Staycation Memories at the Historic US Grant Hotel

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them. 

Being on vacation doesn’t always mean journeying far from home. In fact, a lot of the time it’s quite the opposite when you pick a part of your city that you don’t visit often. For us, this means a downtown San Diego hotel, about 15 minutes or so from our house.

Sure, we attend events, sightsee and go out for dinner in downtown San Diego but it’s a truly different experience when parking at the luxurious US Grant Hotel for a few days, which we did courtesy of Starwood’s My Summer Story campaign. The goal of the campaign was to encourage people to make summer months stand out from the rest of the year with cool vacation or staycation memories.

A Hotel Named After A U.S. President

$1.9 million was a lot of money back in 1910—and that’s how much it cost to build the US Grant Hotel, named by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. in honor of his father, President Ulysses S. Grant. The downtown San Diego hotel has experienced ups, downs and ownership changes throughout the years but has a fascinating history.

Fourteen U.S. Presidents and countless celebrities have stayed there over its 100-year life. It was also a speakeasy and a place where women’s rights were won. Now, after careful restoration reminiscent of the original hotel, the US Grant is better than ever. An unexpected benefit of our recent stay was that my 6-year-old was interested in the history behind the downtown San Diego hotel so I found myself Googling all sorts of presidential trivia to share with her.

US Grant Hotel Location

This San Diego luxury hotel is across the street from Horton Plaza and within walking distance to many of San Diego’s best restaurants. It’s close enough to the downtown buzz, yet far enough away so that noise and chaos isn’t an issue. There is underground parking accessible via 4th Avenue.

Stunning Rooms With Original Artwork

Our Signature Suite was perfect for the two of us. This photo just about sums it up. US Grant Luxury Hotel San Diego To be totally honest, we didn’t leave the suite much. Between the living area, in-room dining, comfortable beds and really cool vibe, we had a blast just hanging out. We hadn’t had a chance to chill together in a while.

Delicious Dining Options

We did venture down to the famous Grant Grill for an early dinner in the lounge area. I love that the kids menu has presidential trivia on it and beautifully-presented grilled vegetables. Though, being the sophisticated 6-year-old that she is, the charcuterie board was her order. I highly recommend it. Grant Grill at US Grant Hotel Luxury San Diego The Grant Grill now features a waffle brunch on Sunday that basically has every sort of sinful, homemade topping you can imagine putting on a waffle including a variety of sugars, banana caramel sauce and so much more. We sampled it at a Neiman Marcus brunch the following day (more on this fabulous event later).

For the times when you just don’t want to leave the room (and with a setup like we had, it’s entirely possible), in-room dining has a range of options. It was nice to actually sit down at the dining room table above and eat a proper hotel breakfast together.

Things to Do in or Near the Gaslamp Quarter with Kids

The US Grant can call a taxi for you if you don’t have a car.

  • Shop at Horton Plaza across the street.
  • Walk to a variety of award-winning Gaslamp Restaurants. I can’t think of restaurants I wouldn’t take my daughter too (we tend to dine early, however, at happy hour) but a kid favorite is Chocolat Cremerie, which has a ton of gelato and casual eats. It’s walkable.
  • Visit the Children’s Museum which has plenty of hands-on activities that kids love.
  • Attend a Padres game at PETCO park when they are in town.
  • Explore Seaport Village on the harbor with its entertainment, restaurants, shops and even the USS Midway Museum. This is walkable, but going by car is better for young kids.
  • Drive to Balboa Park, the nation’s largest urban cultural park, about 10 minutes or less away.

In the end, our summer story involved enjoying quite a bit of local San Diego flavor, in addition to some airplane travel. But for families looking for a luxurious, comfortable place to park the family in downtown San Diego–the US Grant Hotel is a perfect choice.

Have you stayed at the US Grant Hotel?

Book the US Grant


Previous post

Kids Recipe: Easy Microwave Egg Puzzle

Next post

Kids Recipes: Healthy Egg Flatbread Pizza


  1. Josh
    August 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm — Reply

    Spent the weekend in Newport RI touring the mansions and drinking wine!

  2. susan smoaks
    August 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm — Reply

    oh my husband’s birthday this past weekend we had a nice romantic date

  3. tim2
    August 26, 2013 at 4:28 am — Reply

    My best summer moment was taking my 5 yr old to Maui. She had such a good time there’s no way I would go without her

  4. joseph gersch
    August 26, 2013 at 1:43 am — Reply

    My wife and I went camping under the stars in our own backyard. We roughed it with no household amenities

  5. marc m
    August 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm — Reply

    went to Big Bend and Marfa in Texas, some of the most relaxing places ever.

