California Dreamin’By John Anderson

In Tune with the Golden State

California Dreamin’ A long time ago, a man with a killer guitar traveled California singing about its redwood forests and ribbons of highways, diamond deserts and golden valleys. He achieved fame in California on his way to becoming an American icon, but even though Woody Guthrie lived in different times, the state has worked hard to retain its pristine wonders while adding to its man-made charms. From the Sierra Nevada mountains to the stunning coastline, the great central valley to the white-sand beaches, any traveler—troubadour or not—taking in the natural splendor on a trip through the Golden State would easily break into song.

And songs there are—hundreds of them. From the famous to the obscure, people have been writing ditties and ballads about California, its cities and towns, landscapes and skylines, since the trickle of the first explorers turned into a rush of fortune seekers that continues to this day. You can hear about California in lyrics by a hall of fame of songwriters: Bob Dylan and Neil Young; Jimmy Buffet and Jimmie Rodgers; the Beatles, the Eagles and the Grateful Dead; from Al Jolson to Frank Zappa and everyone in between.

With a state as large and spectacular as California, naturally there’s a lot to sing about. It is, after all, the third largest state at nearly 800 miles long and 250 miles wide, and first in population with 36 million residents. And with mountains, oceans, deserts and fertile valleys, it’s one of the nation’s most varied. It encompasses both the lowest point (Death Valley at 282 ft. below sea level) and highest peak (Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft.) in the contiguous 48 states.

“I love your redwood forests; love your fields of yellow grain,” go the unabashed lyrics of California’s official state song: I Love You, California. “I love your summer breezes and I love your winter rain,” it continues. “I love you, land of flowers; land of honey, fruit and wine. I love you, California; you have won this heart of mine.” While not many songs can compete with the ardor from songwriters F.B. Silverwood and Alfred F. Frankenstein toward their beloved state, take a spin around the dial and enjoy a musical tour of California’s top destinations, with their fabulous venues and hotels, and the vast array of sights and scenes that’ll make you stand up and sing “California, Here I Come.”

Lake Tahoe
Four long years ago, searching for the snow
We found the Tahoe lakes, just about the perfect place
50 runs at Heavenly, and the nights at Squaw Valley
Every year we say the same, “Try somewhere different for a change”
But we jump on to the plane, yeah, here we go again

“Here We Go Again (I Love Lake Tahoe)” by A

One mention of the name Tahoe and immediately what comes to mind are postcard-perfect mountains packed with powdery snow surrounding the deep blue, 22-mile long Lake Tahoe. It’s no wonder the contemporary rock group A sings so fondly of their favorite ski destination, in words the CVB folks who represent the South and North Shore couldn’t have written better themselves.

Over a dozen ski resorts—from Heavenly to Northstar at Tahoe—cater to the many visitors who flock to Tahoe’s world-class slopes, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, in an area that typically receives over four feet of snow from November through April each year. Says Phil Weidinger, representative for Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority: “South Lake Tahoe offers one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining spectacular natural beauty and a plethora of outdoor activities ranging from skiing and snowboarding to snowmobiling, boating, biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing and more, along with 24-hour nightclubs, fine dining, gaming and entertainment.”

Centered around the town of South Lake Tahoe (pop. 23,600), the southern portion of this Sierra destination encompasses more than 4,000 hotel rooms, 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 1,300-seat theater. While many hotels, casinos and meetings venues are just across the border on the Nevada side, the 400-room Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe Hotel & Ski Resort on the California side was recently renovated and now offers 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, along with a 4,212-square-foot grand ballroom.  

On the north end of the lake, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe claims 422 rooms and 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, with activities along its lakefront (think fire-pits on the beach) and a private pier for boating excursions. The Resort at Squaw Creek underwent a recent $53-million renovation of its 405 guest rooms, offering 33,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, with an additional 14,750 sq. ft. outdoors. For a more secluded setting, the Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge has 190 rooms and 16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the newly added 3,100-square-foot Executive Lodge for smaller events. One of several projects on the horizon is the 170-room Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe scheduled for a late 2009 opening, with 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 20,000-square-foot spa.

