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by Michael J. Shapiro | June 01, 2016
Why here?
San Diego has a lot to get excited about, including the centennial anniversary of the world-renowned San Diego Zoo (pictured), a state-of-the-art facility that has long been a progressive force in conservation. It's a wildly popular event location as well, with a half-dozen venues on-site.


NEWS FLASH
 Late this month, the 1,360-room Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina will debut a $107 million meetings and events expansion, which includes a two-level ballroom, the expansive outdoor Marina Terrace and the Marina Walk public walkway.

 The San Diego Chargers have unveiled an ambitious new stadium and convention center expansion plan, and are trying to get the measure on the November ballot.


WHAT A DIVE
Treat attendees to skydiving thrills indoors, at either iFLY San Diego or Airborne San Diego, the latter opening later this year. Vertical wind tunnels take the place of planes.
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SAN DIEGO

Local Update

 In April, the dual-branded 253-room SpringHill Suites San Diego Downtown/Bayfront and the 147-room Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayfront opened for business. The property is San Diego's 17th waterfront hotel and features a common elevator for both entities.

 The new hotels cited above are part of a new mixed-use development called BRIC, which also includes 27,000 square feet of retail space and 11,400 square feet of meeting space. BRIC is fronted by the 1.6-acre Lane Field Park, named after a former baseball venue that stood on the site and was home to the Pacific Coast League Padres from 1936 to 1957.

 Also in the BRIC development, the 400-room InterContinental San Diego is slated to debut in 2018. The 18-story tower property promises 23,000 square feet of meeting space as well as a club lounge, a signature restaurant, a fitness center and spa, a rooftop bar and an outdoor pool. Two ballrooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows with views of downtown and San Diego Bay.

Meeting Hotels: Among properties downtown and in the Gaslamp Quarter are the 1,628-room Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, 1,360-room Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, 1,190-room Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, 600-room Wyndham San Diego Bayside, 511-room Omni San Diego Hotel, 450-room Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, 436-room Westin San Diego, 420-room Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, 337-room Embassy Suites Hotel San Diego Bay-Downtown, 317-room Pendry San Diego, 306-room San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, 283-room Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, 270-room The US Grant-A Luxury Collection Hotel, 258-room Renaissance San Diego Downtown Hotel, 253-room SpringHill Suites San Diego Downtown/Bayfront, 245-room Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown and 147-room Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayfront.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit mcvenues.com.

Convention Center: San Diego Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 615,701 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 72; (619) 525-5000

Airport Transit: San Diego International Airport, about 3 miles northwest of the downtown district. Transfer cost by taxi to downtown, about $25 including tip; by Super Shuttle (shared), $8; by Uber, about $11

Taxes: Room tax, 12.5%; sales tax, 8%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12.5%

Group Venue:
 For spectacular surroundings and easy access to waterfront activities, consider Shelter Island, which, by virtue of a narrow strip of land that connects it to the mainland, is not an island at all. Among the handful of properties on-site is the 129-room Kona Kai Resort & Spa from Noble House Hotels & Resorts. The venue provides a casually luxurious vibe with views of the marina and a private beach. It offers 13,000 square feet of indoor and 32,000 square feet of outdoor event space.

Contact: San Diego Tourism Authority, (619) 232-3101