Road Scholar : Home
A San Diego Neighborhood Exploration from the Shores of Mission Bay

Program Number: 20521RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/6/2013 - 9/9/2013; 2/12/2015 - 2/17/2015;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: San Diego, California
Price starting at: $785.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 6; 3 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

San Diego’s sun, sand and surf are known worldwide, but the beach and the climate form only a small part of its allure. Founded as the first California mission, today San Diego is home to nearly 1.5 million residents in an eclectic mix of interesting neighborhoods, an energetic, revitalized Victorian quarter and a venerated oceanographic institute. Enjoy rich history and culture in an idyllic climate as you see for yourself what makes San Diego special.


• Stay on beautiful Mission Bay, in a resort setting with easy access to an array of outdoor activities.
• Join expert led field trips through Old Town; the San Diego Mission; the Hotel Del on Coronado Island; Little Italy and the Gaslamp or “new town” where every building tells a story.
• Choose a museum to visit in fascinating Balboa Park and gain an insight into the Chicano identity reflected in the murals of their "barrio."

Activity Particulars

Walking two miles, stairs, some hills; standing indoors and out; getting on/off a motor coach.

This program's focus is to provide an active outdoor exploration of “America’s Finest City.”

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

San Diego

The oldest city in California, San Diego possesses a rich history in a gorgeous, light-filled setting. Cabrillo National Monument, historic Old Town and the city’s Spanish Mission help to tell the story of San Diego’s past. The city is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches and cross-cultural feel.

A full service resort property on Mission Bay with pools and hot tub, exuding San Diego's outdoor ambience.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Esther Mitrani

Esther Mitrani was born in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. She graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, then worked in San Francisco for three years in human resources in high-tech. Missing her home, she return to her native city. Esther has been guiding since 1994, and joined the family business in 2002 as an organizer and tour leader. She is an eager traveler, and she loves sports and languages.
Maria Mitrani

Maria Mitrani was born in Italy, then lived in Canada, the United States and France. She finally settled in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where she has been living since 1976 with her husband and three children. She has a bachelor’s in Italian and art history from the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1985 she has led tours through different parts of Mexico and is a specialized guide for Baja California. She is one of the owners and founders of Andiamo.
Meals and Lodgings
   The US Grant Hotel
  San Diego, California 3 nights
 The US Grant Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The hotel has 47 suites and 270 spacious empire-style all amenities guest rooms, Grant Grill restaurant and lounge, complimentary Internet access in the main lobby and meeting/event spaces. A San Diego Icon since 1910, the palatial US GRANT hotel is situated in the city's lively and historic downtown Gaslamp Quarter, just steps away from top shopping, dining, and entertainment. The hotel's Grand Lobby is adorned with sparkling crystal chandeliers, hand-loomed silk carpets, and artwork. The modern and elegant guest rooms provide comfort with indigenous accents and refined luxury.
  Contact info: 326 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101 USA
phone: 619-232-3121
  Room amenities: Our classic Superior Rooms offer the US GRANT's trademark regal ambiance. Presenting guests with a glimpse of the hotel's storied past via historical touches, they also provide comprehensive contemporary comforts. At 300 to 450-square-feet, Superior Rooms represent the core of the hotel. Nine-foot ceilings featuring crown molding greet guests, leading them to the commissioned French and Native American Indian art displayed throughout the room. Ample windows offer city or garden views. Empire-style furnishings, including a standing mirror, complement the contemporary art and are joined by thick imported carpets and pillow top Luxury Collection brand beds (either on King or two Doubles) wrapped in 300-thread-count Italian linens and framed by an original Yves Clement drip-painting headboard. Across the room, an executive desk with writing pad and telephone invites the guests to take advantage of Wi-Fi, while a 32-inch plasma televisions and CD player clock radio provide alternative in-room entertainment options. The soothing marble bathroom with basin sinks and enclosed glass showers is the ideal ending to an active day. Relax with exclusive Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities before settling in for a peaceful night's sleep.
  Facility amenities: - 24 Hour business center, complimentary Internet access - ATM/ banking - 24 Hour fitness facilities - Art gallery - Gift shop - Bar/Lounge Complimentary Internet Access
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Approximately $210.00 PLEASE NOTE: Pre/Post extensions will be open for reservations 8 weeks prior the program departure date.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Approximately $210.00 PLEASE NOTE: Pre/Post extensions will be open for reservations 8 weeks prior the program departure date.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
San Diego. The program will begin at 5:00PM in a private room of the hotel for welcome and orientation followed by the Welcome Dinner. You will be staying at The US Grant Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
San Diego. The program will end approximately at 10:00AM in the hotel after the closing Lecture. You will be staying at The US Grant Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
At an additional rate of $20 per day.
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Diego, California
  Nearest airport:  San Diego Airport (SAN).
  From End of Program
  Location: San Diego, California
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

