padres’ April homestands see the team going inning-for-inning against the Colorado Rockies (Monday, April 2nd through Thursday, April 5th); the San Francisco Giants (Thursday, April 12th through Sunday, April 15th); the LA Dodgers (Monday, April 16th through Wednesday, April 18th); and the New York Mets (Friday, April 27th through Sunday, April 29th). Nab your tickets and survey the full Padres schedule right here! Hit Up the Beach Nothing says spring break like some quality time logged at the beach, right? San Diego treats its visitors to a plethora of beautiful Pacific sand-and-surf destinations, including some fine examples just a hop, skip, and a jump from the doorstep of the Sofia Hotel. For instance, consider a daytrip over to Mission Beach or Coronado Beach, or [...]

Enjoy the San Diego Crew Classic’s Annual Regatta on Mission Bay

Enjoy the San Diego Crew Classic’s Annual Regatta on Mission Bay Photo: Steve Burt (Flickr) Some major athletic competition is about to go down on the palm-lined waters of Mission Bay, and you’ll be able to take it all in with note-perfect accommodations at the Sofia Hotel! The sporting contest in question? The 25th Annual San Diego Crew Classic, which sees rowers from more than 100 different universities, high schools, and clubs participate in a high-profile regatta that’s been going on for better than 40 years. Come join us at the Sofia and take in the oar-sculling and oar-sweeping action this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 23rd through the 25th! The San Diego Crew Classic Established back in 1973, the San Diego Crew Classic is a fixture of the spring sporting scene here along our glittering (and glamorous) swath of Southern Californian coastline. From novices to Olympians, from teenagers to 80-year-olds, the regatta involves a wonderful range of rowing talents in a weekend packed with better than 100 races. Slicing across Mission Bay from near the Ingraham Street bridge to Crown Point Shores, those races run on roughly 10-minute intervals from 7:20 AM to 6:30 PM on Saturday and 7:20 AM to 3 PM on Sunday, each day kicking off with a rendition of the National Anthem. Friday afternoon offers an opportunity to watch whole fleets of racing shells practice during the Crew Classic Preview Day (2 to 6 PM), the ideal spectating perch [...]

March 21st, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Enjoy March Madness With the Sofia: Catch “The Big Dance” in San Diego!

Enjoy March Madness With the Sofia: Catch “The Big Dance” in San Diego! Photo: Der-wuppertaler (Wikimedia Commons) It’s one of the pinnacles of the American sporting year: the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, aka the Big Dance. And it’s coming to San Diego in just a few days! With “Selection Sunday” in the rearview mirror, the bracket for March Madness 2018 is set, and San Diego State isn’t just in the mix (go Aztecs!): Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl—just an easy trolley ride away from the Sofia Hotel—is also serving as one of the venues for the First and Second Rounds. Now’s the time to lock down your tickets for the roundball action this Friday and Sunday—and your accommodations at the Sofia, so conveniently situated to the Aztecs’ home court! March Madness at the Viejas Arena At 10:30 AM on Friday, March 16th, First Round East Regional play gets underway with the Marshall Thundering Herd taking on the Wichita State Shockers. This’ll be followed up by West Virginia v. Murray State in the afternoon. That evening, the Midwest Regional bracket will see the Auburn Tigers against the College of Charleston Cougars at 4:27 PM, and then the Clemson Tigers v. the New Mexico State Aggies. The winners of those four games then face each other on Sunday, March 18th in the Second Round. As a guest of ours at the Sofia Hotel, getting to the Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl [...]

March 12th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

Take in a Free Sunday Concert at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Take in a Free Sunday Concert at Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion Photo: Kris Awesome (Flickr) Did you know that, among its many other superlative features, Balboa Park plays host to the world’s largest outdoor organ? And opportunities for appreciating this grand instrument, the Spreckels Organ, and the glorious sounds it makes abound. On Sunday afternoons, you can head over to the park’s Sprecklels Organ Pavilion and enjoy a free hourlong concert by San Diego’s very own civic organist. In summer, meanwhile, the pavilion additionally holds Monday evening concerts of wide-ranging focus. With downtown accommodations at the Sofia Hotel (one of the most beloved San Diego hotels), you’re just minutes from the wonderland of Balboa Park and those wonderful weekly programs at the Organ Pavilion, so why not take advantage? The Spreckels Organ The organ and the pavilion itself were a gift to the city from brothers John A. and Adolph Spreckels on the occasion of the Panama-California Exposition, which in 1915 transformed Balboa Park into the world-class urban oasis we see today. (President Woodrow Wilson launched the Exposition remotely through the magic of the telegraph, and in 1915 two former White House occupants, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, spoke at the Organ Pavilion.) The Spreckels Organ, manufactured by the venerable Austin Organs, Inc. of Connecticut, sports better than 5,000 pipes—the largest more than 30 feet tall—in 80 ranks. It’s an amazing construction still producing sublime sounds more than a century after its installation [...]

