Despite the strike by potential writers and actors, from July 20-23, Comic-Con will once again take over San Diego with plenty of flashy cosplay. As the city’s most anticipated event approaches, it has stepped up its culinary and hospitality offerings with a list of unforgettable places to drink, dine and unwind.
Near the home of Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center, bun and patti (2171 Kettner Blvd.) highlights burgers like the Smoke Show, made with 14-day dry-aged beef and served with hints of smoke under a glass dome, while the jungle-themed Zama (467 Fifth Ave.) offers Latin American cuisine as well as sushi. Elsewhere, paradise (5680 La Jolla Blvd.) in La Jolla offers dishes that highlight locally sourced ingredients and beverages, such as the Keys Razor cocktail (with Producer mezcal, molasses, jalapeño, mint and lime) inspired by the Razor House, the modernist house that Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz bought in the neighborhood. in 2019. To the south and not far from the future Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center opening summer 2025, Chula Vista’s shake and tangle The restaurant and cocktail bar (303 Third St.) serves a rotating menu inspired by different countries each month (Peru shows through August and the Philippines follows) along with drinks like the signature spicy Ring of Fire (Effen cucumber vodka, agave chile, lemon and lime juices, cucumber and jalapeño with Tajin rim). Or take a detour to Lemon Grove in East County for authentic Italian food at Anni Venti La Trattoria (8099 Broadway), including their arancini of the day.
At the end of the day, check into one of these seven new hotels:
Kimpton Soul, Downtown
Elegant rooms and a lobby with Mexican-inspired décor make this new boutique hotel in the city center turn heads. The elegant rooftop restaurant, Leave of Absence, serves tasty salads and wood-fired pizzas and offers access to the pool. The views from the top of the property are spectacular. 1047 Fifth Ave., from $219 per night; more booking options at stay soul, Expedia and Hotels.com
Lafayette Hotel & Club, North Park
Located in the North Park neighborhood, La Fayette Hotel & Club — first opened in 1946 with a pool designed by Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller — has hosted Hollywood luminaries like Ava Gardner and Bob Hope over the years and its Mississippi Room was where Tom Cruise filmed the scene singing karaoke at Top Gun, belting out “You’ve lost that loving feeling.” The property has now been completely renovated and reimagined by CH Projects (behind San Diego restaurants like Morning Glory and Born & Raised), now featuring with eight restaurant and bar offerings, a soundtrack created by Swizz Beatz and 139 rooms richly appointed with designer details including papered ceilings, knotty wood bar carts and fabric-draped canopy beds. 2223 El Cajon Blvd., starting at $299 per night; book online at lafayette
Margaritaville Hotel San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter
Inaugurated on August 8, the Margaritaville Hotel San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter will be the hotel brand’s first urban location on the West Coast. A $30 million renovation of the Hotel Solamar, the property will feature Southern California-inspired design, what it says is the largest rooftop pool deck in the city, and three dining concepts, with music programming on I live too. 435 Sixth Ave., starting at $279 a night; more booking options at daisyville and Booking.com
orli la jolla
Orli La Jolla is a new hidden beachside gem that has been created over two years by local brothers Hailey and Max Waitt, whose father is Gateway co-founder billionaire Ted Waitt. The two transformed a 1910-era residence of Irving Gill, the father of California modernism, into a 13-room sanctuary that combines the charm of a luxury hotel with the comforts of a family home. “The dream was to create a new way of staying,” says Max Waitt. “If guests want to experience Orli like a traditional hotel, we will tailor their stay that way. Or if they want to use our web-based app and take advantage of their stay, they can order flowers from the local florist or candy for their children from the local bakery.” 7753 Draper Ave., rooms from $299; more booking options at orli and Booking.com
The new Palihotel is a beautifully maintained property in the heart of the Gaslamp. Its youthful, modern aesthetic seamlessly blends preppy chic with nautical-inspired charm. Enjoy a meal in the hotel’s French-inspired restaurant or head up to the guests-only rooftop terrace for some of the best views in the city. 830 Sixth Avenue, from $150; more booking options at palihouseBooking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com
Valencia Ranch, Santa Fe Ranch
When asked to name a San Diego hotel loved by guests, luxury travel agency founders Gen Hershey of Genuine Access and Lauren McWilliams Jones of Solas Travels (both of whom work extensively with names in the entertainment industry) gave Support Rancho Valencia, which is the only Relais & Chateau property in Southern California. The resort (which includes 49 luxurious casitas) recently opened two new ultra-private residences, the four-bedroom, 4,600-square-foot Spa House (starting at $7,500 per night) and the five-bedroom, 5,860-square-foot Casa Valencia. (from $9,500 a night). “When you arrive, you’re in another world, and their on-property team is fantastic,” Jones says, while Hershey says Rancho Valencia is the perfect place “for a romantic getaway.” Círculo Valencia 5921, from $999; more booking options at valencia ranchExpedia and Hotels.com
House of the Shore at the Hotel del Coronado
An addition to the legendary Hotel del Coronado (where the classic Hollywood some like it hot was filmed in part), Shore House offers 75 residential-style accommodations ranging from one to three bedrooms, all decked out in a bright beach house aesthetic. “Each villa feels like coming home to your private beach house,” says Michael Tuesca, director of Shore House, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. 1500 Orange Ave., starting at $1,150; more booking options at Hotel Del, Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com
A version of this story first appeared in the July 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here for subscribe.