A San Diego New Year Celebration
Warm your spirits in the California sun with San Diego’s trademark holiday cheer! Celebrate the New Year by enjoying the area’s award-winning food, wine, parks and much more.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21195RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 1BR 2 L 4 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San Diego, California
The US Grant Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar Private Meeting Room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. This program will be led by the Group Leader, who will lead all field trips and deliver educational content unless specified otherwise. All transportation will be provided via private motorcoach. At the hotel, we will have a private meeting room that will serve as our space for lectures and meeting points. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Meet fellow participants for a brief welcome gathering in a private room accompanied by wine and snacks. Discover niches, artwork and learn about the enthralling history of your hotel on a walking visit led by a US Grant staff member.

Dinner: Boarding the motorcoach, we will have a short ride to a well known seafood restaurant on the harbor. Enjoy the harbor lights while enjoying a plated meal from a limited selection, plus iced tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the evening is at leisure.

San Diego Mission, Presidio Park, Old Town, Gaslamp Quarter
San Diego, California
The US Grant Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to .5 miles on paved and cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: In a private section of the hotel’s restaurant, enjoy a buffet including eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, sweet rolls, and fresh fruit, plus coffee, tea, orange juice, water.

Morning: In our private hotel meeting room, we will be joined by a local historian from the San Diego Historical Society for an introduction to San Diego’s history. This morning’s lecture will set the stage for our day’s field trips. We then set out on our historical journey to the sites where the city was founded: San Diego de Alcala. With our Group Leader, we will explore the property and visit the on-site museum. Established by the Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra in 1769, San Diego de Alcala was the first of 21 California Missions. We will ride to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, with a stop at the top of Presidio Hill for views of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean on the way. The site of the original fortifications, residents chose to live in the Presidio for protection from potential Native American attacks but moved to the base of the hill as time passed.

Lunch: At a lively restaurant in Old Town, enjoy a plated meal offering traditional Mexican cuisine such as tacos and enchiladas with an American twist, plus iced tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Follow our expert on a stroll through Old Town to visit some of the most important historical buildings including the stately Casa Estudillo located on the main plaza, Sibley Stables which house a collection of stagecoaches, the rustic jail and San Diego’s first schoolhouse. Once the original site of the Mission, the population grew at the base of the fort until Mexico granted San Diego the status of “pueblo” or chartered town. Old Town San Diego remained the heart of the city until the 1860’s when Alonzo Horton promoted development closer to the shore, the location that became the current downtown. Returning to downtown via coach, join an expert-led walk to become acquainted with the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego’s downtown since 1860. Declared a National Historic District, it is now filled with restaurants, night clubs, theaters, galleries and gas lamps! The visit includes the Gaslamp Quarter Museum located in one of the area's first houses and the adjacent historical Horton Grand Hotel. Tales of haunted houses and spicy stories enrich the field trip.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like, providing you the opportunity to take advantage of the hotel's location at the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter which boasts a wide array of great restaurant options. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure to join one of San Diego's many performances, enjoy Happy Hour at the hotel or to relax.

San Diego Growth, Cabrillo Monument, La Jolla, Aquarium
San Diego, California
The US Grant Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles on paved, smooth sidewalks with slight inclines. At the aquarium, standing for up to 1 hour with periods of slow walking.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With our historian, we will discuss the establishment of the US Navy and its importance in the growth of San Diego. Ride to the dramatic tip of Point Loma peninsula to the Cabrillo National Monument, named in honor of the famed explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who landed on this point in 1542. Our knowledgeable Group Leader will lead our visit to the historic museum and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, one of the original eight lighthouses on the West Coast, restored and refurnished to reflect what life was like in the 1800s. Drive out along scenic Pacific Coast north of downtown, past Mission Bay and popular Pacific Beach, to reach the sophisticated exclusive La Jolla community where we will visit the world renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Birch Aquarium. Here, Mediterranean architecture, boutiques and restaurants line rugged cliffs and sculptured coves.

Lunch: Under the shade of endemic Torrey Pines, enjoy a soup and half sandwich at the Birch Aquarium Café, plus a cookie, small juice, and bottled water; other non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: At the aquarium, our expert-led visit includes a lecture presented by a staff member of the education department as well as an exploration with commentary of the many exhibits, featuring more than 60 environments. At the end of our field trip, we will ride to town and set out for a walk with our Group Leader along the famous La Jolla coves. Protected by cliffs and part of a marine reserve, swimmers can be found here year round along with the nearby seal beach. Our walk will conclude at the business street for time at leisure to enjoy the cafés, boutiques, and galleries. Meet again at a predetermined point along the shore at sunset time, perhaps catching the green spot as the sun sets. Aboard the coach, we will return to the Gaslamp for dinner.

