Downtown San Diego hotels are favorites for travelers seeking an urban yet convenient location. The airport is 5-10 minutes away, and you can walk to top restaurants, nightlife, and popular things to do across the area’s multiple neighborhoods that I’ll quickly explain first.
This list of best hotels in downtown San Diego includes Gaslamp Quarter San Diego hotels, but you need not limit yourself to this historic district. Rapidly-gentrifying East Village is home to PETCO Park (where the San Diego Padres play) and great dining. The two hotels mentioned in the Civic Core neighborhood are so close to the Gaslamp Quarter that people think they’re in it.
I mention hotels in the Marina neighborhood along the bay near Seaport Village and the San Diego Convention Center where there are water views. The Columbia neighborhood is steps from Little Italy and the Embarcadero waterfront entertainment area.
You can also refer to my separate lists of best Little Italy San Diego hotels and best San Diego airport hotels. These two groups of options are also located in greater downtown San Diego. I know, so many choices for where to stay!
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OFFERINGS MAY BE MODIFIEDCheck with the hotels before you book to see what amenities and activities are available during your stay.
1. Pendry San Diego (Top Pick)
Neighborhood: Gaslamp Quarter
Address: 550 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Pendry San Diego is one of my favorite downtown San Diego hotels because it offers travelers contemporary rooms, excellent dining, awesome concierge services, and five-star customer service. I receive A LOT of positive reviews and feedback from families, solo, business, and couples travelers. The hotel earns its repeat guests.
People like the stunning decor throughout the entire hotel including the beer hall, social club (hotel guests skip the queue to this nightlife experience), rooftop lounge, fitness center, elegant hotel bar, and signature farm-to-table restaurant. Much of the dining is outdoors to take advantage of the San Diego sun, but of course, room service is always an option.
The luxury boutique hotel is not a small hotel either with 317 rooms, including 36 suites. And, they’re extremely pet-friendly with no weight limit or fee for up to two dogs per accommodation.
Pendry San Diego is part of Montage Hotels and a Virtuoso property which means that I can add some amenities like complimentary breakfast for two and a $100 hotel credit to your room.
*If on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and online booking.
2. InterContinental San Diego
Location: Columbia (across from the Embarcadero)
Address: 901 Bayfront Court, San Diego, CA 92101
The newest big brand luxury hotel to hit the downtown scene is InterContinental San Diego. The location right across from the Port of San Diego Embarcadero (where the cruise ship terminal is) makes sightseeing on the San Diego bay, visits to the USS Midway Museum or the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and dinners in Little Italy a breeze. I’ve also listed it as a top place to stay near San Diego International Airport.
All of the 400 contemporary rooms and suites enjoy water views and coastal-inspired decor. Suites and Club Level rooms come with Club InterContinental lounge access for 2 people. Inclusions are daily breakfast, all-day beer and wine, evening cocktail hour, and more. You can also lounge at the outdoor swimming pool with panoramic bay views.
Some people feel this InterContinental isn’t as luxe as others, but we are rather relaxed to begin here in San Diego. I like the location, the views, the Club Level, and the amenities. There’s also a fitness center and an onsite Starbucks in addition to two restaurants and three bars. It prices well for what you get, usually. The best hotel deals for this property are usually via IHG Rewards.
3. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Neighborhood: Marina (near the Convention Center)
Address: 1 Market Place, San Diego, CA 92101
Combining a great location, views, and amenities, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego will impress. You’ll have to not mind its size of over 1,600 rooms and suites spanning across two massive towers. A benefit of the height is the sweeping views of the San Diego Bay to Coronado from the rooftop bars — by far one of the best vantage points in the neighborhood — and many rooms.
They offer the most seasonal activities for kids like Camp Hyatt, movies at the pool, arts and crafts, foosball, Friday game night, and more out of the downtown San Diego hotels, so it also made my list of best kid-friendly San Diego hotels. They also have a basketball court, volleyball court, tennis court, and shuffleboard. You can also book Club Level rooms. Its location is also near the Convention Center and above Seaport Village, but also an easy walk down the USS Midway Museum and other Embarcadero sights. You can also walk to baseball games at PETCO Park in the other direction. A Hertz rental car desk is also located inside the hotel.
If you need a moderately-priced suite, check here because they tend to price well. Service can be a little impersonal due to the hotel’s size. I can often upgrade you if you book in as a Hyatt Prive guest through me. Other perks at this hotel in downtown San Diego include breakfast for two and a $100 hotel credit.
4. THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego
Neighborhood: Gaslamp Quarter
Address: 326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
Part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, THE US GRANT is situated in the heart of downtown San Diego. In addition to being known for exemplary service, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The five-star hotel was built originally in 1910 by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant.
For art lovers and shoppers —you’re in the right spot. The hotel sits a block north of the Lyceum Theater and one block east of Spreckels Theater. And, it’s a short walk to the eclectic Gaslamp boutiques.
