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The Event Planner’s Guide to San Diego Venues

Kaitlyn Tatulli |

Waterfront view of San Diego Bay in San Diego, CaliforniaSan Diego was ranked in the top 10 U.S. cities to host an event or conference in 2019. Why? Because San Diego has 210 hotels, 70 miles of beach, tons of attractions, an international airport a few miles from downtown, and meeting and event venues of all sizes. Bring sun, sand, and the sea to your next event by choosing San Diego as your next destination. Here are some of the top venues planners should consider for their next meeting and event!

Top 10 San Diego Venues Planner Should Consider

1. San Diego Convention Center

Located along the San Diego Bay just 10 minutes from the San Diego Airport and within walking distance to the city’s unique shops, parks, and other attractions, the San Diego Convention Center is the convention center in San Diego. The waterfront facility underwent a $25 million renovation last year and now sizes at 2.6 million square feet, which includes a 615,701 sq. ft exhibition hall and 204,114 sq. ft of meeting space. Whether you want to host your event in an exhibit hall or on one of their terraces, the San Diego Convention Center has it all.

San Diego Convention Center Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: San Diego Convention Center

2. USS Midway Museum

Looking to add some American pride to your next meeting or event? Host a once-in-a-lifetime event on the U.S. Navy’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the twentieth century. After the museum closes, this 47-year-old ship can be transformed to host your next event for up to 4,000 people. You can host your event outside on the four-acre flight deck (150-4,000 guests) or inside on the hanger deck (150-600 guests). For smaller events, you can use the fantail sponson, which seats up to sixty guests or one of the five amid meeting center rooms, which seats eight to thirty people.

USS Midway Museum Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Midway Museum

3. Fairmont Grand Del Mar

From large to small meetings, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, California’s only triple five-star destination, can accommodate a full range of events. Located five miles from the Pacific coastline nestled in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, the resort has 20,000 sq. ft meeting and event space equipped with the latest technology. The Fairmont Grand Del Mar offers event enhancements like onsite amenities such as championship golf, exclusive dining, or access to one of the four pools. Your attendees can also conveniently stay in one of the resorts 249-rooms. No matter what type of event you are hosting, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar promises the setting will be enjoyable and relaxing for both you and your attendees.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Fairmont Grand Del Mar

4. Bay City Brewing Company

Are your attendees beer lovers? Host your next event at the Bay City Brewing Company located between San Diego and Mission Bay. This craft brewery, known for its “coastal urban vibe” offers a tasting room, private event space, and an outdoor patio. You can also buy out the entire brewery for larger events. On the patio, the Brewery features a large Jenga board, board games, and food trucks. You can also catch fireworks put on by local attractions. Help your attendees experience a taste of local San Diego by hosting your next event at the Bay City Brewing Company.

 Bay City Brewing Company Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Bay City Brewing Company

5. Hotel Del Coronado

Take advantage of San Diego’s beautiful beaches and host a beachfront event. Named America’s best beach, the Coronado beach at hotel Del Coronado, located only eight miles from San Diego’s airport, can hold up to 1,200 guests. In addition to being the only beachfront resort that accommodates events in San Diego, the Del offers 65,000 sq. ft indoor event space. Whether your event has 24 attendees or 1,000+, the Del is one of San Diego’s premier meeting spaces.

Hotel del Coronado Venue  - San Diego, California

 Photo Credit: Hotel del Coronado

6. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown (MCASD)

Make your event a work of art by hosting it at San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Minutes from the San Diego International Airport, MCASD allows you to host your event in either its Jacobs Building or Copley Building. The Farrell Gallery and Figi Family Concourse in the Jacobs Building has a 4,500 sq. ft indoor space and an additional outdoor 5,000 sq. ft courtyard space, which seats 200+ guests. In addition, the Berglund Room and Woods Family Terrace in the Copley building is an indoor/outdoor space that seats 100-130 guests or 200 guests for a standing reception. Whether you choose the Farrell Gallery or the Berglund Room, the urban setting will provide your guests with an unforgettable, artful experience.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) Downtown Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown

7. Altitude Sky Lounge

Host your next event at the highest rooftop bar on the west coast—San Diego’s Altitude bar. Altitude offers indoor and outdoor space for upscale, private dining and events. The bar features panoramic views of the harbor, skyline, Coronado Island, Coronado Bridge, and Point Ioma. Altitude is also known for its “superior views” of Petco Park and the Padres Games. Take your next event to new heights—22 stories to be precise—with Altitude.