“We receive a pretty good mix of corporate, national association, state association, government and incentive,” says Jason Neary, group and conference sales for North Lake Tahoe, of the types of meetings they attract. “Many people think of Tahoe as a world-class recreation destination, but we also cater to those with the most strenuous of meeting agendas, and all of our hotels are equipped with the same technology you would find in a downtown location.”

Sacramento
There’s something about the weather that ev’rybody loves
They call it the Indian spring of Sacramento
And when the sun is up in the sky
The wind is blowing by the riverside most ev’ry day
You’re in Sacramento–a wonderful town
“Sacramento” by Middle of the Road

Stroll through the streets of Old Sacramento, with its historically preserved buildings and restored shops, on to the Delta King Riverboat docked nearby on the Sacramento River, and you can practically hear the old-timey banjo and Americana music drifting through the air. It’s a point of pride for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau and just one feature of the state capital that keeps visitors coming back, a city with the most modern of amenities for any type and size of meeting. Served by Sacramento International Airport (with 15 major carriers) and seven full-service hotels offering 2,574 rooms near downtown, Sacramento makes for an attractive host.

It doesn’t get much more accommodating than the 134,000-square-foot Sacramento Convention Center, with its 31 meeting rooms and 25,000-square-foot ballroom. The downtown center is conveniently located next to the 2,452-seat Sacramento Community Theater and a block from the 3,870-seat Memorial Auditorium. For meetings hotels, the Radisson Hotel Sacramento comes with 335 rooms and 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 21,000-square-foot area for trade shows and the city’s largest hotel ballroom, while the campus setting of the 126-room Lions Gate Hotel and Conference Center, on a former Air Force base, offers 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Besides the draw of the 28-acre Old Sacramento historic district and its numerous museums, like the California Museum with its brand new California Hall of Fame exhibit, the city can now lay claim to the recently opened Aerospace Museum, with a four-acre Air Park and 37,000-square-foot pavilion. Of course, any visit to the capital should include the neo-classical capitol building, its dome visible from several downtown hotels, where groups can enjoy guided tours and marvel at the career of its famous policymaker.

Wine country
When the world seems to shine
Like you’ve had too much wine
That’s amore
“That’s Amore” by Dean Martin

It certainly doesn’t require any wine to sing the praises of California’s premier wine country—Napa and Sonoma counties—with their pastoral landscape of rolling hills and sculpted ridgelines. But while you’re here, it’s highly recommended that you do sample some of the world-class vintages at one of the many wineries nestled among the patterned rows of grape vines. Winery tours are the main attraction in this area, one thing the Napa Valley Conference & Visitors Bureau and Sonoma County Tourism Bureau both easily agree on. But the mineral-rich waters and hot springs found here make spa treatments a close second, not to mention the abundance of excellent dining options. And with plenty of green space, outdoor activities like those led by EcoRing throughout Sonoma’s Russian River area, provide additional opportunities to enjoy your wine country experience.
   
For meetings, the Silverado Resort in Napa offers 280 rooms and 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, along with a 16,000-square-foot spa complex, while Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa in southern Napa County has 6,841 sq. ft. of meeting space and 132 rooms. In Sonoma, the Four-Diamond Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa has 226 rooms and 18,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. And the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa comes with 250 rooms and more than 8,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.    

“Whether you want a wine cave, or a place looking over the Pacific Ocean, or among the redwoods, we offer that,” says Tim Zahner, director of public relations and marketing at Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, who says they cater mostly to small and medium-size meetings. Zahner adds that the bureau is currently offering planners an incentive of up to $4,000 toward the hotel master account for RFPs originated through their office. So whether you relax in a spa mud bath after a day of meetings, or discover which wine pairs best with salmon canapes, the wine country will have you crooning your amore long after you leave.