March 6th, 2018|Tags: , , |

Enjoy Street Performances of Every Description at the Spring Busker Festival in Seaport Village

Enjoy Street Performances of Every Description at the Spring Busker Festival in Seaport Village Sword-swallowers, fire-jugglers, chair-stackers, living statues, curbside musicians, contortionists: There’s a centuries-old, globe-spanning tradition of performing for the masses on the street and passing the hat—or merely playing for some applause. Buskers, as these sundry street performers are called—from buscar, Spanish for “to search”—bring art and entertainment directly to the people. And the upcoming annual San Diego’s Spring Busker Festival is the only organized celebration of the noble idiom in Southern California. The gravity-defying and side-splitting fun goes down just blocks from the Sofia Hotel at Seaport Village, so book your guestroom at one of the very best San Diego hotels and admire the skills of some of the finest street performers in the country firsthand! The 2018 Spring Busker Festival This year’s Spring Busker Festival takes place Saturday, March 3rd and Sunday, March 4th from noon to 6 PM, with the popular “Buskers After Dark” event returning on Saturday from 7 to 10 PM. You’re guaranteed spectacle and an all-around good time, given the caliber of performers on the roster. An elite lineup of buskers will be competing for the 2018 People’s Choice Award. They include the stunt-and-stilt-heavy comedy duo Allez Oops!; Sara Kunz with her impressive contortions, hula-hooping, and unicycling; pogo-sticking of the daredevil order courtesy of Wacky Chad; the one-man circus called Dango; and a number of others. Non-competing acts on hand for the Spring Busker Festival this year include [...]

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Sofia Hotel

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Sofia Hotel Photo: y6y6y6/Flickr The Year of the Dog is unfolding, and San Diego turns out to be a wonderful place to usher it in! Mark the occasion with a happy stay at the Sofia Hotel here in Downtown San Diego, and you’ll have your choice of two fine Lunar New Year cultural parties right at your fingertips… The San Diego Tết Festival Tết—aka Vietnamese New Year—welcomes in spring with great pageantry. The full name of the festival is Tết Nguyên Đán, “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day,” and San Diego’s Vietnamese-American community puts on a fabulous one! This year’s San Diego Tết Festival takes place February 16th through the 18th at Mira Mesa Community Park, about a half-hour north of downtown. The Vietnamese American Youth Alliance puts on the festival, which ranks among the very biggest celebrations of Vietnamese New Year in Southern California. Free and open to one and all, the San Diego Tết Festival marks the holiday with fireworks, live entertainment, feasting, and all-around merrymaking. Highlights include multiple rounds of traditional Lion Dancing, martial-arts exhibitions, cooking demos, Vietnamese folk music, and the long-running Miss Vietnam of San Diego Pageant, which takes place at 6:30 PM on Saturday the 17th. The festival includes other competitions as well: a dance contest at 8 PM on Friday, a pho-eating contest on Saturday at 5:30 PM, and Sunday afternoon’s “Golden Voice” karaoke sessions—not to mention [...]

Explore More Than 40 San Diego Museums for Half-Off This Month!

Explore More Than 40 San Diego Museums for Half-Off This Month! The USS Midway Museum There’s no time like the present to explore San Diego’s genuinely world-class roster of museums. Well, naturally, these fine institutions make high-powered draws all the year long, but this February presents a special deal that’s pretty hard to resist: Macy’s Museum Month, a collaboration between Macy’s and the San Diego Museum Council that translates to half-off admission at more than four dozen standout museums in America’s Greatest City. Many of these lie within a short commute from the Sofia Hotel, so come join us for topnotch Downtown hospitality at one of the very best San Diego hotels and go expand your horizons at one or two or 10 fabulous San Diego museums while you’re at it! Macy’s Museum Month in San Diego To take advantage of this steal of a deal, all you need to do is swing by a San Diego-area Macy’s store—the one at Westfield Horton Plaza is within strolling distance of the Sofia—and pick up your pass, which delivers half-off admission at participating museums for up to four people (and lands you 20% savings at Macy’s, to boot). You can see a full list of the vastly varied institutions taking part in Macy’s Museum Month right here, but let’s spotlight a few of your options! Within shouting distance of our hotel, for instance, the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House tells the story of the Gaslamp [...]