Doing Business in San Diego - Page 2

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The tourism industry is San Diego's third largest generator of revenue and San Diego County boasts over fifty-five thousand hotel and motel rooms. One sure sign of metropolitan progress is in the hospitality offerings to be found here. Business travelers will most likely find themselves wanting to be downtown, near the San Diego Convention Center. Here in the Downtown/Gaslamp District you'll find some of the most unique and fascinating "business-friendly" properties. After a fifty-two million dollar renovation, the US Grant Hotel offers two hundred and seventy rooms in stunning elegance and sophistication. The Keating Hotel boasts modern sex appeal with Italian design, while the Britt Scripps Inn is a Victorian Queen Anne-inspired property with nine distinct suites, all lavishly decorated. Extended stays are made easy at The Park Manor Suites Hotel at Balboa Park. Suites are affordably priced, recently refurbished, and all studios, one-, and two-bedrooms come with full kitchenettes. The main dining room here (Inn at the Park) is a popular restaurant attracting a local gay clientele. The Park Manor's rooftop bar is also a great place for a sunset cocktail.

With the tourist dollar continuing to shine, San Diego saw the opening of several new multi-million dollar properties in 2007. The Ivy Hotel is a swank, ultra-sophisticated sanctuary with many VIP amenities for the business traveler, and the Hard Rock Hotel has made quite a splash in the Gaslamp Quarter.

More signs of contemporary life can be found in San Diego's vibrant restaurant scene, and there are hundreds of worthy options for client lunches and dinners. A trusted name for fresh Italian cuisine is Busalacchi's, located uptown near the heart of Hillcrest. Since opening their flagship restaurant in 1986, the Busalacchi family has gone on to open other restaurants and cafés in the now revitalized Little Italy neighborhood, adjacent to Downtown.

Local culinary icon, Chef Deborah Scott has been on the San Diego restaurant scene for fifteen years. "Although San Diego is one of the largest cities in the country," she notes, "the opportunity to make a mark is still possible in our quickly growing city. The weather is ideal, the people are diverse, and there is a large gay community. We're close to the desert, skiing, water sports, mountain hiking, and great vacation destinations such as Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and Mexico!" To hear her speak of her city it would seem she loves San Diego as much as her work. Chef Scott's restaurants are as dynamic and diverse as the city in which she lives. Kemo Sabe in Hillcrest offers an artistic Pacific Rim menu, while her Indigo Grill in Little Italy blends themes from the Arctic to Mexico. Chef Scott's newest venture, Island Prime on Harbor Island, boasts the city's best view as well as prime steaks and chops. Open for lunch and dinner, this is the place to dine when it's crucial to make a great impression.

With dozens of gay bars and clubs to choose from, you may have to remind yourself you're in town for work. If you find the time, be sure to check out the many hotspots on University Avenue in Hillcrest. You'll find more nightlife options in Hillcrest on Park Avenue, a short taxi ride from Downtown.

San Diego Gay Pride takes place the last weekend in July and the route of the annual Pride parade runs through University Avenue to Sixth Avenue, ending at the west entrance to Balboa Park. San Diego Gay Pride is considered the largest civic event in the city of San Diego.

Any visit to San Diego, work related or not, requires a trip to the beach, if only to enjoy a sunset. The most difficult beach to reach is Black's Beach, located twenty minutes north of downtown. While not officially sanctioned or totally legal, this does tend to be the nudist beach, with a gay section further to the north. The steep hike down the long dirt path seems to keep most tourists away. Coronado Beach on Coronado Island is a beautiful expanse of white sand and Pacific waves. Access is considerably easier than Blacks Beach, but the crowds can be much thicker. La Jolla Shores is a spacious, family-friendly beach with a park, while Ocean Beach, home of the Ocean Beach Pier, is where you'll find the surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers.

The once sleepy beach town I knew as a child has been gradually transformed into a metropolitan megaplex of high-end hotels and world-class restaurants. While change can sometimes be difficult to accept, I'm happy to see that much of San Diego's original charm remains intact. For all the millions of dollars in new development, there is something distinct about this city that remains unchanged. While the business traveler enjoys convenience, sophisticated hospitality, and natural beauty, it is the San Diego resident who remains the city's best natural resource.

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