Despite having 270 rooms and suites, THE US GRANT feels more intimate than some larger hotels. Guests also like the 9′ ceilings and modern rooms decorated with custom contemporary art. It’s one of the haunted hotels in San Diego and known for its excellent service.
For more detail, read my review of THE US GRANT. Virtuoso is typically the best way hotel deal because of the $100 food and beverage credit and daily breakfast for two in the Grant Grill. This luxury hotel prices well because they do not have a swimming pool.
*If on mobile, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and online booking. Do not input the number of children traveling as they will be priced as adults. Place them in the booking notes section and I’ll add them on to the reservation when I double-check it.
5. Omni San Diego Hotel
Neighborhood: Gaslamp Quarter
Address: 675 L Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Rumored to be the hotel chain of choice for Oprah Winfrey, the Omni San Diego Hotel offers a moderate-luxury experience with a prime location. Positioned at the base of Gaslamp, you are located right in between the iconic Gaslamp sign, PETCO Park baseball stadium, and the San Diego Convention Center. Other amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, a coffee shop, a full bar, and a poolside terrace restaurant.
They even have a pedestrian walkway that connects the hotel to PETCO Park and a 4th-floor baseball memorabilia collection. This hotel in downtown San Diego is popular with families and you can book rooms with a bay view.
6. Hotel Republic San Diego, Autograph Collection
Address: 421 W B Street, San Diego, CA 92101
This lifestyle hotel in downtown San Diego is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection of over 125 one-of-a-kind properties worldwide.
A local restaurant group handles the three onsite dining options ranging from a cool rooftop terrace to a grab-and go cafe.
Club Level rooms, a complimentary benefit for Marriott Rewards Gold and Platinum members (though anyone can book Club Level), come with all-day water and sodas, continental breakfast, and daily happy hour in the lounge. Saturday rooftop yoga, Thursday “yappy hour” with dogs, pop-up events, and contemporary coastal decor immerse guests in the local experience at Hotel Republic San Diego.
You can book in as a Marriott Luminous VIP guest with extra amenities such as complimentary daily breakfast for two, a room upgrade at check-in (subject to availability), and more.
7. Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton
Location: Columbia (on the border of Little Italy)
Address: 401 W Ash Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Carte Hotel San Diego is a new boutique hotel. On Civic maps, it’s in the Columbia neighborhood but it’s considered a Little Italy San Diego hotel because it’s right on the edge. In a few blocks, you’ll be either at the Embarcadero or in the heart of Little Italy’s shopping and dining.
Don’t worry, you’ll be able to work off all of that fresh pasta and pizza. The hotel is integrated with a 28,000-square-foot Fit health club with a full roster of classes, grab and go healthy eats, and state-of-the-art cardio and weight equipment. You can cool down at the outdoor pool on the lovely rooftop terrace, cocktail in-hand.
The guest rooms are contemporary coastal design. I like the refillable water bottle stations on every floor. I can also tell you from personal experience at dinner that the onsite restaurant, Watercolors, offers an excellent sea-to-table menu, wine list, and craft cocktails.
8. The Guild Hotel, San Diego, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Category: Luxury (though prices well)
Address: 500 W Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
What draws people to The Guild Hotel, San Diego which is part of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio, is the way the architects and designers integrated a luxury boutique hotel into existing features of a historic Italian Renaissance-inspired building that was the Army-Navy YMCA.
This is a beautiful hotel from top to bottom featuring highlights such as the original stone staircase, intimate seating areas, a lush courtyard. Army green and blue accents complement refined, but minimal interiors.
It’s meant to be an experiential hotel so they’ve formed some fun partnerships. For a nominal fee ($10) guests can purchase day passes to the Broadway Athletic and Swim Club across the street. If you need a Bugatti or Lamborghini for your trip, use the hotel’s affiliation with O’gara to find your exotic ride. When it’s time to go back to a Padres game, they can hook you up with a sky box and PETCO Park concierge.
You’ll want to pay attention to the accommodations when it comes to size as some guest rooms are small even for downtown. Go with a higher floor if you’re a light sleeper. I have some great perks here that include a $100 hotel credit, daily breakfast for two, and more.
9. The Westgate Hotel
Neighborhood: Civic Core (edge of the Gaslamp Quarter)
Address: 1055 2nd Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Donning a classic Victorian vibe, The Westgate Hotel capitalizes on an era of grand décor while providing modern amenities expected by savvy travelers. Enjoy big rooms, a lovely rooftop pool, and a fantastic location in the heart of Downtown San Diego.
I can say from personal experience that you’ll almost feel like you’re in Europe, but without crossing the Atlantic.
Guests can also take advantage of the adjacent AquaVie Spa + Wellness Center during a stay. Be sure to book the lovely Sunday champagne brunch at Le Fontainebleau.
10. Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Neighborhood: Marina (adjacent to the Convention Center)
Address: 333 W Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
This waterfront hotel prioritizes creating a unique and wonderful experience for all guests. Just outside of the main Gaslamp area, the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina sits on the waterfront steps from Seaport Village.