San Francisco  
I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco” by Tony Bennett

As signature songs go, it doesn’t get much better than Tony Bennett and his ballad to the city he’ll forever be associated with. You can hear it with each ding-ding of the cable car as it rolls over the hills of the city, from the shops and restaurants of Union Square, through the neighborhoods of Chinatown and North Beach and on into Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco is both a city of icons, like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and as user-friendly as any you could hope for, with a plethora of entertainment, museums and attractions (like the just-reopened California Academy of Sciences), plus hotels and meetings venues all within close proximity. There’s plenty of selling points for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For meeting space, the downtown Moscone Center offers 800,000 sq. ft. of meeting and convention areas, with progressive green initiatives like a composting program for all its organic waste. The adjacent InterContinental San Francisco, less than a year old, has 550 guest rooms and 43,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Also nearby, the San Francisco Marriott comes with 1,498 rooms and 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Just a few blocks north, the Four-Diamond Parc 55 Hotel features 1,010 rooms and 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

The options and convenience of San Francisco cannot be overstated. With a number of sightseeing activities, like ferry tours of the bay and bus or walking tours of the city, attractions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and de Young Museum, and fine dining on cuisines from around the world, you may never want to leave. And when you finally do, you may realize, just like Tony Bennett, you’ve left something behind.

San Jose  
Do you know the way to San Jose?
I’ve been away so long, I may go wrong and lose my way
Do you know the way to San Jose?
I’m going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose
“Do You Know the Way to San Jose” by Dionne Warwick

If you want to find your way to great meeting success, just hum this tune to the southern end of the Bay Area for a number of top-notch meetings facilities within easy reach of beaches, mountains and Silicon Valley businesses. Many of those facilities are in or near San Jose’s tree-lined downtown, a pedestrian-friendly area filled with shops, restaurants, art galleries, nightclubs and lounges, while the city boasts some of the best weather in the Bay Area.

Served by the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city’s primary meetings venue consists of the 143,000-square-foot San Jose McEnery Convention Center, with a 22,000-square-foot ballroom and the latest high-tech amenities. Across the street is the classic 1,119-seat California Theater, renovated in 2004, and nearby Santa Clara is the Network Meeting Center at Techmart with just over 15,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space. Area hotels include the Dolce Hayes Mansion, with 214 rooms and 33,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and the 805-room Fairmont San Jose with 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. And the Doubletree Hotel San Jose comes with 505 rooms and 48,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Besides the many local attractions, museums and performing arts centers, San Jose is a short distance from a variety of locales such as the beaches of Santa Cruz, the communities of Silicon Valley like Palo Alto and Mountain View, and East Bay hiking trails in the Diablo Range at places like Alum Rock Park. Once you’ve enjoyed all that San Jose has to offer, you’ll always find your way back.

Monterey  
The people came and listened
Some of them came and played
Others gave flowers away
Yes they did
Down in Monterey
Down in Monterey
“Monterey” by Eric Burdon and the Animals

From literary lions to leading artists and seminal pop music festivals, Monterey has quietly influenced our culture across generations. Maybe it’s the easy spirit of the place, or the rugged beauty of this coastal city, that has inspired more than its share of visitors. Ask the Monterey Convention and Visitors Bureau, and they’ll point you toward major attractions like Cannery Row, immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novel by the same name, and the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The area’s top meetings and convention venue is the downtown Monterey Conference Center, with 58,000 sq. ft. of space and a 19,600-square-foot ballroom/exhibition hall. Adjoining the center is the Monterey Marriott, whichd includes 341 rooms and 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. For a unique seaside setting among the trees, Asilomar conference grounds offers 313 rooms and 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Updated hotels include the recently renovated Carmel Mission Inn, with 165 rooms and 4,500 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Besides Monterey, the area also includes the towns of Carmel, with its quaint high-end shops, art galleries and restaurants, and the home-town feel of Pacific Grove, where you’ll find the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. Just to the south is one of the most spectacular stretches of natural beauty in the country in Big Sur, with its massive redwood stands and dramatic cliffs along the rocky Pacific shoreline. Like the rest of the Monterey Bay, it asks little and gives back generously.

