Going to IHRSA 2019? Check Out Our Favorite Things in San Diego

    Make the most of all that San Diego has to offer while you’re in town with these recommendations from IHRSA staff.

    IHRSA staff put a lot of thought into every element of the Annual IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show, and the event location is no exception. It’s easy to see why IHRSA 2019 will be our eighth time in San Diego—it’s a walking city with lots of opportunities for sightseeing, working out, and dining. Not to mention that the weather tends to be pretty perfect.

    Since San Diego is starting to feel like Team IHRSA’s home away from home, we thought we’d share some of our inside tips to help you make the most of your time between education sessions and visits to the Trade Show.

    Industry News San Diego Wide Shot Column View

    San Diego Restaurants

    San Diego is a wonderland for foodies. While it’s known for its Mexican food, the city’s best restaurants represent all kinds of cuisine. Here are some of IHRSA staff’s favorite spots.

    Puesto - Seaport Village

    Puesto has a hip vibe right near the historic seaport village. Alba Valentin, IHRSA’s associate vice president of marketing operations, recommends this spot for tacos. If you are feeling adventurous, try out the cactus tacos!

    Cafe 21 - Gaslamp Quarter

    Cafe 21 is a great spot for breakfast serving up a farm-to-table experience. They also have music seven nights a week if you are looking for somewhere to experience the local music scene right in the Gaslamp Quarter.

    Tita’s Kitchenette - Paradise Village

    Tita’s Kitchenette is one of Digital Advocacy Content Manager Kaitlynn Anderson Fernandez’s favorite restaurants in San Diego. It is off the beaten path, but serves heaping portions of delicious Filipino food!

    Salt & Straw - Little Italy

    Looking for a sweet treat? Salt & Straw, located in Little Italy, is a “farm-to-cone” ice creamery chain that specializes in small-batch, handmade treats. They use ingredients from family-owned farms to craft creative flavors such as summer sweet corn with buttermilk or apricot hops.

    Rustic Root - Gaslamp Quarter

    Rustic Root is a cute little rooftop bar right in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. They also have a flavorful brunch served until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    San Diego Attractions

    People tend to think of San Diego as a fun place to hang at the beach and watch the surfers go by, but the city has a ton to offer—from museums to funky little towns to explore. Get out of your comfort zone and take some time to adventure in the city.

    Petco Park

    As it is not exactly baseball season in March, you can still get your pre-season spirit by going on a tour of Petco Park. Tours of the field are only $20 for adults and it is a quick walk from many of the hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter.

    Petco Park

    Balboa Park

    Balboa Park is home to more than 16 museums, multiple performing arts venues, lovely gardens, trails, and many other creative and recreational attractions. Including the San Diego Zoo, it encompasses 1,200 beautiful and lushly planted acres.

    “My husband and I visited Balboa Park, which has beautiful gardens as well,” says Nicole Johnson, IHRSA’s director of U.S. club membership.

    San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

    The San Diego Zoo is a world-renowned zoo located downtown in Balboa Park. But what you might not realize is that there is also the Safari Park located 35 miles northeast of the zoo. It is 1,800-acres and home to more than 2,600 animals representing more than 300 species. The animals live in wide, open field enclosures and is a unique walking experience that exhibits animals in the most natural way possible.

    “[I recommend the] San Diego Zoo Safari Park—further than the zoo, but [a] much better experience,” says Rob Langone, senior marketing and design manager. It houses “all rescued animals that either live there or are being rehabilitated to go back into the wild.”

    Coronado Island

    Take a short ferry, ride-sharing, or taxi ride across the Coronado Bridge to visit this quick, beautiful getaway from the hustle and bustle of downtown San Diego. Make sure to visit the historic Hotel del Coronado, a living legend for 130 years. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

    La Jolla Seal

    La Jolla

    La Jolla is a seaside area north of San Diego that is known for its rugged coastline. La Jolla Cove has sweeping ocean views where you can typically catch sea lions gathering. Shell Beach tide pools are home to anemones and crabs. Posh boutiques and waterfront restaurants line La Jolla Village. Don’t forget to check out Black Beach and La Jolla Shores.

    San Diego Fitness

    IHRSA brings together 8,000+ industry professionals, so it’s no wonder it can be hard to grab a machine at the hotel gym. Check out these other alternatives to sneak in a workout in between sessions!


    San Diego has so many beautiful spots to run, and with average temperatures in March falling between 54 and 67 degrees, running conditions couldn’t be better. Carolynn Jordan, member communication specialist, recommends mapping a route along the Embarcadero, an area that runs from the San Diego Convention Center up to the Waterfront Park. If you are feeling adventurous, check out this Medium article with more running routes you can try while you are here!

    Short on time? Running the stairs of the San Diego Convention Center is always a way to get a quick workout in!


    If you are looking to get out of the city for a bit, Torrey Pines State Reserve is a great place to hike and an unreal spot to catch the sunset. If you plan to adventure a bit before or after IHRSA 2019 check out a few of these local hikes.

    IHRSA 2019 Workouts

    There are a number of opportunities to work out with fellow IHRSA 2019 attendees without having to leave the convention center. In the mornings on Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15, you can check out some of the latest fitness programming offerings while getting your sweat on. Join an Exercise Class from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 or an Early Morning Workout class from 6:30 a.m.-8:30.

    Author avatar

    Emily Gluck

    Emily Gluck is IHRSA's Executive Assistant. On average, her job consists of scheduling, supporting the executive team, and planning events, while the best part of her job is getting to work with a great team on a daily basis. If Emily is out of the office you can typically find her kayaking, hiking in a national park, or rafting on a remote river—ideally, she likes to get out of cell phone range.