Conference-goers stay here because it’s also adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. Every room boasts either a city or San Diego Bay view. You also have Marina services at the hotel such as boat, jet ski, and paddleboard rentals.
Enjoy a spacious tropical outdoor pool, their restaurant right along the bay, and good customer service every step of the way.
11. Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
Location: Gaslamp Quarter
Address: 207 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Right across the street from the San Diego Convention Center and adjacent to the iconic Gaslamp Sign, the Hard Rock Hotel puts you at the base of downtown San Diego, right in all the action.
This modern hotel gives you access to their stunning rooftop pool, enjoys a spa on-site, and has the hip nightclub at the bottom of the venue. And, of course, there is a ton of rock and roll memorabilia inside. I think it’s for people who like the rock and roll vibe, late nights, and a pool scene though families do stay here.
12. Andaz San Diego
Location: Gaslamp Quarter
Address: 600 F Street, San Diego, CA 92101
For the traveler seeking a sleek, modern venue, the Andaz San Diego is sure to delight. They easily blend a modern minimalist approach with a chic design targeted to a younger “hip” crowd. They even have a Star Suite with king-sized bunk beds. A really cool Cabana Suite has a downstairs section that opens up to the rooftop pool.
At the rooftop outdoor pool, you’ll find gorgeous cabanas and a bar that is always a crowd-pleaser. Rooms have recently been refreshed and this historic building first opened in 1913 for the Worlds Fair. You’re surrounded by nightlife when you check-in here. They are also a pet-friendly hotel in downtown San Diego.
Andaz San Diego can also be booked with a $75 property credit, breakfast for two, and more at no additional cost to you.
13. Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego
Neighborhood: Civic Core (one block north of the Gaslamp Quarter)
Address: 1047 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego offers one of my favorite complimentary perks — wine hour. This stylish property has a spa and outdoor pool deck in addition to an excellent restaurant. The ocean-inspired decor is meant to help you relax and immerse into the San Diego vibe.
Be sure to take advantage of the beer concierge who can help lead you to the best suds in town. They’ll also have your pets and kids California Dreamin’ in no time. Take out a loaner bike to explore and book a Skyline room for the best city views. Book using IHG Rewards.
14. Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
Neighborhood: East Village
Address: 509 9th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
As LEED-certified with eco-friendly operating practices in place, Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter is likely the greenest hotel on this list. Check out their pet-friendly packages as the dog is welcome to stay with you. This boutique property also has a great rooftop bar, Aveda bath amenities, stylish room decor, and much more.
Use the IHG Rewards (free to join) discount to book on InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), of which Hotel Indigo is a member.
15. Hotel Z San Diego
Neighborhood: Gaslamp Quarter
Address: 521 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
For an out of the ordinary experience, consider Hotel Z San Diego. This hip boutique hotel puts a fun twist on the regular amenities, integrating a stylish (and playful) pineapple into countless aspects of your stay — including some tasty welcome and afternoon treats.
Enjoy complimentary bikes to tour the downtown San Diego area, friendly staff, and Hotel Z’s convenient downtown location. There’s no onsite food (other than snacks for purchase and the aforementioned treats) but it’s okay with all of the fabulous restaurants with walking distance.
16. Residence Inn San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter
Neighborhood: Gaslamp Quarter
Address: 356 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
The Residence Inn San Diego is worth a mention on this list because it is an excellent option for those looking for an extended stay option within walking distance to San Diego’s best restaurants, shopping, and the Convention Center.
It’s the only all-suite property in the area with fully-equipped kitchens and full-sized appliances, making it also a great option for families. Breakfast is also included in the rate. Use the Marriott Bonvoy discount (free to join) to book.
Downtown San Diego Hotels on a Map
Again, you can choose a hotel based on its location but you can also let the property’s amenities determine where you stay. Each one of these hotels in downtown San Diego is a good option.
Rest assured that from any downtown San Diego hotel, it’s easy to get to popular tourist attractions such as the USS Midway Museum, America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, and a floating city rich in maritime history. The world-renowned San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park museums take just a few minutes to reach. Hop on the ferry over to Coronado beaches to spend an entire day soaking in the sun while enjoying the soft waves along the golden shore. In short, there are many things to do in downtown San Diego and just beyond.
TIP: PARKING IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGOYou’ll find that regardless of star rating, rates for self-parking and valet parking at hotels in downtown San Diego can skew rather high. There isn’t a lot of parking in the downtown area. Street parking is usually metered and difficult to find. There are a handful of parking lots where you can purchase all-day parking, however, they can be pricey as well. I suggest budgeting the cost of having a car into your hotel stay or considering going carless.
Downtown San Diego Vacation Rentals
If you’ve decided that a downtown San Diego vacation rental is more appropriate for your situation, I prefer Marriott Homes and Villas because they vet the properties and only use those with professional management. However, VRBO has the most availability.
Look for vacation rentals in the heart of Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, or along the San Diego Bay between the Convention Center and Little Italy. Do not veer too far east or north of these areas.
What are your favorite downtown San Diego hotels?