Dinner: A hefty Italian dinner of salad, pasta, a main dish and dessert is served family style in a lively restaurant. Unlimited soft drinks, tea, and coffee are included; other beverages will be available for purchase.

Evening: Remain in the Gaslamp to enjoy the nightlife or return to the hotel

Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, New Years Eve Festivities
San Diego, California
The US Grant Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately .5 miles in Balboa Park. Walking at museums and the zoo based on personal preference.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our final lecture from our historian, learn about the development of Balboa Park and the amusing tales behind the Panama- California Exposition before heading to explore Balboa Park. Built to host the 1915 Exposition, Balboa Park today is America’s largest urban cultural park. Exotic vegetation, 15 museums, theaters, art centers, exquisite Moorish architecture and a world famous zoo fill its 1,200 acres. With our Group Leader, get to know El Prado, the heart of the park. The remainder of the morning is at leisure to explore one of the many museums on your own.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the park and its activities at your own pace. You may choose a relaxed meal in a lovely garden restaurant or a sandwich on the go in between museum visits.

Afternoon: Located within Balboa Park, we will visit the San Diego Zoo, which is regarded as one of the best zoos in the word. Ride to the entrance of the Zoo, then explore the grounds on your own. The zoo can be visited on foot or take advantage of the included services. It is best to begin with a ride on the narrated hop-on hop-off zoo bus for an overview. Then you may use the hop-on-hop-off bus and perhaps enjoy a ride on the skyfari. Gather anew by the big Christmas tree, where bell ringers and caroling enliven the tree-lighting ceremony. Our field trip ends with our return to the hotel and time to freshen up and prepare for an evening of festivities. In the private room, we will meet for a toast to get into the New Year spirit. Then continue to te hotel’s elegant dining room for New Year’s Eve dinner. Our field trip ends with our return to the hotel and time to freshen up and prepare for an evening of festivities. In the private room, we will meet for a toast to get into the New Year spirit. Then continue to the hotel’s elegant dining room for New Year’s Eve dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel’s elegant dining room, a late seating 6-course Tasting Dinner is served with an exciting Midnight Countdown, plus a glass of wine with dinner and Champagne for the midnight toast; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Ring in the new year and enjoy the festivities as dinner continues through the evening with live music to listen and dance to.

Coronado Island, Hotel Del Brunch, Harbor Cruise, Happy Hour
San Diego, California
The US Grant Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to .5 miles, with opportunities to stroll along the stunning beach on your own.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning is an opportunity to rest, relax, and sleep in before our late morning departure for Coronado. Located across the bay from San Diego, Coronado is a semi-island connected to the mainland by the “Silver Strand” and to downtown San Diego by way of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. The elegant curved bridge sits atop Chicano Park, home to the largest collection of outdoor murals in the United States. Painted by local Mexican- American (Chicano) artists on the pillars and the supports of the bridge, the colorful art work reflects the cultural heritage of the Chicano community in which the park is located. Walk through the park with your Group Leader who will interpret the most representative murals. Continue to Coronado. Characterized by fabulous views, palm-lined avenues, a fine wide beach, and the famous Hotel Del Coronado, an American fairytale castle, explore the island by coach and on foot. First stop is at the Ferry Landing plaza facing the beautiful San Diego skyline. Drive across the island along elegant Orange Avenue to reach the Hotel Del. Boasting a history filled with famous celebrities, the lavish wooden Victorian hotel is the last of its kind still standing on the West Coast. Follow your Group Leader through a short historical walk to learn about the many events that earned the hotel its fame.

Brunch: In the celebrated historic Victorian Crown Room of the hotel, delight on a lavish New Year festive brunch, featuring many stations offering all you could ever desire.

Afternoon: Enjoy some time to explore the hotel on your own and immerse yourself in the ambiance of this iconic building. Wander amongst its many halls, the gardens, or along the spectacular white sand beach. Return to San Diego over the San Diego-Coronado Bridge to embark on a narrated harbor cruise. View the spectacular city skyline in addition to sailing next to elegant hillside communities, marinas, the Naval Shipyards and the Naval Air and Submarine Stations. At sunset, the skyscrapers come alive reflecting their glow on the calm waters of the bay, a perfect ending to a San Diego holiday. Upon our return to the hotel, we will gather in the private room for a happy hour for farewells and a toast to the program while enjoying snacks, juices, and wine.

Dinner: If you’re still hungry from the happy hour, this meal is on your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

Program Concludes
San Diego, California

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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