Fresno
There's a beauty in the river
There's a beauty in the stream
There's a beauty in the forest at night
When the lonely nightbird screams
“Beauty in the River” by Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Fresno has long been known as the largest city and unofficial capital of California’s agricultural Central Valley, but just outside its back door is the state’s greatest treasure trove of rivers, lakes and foothills leading to spectacular state and national parks. The beauty found in these streams and forests have been celebrated in photos since Ansel Adams first trekked to Yosemite National Park, and along with a variety of cultural and entertainment options, lends a surprising diversity of attractions to Fresno and its environs. And according to Layla Forstedt, director of sales at the Fresno Convention & Visitors Bureau, the central location, mild weather and affordability make Fresno ideal for meetings.

The Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center is the primary conference venue, with 91,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, while the Save Mart Center offers seating up to 15,000. For hotels, the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center is the largest in the area, with 321 rooms and 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. There’s also the Four Points by Sheraton Fresno offering 204 rooms and 5,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Picadilly Inn Hotels has three locations in Fresno that offer meeting space. And just 30 miles to the east of downtown Fresno near Pine Flat Lake is the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort and Conference Center, with 52 rooms and more than 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Beyond the attractions in the area east of Fresno, like Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park, the city itself has plenty to offer visitors. “The newest and hottest right now in Fresno is the revitalization of our downtown,” says Forstedt. “We just had the grand opening of our newly renovated Met museum [Fresno Metropolitan Museum], expanded our cultural arts, opened new restaurants and created Sports Town on Kern Street.” With all the advantages of cost and location for hosting a meeting in Fresno, you also just might find a little beauty in its boulevards.

Bakersfield
I came here looking for something
I couldn’t find anywhere else
Hey, I'm not trying to be nobody
Just want a chance to be myself

I’ve done a thousand miles of thumbin’
I’ve worn blisters on my heels
Trying to find me something better
On the streets of Bakersfield

“Streets of Bakersfield” by Buck Owens

You won’t find any pretentious attitudes on the streets of Bakersfield, just a chance to be yourself in a down-home Central Valley town. What you will find here is a city that offers an array of activities and attractions for out-of-town visitors, along with a number of large and small meetings venues. And one of the most compelling reasons to come to Bakersfield, especially for Californians, is its location.

“We happen to be the population center point for the entire state, within four hours driving time of 90 percent of the state’s population,” says Don Cohen, manager of the Bakersfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. “If you’re planning a statewide event, we can get you here, put you up in a very comfortable style, and you’ll walk away with some money left in your pocket. We sometimes run 40 percent below other cities for lodging costs.”

The main event venue in Bakersfield is the Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center, with more than 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting and conference space and a 3,000-seat theater. In addition to being a popular cultural attraction, the Bakersfield Museum of Art can be used for banquets and events up to 200. Adjacent to Rabobank Arena is the just-opened Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center, with 259 rooms and 13,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Doubletree Hotel Bakersfield is the city’s largest hotel and has 262 rooms and 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

For attractions, the entrance to Sequoia National Forest is just 15 minutes northeast, while the city boasts of a number of ethnically diverse eateries, including a large selection of Basque restaurants. And according to Cohen, Bakersfield is far more than just a quiet farm town. “Guess what, we have things to do here. We’ll keep your group occupied, and they’ll leave with a smile on their face,” he says. “What I want them to know is it’s not what they think it is. We’re not the butt of a Johnny Carson joke. It’s really a fun, neat place.”