To US Grant Hotel


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


$12.00 approximately
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes approximately 


Taxi cabs may be found right outside the airport terminal. It is the easiest transfer method. Same information is applicable for train or bus stations arrivals.


To US Grant Hotel


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$10.00 approximately
Prices are subject to change.




10 minutes approximately


Private shuttles or taxi cabs are the best means of transportation. Please call one day in advance to schedule your pick up from the airport, the bus or train stations, or SAN parking lot.

Driving Directions
  From East To US Grant Hotel Follow Intestate 805 South to Interstate 8. Follow I-8 to Highway 163 South. Follow Highway 163 South toward downtown San Diego. At the end of Highway 163, enter Downtown. Turn right on B Street. Turn left onto 4th Avenue. The hotel will be on the right. The valet parking entrance is directly after C Street.
  From North To US Grant Hotel Follow Interstate 5 South. Exit at Civic Center/Front Street. Take the left fork towards 2nd Avenue. Turn right on 4th Avenue. The hotel will be on the right. The valet parking entrance is directly after C Street.
  From South To US Grant hotel Follow Interstate 5 North. Exit at 6th Avenue, heading south. Turn right onto B Street. Turn left on 4th Avenue. The hotel will be on the right. The valet parking entrance is directly after C Street.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

(Friday, September 6)
 Afternoon: 5:00 Meet participants and group leader in a private room of the hotel for a presentation of the program accompanied by an aperitif drink. The palatial US Grant, the host hotel, is a historic building located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarters, the city’s vibrant historical downtown, just steps away from attractive Horton Plaza, entertainment, and endless restaurants offering savory cuisines from the entire world.
 Dinner: Become acquainted with the hotel surroundings on a brief walk to reach one of the fine restaurants located in the vicinity for a welcome dinner.
 Evening: Returning to the hotel, the personnel is proud to lead an insider access visit through the premises narrating the intricate history of the building and the fine artwork displayed throughout.
Accommodations: The US Grant Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

(Saturday, September 7)

Note: Walking up to two miles and getting on and off a motor-coach as well as the ferry.

 Breakfast: At the hotel – Deluxe continental
 Morning: After breakfast, attend the first of a series of three captivating lectures on San Diego through the years. Described as “the birthplace of California”, the spirit of San Diego lies in its multi-cultural background. The original Kumeyaay Native Indian settlement became the site of the first Alta California Mission ruled by Spanish and then by Mexico before becoming part of the United States in 1848. Traveling by bus, depart from the hotel to enjoy a full day learning adventure through San Diego’s highlights tracing its history from the roots. Begin with a stop in Little Italy during their traditional Farmer’s Market. Continue to San Diego de Alcala, the first California mission founded by Father Junipero Serra, a hidden niche of seclusion in the midst of the city. Drive through Presidio Hill where the Spanish set up a fortress to dominate the bay. Beneath the Presidio lies Old Town where the first civilians settled establishing the beginning of a town -San Diego. Visit some of the historical sites before lunch.
 Lunch: Taste the Cal-Mex flavor at Casa Guadalajara. Lively colorful restaurant, with a charming presence and a fabulous decor both, indoors and outdoors.
 Afternoon: Continue to Balboa Park, home to over 15 museums, several theaters and the famous San Diego Zoo. The site of two international expositions and landscaped with exotic vegetation covering the hilltops and canyons, beautiful Balboa Park is the perfect combination of attractive architecture and nature. Join the leader on a walk followed by free time. Beneath the Coronado bridge in the barrio, the Chicano neighborhood, see the colorful murals reflecting Chicano identity. Cross the Coronado Bridge to the fine sandy beach on the Pacific Ocean where the majestic Hotel Del Coronado, a fairy-tale American castle built in Victorian style has been standing since the 1880’s glorious years of California. Return to downtown by ferry to enjoy a scenic view of the bay and the distinctive skyscrapers of the city center.
 Dinner: Independent dinner to explore local flair at one of many available restaurants offering a wide variety of flavors and experiences.
 Evening: The leader is available to assist participants in their evening activities.
Accommodations: The US Grant Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

