Today was our relocation day: we moved from our vacation apartment in Solana Beach in San Diego to the chic Sofia Hotel in downtown San Diego. On another brilliant day we arrived at the hotel at about 10 am, but our room was not ready yet, so we decided to embark on some brief local explorations.
The former Hotel Pickwick – now the chic Sofia Hotel
While my husband was off shopping for some souvenirs, I headed straight south to San Diego’s waterfront. My first destination was Seaport Village, a shopping and dining complex located right next to San Diego Bay that is comprised of more than 70 retail stores, galleries and restaurants. Opened in 1980, Seaport Village was built on landfill over Punta de los Muertos (Point of the Dead), the burial ground for victims of scurvy who had been part of the 1782 Spanish expedition.
Taking a stroll in Seaport Village
Seaport Village’s Victorian, Mexican and East Coast style architecture and its four miles of meandering cobble-stoned walkways create an inviting waterfront environment for shopping and dining. The assortment of merchandise includes souvenirs, clothing, kites, wind chimes and unique gift ideas. Galleries and art retailers round out the offering, and live music is offered frequently throughout the year. An original 1895 carousel with hand carved animals enchants adults and children. Culinary options include four fine dining restaurants and thirteen casual eateries.
The “Cool Globes” exhibition
An outdoor exhibit of oversized globes currently adds extra interest to Seaport Village. “Cool Globes – Hot ideas for a cooler planet” features 40 inspiring globes that depict simple solutions to global warming. The globes were designed by local, national and international artists and have been traveling on the road in places such as Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and will be on display in Los Angeles and London in 2009.
Colourful kites are for sale in Seaport Village
Further north of Seaport Village is the Embarcadero which features the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that was in operation between 1945 and 1992. It was donated as a museum ship and has been moored on San Diego’s Navy Pier since 2004. Visitors can tour the ship’s flight deck, mess hall, bridge, flight control area, officers’ quarters, sickbay and portions of the engine room. Evening events are frequently held on this massive ship and a café adorns the rear of the ship. A portion of the ship overlooking San Diego Harbor can be accessed free of charge while admission to the rest of the ship is $17.00.
The USS Midway
San Diego has long been a centre for the US Navy and the area around the USS Midway features many reminders of military history including the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial, dedicated to a historic naval battle in 1944. The Bob Hope Tribute, also called the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military, is an impressive collection of larger than life-size bronze figures that commemorate Bob Hope’s five decades of support in entertaining soldiers, airmen and sailors, starting in 1943.
A Tribute to Bob Hope