Things to Do in San Diego When Attending the 2014 DMA Conference

October 8, 2014 Deb Griffith

DMA 2014 San Diego

If you are planning to be in San Diego for DMA2014, we’ve put together some fun things to see and do in your off hours.  As most attendees stay close to the Convention Center, we focused on suggestions within walking distance, but couldn’t resist a few of the others that require a car or taxi.  You’ll see why…

Walking Distance from the Convention Center

  • Stroll the restaurants and bars in the Gaslamp District. There are plenty of amazing places to eat or imbibe, but here are a few of our favorites:
    • Syrah Wine Parlor (901 5th Avenue): This unique and funky place is an industrial version of “Alice in Wonderland” and features some great Happy Hour deals, a rarity in Gaslamp.
    • Osetra  (904 5th Avenue): If you’ve never seen a  “wine angel” before, then its worth popping by to see arguably one of the first places to feature this form of entertainment.  Think Cirque du Soleil meets wine. 
    • The Noble Experiment Speakeasy: These prohibition themed “secret” bars are all the rage, and this is San Diego’s finest entry.  So here’s the catch: If you’re interested in access, email us at before October 17 and we’ll help get you in. 
  • Midway Museum  (910 N. Harbor Drive): Chances are you’ve never been onboard an aircraft carrier, so here’s your big chance.  Moored just a few blocks up North Harbor Drive, the “floating city at sea” has more than 60 different exhibits to give you a well-rounded “Top Gun” experience.
  • Haunted Hotel (424 Market Street)-- San Diego sure loves its ghost stories.  So with the witching season upon us, what’s better than checking out one of the top Haunted Houses in the nation as named by Haunt World Magazine (yes, apparently there is such a thing).
  • Altitude Sky Bar in the Marriott (660 K Street): Twenty-two stories above the ground, Altitude’s rooftop location provides views of the harbor, skyline and baseball park.  If you’re really a daredevil, you can visit the Top of the Hyatt (1 Market Place) to experience their 40-story high view of Coronado and the harbor.
  • San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (404 3rd Avenue): Located in a historical mission building, this award-winning museum features exhibits dedicated to preserving and sharing Chinese history and culture.   

You’ll Need a Car or Cab

  • Hotel Del Coronado, AKA The Del (Coronado Island): Possibly the most iconic visual representation of the San Diego area, this gem is located just over the Coronado Bridge. The 125 year old landmark holds many distinctions, including the largest and oldest resort on the west coast, the first to offer electricity, and a few famous ghost stories.  Even if you don’t stay at the Del, you can visit the property, roam around, and grab some dinner or drinks.
  • Sand Castle Lessons (Pacific Beach): OK, this is for the truly offbeat -- appointment-based sand castle lessons.  The reviews on TripAdvisor are truly fantastic, and who wouldn’t love to learn a new skill like sand castle architecture?  
  • National Comedy Theatre  (3717 India St): Ready for a laugh?  San Diego’s improv comedy show features “clean” entertainment and a no-drink minimum.  And they’ve been doing this for 20 years, so they’ve obviously had time to get it right.
  • Ziplining at San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park  San Diego’s world-famous zoo has an additional property located about 30 miles north of downtown known as Safari Park. This wildlife sanctuary is home to more than 300 species of animals that you can soar (via zipline) over the preserve as a new way to experience nature.  Whee! 

We hope that you are excited to participate in DMA 2014 and have time to enjoy the San Diego experience. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Planning on being in San Diego for the upcoming DMA 2014 Event? Take some time to do at least one of these activities while in the wonderful San Diego area.

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