(Sunday, September 8)

Note: Walking up to two miles.

 Breakfast: At the hotel – Deluxe continental
 Morning: Gain deeper appreciation on Balboa Park in a morning presentation highlighting the amusing events of the two world fairs. Depart the hotel on foot for an in depth expert led walk of historic Gaslamp Quarters, where the town of San Diego was relocated to be on the waterfront in the late 1800’s, a period of Victorian style developments, naming the area “New Town” as opposed to the “Old Town” Spanish settlement. Revitalized in the seventies, the vibrant district offers culture, entertainment, business and residences housed within buildings displaying diverse architectural styles from Victorian, Art Nouveau, to contemporary standing side by side. Each building tells a story. Study the facades and enter the back door to some of the most unique or exclusive landmarks on route to the waterfront.
 Lunch: Lunch is on your own to choose from the many options in the vicinity.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, take advantage of the included bus/tram Day Pass for independent discoveries. Return to your favorite site or experience a new destination. The Maritime Museum, the Harbor Promenade, Harbor Cruises, parks, a boutique shopping village and more are located along the Embarcadero at the end of the walk. Attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, museums, and endless miles of sandy beaches are minutes away.
 Dinner: In the evening, meet in the private room of the hotel for a farewell gathering with cocktails and a light dinner based on appetizers.Formal dinner, if desired, is on your own.
 Evening: Possibility to attend a performance of your choice; several theaters are walking distance from the hotel. The leader is available to assist participants in their evening activities.
Accommodations: The US Grant Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

(Monday, September 9)
 Breakfast: At the hotel – Deluxe continental
 Morning: The last presentation discusses the important role played by the US Navy in the development of the city, past and present. Looking into the future, a closing thought: as the city grows, will it be able to maintain the description “America’s Finest City?” Final good-byes and independent departures. The leader is available to assist participants with personal plans and/or departure procedures.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  San Diego, California General Overview
With almost idyllic weather, San Diego offers entertainment for every taste. From numerous museums, nature and beaches, exhibits and events, to a great number of amusement parks, restaurants and night clubs, this city has something for every age. You may review a comprehensive calendar at these San Diego visitor's on-line guides below. For additional information, visit,
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

San Diego Then and Now

Author: Nancy Hendrickson

Description: A photographic approach to San Diego history comparing same site, different time period.

San Diego An introduction to the Region

Author: Philip R. Pryde

Description: A historical geography of the natural environments and human development of San Diego County. A tecnical but simple approach.

Walking San Diego

Author: Lonnie Burnstein Hewitt and Barbara Moore

Description: An inviting description of the trails and the wildlife for those who enjoy to explore the parks and the surroundings of the city by foot.

San Diego Legends

Author: Jack Scheffler

Description: Pleasant reading about the events, people and places that made history.


Author: Helen Hunt Jackson

Description: A favorite historic love novel set in Southern California in the 1880’s, Ramona is the story of 3 cultures - Indian, Mexican, and Anglo – and their struggle to co-exist.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768