Los Angeles
Everybody’s very happy
‘Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day
I love L.A. (We love it)
“I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman

As they say, and often sing, it seems it never rains in Southern California. With all that sunny weather, who wouldn’t love L.A., not to mention the myriad of activities and attractions for virtually every taste found here in America’s second-largest city. There’s sun and surf from Malibu to Hermosa, the Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach and shops and cafes on Melrose Drive. The ever-improving Hollywood Boulevard is home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with plaques dedicated to a galaxy of stars, from Meryl Streep to Marlon Brando. And the popular Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax is a feast for the senses.
 
With the opening of the second phase of L.A. Live—the massive downtown entertainment complex—the Grammy Museum, Lucky Strike Lanes, Conga Room and restaurants now join the 7,100-seat, 235,000-square-foot Nokia Theatre L.A. Live and the more intimate Club Nokia. Phase three of L.A. Live opens in early 2010 with the JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton Residences. Adjacent to the project is the Los Angeles Convention Center, which houses 770,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space and 108,500 sq. ft. of meeting space on the second level. For hotels, the city’s largest is the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites with 1,354 rooms and 110,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel has 683 rooms and 72,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, while the trendy and chic The Standard Downtown L.A. comes with 207 rooms and 17,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

For the meeting planner who looks at L.A. and thinks endless sprawl, Michael Krouse, senior vice president of sales at L.A. Inc. has something to say. “We have a mass transit system and many people don’t know that. We have the Red, Green, Gold and Blue Lines that run from downtown to Universal Studios and get there in 15 minutes, can get to where the Oscars are held at Hollywood and Highland, can go to Old Town Pasadena, can go to Long Beach. You can go to these places without ever pulling a car out of the garage.” If Los Angeles can be that convenient, you just might really love it.
    
Inland Empire  
Now you go through Saint Looey
Joplin, Missouri…
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardin.
Won’t you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that California trip
Get your kicks on route sixty-six
“Route 66” by Nat King Cole

While the old Route 66 that sliced through the Inland Empire on its way to Santa Monica is now a modest historic roadway, there are plenty of byways, highways and expressways to get you anywhere you need to go in this area just east of Los Angeles, which includes the cities of San Bernardino, Ontario and Riverside. You can cruise out to the San Bernardino National Forest, down to the wineries around Temecula or into the historic downtown of Riverside, with its antique shops and farmer’s markets. Meeting planners will also get a kick out of the Inland Empire, with a number of meeting and hotel options spread throughout the region.
   
The ultra-modern Ontario Convention Center is the largest venue in the area with 225,000 sq. ft., and is operated by the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau. For a nearby hotel, the Ayres Hotel & Suites Ontario Convention Center comes with 167 suites and 4,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. Just to the east is the more intimate Riverside Convention Center at 45,000 sq. ft. and managed by that city’s CVB, the Riverside Convention & Visitors Bureau. Next to the center is the recently renovated Marriott Riverside with 292 rooms and 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. In downtown San Bernardino, the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center has 230 rooms and 19,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 13,000-square-foot ballroom.

Just up the road in the surrounding hills, you can get away to the spas and resorts at Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake, or simply enjoy shopping at the region’s historic downtowns. Either way the Inland Empire gives you a host of options. It’s a timely tip that planners should quickly get hip to.

Palm Springs
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw shimmering light
“Hotel California” by the Eagles

For any driver cruising through the desert at night, the shimmering lights of Palm Springs are no doubt a welcome sight. It’s an oasis of new culture and activity that has renewed the city’s image from retirement mecca to resort getaway. And like a desert flower after a rain, hotel and resort business is blooming in the area, with more than $2 billion in new hotel product having recently opened, or about to by 2011, which makes it a perfect opportunity for planners to take advantage of the great venues and values.

The largest meetings venue in the area is the Palm Springs Convention Center in the heart of downtown and expanded in 2005 to 140,000 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space. In nearby Indian Wells, the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa has 560 rooms and 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space (indoor and outdoor) and the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort and Spa comes with 530 rooms and 88,000 sq. ft. of space for meetings. In Desert Springs, the Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa has 884 rooms and 210,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage includes 512 rooms and 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Slated to open in late 2009 is the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, while The Mondrian and Hard Rock Hotels are scheduled for completion in 2011.