  6. Raquel
    August 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm — Reply

    My best summer moment was this June enjoying the view from the Eiffel Tower in Paris…

  7. Jim
    August 25, 2013 at 5:18 pm — Reply

    Living the all-inclusive life at Barcelo Bavaro in the Dominican Republic! Not a worry in the world.

  8. Tammy K
    August 25, 2013 at 12:36 pm — Reply

    Tool a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Seafood, lighthouses, sunshine. What’s not to like?!

  9. Miz Vickik
    August 25, 2013 at 7:54 am — Reply

    My husband and I went to Treasure Island in Florida and had a wonderful time. Great views of the ocean, dolphins out on the water. Loved it!

  10. Judy
    August 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm — Reply

    A family trip to the beach in Maryland–great memories!

  11. Jean Marie
    August 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm — Reply

    We went to the shores of Lake Erie on the 4th of July and got to see fireworks over the water. It was amazing!

  12. Kristen M
    August 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm — Reply

    We live near SDSU and for the first time purchased their summer family swim membership. Favorite summer memories have been family swim dates. More summer memories further from home were made while camping in Yosemite. Anywhere I can be outside in nature is my happy place!

  13. Luis Espinoza
    August 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    Stayed at US Grant and visited restaurant nearby. Waiter asked where visiting from and says he’s from Venice. My 5yo says ” I love Venice! ” He asks if she liked beach. Confused 5yo says ‘there’s no beach in Venice!’ Stayed at SPG near pz San Marco!

  14. Gloria
    August 24, 2013 at 7:19 am — Reply

    My husband and I spent a couple nights exploring baja. The weather was perfect and food amazing!

  15. August 24, 2013 at 7:02 am — Reply

    One of my favorite places to go in summer is Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. It’s a small, quaint town known for it’s amazing wine region! Two of my places which are not to be missed are the Christmas Store in the heart of downtown, and the Kurtz Orchards Marketplace next door. Reward yourself with the Asiago Bread Topper – they call it a “bread topper,” but it’s incredibly versatile, and everything but an ordinary bread topper!

  16. Katie K
    August 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm — Reply

    going to belize with my mom – we had a blast exploring reefs, jungles, and meeting new people

  17. August 23, 2013 at 10:25 am — Reply

    swimming every day in our lake! 🙂 summer = staying home to enjoy the fine weather! travel the rest of the year…

  18. August 23, 2013 at 9:11 am — Reply

    I loved Hershey, PA this summer.

  19. August 23, 2013 at 7:32 am — Reply

    I loved Madeira beach this year!!

  20. August 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm — Reply

    Spending the summer in Tuscany with my kids!

  21. August 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    My favorite memory from this summer has been just watching my two kids (ages 5 and 8) play together. They made a “restaurant” with menus; the little one is the chef and the big one is the waitress. They also made a “glass museum”—inspired by a visit to Chihuly Garden & Gallery in Seattle. The “glass” sculptures are made of Duplo LEGO bricks. So dang cute!

  22. Kenny F
    August 22, 2013 at 9:31 am — Reply

    beach with the family

  23. August 22, 2013 at 8:55 am — Reply

    I’ve walked by this hotel so many times but have never once stepped foot inside. Looks amazing and love the history behind it.

    Our best summer memory is always time with our extended family back in MN at our lake cabin. Good times.

  24. August 22, 2013 at 8:47 am — Reply

    Our recent trip to Washington. It was gorgeous. Our first ‘road trip’ with the kids. Just too many fun memories to pick just one.

  25. Brandon B
    August 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm — Reply

    I’m leaving for Copenhagen, Istanbul, Mykonos and Athens in under two weeks! #mysummerstory

  26. Phxbne
    August 19, 2013 at 12:25 am — Reply

    Awesome trip to Asia with stay at Sheraton Saigon Towers!

  27. Anne N.
    August 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm — Reply

    Going zip lining in Alaska and coming face to face with a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree.

  28. August 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm — Reply

    The best summer memories are spending time outdoors and then having an amazing dinner/drinks afterwards. Portland, Maine

  29. August 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm — Reply

    Camping with my little girl in Carlsbad has been one of my happiest summer moments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *