Conference Downtime – San Diego Seaport District

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I’m wrapping up day three in San Diego during one of their busiest conference/convention weeks of the year.  As I noted yesterday, juggling one’s time at conferences is difficult (especially when Magic Johnson changes your schedule).  While everyone back home thinks you are playing (and certainly, conferences should offer some time for fun while networking), you are also often working long days there while also keeping up with business back home.

But you’d be crazy to come to a city like San Diego and NOT take at least an hour or two to enjoy a bit of walking about time.  Fortunately the San Diego Seaport District (which is close to the central conference hotels such as the Grand Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton) offers many quick escapes that allow even a busy attendee to enjoy downtime!

We had a couple of hours so we started off with a walk down the shoreline to go see Golden Princess.  She was docked in San Diego today and as I will be sailing her on Friday (yes, sometimes even my own blog posts inspire ME to book travel – this one got booked after a post back in August), I wanted to check her out up close as it will be my first time on a Princess ship.

Golden Princess docked

Golden Princess docked

We also got to check out the USS Midway which is permanently docked alongside her.  We were invited to a party on the Midway tonight too – conferences often offer fun optional tours and/or networking events at great tourist sites that allow attendees to mix business with pleasure.

USS Midway

USS Midway

We also checked out other tour options including sightseeing cruises and duck tours that we might have been able to enjoy if we had more time.

We enjoyed wandering back towards the hotel via the shoreline path, looking at many boats along the way.

Boats in the marina

Boats in the marina

There are two shopping villages along the way – Seaport Village (which has been around for many years – I recall spending time there wandering around in the days after 9/11 – when I was ironically at this same conference!) and the newer The Headquarters at Seaport District.

The Headquarters at Seaport District

The Headquarters at Seaport District

The Headquarters is a newer shopping and dining development built on the site of the old police station/jail/courthouse complex.

They offer outdoor dining, as well as restaurants in old parts of the building (Seasons 52 is in the old police garage, Eddie V’s is in the old courthouse – both have kept much of the original interior architecture intact and incorporated it into their design plans)…

The Headquarters at Seaport District

The Headquarters at Seaport District

Shopping at boutiques like Kitson…

Kitson @ The Headquarters at Seaport District

Kitson @ The Headquarters at Seaport District

And even a free jail exhibition….

Jail exhibit - The Headquarters @ Seaport District

Jail exhibit – The Headquarters @ Seaport District

We got to see what a line up was like…

Jail exhibit - The Headquarters @ Seaport District

Jail exhibit – The Headquarters @ Seaport District

And see what San Diego criminal offenses once looked like (the descriptions are funny)…

Jail exhibit - The Headquarters @ Seaport District

Jail exhibit – The Headquarters @ Seaport District

Jail exhibit - The Headquarters @ Seaport District

Jail exhibit – The Headquarters @ Seaport District

And I even tried out a jail cell!

Jail exhibit - The Headquarters @ Seaport District

Jail exhibit – The Headquarters @ Seaport District

It made for a nice afternoon break, topped off by cold beverages on the open air plaza before we walked back to the hotel and resumed our work.  The San Diego Seaport is definitely an easy way to escape stale conference rooms and exhibit halls.

Hopefully you also enjoy your downtime at conferences and explore a bit in the cities you visit!  What are your favorite downtime local activities in cities where you attend conferences?

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last eighteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Although she averages 200 days a year on the road, she loves to return to “the homestead” in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and cocktail mixology.

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