#05: Since You’ve Been Gone!
Here’s another in our series of world famous (okay, we like to think they’re world famous) updates on what has changed or been added in San Diego over the past year. While we’re sure there are some other things, this short list includes two items you might encounter in the downtown/Convention Center area, and one a little farther afield that may interest the foodie and/or hungry person. Either way, it’s hard to believe another year has gone by since the last Comic-Con, but here we are! Whether you’re visiting from out of town or a San Diego resident, here's an update.
Horton Plaza Park
If you’ve traveled up to Horton Plaza and the Balboa Theatre over the past two years, you’ve noticed a significant chunk of real estate that has been covered up during construction. That area is now open to the public as the new Horton Plaza Park. It’s a large, concrete-covered event space that includes a Starbucks and an ice cream place, plus a small restaurant coming soon. The original Horton Plaza fountain has been restored on the north end of the park, opposite the U.S. Grant Hotel. This new park opens up the area around the Balboa Theater and gives Horton Plaza a whole new look.
There are two new hotels along the Embarcadero, located just south of the County Administration Building and Waterfront Park. If you roam up through Seaport Village towards the Midway Museum (the giant aircraft carrier docked on San Diego Bay), you’ll see the new hotels on the right, between Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. The two new hotels are located in the same building; they are a SpringHill Suites and Marriott Residence Inn. A number of other hotels are nearing completion, too: the Pendry Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, just north of the Convention Center on Fifth Ave., and two more on Pacific Highway, in the former Fat City/China Camp/Dennys lot, including a Hilton Garden Inn, all scheduled to open later this year.
As in years past, we recommend you include the Embarcadero in any of your walks or explorations. It runs behind the Convention Center and up through Seaport Village, to the cruise ship terminal, making it difficult to get lost, if you’re new to San Diego! The Embarcadero has changed significantly over the past few years and continues to change. There’s now an outdoor restaurant, just north of the Midway Museum, near the County Building, and Waterfront Park continues to be a great oasis between the Embarcadero in the west and Little Italy to the east.
Liberty Public Market
While it’s a bit farther afield from the San Diego Convention Center, we do want to mention the new Liberty Public Market, which opened in March in Liberty Station. This large new addition to the mixed-use Liberty Station (which includes shopping, hotels, housing, and a vibrant arts and culture area) includes 25 different vendors offering food and other items for sale … everything from burgers and lobster rolls to dog food! Daily hours are 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, so it might not fit into your con-going schedule, but if you’re coming in early or staying later, you might want to check out this great new addition to the San Diego food scene. Liberty Station and the Liberty Public Market are about 5 miles from downtown, near the airport.