Altitude Sky Lounge Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Altitude Sky Lounge

8. California Center For The Arts, Escondido

Want to submerge your attendees into San Diego’s culture during your event? The California Center for the Arts, known as North San Diego’s cultural center, can help. As an event planner, the Center allows you to choose from a range of spaces to fit your event, like a 406-seat Center Theater, a 1,523-seat concert hall, a 9,000 sq. ft ballroom, and a small 10-seat meeting space. The Center also features free community events, like Jazz Jam Sessions and First Wednesday performances, that your attendees can join. Mix function with some San Diego culture by hosting your event at the California Center for Arts, Escondido.

California Center for the Arts, Escondido Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: California Center for the Arts, Escondido

9. Harrah's Resort and Casino Southern California

With a $150 million expansion last year, Harrah’s Resort and Casino features 53,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. Harrah’s event rooms also come equipped with state-of-the-art high-tech solutions and tech support to ensure your event runs smoothly. The resort also offers over 1,000 modern guest rooms, several restaurants, and three pools, including a lazy river. The Harrah resort is an ideal venue for large events, like conferences and tradeshows.

Harrah’s Resort and Casino Southern California Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Harrah’s Resort and Casino

10. The Point

Looking for a unique, high-tech event space to host a smaller event or work retreat? Then the Point is for you. The Point offers five venue spaces featuring: a 160-person theater, a 120-person banquet room, a 60 or 99-person classroom, a 250-person cocktail reception, and a 400-person company picnic. Each space features big screen displays equipped with Apple TV, surround sound stereo, smart cameras, and touchscreen glass walls. Along with event and meeting spaces, the Point offers four packages that planners can choose from to help you create a more specified event: company off-site, corporate holiday party, small meeting, and company picnic. The Point also offers activities like water sports in Mission Bay.


The Point Venue  - San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: The Point


Top 3 Things to Do In San Diego

1. Kayak the 7 Caves

Escape the conference room and kayak through the La Jolla Ecological Reserve. You’ll discover San Diego’s sea caves such as Sunny Jim’s Cave, the Clams’ Cave, and the Arch Cave. You may even see sea lions, shovelnose guitarfish, and dolphins. The safest way to explore the caves is by guided kayak tours.

2 people in green kayak on a La Jolla Kayak guided kayak tourPhoto Credit: La Jolla Blue Book

2. Balboa Park

Located minutes from downtown, Balboa Park is a must-see destination. Rated in the top ten U.S. parks by Trip Advisor Travelers Choice, Balboa Park is filled with attractions. You can visit one of the park’s sixteen, 1,2000-acre unique gardens, visit the zoo, Safari Park, museums, or catch a performance at one of the arts venues. To ensure you don’t miss anything, register for a free park tour led by a Park Ranger. 

Balboa Park  San Diego, CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Balbo Park 

3. Hit the Beach

Despite its name, Tourmaline Surfing Park is a beach located in the North Pacific Beach area. This beach is split into two areas: surfing and swimming and has lifeguards on both sides. Tourmaline Surfing Park is a less touristy spot, so if you are looking to escape the noise, this spot is for you.

California Beach Photo Credit: California Beaches

Have you hosted an event in one of these San Diego venues? How did it go? What was your favorite thing to do inside or outside San Diego? Let us know by commenting below!

Interested in the other top U.S. cities and venues for meeting and event professionals? Download our free guide to see them all!

The Top 100 Meeting and Event Venues in the United States

This Post was Written by Kaitlyn Tatulli

Kaitlyn Tatulli is a graduate from Fairfield University with majors in Digital Journalism and Psychology and minors in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Computer Science. Currently, she is receiving her MFA from Fairfield University. Kaitlyn...

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