CVC San Diego: Sip this. Feast on that. Relax here
The San Diego Convention Center offers the best of both worlds for attendees at Fetch, a dvm360 conference. On one side, you have the wide-open expanse of the Pacific Ocean. On the other side, you have the Gaslamp Quarter, a 16-square-block dining and entertainment hub of more than 100 restaurants, pubs, shops, nightclubs and more.
Finding food and fun won’t be a problem. Deciding what to pick from a long list of fabulous options might. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to some sweet spots within one mile of the convention center to get you started.
Sip this: Coffee break ideas
Want to sip your coffee next to a kitty? The Cat Café gets you and is here for you. A café purchase is your admission fee to its playpen of adoptable cats. If you just need a quick furry feline fix without the caffeine, you can visit the playpen for $5.
Continuing with the cat theme, you could also try SHAKA Coffee—serving LION Coffee—which brews Hawaiian coffee and features espresso drinks with Big Island flavors. Shouldn’t every morning start with a coconut latte?
If you only have a minute, the convention center is home to three Starbucks. (Phew!)
If coffee isn’t vital to your survival, first, tell us your secret, and second, perhaps you’d like to kick-start your day with a juice or smoothie from Vitality Tap instead. With pineapple, banana, orange juice and coconut water, the “Beachin’” smoothie sounds worthy of its name.
Feast on that: Fast and formal dining options
Don’t let the name fool you—Richard Walker’s Pancake House has much, much more than pancakes (but you might as well try the cherry pancakes while you’re there). And if the idea of tiramisu pancakes topped with espresso syrup and mascarpone sauce sounds irresistible, don’t miss Café 21. Hit either spot for a hearty breakfast or enviable brunch.
If you’re going to eat fish tacos while in San Diego (and you should), you might as well eat them outside and in large quantities. Tin Fish can satisfy both conditions, and because it is located across the street from the convention center, it’s a great stop if you’re short on time but tall on appetite.
Rockin’ Baja Lobster is another sunny spot for fish tacos, but you may want to try one of their signature Baja Buckets instead. Seafood of your choice is flash fried and served in a bucket alongside corn on the cob, ranchero beans, Mexican rice, warm flour tortillas, fresh salsas and honey chili butter.
Biga features handcrafted Italian cuisine and was given the honor of “Best Pizza in San Diego” by the travel website Thrillest. You might as well inspect one of their wood-fired pizzas to see if the award was deserved. Inspect multiple times, if necessary.
For burgers with single-source, American grass-fed beef, visit Burger Lounge. Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten-free? Burger Lounge has options for you, too, including a quinoa burger and fresh, non-burger-joint-esque salads. To get an extra spring in your step, top off your meal with a root beer float or chocolate milkshake.
If you’d like to splurge on a nice dinner, Searsucker serves “New American Classic” cuisine like duck pot pie, buttermilk fried chicken and duck fat fries with parmesan, prosciutto dust and chipotle ketchup. For fresh seafood and prime steak, visit Lou & Mickey’s, with menu items like grilled teriyaki wild Ecuadorian mahi mahi, macadamia nut crusted wild Alaskan halibut and wild Alaskan red king crab legs.
For after-dinner drinks with a view of the city, visit The Nolen, a sleek rooftop bar on top of the Courtyard Marriot featuring inventive drinks in a cozy setting. If wood paneling and back-slapping is more your style, visit The Field, a turn-of-the-century Irish pub that was shipped, piece by piece, from Ireland to San Diego.
Finally, midnight breakfast is a thing at Brian’s 24, a diner that serves up hearty fare 24/7. We’re not sure if biscuits and gravy is a good idea at 2 a.m., but we’re willing to find out.
Relax here: Places to give your brain a break
The Gaslamp Quarter has several venues for live entertainment. Click here to view the December calendar for the Balboa and Civic theatres (Fair warning: It’s mostly just The Nutcracker.)
If you’d like to break away from the pack and embrace your wild side, the San Diego Zoo is a 15-minute taxi ride from the convention center. It is home to over 3,500 rare and endangered animals and more than 700,000 exotic plants in a beautiful parklike environment.