Hotel at a Glance: The Sofia Hotel
When it was built in downtown San Diego in 1927, The Sofia Hotel was known as the Pickwick, a swanky art-deco spot hidden inside a red-brick Neo-Gothic building. Now nearing its 90th birthday, the hotel recently underwent a multimillion-dollar overhaul to restore it to its former grandeur. Guests can embrace the decadent spirit of the Roaring Twenties by sipping aperitifs in one of the Sofia’s recent additions, an elegant French-inspired bistro.
- Savor duck confit and steamed mussels amid sparkling chandeliers and checkered floors at Currant American Brasserie, the hotel’s onsite restaurant.
- In-room amenities: pillow-top mattresses, WiFi, and large flat-screen TVs
- Neighborhood tour: The hotel conducts “Rise and Shine” tours of the nearby Gaslamp District.
- Indulge in aromatherapy and a variety of massage, body, and facial treatments in the dedicated spa treatment room.
- 24-hour yoga studio with scheduled guest classes
- Press mention: Frommer’s says the hotel “works for a lot of different crowds—business travelers, downtown revelers, and serenity seeking vacationers.”
San Diego, California: Historical Attractions and Electric Nightlife in Southern California
San Diego’s sunny, comfortably warm weather and 70 miles of coastline have long attracted vacationing out-of-towners, but the city’s inland scene is no slouch, either. The Gaslamp Quarter is arguably the trendiest listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The area forms both the historic center of town and a hub of San Diego nightlife, with nearly 100 Victorian-era buildings occupied by high-end boutiques, jewelers, and gourmet restaurants.
A stroll through iconic Balboa Park takes you past 17 separate museums, as well as the world-famous and much beloved San Diego Zoo. There’s also the vibrant Spanish Village Art Center, a living gallery where local artists produce pottery, handblown glass, and oil paintings for sale.
Farther north, in Old Town—site of the first European settlement in California—shops in Mission-style stucco buildings sell colorful wrestling masks, woven baskets, and maracas. Nearby stands the Whaley House Museum, dubbed one of the Most Terrifying Places in America by the Travel Channel. Ghosts of former residents are said to inhabit the rooms, which are filled with Victorian furniture, eerie dolls, and squeegees for ectoplasm cleanup.