Get down to business in sunny Southern California
In a land of board shorts, sun-kissed skin, and saltwater-tousled hair, you may very well walk into a meeting in San Diego with a surfer dude. Chances are he’s just as committed to catching that next wave as he is to the work he’s doing.
While neighbors to the north, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco, all host significantly more Fortune 500 companies, San Diego is a city of small and medium-sized businesses. There are, of course, some large corporations headquartered here — including Qualcomm, Petco, and Jack in the Box — but fewer than 1 percent of the companies in San Diego County have more than 250 workers, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures.
What businesses do call San Diego home? Given the deep-water harbor, Naval Base San Diego is home to 50-plus ships, making defense-related activities a big economic driver. Tourism, biotechnology, manufacturing, and information technology are also important sectors. Keeping the mild weather in mind, it’s also an attractive spot for conventions.
If you’re planning a trip, let this guide help you make your time in SoCal so cool.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
The flight from Sea-Tac to San Diego International Airport (SAN, also known as Lindbergh Field) takes about two and a half to three hours. You can fly nonstop with Alaska, Delta, and Southwest. The airport is just 10 minutes from downtown, which makes getting there by taxi or shuttle quick and easy. If you’ll need a car on your trip — which will probably be the case if your business takes you outside the downtown area — all major car rental agencies are located at the airport.
The Power Lunch
A power lunch classic since it opened more than 30 years ago, Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine amid wood paneling and stained glass. The standout menu item is the mussel bisque, served with a puff pastry and sherry on top. The Grant Grill is similarly storied, having attracted lawyers, bankers, and other businesspeople since 1951. A private dining room seats up to a dozen. For something quick and casual but still with great food and attentive service, try Searsucker in the Gaslamp Quarter. From celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, the restaurant dishes up a huge variety of salads and sandwiches.
Get Some Sleep
Omni San Diego Hotel is right in the heart of things — it’s near the San Diego Convention Center — but on a quiet street, so you can get a good night’s rest. It’s connected by a skybridge to Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, making it convenient to catch a game if you’ve got some spare time. The W San Diego hotel is a sleek choice, with modern décor, plush window seats, pillow-top mattresses, and Bliss products in the bathroom. The 24-hour business center at Hotel Indigo — which gets high marks for its rooftop bar and wood floors throughout — includes Macs and iPads.
Stop to Shop
Gentlemen can add a dapper chapeau to their wardrobes after a stop at hat shop Goorin Bros., while ladies can pump up the California chic with a visit to Mimi & Red, a trend-forward boutique featuring clothes with an easy, breezy, beachy vibe. For retro-inspired dresses and accessories evocative of the 1940s and ’50s, Tatyana Boutique has all the crinoline and bows a girl could ask for. You also can get in on the vintage trend at Hunt & Gather, a well-curated spot with some funky finds, including vinyl records.