“Our dry climate, sunshine and incredible mountain views are among the deal-makers for meeting planners,” says Mark Graves, director of communications for the Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities Convention and Visitors Association. “Meetings come here year-round, but weather-wise, any time between September and May are most desirable. Our major high season is January through May. Planners would be surprised at the incentives many properties are offering [them] to give us a fresh look. This is not your grandmother’s Palm Springs, as they say.”

Orange County  
If everybody had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like Californ-i-a
You’d see em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ U.S.A.
“Surfin’ U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys

They don’t call Huntington Beach “Surf City USA” for nothing. With eight miles of white-sand beaches, the city is similar to many of the coastal towns in this famous county between Los Angeles and San Diego, attracting visitors to its sun and surf for the ultimate Southern California experience. Besides the dining, shopping and cultural attractions at places like Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, you’ll find plenty of magical diversions for your group at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, which is also home to the 990-room Disneyland Hotel with 136,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

The largest event venue in the county is the Anaheim Convention Center with 813,000 sq. ft. of exhibit and meeting space, 51 meeting rooms and a 38,000-square-foot ballroom. For meetings hotels, there’s The Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach, offering 132 rooms and 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and the recently remodeled Marriott Newport Beach has 532 rooms and 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. To the north, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa offers 517 guest rooms and 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, along with a 20,000 sq. ft. spa. For large groups, the Hilton Anaheim has 1,573 rooms and 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and is walking distance to the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland Resort.

In addition to the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, Orange County is also served by several smaller organizations including the centrally located Irvine Chamber Visitors Bureau, within easy reach of a bounty of activities found around the county. Another OC organization is The Oceanfront, a consortium of hotels and resorts in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Dana Point. For activities, nearby is the Huntington Beach Central Library and Cultural Center, which hosts a number of art and cultural events and includes a 320-seat theater, while Catalina Island is a short ferry ride from Dana Point and Newport Beach. And to really experience Orange County like a native, there’s the well-regarded Corky Carroll’s Surf School in Huntington Beach that’ll have you catching waves like you’re sitting on top of the world.

San Diego  
And I went to San Diego
The birthplace of the summer
And watched the ocean dance under the moon
“June on the West Coast” by Bright Eyes

Whatever time of year you go to San Diego, you’ll always experience the same season:  summer. And with such perpetually perfect weather, there’s a full range of activities for visitors to take advantage of. From SeaWorld to the famous San Diego Zoo, historic Old Town to the dining and nightlife hub of the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego has a lot of attractions to go with its ideal climate. It’s a point of pride for the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau.

At the edge of the downtown Gaslamp Quarter is the San Diego Convention Center, the city’s largest venue with 615,701 sq. ft. of exhibit space and another 204,114 sq. ft. of meeting space. Adjacent to the center is the newly renovated Hilton San Diego Bayfront claiming 1,200 rooms and 165,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Within walking distance is the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, offering 1,625 rooms and 125,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The historic US Grant has hosted 13 presidents and comes with 270 rooms and 33,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Just as uniquely historic is the Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island with 757 rooms and 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

With the so much to do and see in San Diego, you may never want to leave. But like the rest of California and its top destinations, a trip here will have you singing its praises long after you return home.


Convention & Visitors Bureaus

Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau

Bakersfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

Fresno Convention & Visitors Bureau

Huntington Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau

Irvine Chamber Visitors Bureau

LA Inc. The Convention and Visitors Bureau

Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Napa Valley Conference & Visitors Bureau

Newport Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau

North Lake Tahoe Visitors & Convention Bureau

Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau

Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities Convention and Visitors Authority

Riverside Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau

San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau

San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau

San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sonoma County Tourism Bureau